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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 20, 2008 at 9:24 PM

So is the Pac-10 holding up its reputation?

This was a record day for the Pac-10 in the NCAA Tournament, with conference teams taking part in five games. That had never happened before.
The Pac-10 went 3-2, with big favorites UCLA, WSU and Stanford winning easily, but the two teams in relative toss-up games — USC and Arizona — each losing, and each in what ended up as fairly decisive fashion.
So does that begin to impact what we thought about the Pac-10 all season, that this might have been the best year in the history of the conference?
I’ve always thought it dangerous to base too much on the tournament, which is such a function of matchups, momentum and the vagaries of what can happen in any one game (foul trouble or an injury to a key player, etc.).
But it’s a popular (and easy) way to make such comparisons, and the Pac-10 will judged as intently as any other conference after all the hype it received this year.
A lot may rest on Oregon’s shoulders tomorrow when it plays Mississippi State in an 8-9 game.
Having half the conference gone before the second round even starts obviously won’t look good, and would be worse than the conference has done a number of times of late.
Four Pac-10 teams got to the second round last year, three to the Sweet 16. Four also got to the second round in 2003, and five in 2002, the season that coaches often said was the best for the conference prior to this year. That season, Arizona, Oregon, Cal, Stanford and UCLA all won first-round games, and Arizona, Oregon and UCLA all got to the Sweet 16.
The best years for the Pac-10 in terms of the tournament were 1997 and 1998 when four teams got the Sweet 16 each time (including UW in 1998) with Arizona winning it all in ’97, the last conference team to capture the national title.
This can still be that kind of post-season for the conference, but the margin for error shrunk a little today.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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