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WSU opens Pac-12 play at Washington

Plus, Mike Leach in the NFL? Hahahahahaha!

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Coug fans. The men’s basketball version of your Washington State Cougars are in Seattle today to open the Pac-12 basketball season against the Washington Huskies. After finishing the non-conference slate 7-6, the Cougs get set to face what is technically a more difficult schedule starting today.

But it’s not exactly a murderer’s row.

The Pac-12, you see, is struggling. In men’s basketball, the conference has zero teams ranked in the top-25. It might be a one-bid league this March. Its “best” team just lost to Princeton. So, things have been better.

The Cougs head into tonight’s game healthy. You’ll recall Robert Franks has missed time, and Viont’e Daniels was out for some time with a concussion. They’re both back and will have to deal with UW’s zone defense.

UW (94-4) will counter with some veteran leaders, though Jaylen Nowell is a sophomore and leads the team with 17.1 points per game.

Jeff had a good temperature check of the team yesterday.

WSU and UW have two common opponents—San Diego and Seattle U. UW beat both teams, while WSU did not. So there’s that.

It’s a late game, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PST. You can watch the action on the Pac-12 Network.

Mike Leach to the NFL? That’s hilarious.

Can you even imagine?

Bickley: Cardinals should give Mike Leach a call in head coaching search
The Arizona Cardinals need an offensive guru and quarterback whisperer as their next head coach. Why not give Mike Leach a call?

The best thing you’ll read all day

There is an athletics connection to this story—and a really cool one. Do yourself a favor and read this, athletics connection or not.

New WSU program opens college’s doors to those with developmental disabilities | The Spokesman-Review
Evan Henniger’s parents never thought college would be a possibility for their son. Evan, 20, was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after his birth, and the prospect of venturing away from home on his own seemed unlikely.

Oklahoma should send Mike Leach a thank-you note, at the very least

Lincoln Riley, Ruffin McNeill, Dennis Simmons, Bennie Wylie, Bill Bedenbaugh and now Alex Grinch are all people who have either played for or coached under Mike Leach (or both). All of them are on the Oklahoma Sooners coaching staff.

Alex Grinch’s defensive philosophy is simple: Get the ball back for the offense – The Athletic
Oklahoma would be getting a defensive coordinator who is aggressive and whose units create a lot of turnovers.

OU football: Alex Grinch latest Mike Leach disciple to land at Oklahoma | Sports | oudaily.com
Washington State head coach Mike Leach is a straight shooter, which was yet again the case when called Friday afternoon.

So close!

Cougars Upset Bid Falls Short at No. 11 Oregon State - Washington State University Athletics
WSU held a late lead but the Beavers came up with a championship push late to avoid the upset.

WSU Links

From Lamonte McDougle to Mike Leach’s reunion with Dana Holgorsen, 19 reasons to follow Washington State in 2019 | The Spokesman-Review
Officially, WSU doesn’t kick off again for another 240 days, but it’s never too early to peer into the future. Even with a bold question mark at the most important position on the field, the Cougars will be targeting their fifth consecutive bowl appearance and should be in the thick of the Pac-12 North race once again, even if they aren’t a favorite to win the division title.

Former Saint Gleason’s Congressional Gold Medal official | The Spokesman-Review
President Donald Trump has signed legislation to award former New Orleans Saints and Washington State football player Steve Gleason the Congressional Gold Medal.

WSU vs. UW: CF.C goes one-on-one with Seattle Times' Percy Allen
Longtime UW hoops reporter says Robert Franks is "matchup nightmare" for Huskies, C.J. Elleby can do damage inside.

Washington State has clean bill of health heading into Pac-12 hoops opener at Washington | The Spokesman-Review
With three consecutive losses, Washington State’s basketball team may be limping into Pac-12 Conference play this week, but at least it’s only a figurative term for the now healthy Cougars as they travel to Seattle this Saturday for the league opener at Alaska Airlines Arena.

New WSU program opens college’s doors to those with developmental disabilities | The Spokesman-Review
Evan Henniger’s parents never thought college would be a possibility for their son. Evan, 20, was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after his birth, and the prospect of venturing away from home on his own seemed unlikely.

Ly-Nguyen, Knezevic Impress at Rainbow Wahine Invitational - Washington State University Athletics
Through two days in Hawaii, the Cougars have won 12 of 14 singles matches.

Pac-12 Links

Pac-12 conference mulls taking on private equity investors
A proposal to sell off part of the Pacific-12 Conference to private investors raises eyebrows among some athletics experts.

Austin Meek: A few ideas for the Pac-12 marketing gurus, on the house
A memo to commissioner Larry Scott and the Pac-12 CEOs:Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’d like to congratulate all of you on another successful bowl season and a berth in the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately I can do neither of those things, so let’s get right to business, shall we?It has come to my attention that the Pac-12 is seeking public relations help to repair its tarnished brand. According to John Canzano of The Oregonian, the league retained PR giant.