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March 14, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Eight Pac-12 teams earn postseason bids

Maybe the Pac-10 is making a comeback after all.
Last year just two conference teams – Washington and California – received NCAA tournament berths. This year it doubled and the league is sending four teams to the Big Dance.
Washington returns and is joined by Arizona, the No. 5 seed in the West, No. 7 UCLA, which is in the Southeast and USC. The Trojans face Virginia Commonwealth in a first-round game Wednesday. If they win, they will be the 11th seed in the Southwest.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar was happy to see so many Pac-10 teams in the tournament.
“I think it’s great and I think it’s deserving,” he said. “USC they’re re a tough team. We know.”
The Trojans’ tournament berth may have saved coach Kevin O’Neill’s job. Internet rumors claimed he was going to be fired today, but USC reinstated him Sunday. O’Neill was suspended from Friday’s Pac-10 Tournament semifinal after being involved in an incident with an Arizona booster in a hotel lobby Thursday.
Arizona drew an interesting opponent: Memphis, which is led by coach Josh Panter, who spent 12 yeas with the Wildcats as a player and coach.
It’s difficult to know which UCLA team will show up Thursday night to play Michigan State. The Bruins can sometimes appear unmotivated like they were in last week’s defeat to Oregon in the Pac-10 tournament quarterfinals. UCLA also has to travel a long ways. The tournament shipped them to Tampa, Fla.
In addition to the four teams in the NCAA tournament, Washington State and Cal earned bids to the National Invitational Tournament and Oregon is playing in the College Basketball Invitational.
The Cougars are the No. 2 seed and will host seventh-seeded Long Beach State at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Friel Court. California is the No. 4 seed and will host Mississippi on Wednesday.
Oregon hosts Weber State on Wednesday.
Soon to be Pac-12 member Colorado feels shafted by the NCAA tournament selection committee. The Buffaloes were left out of the tourney after finishing with a 20-13 record. Their RPI is 66 and strength of schedule is 70. Still CU will have to settle for the NIT.
Athletic director Mike Bohn told the Denver Post: “We don’t have an aura about college basketball in Colorado. If we don’t have the aura in our own state, then how can we expect anybody else in the country to look at CU basketball as something special?”

Comments | Topics: UCLA

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