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There are a ton of stories about the teams, players and coaches in the NCAA basketball tournament. There are family stories and stories of tragedy that can make a person cry. With the games there are upsets and blowouts and buzzer beaters.

We all know that some of the players that had great tournaments will be on someone else’s roster next year. Coaches that had great seasons will be courted by bigger programs that weren’t happy with the person that is heading their program now. Assistant coaches will be looking for a new job if their boss got fired or maybe it’s time to move on. After all some coaches are extremely demanding and it’s sometimes better to find a new fit before a person can’t stand coaching anymore.

When it comes to coaches in our area, WSU’s Kyle Smith’s name has surfaced for another job in this state. Since that team isn’t going to be in the Pac 12 anymore then I guess it wouldn’t be a slap in the face to Cougarville. However, money isn’t everything and the other team just lost their AD to Nebraska after being on the job for about 6 months. My thoughts are this. The Cougars love Kyle Smith even before they had a breakout season this year. It is often times better to stay where people care about you than to chase dollars

The next two years the Cougars will be playing in the WCC. As a former coach in the WCC (San Francisco) there is a good chance the Cougars could return to the Big Dance next year. One thing I can assure you is that there will always be another head coaching position that will open up in a year or so. So if leaving Pullman is inevitable be patient when looking for the right place to land. I’ve always maintained that there is no such thing as the perfect job and there is no such thing as the perfect coach.

How much do fans love certain coaches? Take John Calipari for example. When he won a National Championship at Kentucky he could do no wrong. He had the best recruiting classes and the fans were crazy about it. Then his team is on the losing end at different points in the tournament and then he isn’t so loved anymore. When his team lost to Samford in an opening round upset, some fans want him gone. I guess that’s their opinion but Calipari and his agent aren’t stupid. If Kentucky were to fire Calippari his buyout is $35 million. Think about that for a while.

There were a lot of great games this past weekend and it didn’t take long for brackets to get busted. I still don’t do a bracket although I get asked a lot if a particular team has a chance to make it past the 2nd round. I guess that’s where I get my enjoyment. Anything can happen in the first round because teams can game plan for a couple of days whereas the second game happens fast and preparing for the next opponent is more difficult. Dealing with injuries is another problem especially since teams are on the road in a new city. There is also the issue of trying to make up the 35 points that the star player had in the first game but only has 15 in game two. As they say everyone has to step up but so will the opponent. This is a great tournament because one never knows when they’ll be playing their final collegiate game of the season or career.

Spokane hosted eight men’s teams and four women’s teams Friday through Monday. Both venues (Spokane Veteran’s Arena and McCarthy Athletic Center) were sold out and that was mostly due to the basketball fans of the Spokane area. I’ve been to games in the Arena for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament and it is a lot of fun.

The EWU women had an excellent season but had to play the Oregon State Beaver women in Corvallis on Friday. The Eagles took one on the chin that night but it doesn’t mean their season wasn’t a success because 29 hard fought wins is awesome. I’m hoping that the Eagle women don’t have to wait another 37 years to play in March Madness again.

Next week I’ll talk about the other two area teams that are still playing. For now enjoy the rest of the tournament!

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


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