For some sports fans, this is the most wonderful time of year. Considering March Madness was one of the first casualties of COVID-19 a year ago, the fact it looks like college basketball fans will get to spend the next three weeks wallowing in 12-hour days of hoops viewing is reason to celebrate.
Gonzaga's men's team is the biggest story in the Inland Northwest, perhaps the nation, as they try to complete the first undefeated season ending in a national championship since 1976. But they're not the only local story. Gonzaga's women are on a roll, too, as they head into their tournament, and WSU's women nabbed a bid, too. Eastern Washington University's men are heading to March Madness to take on historic powerhouse Kansas. Meanwhile, Ferris High grad Wayne Tinkle is coach at Oregon State, which made a surprising run to win the Pac-12 conference tournament. And Gonzaga assistant coach Tommy Lloyd's son Liam, a Gonzaga Prep grad, is heading to the Madness, too, playing for Grand Canyon University.
Yes, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate March Madness in 2021, and you'll find them in the next few pages.
— DAN NAILEN,
Arts & Culture editor