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Cougar Basketball Sends Seniors out in Style

The Cougs ended the regular season on a nice streak

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PULLMAN, WA - MARCH 5: Washington State Cougars Men’s Basketball versus the University of Oregon Ducks at Beasley Coliseum - Washington State guard Will Burghardt (33) Jack Ellis/CougCenter

Good morning! If that wasn’t one of the best senior days for Washington State Cougars Basketball, one would have to strain the memory to find a handful that were better. Not only did the Cougs beat the Oregon Ducks to win their third straight game, they did so in dominating fashion. How dominating? When Efe Abogidi threw down a dunk with 1:38 remaining in the first half to give WSU a 41-30 lead, Oregon would not get the deficit under double digits for the rest of the game.

But before we get any further, let’s celebrate the three guys who played on Friel Court for the final time Saturday. First is Michael Flowers, who transferred in for one season and made a monumental impact, leading the team in scoring and establishing himself as a team leader. Here was the sendoff he got from his teammates.

What you won’t see in that clip is what you almost always see, namely a player’s parent(s) and/or other family members walking out with the honoree. Sadly, Flowers didn’t get that privilege, having lost his mother to cancer in 2018, and his father to the same disease in 2020. It says a lot about the young man that he persevered to this point. In his sendoff, Flowers led the team in minutes and scored 10 points, hitting another two three-pointers.

Senior forward Matt DeWolf may not have scored, but he did get to start, playing up until the first media timeout, logging more than five minutes of game action and collecting a steal and a foul.

Lastly, and most awesomely was senior (and Gardner Minshew semi-lookalike) Will Burghardt. Once WSU had the game well in hand, the chants for Burghardt began, and Kyle Smith gave the people what they wanted.

If his clear Mustache March dedication weren’t enough, Will got the crowd amped up and then proceeded to bring the house down.

He even got to meet the media afterward!

So yeah, Senior Day was amazing. This team is quite good when all the 3s go in!

Also pretty cool was the fact that the game was on CBS. No, not CBS Sports Network, ACTUAL MOTHERSHIP CBS. Hell, it was even carried live on American Forces Network! I didn’t have to activate the Fire Stick and turn on the VPN like usual! It was worth all of these exclamation points to watch the CBS analysts talk about the Cougs at halftime! Related to that, anybody else think this had to be Pete Gillen’s first trip to the west coast, let alone Pullman?

Back to the players, where Noah Williams used Saturday’s blowout to put another feather in his cap. Noah’s struggles have been well documented this season, particularly because of his oversized presence and contributions in the previous seasons. Williams re-exerted his old self on Saturday, leading the team in both points and assists with 19 and eight respectively. The 19 points were nearly double his season average, and one of those assists was particularly eye-popping.

If that’s the Noah we see in the postseason, this team will be really tough to beat. He can once again be the straw that stirs the drink.

Finally, THE JAKI BOMBS WERE BACK! Andrej Jakimovski drilled three long distance shots, and was also huge underneath as he led the Cougars with eight rebounds. As with Williams, if we can get 9/8 a night from Jaki, this team will be pretty darn good. One tip, though: Andrej, when you have an uncontested layup, take it. Shooting an uncontested layup has a better chance to end well than passing one up in favor of tossing the ball back out beyond the arc.

As a result of that 11-9 Pac-12 season, along with other results around the league, WSU ended up with a seventh-place finish (they technically tied for fifth), and will face the 10th-place California Golden Bears on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the first round of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. A win there, and WSU will face second-seeded UCLA the next night in the semifinals. Go Cougs

Basketball

'It was perfect timing': With Pac-12 Tournament on deck, Washington State uses complete performance to rout Oregon | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougars claimed their third consecutive win to end their regular season, routing Oregon 94-74 on Saturday afternoon.

Football

Stream episode BFT Interview: Jake Dickert by John Canzano BFT Podcast podcast | Listen online for free on SoundCloud
John Canzano talks to Washington State Head Football Coach Jake Dickert Thursday's BFT. Dickert discusses his mid-season hiring at WSU, the new offensive style at WSU, incoming QB Cameron Ward, adjusting to the air-raid, how he got involved on defense, and much more!

Pac-12 Football: Ranking the Transfer Classes for 2022 - AthlonSports.com | Expert Predictions, Picks, and Previews
Malani, Henley and Lee are needed pickups for a defense returning six starters but features holes to fill at linebacker and in the secondary.

Baseball

After a resounding win over the Texas A&M Aggies on Friday, Cougar Baseball came back to earth a bit on Saturday, losing to the State of Wichita, 8-2. The Cougs close out their time in Texas on Sunday against the Iowa Hawkeyes. First pitch is at 10 a.m. PST and can probably be streamed somewhere on the interwebs. After that, WSU begins Pac-12 play with a three-game series against the Oregon State Beavers next weekend.

This Week in Parenting

The boys had Tuesday off of school this week. Yes, Tuesday. Why? Well, at first I had no idea other than wondering why school officials are going off last year’s calendar. In reality, school is usually canceled here on that day every year because the Germans celebrate their version of Mardi Gras, known as Fasching. Normally, the streets are so packed with drunk Germans that the busses have no chance of keeping their route times, so school is closed. This year, Fasching was called off for the second straight time, so it was a relatively calm day.

In lieu of the day off, the 13 year-old participated in the annual “Miniature Model United Nations” seminar, in which 8th graders sign up to play delegates from different countries around the world. The high school kids moderate the proceedings, and my expectation was that the 8th-graders would collaborate on the drafting of some sternly-worded letters. My kiddo was the delegate from Ireland, so I had him study of on the culture and economy etc. Like most things I make him do, it didn’t really matter.

He gave us a data dump during dinner, talking about how they were charged with debating the merits of Belgium’s proposal to give free chocolate to the children of every country. I interjected to ask why Belgium wants every kid to get diabetes. The other topic of debate was the merits of child labor laws, and how the underdeveloped nations argued against them while the more industrialized countries were for such laws. At the end, the moderators gave out some “superlatives” such as “Best Hair”, “Best Dressed”, “Best Debater” etc. Not all kids got one, but mine did.

Well then.

We also noticed a piece of stationery in his MUN folder which contained an exchange of hand-written notes between him and the delegate from Russia. It was basically a back-and-forth of “my country can kick your country’s butt” “can not” “can too” etc., along with some callouts for poor spelling. When I asked him the next day what the name of the person from Russia was, he stammered for a bit and said, “Uhh, John.”
“John what?”
“Uhh, John Leonard.”

Mrs. Kendall was behind him, mouthing to me how he was full of crap. I told him that couldn’t be true because the Russian’s handwriting was far too good for that of a teenage boy. He folded immediately, admitting that the Russian delegate is a girl named Bella. We’re in the process of trying to broker another summit between the two nations. Ok we aren’t, but we should!

Sunday brought some warm weather sports that are taking place in the cold because Germany, as the 13 year-old had a three-hour baseball practice session on base. The younger boy has a break from baseball, and is an aspiring golfer. He’s been begging to head back to the course for a while now, and I relented on Sunday, even though temps were hovering in the upper 30s. He cared not.

If you didn’t know any better, you’d have thought temps were in the mid-70s judging by the number of people at the range and on the course. That said, I doubt any of them were dressed quite like my boy.

Non-Sports

Lots of great (and certainly some crappy) content about the war in Ukraine out there. But Derek Thompson’s Plain English is outstanding, both on Ukraine and every other subject he’s covered. Highly recommend.

What Putin Will Do Next and the West’s Unprecedented “Financial War” on Russia - The Ringer
Derek discusses the economic effects of war.

The Waco Biker Shootout Left Nine Dead. Why Was No One Convicted? - The New York Times
How 177 arrests led to no convictions — a tangled, seven-year tale of prosecutorial hubris and tenacious defense.