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I'm back after some time off (lazyness) over the holidays.

I've spent a good portion of the last few days at the Les Schwab Invitational, the premier high school basketball tournament in the Northwest. I was able to watch Grant's Mike Mosier, Fairfax (CA)'s Renardo Sidney, Jefferson's Terrance Jones, South Medford's EJ Singler.... the list goes on and on. The 1st Annual Slam Dunk contest featured a ridiculous off-the-wall slam by Dominquez's (Compton, CA) Robert Mandingo as the clock ticked down in the championship round. You had to be there to appreciate it. Tim Brown of OregonLive has the video here, but believe me. You had to be there.

In Beaver land.... 

As many of us expected, Jacquizz will be a no show in the Sun Bowl. He'll join his brother James on the sideline, who had been pronounced "out" ever since the Beavers began bowl preparations. 

The team has made it safely to El Paso, and practices have begun for Wednesday's game. For a first hand account of the journey, Oregonian beat writer Paul Buker provides comical content daily on his blog. 

Also from Buker, we find that defensive lineman Stephen Paea is "good to go"

Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Gazette-Times sheds more light on head coaches Mike Riley and Dave Wannstedt, much like I did last week.

Moving on to hoops....

The Women's team took care of Western Oregon Sunday night at Gill... they defeated the Wolves 66-32. 

Craig Robinson and the men will take on Seattle tonight at Gill in the final tune-up before Pac-10 play starts when UCLA comes to town on January 2. 

When I get the time, I'll put together a Podcast and get it up on the site. The first ever BtD podcast can be found here. Hopefully it becomes a weekly thing, I just haven't found a good groove yet.

Remember, myself and The VD Special will be providing a large quantity of hoops coverage this winter. We encourage you to check out the site frequently, as VD will be giving reports from Gill on the men's homes games, and I will be filling in with coverage on every game. Even if  the men's team won't win the Pac-10 this season, we can still treat them like rockstars in our minds, right?

The UCLA game January 2 is being televised on FSN.... hope to see some of you in the open thread.

--Jake (