Ok, I don’t know what all the hoopla is about among Washington State Cougars fans today. Yes, Kyle Smith’s Cougars went into the fabled McHale Center and walked out with a win over the Arizona Wildcats. So, what? You know who else led the Cougars to wins at Arizona? Dick Bennett did it. So did Tony Bennett. Yep, Ken Bone, too. Oh, and did I mention that even Ernie Kent’s Chernobyl of a run at the WSU helm includes a win in Tucson??!! What’s the big deal?!
Welp, that’s enough nonsense.
Yes, Tony Bennett, Ernie Kent and Ken Bone’s wins came over Arizona teams that were decidedly mediocre, by Arizona standards. Who cares? Any time WSU gets a win over Arizona, especially on the road, it’s a BIG DEAL, and Saturday was definitely that.
Aside: The win at Arizona in Tucson came over an Arizona team that finished a point from making the Final Four. When the Wildcats went to Pullman, WSU lost by one point! In a season when WSU suffered one of its most humiliating defeats - 81-29 at Oklahoma State - it lost by two to Gonzaga, had two losses to UCLA by a combined five points, two losses to Oregon by a combined six points, and a two-point loss to Stanford in the conference tournament. Holy cow, what an excruciating season 2004-05 must have been.
Ok, back to Saturday. While we will probably have to see how Arizona’s season plays out to gauge the magnitude of WSU’s win, there’s no question that, as of now, it’s one of the biggest regular season wins in WSU Basketball history. A few factoids, courtesy of Colton Clark’s recap:
WSU achieved its first road win over an AP top-five team, toppling fifth-ranked Arizona 74-61 on Saturday at McKale Center in Tucson.
It marked the Cougars’ first win over a top-five opponent since they beat No. 4 UCLA in Pullman in 1983. WSU had lost 37 consecutive games against top-five teams before upsetting the Wildcats.
And these, from the game notes:
WSU snapped Arizona’s 28-game home winning streak (handing Tommy Lloyd his first home loss as Wildcats coach).
WSU held Arizona to its lowest point output (61) and field goal percentage (31.7%) of the season.
What’s more, it wasn’t a fluke! WSU didn’t need a bunch of friendly calls to go its way, or a bunch of opponents to foul out, or some crazy buzzer-beater to win. After a Jabe Mullins three-pointer with 3:50 remaining in the first half gave WSU a 26-21 lead, Arizona never got within one score of a tie game.
Even more, WSU spent much of the second half with a double-digit edge, leading by as many as 18(!!!) points when D.J. Rodman buried a three-pointer with 12:44 to go. But good teams like Arizona rarely just go away, so it says a tremendous amount about this edition of WSU Basketball that, even when Arizona closed the gap to five points with more than four minutes left, the Cougs didn’t flinch. TJ Bamba scored on two straight possessions and WSU slammed the door.
So now, WSU still sits well off the pace in the conference, but things certainly look better than they did a few days ago, and it’s hard not to think about the possible trajectory of this team had it not given away winnable home games against Utah and UCLA. Still, WSU showed on Saturday what could be possible. Let’s just hope it’s not too late.
Everyone, let’s all point and laugh!
Just want to step in here and say that Washington State has one of the worst offenses I've seen in college basketball this season.— Jason Scheer (@jasonscheer) December 31, 2022
Here’s how it started for DesertCats from the internet:
Kyle Smith is a perfect fit for Washington St because no one watches their games. Pathetic coach— DesertCats 97 (@Spf3308) December 31, 2022
Here’s how it’s going for DesertCats from the internet:
Maybe he doesn’t understand that the expectation when playing in Mckale is we shouldn’t lose to teams that are unranked.— DesertCats 97 (@Spf3308) January 8, 2023
Relive the game through video! Including Bill Walton’s ornately-decorated yet almost certainly uncomfortable chair!
A couple things from those highlights:
- WSU blocked at least four Arizona shots at the rim. What an effort.
- Bill Walton pretend-fighting the Cougar statue had me laughing audibly. Hilarious.
What else did Bill think of the win?
Mo Gueye also got some camera time after what was probably his best game at WSU.
What a day!
On the women’s side, the Cougars take on the rival Washington Huskies Sunday in the next installment of the Boeing Apple Cup Series. WSU has had a very rough opening stint in conference play, having lost its first three games. Sunday’s game is in Pullman, with a scheduled tip time of noon on Pac-12 Networks.
While the Cougar men’s basketball team had a big day in the arena on Saturday, Cougar Football was busy mining the transfer portal (hello, Mountain West!) in the hopes of future wins. WSU nabbed three receiver commitments from Mountain West transfers, in hopes of restocking its losses after DeZhaun Stribling and Donovan Ollie transferred.
First to commit was Fresno State receiver Josh Kelly.
Pullman, WA— Kellz (@kellz_0404) January 7, 2023
I Said Yerrrrr, Let’s Get It Poppin #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/nw5mCUmiSP
Kelly was a ways back on the Fresno depth chart in 2022, catching just 12 passes for 207 yards.
Next up was UNLV’s Kyle Williams.
Enough said pic.twitter.com/pHdoV7H1qa— Kyle Williams (@k_mmoneyyyy) January 7, 2023
I don’t know about y’all but I get a warning about Williams’ tweet that suggests “potentially sensitive content.” For a commitment photo. In which a guy is wearing a football uniform. Quite the ship you’re running there, Elon.
Anyhoo, Williams was the most productive of the transfers, catching 117 passes and scoring nine touchdowns in his three seasons with UNLV.
The final receiver commit was former San Jose State receiver Isaiah Hamilton.
Thank you God! Lets work. #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/Klf9UHMbpy— Isaiah (@isaiahamilton1) January 7, 2023
Hamilton missed a good chunk of the 2022 season, appearing in just five games for the Spartans, catching 11 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns.
If I’m reading the statistics and seasons correctly, Hamilton has one year of eligibility remaining, while Williams and Kelly have two.
Amid the deluge of receiver commits, WSU also got a pledge from a guy who is ostensibly set to replace Daiyan Henley at linebacker, in Maryland Terrapins transfer Ahmad McCullough.
1000% COMMITTED!!! #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/X7rRIjnpvP— Ahmad “AMAC” McCullough (@_amaud19) January 7, 2023
McCullough tallied 45 total tackles (29 solo) and a sack in his third season in College park, along with two fumble recoveries. Since his freshman season was 2020, he also has two remaining seasons of eligibility.
With the pending hire of a new defensive coordinator - almost certainly someone named Jeff Schmedding, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel - Jake Dickert and company appear to be rapidly addressing the gaps left by the postseason departures.
This Week in Parenting
I mentioned a bit ago that the boys got an Xbox for Christmas. Well, of course that wasn’t enough. Next, they needed some Xbox platinum membership or something. Still not enough. They had to commit attempted murder on my 2TB per month internet cap by downloading a bunch of games. Finally, we’re good, right? Lol of course not. “Dad, I can’t talk to my friends while I’m playing so I need a headset.” Give ‘em an inch...
Unlike the Xbox, they will each be contributing one-third of the cost for this headset thing. Next, it’ll be “dad, we both need headsets.” Because of course.
The teenager Boy Scout had a camping venture recently, during which he earned a few merit badges. Among them was the Aviation badge, which was set to include a flight in a privately-owned plane. There was a fee, of course, but when I dropped him off for the trip, I made sure to verify with the coordinator that he had al necessary forms completed. “Yes” was the answer.
Narrator: “He did not have all the forms.”
The night before he was set to fly (think” after 9 p.m.), I got an email stating the I needed to sign a waiver that would allow him to fly. Great. Fortunately, I’d finally installed the printer we’d bought like two months ago, so I was able to print/sign/scan/send. The coordinator then told me that she would send it along, and that once again, he had all necessary forms.
Fast forward to 7:55 the next morning, when my phone rang.
“Dad, you were supposed to sign a form that allows me to fly today and we don’t have it.”
“I signed and sent it late last night.”
“Well they don’t have it.”
Super f***ing duper.
He then puts the pilot on the phone, who asks for my verbal permission. I tell him that I signed and sent the form he needs, to which he responds that it’s not really his problem, and he needs me to ok it verbally. Resisting the urge to reach through the phone and apply the Vulcan Neck Pinch, I gave permission and the kiddo got to take off in the plane.
The next day, our area was on the receiving end of a not-insignificant line of thunderstorms, and naturally, mom was worried about the boy and his ability to stay dry. There was some scar tissue involved, as he’d been repeatedly soaked during a camping trip to Switzerland last summer. How bad did it look?
As the weather moved through, we gave him a call, and he reported that his tent was intact and his gear was just fine. I still have no idea why anyone would sleep outside voluntarily, but I’m a total wuss, so...
That brings us to Friday night. Our trash situation is such that the company picks up yard waste one day, then trash the next. But we get to use our yard waste can on the second day for trash, which is rather convenient during Christmas season. I picked the teenager up at a friend’s house that evening, and when we arrived home, I told him to wheel down the gray trash can (the brown yard waste can was already by the curb, empty), so both cans would be at the curb.
I grabbed some stuff to throw in the brown can, still at the curb, and went in the house. I then told him to take out the trash that we had in the house, and place it in the brown can since the gray can was full.
Smash cut to Saturday morning. At about 7:30, we could hear the truck making the rounds through our semi-sleep, and Mrs. Kendall asked whether we’d put the trash out. I said we had, because I’d told the kid to take the gray can down to, again, place it next to the brown can. Realizing that I was dealing with a teenager, I looked out the window to make sure, as the truck approached. I looked once, then looked again. No brown can. God. Dammit.
The truck was now next door. I ran back into my room, threw on some shorts and bolted out the front door while attempting to tie them so I could hustle the brown can to the curb, just as the truck pulled up. So there I stood, shirtless and barefoot in the cul-de-sac, as the driver emptied my cans into the truck and almost certainly marveled at the dumbass who can’t even get the trash schedule correct.
To recap, here’s what I said to the kid Friday night, “Take the trash from the house and put it in the brown can.”
Somehow, some way, here’s what he heard, “Take the trash from the house, put it in the brown can, then inexplicably wheel the trash-filled brown can from the curb back up to the garage.”
I, I just, I don’t know.
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