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Husky Men's Basketball

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March 14, 2009 at 5:42 PM

USC wins Pac-10 tourney title

Eight years into the Pac-10 Tournament, it finally happened that a lower-division team rose up and won it to secure a berth in the Big Dance.
That was one of the reasons for restarting the tournament in 2002, to try to get the conference some additional teams in the tournament. It had never really happened before this season.
But USC, the No. 6 seed in the tournament, beat Arizona State 66-63 to win the title and secure an NCAA Tournament berth.
So that means five Pac-10 teams will make it — UW, USC, UCLA, Cal and Arizona State. Arizona will almost certainly be left out in the cold now, snapping a string of 24 straight years in the tournament dating to 1985. Arizona and WSU figure to be contenders for the NIT, though NIT-ology — remember when we were linking that site on here all the time a few years ago? — doesn’t have the Cougars in.
This is good news for the Pac-10 to get five teams in the tournament. For one thing, it marks the third straight year the Pac-10 has had five or more in — the conference had six each of the last two years — the best such streak in conference history and added evidence of the rise in quality of play. It also means more money for everyone as the conference pools the money that all the teams earn for getting invited than divides it 10 ways later (how much everyone gets depends on how far the teams go).
This was also, in my opinion, a real face-saving performance for the Trojans who were in danger of wasting a lot of talent this year — DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett all routinely show up on NBA mock drafts. Now, the Trojans have a definite chance of winning at least one game in the tournament.
As for the Huskies, they will be playing the waiting game tomorrow to see where they will be seeded and placed in the tournament. My story looking ahead to UW’s Selection Sunday has already been posted.
LIVE CHAT ALERT: Times columnist Jerry Brewer will talk about the NCAA tourney field in a live chat at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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