NBCS NW Staff

WSU hires Nick Rolovich, how he'll impact the PAC-12

WSU hires Nick Rolovich, how he'll impact the PAC-12

Looks like the Washington State Cougars have found their new pack leader.

Hawai’i Coach Nick Rolovich will fill the vacancy that head coach Mike Leach left behind.

Rolovich subtly subtweeted his hiring as the Cougs head coach. 

Leach, who coached the Cougars for eight seasons, has left the Pac-12 and is headed for the SEC as the next head coach at Mississippi State.

While we’ll miss greatly all the Leach-mannerisms, the quotable moments, the break downs of which Pac-12 mascots would come out on top in a fight or why Autzen Stadium reminds him of Middle Earth, the Cougars have also moved on.

Welcome to the Rolovich era in Pullman, Washington.

Similar to Leach, Rolovich ran an air-raid style offense known for running up the scoreboard. In his five-year tenure with the Rainbow Warriors, Rolovich held a 28-27 record, three bowl appearances and recently a 2020 Hawai’i Bowl win over BYU, 38-34.

According to Hawai’i Football’s website: Under Rolovich’s guidance and Cole McDonald at quaterback, the UH offense racked up over 5,800 yards of offense, along with 43 touchdown passes. The aerial assualt accounted for 30.8 points per game and 419 yards per contest. The production led the Warriors returning to the Hawai‘i Bowl for a second time under Rolovich, finishing with an 8-6 record.

HOW THIS IMPACTS OREGON, THE PAC-12

Another WSU head coach, another air raid attack. The PAC-12 has seen this style offense for eight seasons now with Leach at the helm. This year against Oregon, the Ducks edged the Cougars in Eugene 37-35 and held Washington State and quarterback Anthony Gordon to 446 yards (under his per game average) as well as picked Gordon off twice. 

It also helps that 99% of Oregon’s starters on defense will return next season as juniors Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir, Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu announced they would all forgo the NFL draft and return to Oregon for their senior year. The Ducks lose just Troy Dye, a big loss with big shoes left behind to fill, but the Ducks may have the right pieces to do just that.

Oregon will travel up to Pullman, Washington to face the Cougars in 2020.

Hawai'i defeated Arizona 45-38 and OSU 31-28 this past season. He's proven he can beat big time programs and be a formidable opponent. 

Seattle Seahawks in action vs. Green Bay Packers in Divisional Round

Seattle Seahawks in action vs. Green Bay Packers in Divisional Round

A trip to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship is on the line.

But first, the Seattle Seahawks will have to get past the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in a NFC Divisional Playoff showdown on Sunday.

The Seahawks haven’t had much success at Green Bay. They are 1-9 all-time at Lambeau Field and have dropped their last eight meetings in the Frozen Tundra. Seattle, however, did walk away with the last postseason victory between the two squads, besting the Packers 28-22 in a miraculous come-behind game on Jan. 18, 2015.

Seahawks Insider Joe Fann and digital producer Lindsey Wisniewski are at Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the game. Make sure you follow along on social. Kickoff is at 3:40 p.m. PT.

NUMBERS TO WATCH

Seattle is 8-1 on the road this season and 37-23-1 on the road since 2013, including the playoffs.

With a win on Sunday, Seattle would advance to the conference championship game for a fifth time in franchise history. They are 3-1 in those games.

The Seahawks have forced 22 takeaways on the road compared to 10 at home this season.

Seattle’s last win against Green Bay came on Nov. 15, 2018 at CenturyLink Field when the Seahawks beat the Packers 27-24. Russell Wilson threw for 225 yards and his 15-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson sealed the game for Seattle. 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Pete Carroll on the Packers’ run game:

“I think the balance that they have in their run game to complement what Aaron [Rodgers] is so capable of doing has really made them successful. It’s made them consistently successful and it’s given them a really good formula. They’re already playing aggressive defense, as they always have. I think that’s the one thing that really jumps out at you. The reliance on the running game is different than it’s been in years past. Aaron Jones, he’s been fantastic, and he’s had a great year.”

GAME INFORMATION

Time: Sunday, Jan. 12 at 3:40 p.m. PT

Where: Lambeau Field | Green Bay, WI

TV: FOX

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to the Bucks

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to the Bucks

This game was always going to be tough. Anytime you play the best team in the NBA, you know it's going to be a battle. That task was made nearly impossible for the already injury-depleted Blazers when it was announced prior to tipoff that Hassan Whiteside would not play.

Whiteside, who was dealing with an upper respiratory illness, joined Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, and Rodney Hood on the list of Blazers unable to suit up. With no true centers available, or any player over seven feet tall for that matter, the Blazers were forced to start 6'8' Anthony Tolliver at center. Undersized, the Blazers did there best to upset the Bucks.

Portland started quickly, hitting three straight three to start the game, but it all ground to halt shortly thereafter. Milwaukee turned on the jets, and behind an MVP type performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks took control. 

Milwaukee ended the first quarter with the 32-24 lead, and the Blazers never led again. Portland was able to keep it within striking distance, but they just didn't have the manpower needed to pull off the upset. 

FINAL SCORE: Bucks 122 - Blazers 101

QUOTABLES:

Jaylen Hoard on getting significant minutes:

I felt like I’d mostly be playing in the G-League with the Texas Legends and just kind of work my way up… Just being able to play early like this it feels great. Even though we didn’t get the win today, just being out there was a blessing

Damian Lillard on Jaylen Hoard: 

Certain guys are playing positions that they weren’t gonna play and have never played. Guys are playing more extended minutes than they have ever played or had to play. We got guys -- this is their first time consistently playing. That’s tough. There’s a learning curve. It’s a physical battle for the people that haven’t experienced it

Anthony Tolliver on the loss:

If we would have shot well, we would have been fine...Unfortunately, the ball didn’t go in for us at the right times. We made a few shots, but not enough. That’s today’s NBA. It’s a spread-out court and you depend on a lot of shooting.

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Instant Analysis: No. 9 Oregon holds off Arizona State

Instant Analysis: No. 9 Oregon holds off Arizona State

Coming off of an overtime thriller against the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday night, No. 9 Oregon (14-3, 3-1 Pac-12) defeated Arizona State (10-6, 1-2 Pac-12) 78-69 at Matthew Knight Arena.

The Ducks remain undefeated in Eugene after sweeping the two-game homestand. 

Let's break it down.

1. Payton Pritchard came to play.

The Portland-native came out of the jump sharp and found his shot from three-point range hitting 5-of-7 in the first half alone. That gave Oregon a little cushion to work with and a 40-31 lead at halftime. Pritchard has been on another level this season and his four-year leadership is showing through to the young talent on this Oregon roster. He finished the game with 29 points hitting 9-of-16 shots and 6-of-9 from downtown.

2. Chris Duarte found his rhythm

Not to be outdone by Pritchard, Chris Duarte also came alive against the Sun Devils scoring 20 points on 7-of-12 from the floor, including four three-pointers. The junior transfer also got the job done on the boards grabbing six rebounds. In the second half, the hot shooting duo of Duarte and Pritchard pulled away from Arizona State.

3. The Ducks zone hasn't been solved by the Pac-12 yet

As always the Ducks played in their pesky matchup zone defense that has caused Pac-12 fits ever since Dana Altman came to Eugene. Oregon held the Sun Devils to 31 percent shooting from behind the arc and just 39 percent from the floor in general. The zone also forced nine Sun Devil turnovers.

NEXT UP: The Ducks will travel north to Washington for a road trip that will match them up against the Washington State Cougars on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and the Washington Huskies at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to Minnesota

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers loss to Minnesota

Well, that's not how you want to end a road trip...

The Trail Blazers ended their 10-day, five-game journey with a stop in Minnesota, hoping to come back home with a winning record. Instead, they limped out of Minnesota broken, beat, and scarred. 

Portland looks good in the first quarter, grabbing the 34-28 lead, but the game never looked the same once the second quarter started. Minnesota outscored the Blazers 72-40 over the next two quarters and put this one on ice. 

Portland couldn't match the Timberwolves offense, and couldn't stop it either. 

To make matters worse, Portland had to deal with a bunch of injury scares. Mario Hezonja, Anthony Tolliver, and Hassan Whiteside all took scary falls, while Damian Lillard was landed on while diving for a loose ball and slight hyperextended his elbow. The worst of them all was Anfernee Simons. Simons was hit in the face on a dunk attempt, no foul was called, but he ended up with a laceration on his cheek and four stitches for this trouble.

Bruised and beaten, the Blazers limp back to Portland going 2-3 on the trip.

Final Score: Minnesota 116 - Portland 102.

QUOTABLES:

Anfernee Simons on his stitches:

I’m gonna look tough now. No more baby face.

Coach Stotts on what happened after the first quarter:

The first quarter, we scored the ball well... They had nine second-chance points that kept them in the game in the first quarter. In the second quarter, our offense was pretty poor. We didn’t have an assist in the quarter. Didn’t make shots, didn’t pass the ball well. They were able to get out in transition, and it made their offense that much better.

Damian Lillard on the loss:

You know, that edge and that energy just wasn’t there. It just felt like, overall, we were a little bit tired. We’ve been on the road a long time and we just didn’t have the kind of energy that we needed tonight. Not a great effort by our team.

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Hassan Whiteside hits a three, has best reaction ever

Hassan Whiteside hits a three, has best reaction ever

Hassan Whiteside has been a beast for the Blazers this season. He scores with ease, does damage on the glass, and leads the league in blocked shots. Needless to say, it's been a great year for the Blazers big. 

It's also been wildly entertaining. From the now-famous "We got shooters" the day he was traded, to making horse sounds during interviews, Whiteside is always good for a laugh.

He added to the laughs on Thursday with one of the best celebrations you may ever see. 

Whiteside pulled up from beyond the arc and drained a three-pointer, just his second made three of the season. As he ran back down the court he reacted as if he was dodging shooters. 

It was literally a "we got shooters" in celebration form. 

The shot was great, the celebration was better. Never change, Hassan. 

 

Hassan Whiteside Questionable for tonight's game against the Timberwolves

Hassan Whiteside Questionable for tonight's game against the Timberwolves

Another tough blow for the Blazers on the inactive front, though this time it's not an injury, but a sickness that has someone sidelined. 

Hassan Whiteside is dealing with an upper respiratory illness, and is questionable for tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This is the same illness that kept CJ McCollum off the court when the team made a stop in Miami on this road trip. 

When asked after the game in Miami about preventing the spread of illness while the team is traveling, Terry Stotts said the team takes precautions. Apparently, the illness is stronger than the precautions put in place. 

Whiteside was not at today's shootaround, instead, choosing to stay at the team hotel to rest up. He was later listed as questionable.

Without Whiteside, the Blazer would have to go small against the Timberwolves. They still don't have Jusuf Nurkic or Zach Collins available, and Skal Labissiere will be sidelined for at least another four weeks.

Whiteside has been a destructive force for the Blazers this season, averaging 15.8 points, 14.0 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.9 blocks per game.

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Raptors

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Raptors

The Trail Blazers traveled to Toronto looking for a much-needed win. Is was going to be no easy task against a tough Raptors squad. 

Toronto jumped out to an early double-digit lead in the first quarter and for most of the game kept the Blazers from making a run. 

It felt like it was going to be a repeat of the Miami game where the Blazers dug an early hole too big to get out of. But thanks to Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard, history didn't repeat itself. 

Portland ended the game on a 13-4 run, and as the clock approached triple zeroes, the man wearing double zero went to work. 

Anthony drove to the lane, pulled up from near the free-throw line, and drained a classic Carmelo Anthony mid-range dagger to seal the deal. 

Portland picks up the much-needed win and the Melo legend grows. 

Final Score: Blazers 101 - Raptors 99

QUOTABLES:

Carmelo Anthony on hitting the game-winner:

This is something I’ve always embraced, loved those moments. Whenever you get a chance to have those moments you have to take advantage of it. Throughout my career I’ve always been the guy who would take those shots. I’ve made a ton of them and missed a lot of them, as well. You just have to be willing, to want to take them.

Coach Stotts on what changed in the second half:

Probably the main thing is we switched more pick and rolls and kind of scrambled after that. They had some difficult matchups for us. [Serge] Ibaka was making his shots, [Chris] Boucher was making his shots, so they were trying to involve different guys in pick and rolls, so that was probably the major adjustment.

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Carmelo Anthony wins the 10-year challenge, here's proof

Carmelo Anthony wins the 10-year challenge, here's proof

By now, you have all heard of the 10-year challenge.  Thanks to social media, we all have an endless amount of photos of ourselves to go through and look back on. The trend has people taking pictures of themselves in 2020 and comparing them to photos of themselves from 2010. Get it? 10-year challenge. 

Most of us just sat back and laughed. "Oh my gosh. Look at how much I've changed. I looked so young!" blah blah blah.

Not Carmelo Anthony.

All he did was inadvertently destroy the challenge to a point that it will never recover. 

Against the Raptors on Tuesday, Carmelo pulled up from just beyond the free-throw line to drill the game-winning shot in the final seconds of the game. 

However, it wasn't the first time he hit a game-winner against the Raptors, from that spot, in that arena. 

Back in March of 2010, Carmelo and the Denver Nuggets made a stop in Toronto. The Nuggets trailed 96-95 and just before time expired Anthony did his thing. He pulled up from just beyond the free-throw line and drilled the game-winner.

Flash forward to 2020 and it was a brutal case of déjà vu for the Raptors. Fitting, too, because déjà vu is French, one of Canada's primary languages. Two clutch, nearly idential game-winners ten years apart.

We salute you Mr. Anthony, king of the 10-year challenge. 

31 going on 13: Kevin Love responds to his child-like behavior

31 going on 13: Kevin Love responds to his child-like behavior

Something is going on with Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. 

The Cavs are riding a four-game losing streak that started with a 20-point loss at the Toronto Raptors on Dec. 31. Since then, Love has been seen slapping the leather chairs on the bench, flailing his arms up in the air at teammates and a rumored outburst at GM Koby Altman.

Love responded on his Instagram with a photo and caption explaining his side of it all:

And on Tuesday, Love addressed the media for the first time since his outbursts:

“I was frustrated and let my emotions get the best of me. It was on New Years Eve in Toronto. We were down 15, 17 points heading into half and that carried over into the second half. I wasn’t acting like a 31-year-old, I was acting like a 13-year-old. I ended up hitting the seat, screaming into the towel, and got into it with coach saying ‘take me out so I can collect myself.’

Obviously this has been extremely tough, especially with what our record indicates. It was a conversation that we had but nothing about any blowup, there was no blowup, there was no me talking about how much money I have. I’m an a**hole but I’m not that big of an a**hole.”

The reason this is relevant to Portland, is the NBA trade deadline coming up in a month. Will the Trail Blazers make a roster move and will that involve the Portland-native Kevin Love? The Trail Blazers (15-22) have a shortage of big men with injuries to Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Skal Labissier, leaving just Hassan Whiteside and two-way player Moses Brown active on the roster.

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In his 11th NBA season, Love is averaging 16.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.