Well basketball season is officially over at UW unless your a fan of the women's team which made the "Big Dance" despite the fact that coach June Daugherty was put on the hot seat by AD Todd Turner before the season began. What will be interesting to see is if she keeps her job even though the team made the tournament. If she doesn't, she and her husband are guaranteed a soft landing elsewhere since women's basketball coaches with tournament experience are in demand out there even if Washington feels she isn't doing a good enough job.
It all comes down to attendance, and the Huskies despite being competitive during the Daugherty reign have not created enough excitement to fill the seats like Gorbrecht did while she was here.
UW opens up the tournament on Saturday against Iowa State at 9 a.m. on ESPN2.
Lorenzo Romar is still smarting from the NIT snub, and he has the support of the entire Puget Sound media on this one. Bob Condotta's move of publishing all the email addresses of the selection committee really drove the committee crazy as thousands of Husky loyalists complained by email.
As the smoke settles we all have to realize that this wasn't a very good team despite the pedigree. They didn't work hard enough, they didn't play well enough together, and they lost the blue collar feel they had when Nate, Tre, Conroy, and Roy were on the squad.
Hawes is seriously mulling over heading to the NBA which would be a big mistake if you ask me. He gets pushed around in the Pac Ten, imagine what it would be like in the NBA? It would stunt his potential to have a career in which he could make an impact. Just ask Robert Swift how fun it is playing against Jack Sikma in practice, then sitting on the bench for a couple of years. To be fair Hawes is a better prospect, but he isn't physically, or mentally ready. Brockman on the other hand will likely stay all four years and enter the draft when he graduates as a player ready to contribute because of his abilities to bang it out under the hoop. Hawes needs to get to that level, because right now he plays soft most evenings.
One interesting note from Bob Condotta is The NIT announced today that it is going back to on-campus sites for the first two rounds. Washington has been in talks with the NIT to host, at either Key Arena or the Everett Events Center and I'm sure would love to host it at Hec Ed now that that appears to be a viable option, as well. This is the same NIT of course that overlooked them in the post season, and I can imagine UW is mulling over the option to tell them to stick it, but there is that money thing, and money always takes precedence over pride.
On the football front rumors are floating around that those of you who have been wanting the names of players to be put back on Husky football jerseys may be getting your wish. It isn't official yet, but it is being seriously considered. I like the idea because it is tougher to watch the game if you can't see the names. Willingham thought it would enhance a greater feeling of team for the players to be playing for the name on the front of the uniform instead of the name on the back.
Gonzaga opens the tournament playing Inidana at 7:05 p.m on Thursday. The play of Micah Downs is a big reason why the Gonzaga Bulldogs have made it back to the Big Dance. The versatile 6-foot-8 swingman averaged almost 16 points in Gonzaga's last five games — after never scoring more than nine. He grabbed an average of seven rebounds and made 12 of 30 three-pointers in those games, as the Bulldogs clinched the West Coast Conference regular-season title then won the conference tournament. Downs is the key reason Gonzaga was able to survive the loss of Josh Heytvelt and qualify for a ninth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Washington State opens with Oral Roberts at 11:40 a.m. on Thursday which means garbage collection, and veterinary offices will come to a standstill in the Puget Sound as Coug alums take the day off to watch their team in it's first Big Dance in over twenty years.
I will be rooting for both of the local teams to do well in the tournament, it isn't fun to watch unless you have a vested interest during the tournament, and for the first time in years I'm not a member of a tournament pool. Go Zag's! Go Coug's!
Let's take a walk down Pac Ten Alley and see what our neighbors down the coast are up to this week.
At USC they are still smarting from being spanked by Oregon in the Pac Ten finale.
Tim Floyd subjected his team to a three-minute horror film Tuesday, starring Bryce Taylor, Tajuan Porter and Aaron Brooks. Call it "Rain Men."The USC coach wanted his players to understand what had gone wrong defensively during the Trojans' 81-57 loss to Oregon in the Pacific 10 Conference title game so that they wouldn't repeat it Friday during their NCAA tournament East Regional first-round game against Arkansas in Spokane, Wash.
California has started Spring football practice. The weather allows them to start earlier down there.
After capping a successful 2006 season by crushing Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl, Cal starts from scratch again today when spring football camp opens at Memorial Stadium. Practices are closed to the public, but the spring game April 14 is open. Coach Jeff Tedford realizes he has several holes to fill if the Bears, 10-3 last season, expect to challenge for the Pacific-10 Conference title.
Oregon State believes they can win the Pac Ten next season, and they are not talking baseball.
While the school's official spring preview touts the Beavers as aiming for their fifth bowl game in six years, Riley, Bernard and company might have their sights set a little higher. Having bested the Trojans, they aren't yielding anything.
Michael Wines is very excited about his Duck's going into the NCAA tournament, and he has good reason since the Duck's are hitting on all cylinders at the right time which is probably the most important component to being successful in March. Looking at who Oregon is playing I am predicting a Sweet Sixteen run for the Duck's
Great news for the Ducks. Number three seed in the Midwest bracket. We are going up against Miami of Ohio (14) in the first round in Spokane on Friday. If we win that one, we go up against the winner of the Notre Dame (6) - Winthrop (11) on Sunday. Let the good times roll.
UCLA on the other hand is limping into the tournament.
So we have some minor injury issues to deal with. Omnigeno already diaried up the new concerning DC, who per UCLA suffered a grade one ankle sprain on his left ankle yesterday during practice. Also on the injury front Shipp jammed his left thumb. Dohn reports Shipp says he is “fine.” This may impact his shooting ability, which means hopefully he will not be jacking up those long range bombs. I am not really all that worried about these injuries. These things happen when you have a Coach like Howland running intense practices. I am sure our team is going to be fine.
WSU is dancing even though they were not able to make it into the championship game against the Duck's. Tony Bennett gaining entrance as a legendary coach in his first season at the helm?
I never knew just how young some of these legendary coaches were when they first broke through. Bobby Knight was just 32 when he led Indiana to the Final Four? Dean Smith 36 for Carolina? I always thought he was like 50 years old when he graduated high school. He's so old now I think he finally passed his father.
Is WSU really in danger of losing Tony Bennett after only one season? Some WSU alumni are taking matters into their own hands.
Some influential Washington State alumni concerned about retaining national coach of the year Tony Bennett have launched a drive to raise money to try to entice Bennett to remain at WSU.
How will Purdue match up with Arizona? What are the Boilermakers' strengths, and weaknesses going into the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday in New Orleans?
At least UA is picked to beat Purdue on Friday. The No. 8-seeded Wildcats are a two-point favorite against the No. 9-seed Boilermakers. Last year, Arizona, a No. 8, was a one-point favorite over No. 9 Wisconsin. The Wildcats blew out the Badgers 94-75.
Will Stanford lose on of the Lopez Twins to the NBA?
Neither Lopez nor Anderson has given any indication that he will jump to the NBA this spring, or even “test the waters;” and, this is just my opinion. But I’ve covered college basketball long enough to recognize when underclassmen might consider leaving school — and both Anderson and Lopez fall into that category.
The Sun Devils are about to start their first Spring practice under Dennis Erickson. The "House of Heat" is a pretty decent blog, now if we could only find someone interested in Stanford, and Arizona.
Arizona State receiver Rudy Burgess will miss at least the start of spring practice after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. The Sun Devils begin spring drills on Monday. No offseason news is typically good offseason news but hey, at least he didn't get arrested. After last year's lack of playmaking by the wide receiving corps, RFB will surely be needed. The silver lining is that if there's one guy that could miss a big chunk of spring ball and still pick up the new offense, it's the people's MVP.