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Tag:Pac-10 Conference Tournament
Posted on: March 13, 2010 10:44 am
Edited on: March 13, 2010 11:42 am
 

Pac-10 Finals Set: How the West Will Be Won

C.M. TOMLIN


Admit it: it's kind of like living in some sort of bizarre alternate reality to see a Pac-10 final with no trace of UCLA, USC or Arizona involved. Yet that's exactly what the field's come to at the Staples Center after a late night (EST) slate of games. 

The Pac-10 has been derided much of this season as being wholly underwhelming, its trademark juggernauts all but non-existent in regular season play. When Cal's the blow-'em-away favorite by a mile, you know you're not in Kansas anymore. And the Pac-10 Tourney was never hyped to be anyone's show but the Golden Bears', a prophecy fulfilled as we head into tonight's showdown against the Washington. 

Cal 85, UCLA 72

"In the second half we threw the first punch," said Cal guard Jerome Randle of a game which saw his team threatened by the Bruins at halftime. Mike Montgomery's crew looked rushed and frazzled as UCLA's Michael Roll hit a career high 27 points in an effort to poach the Bears and throw off supposed destiny, but between Cal's stellar free-throw shooting (13-14) and Jerome Randle's teaming with comrade Theo Robertson for a combined 39 points, UCLA couldn't contain the regular season champs in the second half. 

Washington 79, Stanford 64

You know Stanford was worried about this game; after all, Washington had beaten them by a combined fifty points in the pairing's two regular season matchups. And so it was that a Stanford Cardinal team led by Landry Fields (which sounds like the name of a pee-wee football complex in a Dallas suburb) couldn't fend off the increasingly crushing weight of a third-seeded Washington last night, with Quincy Pondexter and Justin Holiday both nearing twenty points apiece to propel the Huskies into the finals. The basketball gods even tried to cut the Cardinal a break, with Andrew Zimmerman called for a fifth foul that was never officially reported to the scorer's table and handing him the ball back even as he waited to leave the court. By the end of the second half, the Huskies were clearly doing what all dogs do to trees. 

Tonight's Final Preview

The Rightful Heir 

Cal, far and away the regular-season Pac-10 champs, have never won a conference championship -- this is clearly their year for the taking, unless Washington's strong defense can keep Randle and Robertson in check. Though the entire conference has seen a weak year (imagine how Ben Howland feels watching the finals -- and the NCAA tourney -- from his couch), the numbers would suggest that Cal is the strong fave.

The Dogs Have the Scent

While the recent bracketology would have Cal making the tournament no matter what happens, Washington remains a bubble team who needs this win to find their berth. And the Huskies did beat the Bears once in regular season play. Washington's defense may be the best in the Pac-10, and it could slow -- if not shut down altogether -- Cal's big guns.

Watch This Guy: Washington's Matthew Bryan-Amaning

Dude's a monster. Against Stanford, he rejected Jeremy Green and almost took out a whole row of bystanders with the meteor he batted into the crowd. He almost killed a guy in press row rejecting Jarrett Mann. And he posterized Andrew Zimmerman in what may have been the greatest slam of NCAA play yesterday. He's a huge force for Washington.

Cal's Mike Montgomery Looks Like the Dad from Teen Wolf.

And we all know what happened when Scott Howard's pop let him in on the family secret: he embraced his power and became a basketball machine. If Montgomery can impart the same destiny to his boys tonight, they're going to van-surf all the way into the arms of a Pac-10 Championship.

California and Washington tip-off tonight from the Staples Center at 6:00 (EST).





Posted on: March 12, 2010 9:37 am
 

Ready for Some Hot Pac-20, C-USA Action?

C.M. TOMLIN


Rise and shine, America. Another day of Tournament play has passed as the CBS Selection show draws nearer and the stakes are upped once again. A wacky slew of games yesterday points increasingly toward a wacky NCAA Tourney (which, admit it, are always the most fun). But if you were an audience member on NBC's The Marriage Ref last night, you were probably too tired of fake laughing and applauding after anything was said to stay up and see how some of your favorite late-night conference games played out.  Perhaps I can help. In fact, let's take a look at Conference USA and Pac-10 Tournaments, shall we?

Catch at tiger by its toe - Some may say it was an unfortunate double dribble by Memphis' Willie Kemp that sent the Tigers packing in a 66-55 loss, but more likely it was a determined Houston team that didn't realize what an underdog they were supposed to be. Elsewhere on the court it was a Tale of Two Colemans, with Will Coleman punching his card with 14 points and 8 rebounds, but Aubrey Coleman was a hero for Memphis, hitting the pivotal shot to put Houston up with five seconds remaining. They'll take on Southern Miss today in Tulsa.

Dominant performances show who's come to play in C-USA  -- And not just by higher seeds, either. Memphis and Houston was the only true squeaker yesterday in C-USA play yesterday. UTEP laid a smack on Central Florida (76-54) with UCF seeing almost a turnover a minute in the first ten minutes of the game and UTEP's Jeremy Williams and Randy Culpepper activating their wonder-twin powers. Jerome Jordan's magic dunks may have been the key to Tulsa's nine-point comeback in the second half to make it look easy against higher-seeded Marshall (80-64) -- one kicked off a 16-0 run for the Golden Hurricane (see? Any mascot can be "golden") and another tied the game at 58. Once Tulsa found its footing, it was off and running. And #6 Southern Miss upset #3 UAB (58-44) with a little help from Angelo Johnson and a 25-30 free throw count. That gives C-USA a semifinal schedule of Houston vs. Southern Miss and UTEP vs. Tulsa today. With any of these teams showing they can spark, should be an interesting plateful.

Is Ernie Kent finished? After thirteen seasons as head Duck, Kent reportedly told his players before the Pac-10 Tournament that he wouldn't be back next season, and a quarterfinal shellacking from Cal (90-74) probably didn't help matters much. Cal's Jerome Randle was picture perfect with 22 points (100% in the first half) to coast the Golden Bears to a victory. Kent may have been saved by a stronger showing, but the writing may be on the wall. Not literally, though. That would not only be vandalism, but a very rude thing to do to a coach about to lose his job.

The Sun Devils get doused -- ASU had a shot to win the ho-hum Pac-10 Tourney before Stanford and their goofy dancing tree got hold of them. Stanford upset ASU 70-61 last night with the Sun Devils only having the lead one time -- by one point in the first half. Call it retribution from a regular season sweep of the Cardinals, but Stanford never looked back. Does this mean they're that good? Ehhh...we'll see. After all, it was no secret that this was anyone's tourney to begin with.

A decent semifinal round is on deck for the Pac-10 -- With UCLA offing Arizona 75-69 (ensuring we'll get to see the best looking cheerleaders in the country for another day) and Washington besting Oregon State 59-52, a surprisingly competitive Friday is planned for the Pac-10 -- and it'll still be on television when you come home from your Friday night out, so it'll be a great couple of games to pass out in front of. More to come today, friends...so stay tuned.  
Posted on: March 11, 2010 9:16 am
Edited on: March 11, 2010 9:21 am
 

Ducks Ride Cougars to Victory

C.M. TOMLIN


Perhaps, during an Ambien-addled sleepwalking session late last night, you happened to suddenly wake from eating salt by the tablespoon and think to yourself "hey, I can't believe I'm missing #8 Oregon play #9 Washington State in the Pac-10 Tournament." In that case, you may have switched on your television to find yourself pleasantly surprised by the proceedings.

That's because late last night/early this morning, Oregon beat WSU in a 82-80 overtime victory that started this Pac-10 Tournament off strong. Even with five players in double digits, the Cougars couldn't hit a last second jumper to send the game into a second overtime. Senior guard Tajuan Porter handled a bulk of the Ducks' duties with 34 points (eight of those in overtime). Oregon moves ahead to play Cal today as the Pac-10 Tourney kicks off properly. 

The conference has been derided as being rather milquetoast this season, with Cal being the soft favorite in a field of yawners, but Cal head coach Mike Montgomery spoke out against that reputation last night, saying "The Pac-10 is not that bad. But once everybody starts talking about it, how do you change that?" Presumably, no one in the press room answered Montgomery's rhetorical question.

Today's play resumes from the Staples Center in L.A. and ends long after you already will have gone to sleep, Easterners. I'll keep you informed.
Posted on: March 9, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2010 6:32 pm
 

FAQ: The Pac-10 Conference Tournament

C.M. TOMLIN


You're used to seeing the universities of the Pacific-10 conference dominating on the football field, but did you know those schools participate in the NCAA Men's Basketball program as well? You probably did not. This is why it's a good thing I'm here today, to bring you Frequently Asked Questions about the Pac-10 Conference Tournament. As always, you're welcome, America.

----------------
I’ve been watching a lot of Northeasterners play basketball lately. Doesn’t anyone on the West Coast play, ever?

They do. In fact, the Pac-10 Championship begins on Wednesday.

Yes, I know what Pac-10 is. My little sister and I used to play it when we were kids. You have to get four checkers in a row.

No. That’s Connect Four.

That’s right. Pac-10 is the store at the mall where Midwestern teens can buy skating and surfing apparel, right?

Again, wrong. That’s Pac-Sun.

Okay, well, it’s that fruit drink that comes in a foil bag.

That’s Capri-Sun. That isn’t even derivative of the name Pac-10. Now you’re just being ridiculous.

Well if you love the Pac-10 so much, why don’t you tell me what it is?

Fine. The Pacific-10 is a competitive Division 1 athletic conference consisting of ten major universities in the Western United States – its members being Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State. It was founded in 1959 and is the amalgam of several conferences at the time, including The Western Five Conference, The Big Four Conference and the Super One Conference (Oregon State, undefeated for thirty-three years before joining the Pac-10).

Are any of these teams good this year?

Usually, yes. But this year many say that the Pac-10 should be one of the most interesting tournaments to watch as the entire conference is so mediocre that it could literally be anyone’s ballgame. Cal won the regular season title, earning a one seed, but their role will mainly be just trying to play well enough to fend off another mediocre team who happens to have a good game against them. So it’s a pretty even playing field, and experts believe the only NCAA Tourney entry from this conference will be the champ.

Sounds exciting! When can I see the Pac-10 play?

Unfortunately, due to the time difference, you will only be able to watch the Pac-10 play at four o’clock in the morning.

Is there anyone I need to know for this tournament?

The two strongest chances for a Cal upset come from Arizona State and Washington. If ASU is to come out of this, the Sun Devils are going to need point guard Derek Glasser to pull the team together and lead the attack. Washington is going to need a strong performance from Huskies forward Quincy Pondexter, who – averaging 20.3 points per game this season – is not only the best chance for Washington to move to the top of the pile, but the best chance for the Tri-Lambs to defeat the Alpha Betas in Adams College’s Greek Games.

Where is the Pac-10 Tournament held?

The Tournament begins with a play-in game tomorrow at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

Cool. We can walk around L.A. and Hollywood while we’re there. That's where they make movies. Did you see Paul Blart: Mall Cop? That was hilarious.

No.

Scuba-Dooby-Doo!

What?.

That’s a line from Paul Blart: Mall Cop. You should see it after you’re finished watching your beloved “tournament that anyone can win.”

Whatever. 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com