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Cougar Men Look to Salvage Rough Sports Weekend

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Not great so far!

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. Or maybe, good afternoon!. Apologies to all 3.5 of you dear readers for this being so late. Youth baseball is to blame. Mostly.

Your Washington State Cougars men’s basketball team tips off soon against the SMU Mustangs on ESPN+, which will add to quite a sports cornucopia/conundrum for Team Kendall. While the Cougs tip at 8 p.m. in these parts, Mrs Kendall’s Dayton Flyers begin their NIT game at the same time, while our beloved Borussia Dortmund kicks just 20 minutes earlier. The old VPN is gonna get a workout tonight!

We’re pinning our hopes on the Cougar men to give us a lift, because the results elsewhere in the showcase sports have been really rough. First, the baseball team has all but squandered what we thought was a promising start. While there’s certainly no shame in losing two of three to the highly-ranked Oregon State Beavers, the Cougs have followed up their big win over a binocular company by losing their first two against Washington. Heck, WSU didn’t even muster a hit for more than six innings, #yikes. Let’s hope Sunday brings the same result as last Sunday did.

In more important sports news, the Cougar Women once again dropped their opening game of the NCAA Tournament. Things looked great at halftime, as the Cougs led 24-17. That second half? Yikes. WSU mustered all of a measly 16 points, while Kansas State heated up significantly to head to the second round with a 50-40 win. It’s sure been odd to watch WSU lose to a team in purple this season, but I guess it’ll happen every now and again.

While the end of the season was a disappointment for the Cougar women and all of us fans, there is some pretty darn good news, as nearly every key piece of the roster - with the exception of Krystal Leger-Walker and Ula Motuga still has eligibility remaining. (for all I know, Krystal and Ula also do because wacky COVID eligibility rules). WSU will no doubt be a factor next season, and let’s hope star coach Kamie Ethridge is still in charge.

So now we arrive at the Coug men, who are in Dallas to take on SMU. Our basketball subject matter experts gave you all a much better analytical preview than I ever could, so I will defer to hidden/hilarious gem NIT Stu of barkingcrow.com for his in-depth breakdown of both the schools and the matchup.

SMU

What to know:

SMU put together an excellent bubble résumé this year, which is to say they did absolutely nothing that stands out on paper. They were the guy who brings pretzels to a party. Not unique pretzels, either. Just a bag from the grocery store. Rold Gold.

What else to know:

SMU’s on the edge of a really affluent neighborhood of Dallas that’s so affluent it decided to become its own town so it wouldn’t have to finance the rest of the city’s operations. There are a lot of rich schools out there in the world, but few are known as purely for being rich schools as SMU is known for being a rich school. With more of them, it’s like, “Hey, that’s a really good school and it’s also rich,” but with SMU, it’s like, “Hey, that’s a really rich school and I have no idea how good it is which makes me think it’s probably mostly just rich.”

Can’t argue with that! As for the Cougs...

Washington State

What to know:

Wazzu was on the bubble, they made it, they somehow got to play at home. Same situation as Vanderbilt, we already talked about this up top. They won just one game this year over an NIT-at-large-or-better squad, but they’re expected to be a tough out. Solid team, just a bit unlucky.

What else to know:

Part of what figures to make the Cougars a tough out is their coach, Kyle Smith, who’s a big figure in the field of analytics-driven college basketball. If Casey Alexander’s disguise gets ripped off and it’s revealed he’s secretly a basketball, don’t be surprised if Kyle Smith’s concealment is the next to go, leaving a void of 1’s and 0’s scrolling feverishly in the place in the space-time continuum formerly occupied by this man’s human form.

You can read the entire field breakdown here. Even though we’ve progressed a round, it’s worth your time.

As for Sunday, here are some of Stu’s notes.

Game of the NITe of the Weekend right here. Wazzu’s looking to establish itself as a contender, Kyle Smith’s looking for his first signature win as the Cougars’ head man, SMU is feeling forgotten…very curious what the vibe will be. Will SMU dig in and start playing hard, as we often see from top seeds in these second round games? Will Washington State do one thing terribly badly and have it shoot them in the foot? All things are possible with the NIT.

Entire “preview” of Round Two here.

Basketball

'We can't be satisfied with just getting to the tournament': Washington State again bows out in first round of NCAAs, falls to Kansas State | The Spokesman-Review
Eighth-seeded Washington State bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round Saturday afternoon at Reynolds Coliseum, falling to 0-3 all time at March Madness with a 50-40 loss to No. 9 seed Kansas State.

Baseball

Cougars Drop Contest at Washington - Washington State University Athletics
Washington starter Calvin Kirchoff worked 6.2 innings and lost a no-hitter in the seventh on a Swarts home run. UW scored at least one run in the first six innings highlighted by a three-run third to clinch the series.

This Week in Parenting

Hoo boy, has it been a week! It started rather inauspiciously, as Mrs. Kendall jetted off to the Florida Panhandle in an attempt to find us a place to live in a few months. We currently have a bid in on a house. In case you didn’t know, the housing market is completely out of control!

Anyway, that left yours truly to hang back home and manage school, practice, Scouts, and baseball game schedules. Since Mrs. Kendall is the greatest wife in the history of ever (and because she’s pretty sure that I’m incapable of providing sustenance to my kids which is semi-true), she baked a pan of lasagna and a pan of her homemade macaroni and cheese for us to dine on. Thankfully, the week was largely uneventful. Well, except for the fact that the 10 year-old would not take “no” for an answer when it came to this outfit for school.

I realized long ago that there’s no use in arguing over school clothes, so off to the bus he went. And he DEFINITELY DID NOT WEAR THAT SAME THING TO SCHOOL AGAIN THE NEXT DAY SO DON’T EVEN ASK.

The weekend brought no relief, as the 13 year-old’s travel baseball team, the Outlaws, had a pair of Saturday/Sunday doubleheaders against some teams from The Netherlands on a windswept baseball field about 75 minutes north of here. The mighty Outlaws won the first game rather comfortably, then won again in the nightcap as I and the other parents practically froze to death because of the northerly winds that topped out at about 15 knots. The oldest played well, garnering a couple walks, a couple runs scored and two RBI. Thankfully, the games only lasted 90 minutes apiece. Any more exposure and Mrs. would have returned home a widow.

The 10 year-old took refuge inside the snack shack, which provided safe haven from the wind. Thankfully the people in charge put him to work. He didn’t mind it much, and said on the way to today’s games that he wanted to volunteer some more, to the point that he said, “thanks for dropping me off at work” when we arrived at the field. One of the team dads was getting ready to fire up the grill for hotdog sales, so my boy deemed himself “assistant grill master” and set to getting everything ready. He did this for a good 3-4 hours with zero prodding, which led me to wonder why I can’t him to put his damn clothes away for days at a time.

Regardless, he took to the task well, and when I decided to pitch in he immediately began ordering me around. “Dad, we need more buns.” “Dad, put some plastic gloves on.” etc. etc. He was rather proud of the results, as the hot dogs were easily the most popular product on this day.

The oldest won his other two games on Sunday, which made me wonder why some folks from The Netherlands drove six hours south just to sit in the cold and watch their kids go 0-4. That’s some dedication to the sport and the kiddos if you ask me. So now the weekend is just about over, and I’m not sure it even began.

Non-Sports

An Educator Read ‘I Need a New Butt!’ to Children. Then He Was Fired. - The New York Times
Mr. Price, who has been an educator for 20 years, said he had hired a lawyer and planned to fight the termination before the school board.

Only NATO Intervention in Ukraine Can Save Putin - The Atlantic
The odds of a palace coup against Putin are already low; the odds of such a move while Russia is at war with NATO are even lower.