Good morning, Coug fans. We’ve reached the dog days of January, if such days even exist. There are NFL playoff games to watch, but none that really feature any local flavor. Still, America and this audience will undoubtedly tune in.
But there are alternatives, namely, WSU’s matchup with Cal in Berkeley today that tips off at 2 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network. WSU is coming off a win over Stanford and will look to do the same against lowly Cal. The Bears are....not good. Only Oregon State sits below them in the conference standings by just half a game. The Bears are 2-5 in Pac-12 play and just 6-12 overall. Yeesh.
If KenPom is your thing, this is no. 53 WSU up against no. 126 Cal.
So, a mismatch. But as Chris Berman is fond of saying, that’s why they play the games. But for the Cougs, every game is a chance to bolster their NCAA Tournament resume. Even against bad teams!
They’re no. 47 in the NET rankings, and have opportunities for some Quad 1 wins coming up, starting next Wednesday when Utah come to town.
If T-Ranketology is you thing, which Nuss introduced us all to recently, WSU is the last team in the tournament. It’s important to note that T-Ranketology is not a current ranking but a prediction on how the season will shake out. Like Nuss said, it’s not foolproof. But it’s fun to dream! A lot has to go right for WSU, but it’s possible. The Arizona win showed just that.
So don’t schedule any big plans in March just yet. There could be NCAA Tournament destinations to fly to.
RIP, Sports Illustrated
Not WSU-related, but it was sad to see the final nail hammered in the coffin yesterday of the one-time sports journalism gold standard, Sports Illustrated.
The magazine was THE go-to for the best sports journalism. There were different SI eras. My first memory of the publication was the “I’m Barry Bonds and You’re Not” cover. I remember every Thursday walking down to get our mail in anticipation of the latest issue. My high school years were spent reading the twosome of Steve Rushin and Rick Reilly, two of the greatest print columnists ever.
My home office has a frame of perhaps the most famous cover ever—the copy-less image of the Miracle on Ice:
Like many print publications, SI never adapted to the digital world, and once Time, Inc. sold it in 2018, the slow death had already begun. It was then owned by something called Maven, and now is (was?) owned by a brand company called Authentic Brands Group, which has no experience in journalism. Last year, it was revealed that SI was publishing AI-generated content. What a sad, embarrassing end to the magazine.