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March 11, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Pac-10 tournament picks, links

Pac-10.jpgIs there anyone not picking No. 2 Stanford to win its fourth consecutive tournament title? Of course every team has to “play to win,” but even as Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer speaks of resting players for the NCAA tournament, none have proven to have the depth and talent to get past the powerhouse.
No. 2 seed UCLA should get the opportunity to try. Coach Nikki Caldwell inherited a solid team and blended transfer Jasmine Dixon and freshman Markel Walker to the bunch. It’s a lineup that’ll be strong in the future and a good second representative in the NCAA tournament, if granted an at-large bid.
The remaining conference teams are on the bubble when it comes to advancing. No. 3 seed Southern California, No. 4 seed California and No. 5 seed Arizona State will need to play well — most likely winning at least two games — to impress the NCAA selection committee.
“We had some very impressive wins throughout the season, but we had some losses that we shouldn’t have lost,” said USC first-year coach Michael Cooper, whose team enters the conference tournament on a five-game win streak. “We haven’t established the type of play that has been consistent for us. Hopefully that won’t weigh against us.”
But there’s always the WNIT and new Women’s Basketball Invitational. Washington has received invites to both, but Huskies athletic director Scott Woodward said he has to weigh the total cost against the benefit for the team.
“Our men’s team played in the CBI a couple of years ago and didn’t want to be there,” Woodward said. “It was a bad experience for them. So, we’re not going to play just to play.”
Well, Washington is playing tonight against No. 10 seed Oregon State, whose team could be playing for the future of coach LaVonda Wagner. Huskies C Regina Rogers is continuing her redemption parade, stating she didn’t play well in Los Angeles last time around, especially against UCLA, so she’s taking advantage of the second trip.
The Huskies’ improved chemistry with its inside-out game and stronger defense should help them advance against the Beavers. But below are my full picks for the tournament.
Thursday, March 11 First Round
Gm 1: #8 Arizona vs. #9 Washington State 6 p.m. PT
My pick: The Cougars can surprise on the road, but it’s doubtful they’ve learned enough to defeat the Wildcats in a third meeting. Arizona
Gm 2: #7 Washington vs. #10 Oregon State 8:15 p.m. PT
live stream:
My pick: Beavers coach LaVonda Wagner said via teleconference call that she doesn’t have a go-to player, that could spark shooters Talisa Rhea and Haiden Palmer. But the Huskies have the size and drive for a third consecutive win. Washington
Friday, March 12 Quarterfinals
Gm 3: #4 California vs. #5 Arizona State 11 a.m. PT
My pick: Intriguing lineup, but Cal should advance. California
Gm 4: #1 Stanford vs. ARIZONA 1:15 p.m. PT
My pick: It doesn’t matter what conference team you place here, Stanford is winning. By how much is a better question. Stanford
Gm 5: #3 USC vs. Oregon 5 p.m. PT
My pick: This could be the game of the tournament. USC plays better defense and seems to be clicking. The Ducks are on a six-game losing streak. USC
Gm 6: #2 UCLA vs. WASHINGTON 7:15 p.m. PT
live stream:
My pick: Again, Rogers wants redemption, but the Bruins’ defense is better and they have the more talented team. It could be close, but don’t look for the upset. UCLA
Saturday, March 13 Semifinals
Gm 7: CALIFORNIA vs. STANFORD (FSN) 2:30 p.m. PT
My pick: This will be fun to watch for about a half. Stanford
Gm 8: USC vs. UCLA (FSN) 5 p.m. PT
My pick: Another game loaded with drama and intrigue. USC will fight for revenge and could get it since they’re playing on their home court. USC
Sun., March 14 Championship
Gm 9: STANFORD vs. USC (FSN) 3 p.m. PT
My pick: Really? Stanford is winning the title.



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