Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pac Ten Alley

We are heading into crunch time as teams in the Pac Ten jockey for position in the standings over the last three weeks of the season. One thing is certain, at least six teams from the Pac Ten are headed to the Big Dance this year. Washington on the other hand is currently in 7th place a couple games back of Stanford.

Usually a 20 win season in a tough conference like the Pac Ten is enough to send a team to the tournament. Washington needs to win four of it's last six games to do that, but this year it may not be enough. What UW could really use is a couple of quality road victories. They get that chance when they visit Pitt on Saturday, and Oregon the following week. Don't forget the Beaver's even though they are mired at the bottom of the conference, they played Arizona pretty tough at home this past week. Winning on the road is never a given for this Washington team, but the consensus believes that they need to start doing that if they are going to take the season into March.

TV For WSU Game

It is sort of a project finding the UW/WSU game on TV. Bob Condotta has the TV options in his blog. Because of a conflict with the Sonics the game is going to be fished out to various local cable channels. 10th ranked WSU has a fantastic season so far. The Cougars were supposed to be improved, but not enough to challenge for the conference championship as they are doing right now. The Cougars are led by Derrick Low, Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling and Chris Henry. What the Cougars do is play defense, in fact the toughest defense in the Pac Ten right now. They slow teams down, take control of the tempo, and that has been a recipe for success this season.

Zag's having problems

Well the slipper finally fell off of Cinderella's foot when two Zag players were arrested this past week. According to a spokesperson for the Cheney Police Department, Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis, who is red-shirting because of a shoulder injury, were charged with possession of marijuana and “psychedelic” mushrooms following a routine traffic stop for a defective taillight at 11:42 p.m. The marijuana charge, because of the amount, police explained, was a misdemeanor, but the possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms is a felony.

Houston....we have a problem?

Rumors were floating around Tuesday that RB Michael Houston has decided to leave the team. Last report we had on him last week was he was back on the team and fully participating in off season drills. In Bob Condotta's blog he said he reached Houston last night. "I have no comment on anything,'' said Houston, who transferred to UW from Texas last August. "Right now there's a rumor out there, that's all I can say. ... I can't really say anything right now.''

Oregon hires Offensive Coordinator

Oregon got creative and hired longtime New Hamphire assistant Chip Kelly. Most recently Kelly served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Wildcats, who averaged 35.3 points per game and 401 yards of offense this past season.

Pac Ten Alley

Now let's take a walk down the coast on Pac Ten Alley to see what the rest of the blogs in the neighborhood are up to this week.

Washington State's Bill Doba went out of his way to talk about the recruiting process, how disappointing it is these days as the "in" thing to de-commit, and told a few stories about some Pac-10 teams doing some things that, well, aren't exactly cool with Doba and company. Teams text-messaging players non-stop, making phone calls and refusing to hang up the phone while Doba was in their living rooms at the time, on and on it goes.

USC Coach Pete Carroll today declined to address speculation that he was a candidate to become coach of the San Diego Chargers. Expect Pete to continue to stay one step ahead of NCAA investigators.

We are not looking ahead to Saturday's game. However, lot of Arizona enthusiasts are already talking about the UCLA-Arizona game this Saturday. Apparently some Arizona fans are a little peeved about the style of play Coach Howland has brought into Westwood. For i.e. here is Greg Hansen, a columnist for the Arizona Star (Arizona Homer) whining about Ben Ball's emphasis on defense and how it has ruined his enjoyment of college hoops.

Stanford hasn't been the same giant killing basketball team lately. Two losses in Washington will do that to a team. The slumping Stanford Cardinal will not have point/shooting guard Anthony Goods for at least the first of four big games in the stretch run — and maybe not for any of them.

The Bear's have it rolling even though new facilities are being put on hold. The local hippies are the only thing holding this program back. The beat goes on for California. Coach Jeff Tedford pulled in his fifth consecutive top 20 recruiting class, which puts him in great position to continue as the second-best program in the Pac-10, looking up at USC.

Tought to talk about basketball when your a Beaver fan. Oregon State made a haul in the Oregon Sports Awards. The championship baseball team received the Team of the Year award, head coach Pat Casey received the Sportsperson of the Year award, pitcher Jonah Nickerson received the Male Athlete of the Year, Brianne McGowan got the Female Athlete of the Year, and Steven Jackson, now of the St. Louis Rams, received the Professional Athlete of the Year.

I don't know if you could ever call Brooks' clutch, he has a chance to prove the critics wrong down the stretch. Oregon's Aaron Brooks will need to regain his confidence for the Ducks to close out games down the home stretch. He hasn't been the same since sitting out the Washington game.

Arizona and UCLA square off this weekend. I’ve said all season that the Arizona men’s basketball team is one broken ankle or bone away from disaster. It almost happened Saturday when senior Mustafa Shakur twisted his right ankle. UA coach Lute Olson said the sprain is more serious than recent ones suffered by Marcus Williams and Chase Budinger.

The Arizona St blog has a review of this year's recruiting class in the works, but there has been a lot more real life than usual and thus it's not finished, but I'll be sure to post it when I have some real time. In it's absence, here's a link to a fantastic off-season thread on the Devil's Digest Message Boards.

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