As the headlines says….
— I was at a party tonight watching some of the tournament and couldn’t hear Billy Packer all that clearly (not that I’m complaining). But I saw each conference’s tournament record flash on the screen at one point and could only guess at what he was saying — Eastern basketball rules, etc. But the sad fact is that it ends up not being pretty for the Pac-10 in terms of making a case as the best conference in the country this year.
Here are the records of the six BCS schools after the first two days of the tournament
Big East 7-1
Big 12 5-1
Big Ten 3-1
And the Pac-10 lost all three games in which it faced teams from other BCS conferences — Arizona against West Virginia, Oregon against Mississippi State and USC against Kansas State.
All were basically toss-up games. Still, those who will want to call the conference overrated now have plenty of ammunition, and it will be hard to argue, especially if one or two of the teams left stumble tomorrow.
I watched a lot of each of those losses and tried to come up with a common Pac-10-related reason as to why all three lost and really couldn’t.
Oregon just seemed to fall prey to its own worst instincts, shooting a stunning 38 three-pointers out of 64 total attempts; Arizona, which never had any depth, ran out of gas (getting just eight minutes from its bench); USC, youthfully erratic all year, was so again, while also getting killed on the boards, something it hadn’t been great at during the Pac-10 season, ranking sixth in rebounding. Both USC and Arizona shot more foul shots than their opponents, so the old theory that Pac-10 teams have trouble adjusting to games being called a little differently by neutral refs in the tournament didn’t seem to apply (and Oregon’s FT totals weren’t much less than MSU’s until the end when it fouled a lot).
But for a year when many touted the conference as being the best it has ever been, the post-season isn’t off to a great start — getting three into the Sweet 16 for a second straight year, however, would help.
— Speaking of Arizona, here’s a good overview of how the next month or so could be program-altering for the Wildcats depending on the decisions made by players and coaches alike.
— John Canzano says Oregon simply blew it against Mississippi State and agrees that the Ducks shot way too many three-pointers. He also says Oregon State should give a call to Ken Bone.
— Interesting story I missed the other day that Dennis Erickson bought 200 NIT tickets for students at Arizona State.
— That Stanford loss to Siena doesn’t look so bad anymore, does it?
— Jon Wilner says Stanford will roll over Marquette tomorrow. I agree.
— In fact, I’m going to stick with my pre-tournament bracket that all three of the Pac-10 teams left standing will reach the Sweet 16. WSU-Notre Dame is the trickiest to call. ND’s size inside means Aron Baynes won’t be able to dominate the way he did against Winthrop and will put more of a premium on WSU’s backcourt (specifically Derrick Low) to play well all game, and not just for a half. But I think WSU’s perimeter defense and overall experience (specifically, the three seniors — ND has just one) will prove the difference in the end.
As the headlines says….
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