Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Final Four

We are getting pretty close to tip off this afternoon so it's time for my final predictions of the year. I will be back after the games to summarize what happens. Ultimate winner? I would have to go with Ohio State at this point.

UCLA vs Florida

The consensus of course favors Florida, but I hate Florida almost as much as I hate Ohio State, so I am going to go with the Bruins.

Donovan got the best of Ben Howland and Florida got the best of UCLA for the second straight year at the Final Four, adding this semifinal win to a 73-57 rout in last year's title game. This victory for the Gators (34-5) set up another sort of rematch. They'll play Ohio State on Monday in the final, hoping for the same kind of result as their 27-point victory in the championship football game earlier this year. The Buckeyes beat Georgetown 67-60 in the first semifinal Saturday.

Ohio State vs Georgetown

Sure I hate Ohio State, but they still have the best big man standing in Greg Oden. Greg is a difference maker unless he gets into foul trouble early, and if I was the Hoya's I would attack him from the get go and try to get three quick fouls on him during the first three minutes of the game.

Not even three minutes into the game, and the whistle blew. Greg Oden dropped his head and started a slow walk to the bench. Two quick fouls, and he was done for the half. That much-anticipated matchup between Oden and Hibbert fizzled because of foul trouble. Instead, it was Mike Conley and the rest of the Buckeyes who carried top-seeded Ohio State to its first national title game since 1962 with a 67-60 victory over Georgetown on Saturday night.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Weekly Poll Question

Last week we asked the question "Will Todd Turner hire a man, or a woman to fill the vacant women's basketball coaching position?" The message that came back is most feel he will hire the best person regardless of sex. I think that is way he will go too.

This week we ask if Spencer Hawes is going to enter the NBA draft. I will tell you my answer right now, and that is he will stay at least another year to develop his game. I could be wrong, but something tells me he stays until Brockman leaves.

Next week we get back to husky football as spring practice starts after Easter. Nathan Ware describes it as an "Oasis" for college football fans. I agree because it has been a long time since November, and I am ready for some Husky football.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pac Ten Alley

Todd Turner looks to be headed to Cleveland later this week to interview some candidates for the vacant women's basketball coach position.

Among those newly rumored as possible candidates are Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph, Florida State coach Sue Semrau and South Carolina assistant Michelle Marciniak.

We ran a poll this week on who Turner would choose, and the overwhelming consensus has yielded a big yawn from Husky football fans. Even I almost voted for "who cares" which explains why he is looking for someone new to head the program.

I apologize for the brief focus on women's basketball, but with two weeks till Spring practice there just isn't a lot going on at this point til Ty fires it up. No surprises pre Spring as all four newcomers who were expected to enroll early are all here and eligible for Spring practice. Ty is going to be opening up quite a bit this Spring. Word is that up to half the practices this Spring are going to be opened up to the press, and public which if true will be great.

On the basketball side Joe Wolfinger's injury doesn't seem to be responding well again which means the Huskies may lose his services again next season if the isn't ready to go. Spencer Hawes is likely headed to the NBA draft pre draft camp to test his readiness. Spencer is a guaranteed top ten pick so the rest is up to him. Once again, I think he hangs around a couple more years.

Let's take a walk down Pac Ten Alley and see what the neighbors are up to this week.

USC starts Spring practice and deals with the loss of kicker Mario Danelo.

Joe Danelo surveyed the scene as USC players ran from one drill to the next during practice on Sunday, the flurry of activity stirring fond, cathartic memories for the father of late Trojans kicker Mario Danelo."This is just where Mario used to be," Joe said. "Part of his memory is out here. It's good to be out here with the kids."

Jeff Tedford treats football like a chess game.

To Cal coach Jeff Tedford, calling plays in football is a lot like playing chess. You think multiple moves ahead. You choose plays not only for immediate gratification, but also as part of a grand plan for a bigger payoff later in the game. Step by step, you set the stage to hopefully spring the perfect offensive play against the perfectly vulnerable defense. "And then bang, it happens," Tedford said Thursday, sitting in his office, just hours before another spring practice. "It's exciting. It's invigorating. "There's a great feeling of excitement when you can kind of set things up through the field and call something right when (it) matches up. Because you've studied it and you saw it and then, bam! Your team is able to do it."

OSU is still strong this year in baseball.

On the diamond, the No. 5 Beavers swept their three game series against San Fransisco. OSU opened on Friday with a 11-4 win behind the hot bats of Hopkins, Lissman, Canham, and others. On Saturday, the Beavers won by a large margin again, 9-2. Seven of those nine runs came in the first inning. Sunday, the Beavers capped off the sweep with a narrow 3-2 victory. Oregon State snuck in two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. This stretches the Beavers overall win streak to nine games, and gives them an 20-3 overall record.

The Oregon Duck's knocked on the door of the final four, will Ernie Kent stay on or use the high finish for leverage to get a more stable job?

It was a great ride and provided many hours of first class basketball. If not for some early foul trouble and some cold outside shooting these Ducks would be making the trip to Atlanta.You all probably watched or listened to the game so I won't go over the scoring leaders. I just wanted to say thanks to this class of Ducks for a fantastic season, it was good times.

UCLA readies itself for a trip to the Final Four.

There is some great discussion going on in the comment threads about the match ups for Saturday. If you are thinking that something feels different this year (wrt to this UCLA v. Florida matchup), you are not alone. There are number of reasons why we are feeling a little better about this game than we did last year.

WSU readies itself for a return to "Poop Island".

Meanwhile, we at the WSU blog are taking suggestions from all on what to Title the vessel of the upcoming implosion known as 2007 Cougar Football (this is meant to replace "King of Poop Island")...

Stoops is under pressure to put together a winner at Arizona.

The University of Arizona's defense is going to get better against the pass this spring. It has to, considering it will see an aerial assault every minute of every day in workouts against the new offense.

If you are a coach looking for a head basketball job there are suddenly plenty of jobs open which means assistants like Cameron Dollar may be getting the big step up in a couple of weeks once the big boys finish feeding.

If you’ve ever thought about getting into the coaching business, this is your chance!
Never have there been so many jobs open out west. A few have been filled, but many more remain vacant — and even more could open in the next few weeks as the trickle-down effect takes hold.

This is a very entertaining blog that finds things to talk about even when the Sun Devils are floundering.

I absolutely adore March Madness. While the first two rounds are tailor-made for ditching out of work to go to a bar, the second two are perfect for at-home viewing. There are only two games going at a time, requiring a bit more focus than you can get at a bar, specifically the option of sound.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Monday Morning Wash

It was an interesting week for the Pac Ten in the NCAA Basketball Tournament as three schools made it in to the Sweet Sixteen, and two as far as the Elite Eight. With the Final Four coming up next weekend in Atlanta UCLA will wear the banner for the Pac Ten, and have a better than average shot at taking the title home this year since all the teams seem pretty even heading for the finish line.

This was a tough year for Washington to sit on the sidelines to watch it since they split with UCLA, Oregon, and USC, while taking Pittsburgh, another Sweet Sixteen opponent, to the wire on the road. This season of course was a rebuilding year, but it certainly was a missed opportunity.

The Pac Ten ended up as being as tough as advertised when it hit the tournament despite Stanford, and Arizona going out in the first round. Four league teams had what it took to go deep this year, and that is a strong finish. UCLA it seems has climbed over that hump once again and has replaced Arizona as being the conferences elite program.

Talking about Arizona you have to wonder when Lute is going to hang it up. Olson, 70, has given no indication that he is near retirement, and he hasn't been giving any hints about his personal future. Since Lute is healthy, in pretty good shape, and the fact his wife passed away a couple of years ago, he might be inclined to be the Joe Paterno of his sport as long as his health lasts. I for one like the fact that your working life no longer has to end at 65 if you don't want it to. Mike Lude, and Marv Harshman are classic example's of guy who were forced out with at least ten strong years left in them. UW would have been much better off letting them pick their own time of departure, but that is something that never has historically happened at UW.

Lorenzo Romar has his work cut out for him in the future at UW. The Pac Ten is going to continue to be a a power in the future, and I think all ten schools have the ability to compete for a tournament berth each year. That means 4-5 good teams are going to be disappointed every year. WSU is going to start competing again for local players with UW, and Gonzaga. Don't forget that Seattle U is considering moving up too, even though the chances for that were lessened when the WCC did not extend them membership.

Gonzaga had a disappointing season because they started the season looking like they could make some noise in the tournament. They had some big wins including beating Texas, North Carolina, and losing a close one to Memphis. The loss of Heytvelt was felt deeply. The big question of course is will Mark Few be drawn to Eugene sometime in the near future? I think clear sign that won't happen is that his longtime assistant Bill Grier has moved on to head the San Diego program int he WCC. If Few had Oregon on his mind he certainly would have wanted Grier to take over at Gonzaga. It is looking more, and more like Mark is going to be a lifer in Spokane.

Oregon is going to build a fantastic new gym which should keep them among the elite for awhile as that program continues to sell the sizzle. Speaking of Oregon, will Ernie Kent return to coach the team next year after he led the Ducks to an Elite Eight appearance before bowing out to defending National Champ Florida? You would think that was a sure thing, but as we have alluded before, Kent was most likely on his way out before the season started. I think Ernie may be pondering the fact right now that he may never be more desirable to another program. I think he is pondering that he is one average season away from getting canned. I think he will leave Oregon if the right opportunity pops up, just a gut feeling.

I would have thought that this year would be the year that Cameron Dollar would move on to run his own program. There have been plenty of openings, and Dollar has been given serious consideration, but he hasn't been able to land it yet. At 31 Cameron still has a lot of time left, but you have to think that the violations in the first months he was here at UW have held him back from faster advancement. It's a shame, because while he was guilty, all the other coaches who were doing the same thing he was doing, and turned him in, were doing the same thing he was doing.

I think Lorenzo Romar is finding it to be more of challenge molding these current thoroughbred's together as a unit then he did than the previous junk yard dogs he molded successfully early in his tenure. Washington's best days are ahead of them, but the challenge is going to be great in an increasingly competive conference. Washington has the horses, but so does everyone else. The best coaches are going to make the difference.

Husky Football

Most of the country has started Spring football, and the schools that haven't such as UW will be starting in the next couple of weeks. I am pretty excited going into this Spring and can hardly wait to see Locker run the offense against Bonnell in the Spring game. The squad will be hapered by a lack of RB's this Spring, but Hasty, and Rankin anre going to get a lot of much needed work. The major question is how much is Willingham going to let us see this year? Will he continue to open it up more to help create a positive buzz?

Spring Sports

Shortstop Danny Cox led off the eighth inning with a triple and scored the go-ahead run on a single from Michael Burgher as the Washington baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Washington State with a 6-5 win Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field. Cox, a sophomore from Chehalis, lofted a fly ball to deep right-center that dropped just in front of diving center fielder Zach Borba. After a groundout, Burgher singled through a drawn-in infield, scoring Cox to break a 4-4 tie. Burgher scored an insurance run on a double from Bradley Boyer. Cox finished the game 2-for-5 with a double, a triple, two RBI and a run. The Huskies (14-9 overall and 3-0 in Pac-10 play) have now won 12 of their last 13 games while the Cougars dropped to 13-10 overall and 0-3 in the conference.

For the second-consecutive match, Mathilde Cor and Joyce Ardies won in singles for the Husky women's tennis team, but visiting Boise State (11-2) won 5-2 over Washington (1-13) at the Nordstrom Tennis Center on Friday.

Washington's track and field teams added 13 NCAA Regional qualifiers and put five athletes on its all-time top-10 list Saturday, as split-squad action at Arizona State and Auburn Universities represented the first significant weekend of the 2007 outdoor track and field schedule.
Washington's throwers were in top form at Auburn's Springtime Invitational, with sophomore Mart Israel making his Husky debut with a sweep of shot put and discus titles. Israel's respective winning marks of 56 feet, 9 ¼ inches and 200-0 each bettered NCAA Regional qualifying standards, while his mark in the latter represented the sixth-best mark ever by a UW thrower.

While the throwers competed in Auburn, the remainder of the Huskies' track and field teams traveled to Arizona State for the Sun Devils' annual Clif Bar Invitational. Eight Huskies earned regional marks at ASU, led by a history-making double for sophomore Dani Schuster and junior Amy Lia. The half-mile tandem each clocked times among UW's top-10 all-time in the 800 meters, with Schuster's 2:07.39 ranking sixth all-time and Lia's 2:07.48 ranking seventh.

Husky Crew

Husky crew opened the 2007 seasons with an exciting slate of races for the 106th-Annual Class Day Regatta. A new men's champion was crowned, with the juniors, Class of 2008, claiming the George M. Varnell men's eight trophy while the seniors, Class of 2007, defended their title and captured The Seattle Times Women's Eight trophy for the second year in a row.

Saturday's event was the 106th running of the Class Day Regatta, which began in 1901, two years before Washington's first-ever intercollegiate race against California on June 3, 1903.

In a very close and competitive men's race, the Class of 2008 edged last year's winners, the Class of 2009 by five tenths of a second, as the juniors completed the 2,000-meter course in 6 minutes and 15 seconds. The sophomores, who became the first freshman boat to win the race since 1947 last year, came in second in a time of 6:15.5 and were followed by this year's freshman boat at 6:17.1 and the seniors at 6:31.0.

The Huskies will officially open the 2007 season next weekend, competing at the Husky Invitational, Saturday, March 31 on Montlake Cut.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Elite Eight Day Two

Then there was one....UCLA will be the lone Pac Ten representative in the Final Four joining Georgetown, Ohio State, Florida next weekend at the Georgia Dome.

Florida 85 Oregon 77

Next stop for the top-seeded Gators: Atlanta, where they'll play UCLA in the national semifinals in a rematch of last year's championship Game. Now Florida (33-5) would like to win both crowns in the same calendar year. And make a little history as the first team since Duke in 1991-92 to win back-to-back basketball titles -- and the first ever to do it with the same five starters. There might even be another date with Ohio State with a title on the line. The Buckeyes won the South Regional, and will play Georgetown on Saturday.

Georgetown 96 North Carolina 84

Georgetown overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half, then ripped off 14 straight points in overtime to stun the top-seeded Tar Heels 96-84 in the East Regional final Sunday for their first trip to the Final Four since 1985, when the coach was John Thompson Jr. and the star was Patrick Ewing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sunday Food for Thought

This is from Dick Rockne over at the PI, and the article deals with the type of person they are looking for to lead the womens basketball program. I like Ty Willingham, but I find it funny that he is none of the things listed below, yet they fired a winning coach because she didn't have enough charisma.

Why is it so important to have a coach with charisma in a sport where no matter how well they do, they never have a chance to break even financially? At the same time you have a coach who runs the departments cash cow football program who does not seem to possess any of those attributes?

I hate to be critical, but does Todd Turner realize the can of worms he is opening up here?

Shouldn't Willingham be judged by the same standards as June Daugherty? When exactly is Ty going to open up his program to the fans, and the press?

When is Ty Willingham going to reach out to the community? When is he going to create some excitement that extends beyond the playing field?

Most importantly, when is Todd Turner going to demand it?

More than anything else, the next women's basketball coach at Washington will be someone willing to devote considerable time and effort into public relations as a way to revitalize the program.

That's the message an advisory committee and a cadre of former players said must be the No. 1 trait athletic director Todd Turner considers in his hunt for June Daugherty's replacement, said Rhonda Smith Banchero, the only person affiliated with both groups."It must be a coach who has a lot of high energy and is willing to become ingratiated into all facets of the community," Smith Banchero said Friday. She played from 1992-95 and is second on the Huskies' career scoring list.
"That's probably the No. 1 thing -- making sure the program is more visible as a basketball team in the community."

Elite Eight Day One

UCLA 68 Kansas 55

Second-seeded UCLA (30-5) made its halftime lead stand up in an appropriately tense meeting between two schools with rich traditions and a combined 29 Final Four appearances -- including an NCAA-record 17th for UCLA next week in Atlanta. The Bruins, who lost to Florida in last season's national title game, could be in for a rematch: They'll meet Sunday's winner of the Gators' regional final against Oregon

Ohio State 92 Memphis 76

Greg Oden controlled the paint on offense and defense, and he triggered a 20-8 surge that put the Buckeyes back in charge. The second-seeded Tigers (33-4) tried hanging in by fouling, but Ohio State foiled that plan by making 20 straight free throws. The Buckeyes' 21st straight win takes them to Atlanta next weekend for a national semifinal matchup with the winner of Sunday's North Carolina-Georgetown game.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sweet Sixteen Day Two

Welcome to the second day of the Sweet Sixteen. I have my picks for today in bold, and as you can tell I don't have any money riding on it, or I would pick UNC over USC, but I just have one of those funny feelings that SC is peaking at the right time this year. We could see three Pac Ten teams in the Elite Eight later this weekend.

Vanderbilt falls to Georgetown

Jeff Green squeezed between two defenders and Georgetown squeezed out a win.
Green spun and banked in a short, off-balance shot with 2.5 seconds to play and the Hoyas earned a harder-than expected 66-65 victory over Vanderbilt in the East Regional semifinals on Friday night. The victory was the seventh straight and 18th in 19 games for second-seeded Georgetown (29-6) and put them in the regional final for the first time in 11 years.

North Carolina rallies to beat USC

USC has been on fire all night, but UNC has been staying close enough to make a late run, 59-58 USC with 7:18 left. USC has to stay hot to pull this one out, and one has to wonder why they didn't slow it down with a big lead early in the second half. What exactly is Tim Floyd thinking?

Down by 16 points early in the second half, the Tar Heels suddenly shifted into another gear and startled Southern California 74-64 Friday night in the East Regional semifinals. Fifth-seeded USC (25-12) was putting on a dunking exhibition and led 49-33 with 17:42 left before it all fell apart. Trojans coach Tim Floyd threw his program onto the court after a call in the final minute, and was whistled for a technical foul. By then, Wright and his teammates had already done plenty to frustrate Floyd's team.

Florida slips by Vanderbilt

Al Horford had 16 points, seven rebounds and a key block in the final minute to help the top-seeded Gators hold off undersized Butler 65-57 Friday night. The Gators (32-5), trying to become the first team since Duke in 1992 to win consecutive national titles, advanced to the Midwest Regional on Sunday against the Oregon-UNLV winner. The defending national champions trailed by as many as nine points and never found their comfort zone against the scrappy Bulldogs.

Oregon takes care of UNLV

The Ducks look pretty tough tonight and have put this one away leading 66-53 with around four minutes remaining. Tajuan Porter, the little guy nobody wanted, has Oregon one game away from the Final Four. The diminutive freshman tied an NCAA regional record with eight 3-pointers and finished with 33 points, and Oregon withstood a frantic comeback to top seventh-seeded UNLV 76-72 on Friday in the Midwest Regional. The Ducks advance to play Florida.

By the way you would think it would be pretty hard for Oregon to fire Ernie Kent now, but it might be even harder to keep him under new Oregon AD Pat Kilkenny. Like Tubby Smith he might be wise to get out before he is eventually pushed out.

Weekly Poll Question

Last week we asked how many points per game you thought the Husky offense would generate per game in 2007. The readers responded with 28-30 points per game. I agree, I think in year three of Ty and Lappano with a prodigy at QB, and replenished talent at the other skill positions you expect at least a TD per game improvement over the last three years. To be exact I am thinking 30 ppg next year. 30 ppg last year could have put UW in the Rose Bowl....ok maybe I am getting a little carried away here, but it would have meant a decent bowl game.

All the parts are in place for the marked improvement as far as I am concerned, and anything less means the program isn't advancing schedule. Three years with the same coaches, more talent on hand, and more familiarity with the schemes should do the trick.

This Weeks Question

Will Todd Turner hire a man, or a woman to be the next women's basketball coach?

This search may be the only interesting thing going on at Montlake till Spring practice starts, and it is an important hire since basketball should be the cornerstone program in women's athletic's at UW.

Washington has never had a male, womens basketball coach, and Turner is on record saying he would prefer a woman, but there is a perceived shortage of elite women coaches in the womens basketball coaching ranks. Not everyone can have a Pat Summit lead their program, and that is the type of individual he says he is looking for.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sweet Sixteen Day One

Southern Illinois vs Kansas

Kansas' run through the NCAA Tournament was slowed to a crawl by scrappy Southern Illinois.
The Jayhawks got up just in time to move to the brink of the Final Four. Brandon Rush scored 12 points without missing a shot, and Kansas eked out a 61-58 victory over Southern Illinois in the West Regional semifinals Thursday night.

Texas A&M vs Memphis

Forget those season-long struggles from the free throw line. The Tigers are making them when it counts, including Antonio Anderson's two with 3.1 seconds left Thursday night for a 65-64 victory over Texas A&M in the NCAA South Regional semifinal.

Pittsburgh vs UCLA

The second-seeded Bruins (29-5) were able to win at the line, scoring 12 of their final 18 points on foul shots to advance to play Kansas (33-4) in Saturday's regional final in a matchup of two of college basketball's most storied teams.

Tennessee vs Ohio State

Ohio State had a great comeback tonight, beating Tennessee 85-84 at the buzzer as Greg Oden rejected a layin as the buzzer went off. On a sidenote compare Oden, or Durant to Hawes, the difference is how much more physical they are under the boards. Nothing against Spencer, he will get there soon, but these kids are more mature, and polished at this point.

Jim Moore Skewers Todd Turner

A lot of people over on the Dawgman board despise PI columnist Jim Moore, but I like Jim, and he is a friend of the blog despite his irritating Couginess.

If you'll recall, Dial-Tone Todd hired Paint-Dry Ty. If he uses the same criteria for the football team -- lack of fans, wins and excitement -- unless something changes drastically this season, Turner will fire Tyrone Willingham after the Huskies go to the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl.

He makes some great points, and interviews a lot of different observers, and HS coaches around the area for their opinion on what the womens basketball program needs to average around 6,000 a night and knock on the door of a national championship.

June was here 11 years, and some of her best teams got derailed by injury, and illness, she will do great in her next assignment. Still after eleven years it was time for a change if it elevates the program up to elite status.

Ted Miller talks about Todd Turner's Legacy

Tax dollars might be included in any new plan to remodel the stadium.

So it might seem bold -- or, perhaps, foolhardy -- that Turner isn't shying away from intertwining his legacy at Washington with a stadium that has been declining in roughly the same fashion as the team it houses. Turner shortly will convene an ad hoc committee that will study and then present a plan to the UW regents for the future of Husky Stadium before the end of the school year.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pac Ten Alley

It is Sweet Sixteen time, and the Pac Ten has three teams still alive which is pretty respectable. Should have been four if WSU could have pulled it out in double overtime. Cheer's to the Coug's for a great season, and an incredible program rebuild.

Oregon takes on UNLV, USC has North Carolina, and UCLA takes on Pittsburgh. Realistically I am looking for the Ducks and Bruins to advance. USC is playing some great ball, andy yes, they can beat North Carolina, but history, and experience is on the Tarheel's side.

Over at UW Todd Turner hasn't fired anyone else this week. Dick Rockne of the PI has a nice article on the women's basketball search. Todd Turner is going "subterranean" even though I think he has a pretty good idea who the next coach is going to be.
What do you think, will he hire a man or a woman?

Once Turner has information from both groups he said he will "go subterranean" in conducting a personal search for candidates in secrecy. "Out of experience ... if this is too public and there is too much speculation the candidate pool can be diminished," Turner said. "If you're talking to people in highly visible positions, they want protection or they'll step away."Turner said he developed his selection system through 30 years in athletic administration and coach searches. He used the same approach to hire football coach Tyrone Willingham.

Jerry Brewer of the Times talks about Spencer Hawes and his immediate future. I think Spencer stays till he is a junior and leaves with Brockman, just my gut feeling.

Let's talk about selfishness. It runs two ways in sports. We always refer to athletes' greedy ways, but we like to take, take, take, too. And in the quest to get our way, we can be downright indignant sometimes. Like with these potential one-and-done college freshmen. In the next five weeks, they all have big decisions to make. Kevin Durant, Greg Oden, even our own Spencer Hawes.

The USC basketball team has crashed the Sweet Sixteen, and LA is excited about having two teams left in the tournament.

Now I mean absolutely no disrespect to UCLA, but you have to just love USC crashing the party. The Trojans in the SweetSixteen are a wonderful, unexpected and almost charming story. Come on, they shouldn't be here, or weren't supposed to be. Not this season. USC's advent as a college basketball power was supposed to coincide with the arrival of phenom O.J. Mayo next season.

Cal starts it's second week of Spring practice addressing some needs in the defensive backfield.

As the Cal football team began its second week of spring practice Monday, many key positions—quarterback, tailback, wide receiver, linebacker, defensive line—appeared to be set. One of the most glaring uncertainties that has emerged thus far is the hole at cornerback after the departure of All-American and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Daymeion Hughes.

The Beavers are off to a hot start again this year in baseball. If you have ever been to Corvallis check out the baseball stadium, they did a nice job with it.

On the diamond, the No. 5 Beavers swept their three game series against San Fransisco. OSU opened on Friday with a 11-4 win behind the hot bats of Hopkins, Lissman, Canham, and others. On Saturday, the Beavers won by a large margin again, 9-2. Seven of those nine runs came in the first inning. Sunday, the Beavers capped off the sweep with a narrow 3-2 victory. Oregon State snuck in two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. This stretches the Beavers overall win streak to nine games, and gives them an 20-3 overall record.

The Duck's are one of three Pac Ten teams in the Sweet Sixteen. I think they head to the next level. UNLV has been impressive, nice to see them back.

The Winthrop Eagles were no match for the high flying Ducks today as Oregon advances to the Sweet Sixteen. Final score Oregon 75 - Winthrop 61.

UCLA squares off against Pittsburgh. I saw Pitt play against Washington and I am pretty sure UCLA will beat these guys.

Make sure to reach the whole preview which goes over individual defensive matchups. Yesterday I wrote that AA may be guarding up senior Antonio Graves. BBR thinks AA will probably matchup against Mike Cook, who is the “most athletic Panther on the floor.” I think the later assertion is probably right.

WSU goes out against Vandy, poor Coug's.

Well, following yesterday's let down, the one thing that comes to mind is THANK GOD we'll have a distraction from next year's football season!

Arizona starts Spring practice. This is a team that has gone nowhere offensively since FDR was president.

There is usually little drama coming out of spring football practice, but there should be plenty of storylines for the University of Arizona football team.

Stanford's Brook Lopez is forgoing the NBA draft, and the Mercury has come out with the All Bay Area college allstar team.

Well, it didn’t take long for Stanford big man Brook Lopez to make a decision about his future — to decide between another year in school and the NBA Draft. Considered a top-10 pick if he were to leave Stanford this spring, Lopez issued a statement though the school Monday.

The ASU blog took the week off to travel to Savannah, Georgia to celebrate St Patrick's Day. This is pretty hilarious, and a must read. There are plenty of people with Irish heritage in the South, and Savannah rocks during the celebration.

A bagpipe and drum corps played "God Bless America" very late Saturday night as several hundred onlookers sang the lyrics, arm in drunken arm. Of the four of us, I was somehow the only one who found this sight to be absolutely f#*king amazing. I was so blown away I started crying and called my girlfriend. That could have been the booze talking, though.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Heart of the Game

THE HEART OF THE GAME captures the passion and energy of a Seattle high school girls' basketball team, the eccentricity of their unorthodox coach, and the incredible true story of one player's fight to play the game she loves.

This is a good DVD to view if you enjoy womens basketball.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Monday Morning Wash

On Saturday, after the UW women's team lost in the first round against Iowa State, I suggested that Todd Turner has probably had someone in mind to replace June all year long. He certainly didn't waste anytime moving in that direction by dismissing her once the plane hit the tarmac in Seattle. Obviously he wants to get moving on hiring a replacement during the tournament.

Washington ended its season with a loss to Iowa State on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament. It marked the sixth time the Huskies had gone to the tournament in Daugherty's 11 seasons.

Daugherty, whose record at UW was 191-139, never got the city or the campus excited about women's basketball in the way her predecessor, Chris Gobrecht did. Washington athletic director Todd Turner has said he believes the program can be one of the nation's elite. Todd was AD at UNC, U-Conn, and Vanderbilt who all have elite women's programs.

June won't have any problem getting another job, she is a good coach, and is well respected across the country. Coaches with her pedigree and record are hard to find.

Daugherty was never able to own the region recruiting wise, and was never able to develop a national championship contender which is what it would take to draw fans to fill the seats. That of course goes back to Gorbrecht who alienated the local recruiting base in her final years at UW. Daugherty was never able to get that perception turned around despite being here 11 years.

Todd Turner expressed his feelings in his blog....that must have been an icy plane ride.

Saturday was a very tough day for me. A disappointing loss to Iowa State in the first round of the Women's NCAA Tournament in Minneapolis ended the season for the Huskies. The ride home on the charter aircraft was difficult as I pondered the future of our program. Once again we had a decent season, but not one to match the experience of our team. Yes, our program has succeeded off the court, just as you would expect of every program at Washington. But, total success at this level includes competitive excellence, particularly if all of the building blocks are in place.

Husky Crew

How many of you have ever been to a Crew Race? I used to watch a lot as a kid because the price was right, and the races are pretty exciting. If you haven't been you should check it out.

The legendary Husky Crew team is once again gearing up another run for national titles starting this weekend with the Class Day Regatta on the Montlake Cut. The Huskies race against themselves for class bragging rights, and seats on the Varsity shell.

The Windemere Cup in May is an international affair. The Huskies usually invite an international team or two, and another college to make it a four boat race down the cut, and in between the boats that are lined up for the parade. The Cup is one of the biggest days of the year in College Crew.

California is the dual meet of the year, and these longtime rivals square off in the Montlake Cut this year. The rivals usually row against each other at least three times per year.

The old Western Sprints which were always held in the Bay Area are now also sponsored by Windemere, and have moved out by Sacramento.

The Huskies usually participate in the San Diego Crew Classic on March 31st, but I don't see that scheduled for some reason this year.

Spring Crew Schedule 2007

Saturday March 24
Class Day10:00 AM
Montlake, Seattle

Saturday April 7
9:00 AM
Snake River


April 14, 15
Windermere Classic
All Day
Redwood Shores, CA

Saturday April 21
9:00 AM
Montlake, Seattle

Saturday April 28
9:00 AM
Montlake, Seattle

May 5
Opening Day/ Windermere Cup
10:00 AM
Montlake, Seattle

May 13
PAC-10 Championship
Rancho Cordova, CA
Fri - Sun

May 25-27
Oak Ridge, TN

Thurs - Sat
May 31, Jun 1, 2
Camden, NJ

Spring Sports

Washington (1-10) won the doubles point and two singles matches, but Washington State (11-6) rallied to win 4-3 in a non-conference women's tennis match in Pullman.

Sophomore pitcher Danielle Lawrie drove in five runs and picked up the save in Saturday's 9-0, six-inning victory over Pacific as the 12th-ranked Washington softball team (19-7) advances to Sunday's consolation semifinal at the Judi Garman Classic. The Huskies will face Texas tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.

Sophomore starting pitcher Jorden Merry ran his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 22 and two-thirds innings before allowing a run, but still hung on for the victory as the Washington (9-8) baseball team posted its seventh straight win, beating Cal State Northridge, 2-1, Saturday at Husky Ballpark.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

March Madness Day Four

The first hectic week of tournament play winds down today as the final eight games of this round are being played. Yesterday was incredible as we had just about everything happening that makes the tournament special. The comebacks, the overtimes, and of of course if you are a Cougar fan, the Agony of Defeat.

Winthrop plays Oregon in a game today that Times Columnist Jerry Brewer has called the battle of the shoe companies. I like Brewer, an excellent addition to the Seattle Times staff, and this article really makes you want to root for New Balance and Winthrop. I am a New Balance type of guy, and any company that gives money to Oregon isn't worthy of my patronage.

I just thought I would put my picks for today in bold. Why Winthrop over Oregon? It has little to do with whether I like the Duck's, or Nike, I just have a feeling that Winthrop is this years mid major team of destiny. As we saw yesterday most of the games come down to the last few minutes once you get to this level so the team that has the most cool, makes the least mistakes, usually comes out on top.

Tennessee 77 Virginia 74

Fifth-seeded Tennessee (24-10) reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2000 under second-year coach Bruce Pearl.The Volunteers slowly cut into the lead, and Smith had a three-point play and a steal-and-layup during a 15-2 spurt early in the second half that put Tennessee ahead to stay 54-44. Smith finished with 16 points. At that point, Singletary tried to bring Virginia back. He got a rebound while falling and, while on his chest, passed to Adrian Joseph for a lay-in that cut it to 61-59. Smith ended the comeback there by hitting a 3-pointer, then taking a charge from Singletary. Lofton, an 80.5 percent free-throw shooter, then finished it off by going 6-for-6 from the line.

Florida 74 Purdue 67

Close game with 5:41 left. Florida is holding on to a 54-49 lead. the defending national champions withstand a game effort by plucky Purdue in a 74-67 victory Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Ninth-seeded Purdue played just about how it wanted against the Gators -- slowing down the tempo, rebounding well with a smaller lineup and keeping the game close much of the way. But the top-seeded Gators took advantage of their tournament experience. They never panicked and made several clutch shots down the stretch to advance to the round of 16.

UNLV 74 Wisconsin 68

Seventh-seeded UNLV (30-6) led by 12 at the half, but Wisconsin rallied with 11 straight points. A 16-2 run gave the Badgers a five-point lead to the delight of their red-clad fans at the United Center. Still it wasn't enough as thr Running Rebels advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Southern Illinois 63 Virginia Tech 48

Driven by the tenacious defense instilled during those workouts -- and three big 3-pointers by Jamaal Tatum -- Southern Illinois pulled away from Virginia Tech 63-48 Sunday in the second round of the West Regional. The Salukis advance to meet the Kansas-Kentucky winner in a regional semifinal on Thursday night in San Jose, Calif. Rest assured that neither team wants to face a team so dedicated to floor burns and physical play.

Oregon 75 Winthrop 61

The third-seeded Ducks (28-7), who have won more games than any Oregon team since the 1944-45 squad won 30, will play seventh-seeded UNLV in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional in St. Louis.

Memphis 78 Nevada 62

A deep, versatile Memphis club pulled together and shut out Nick Fazekas and Nevada over the final 6:17 Sunday, carrying the Tigers to a 78-62 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and bumping the nation's longest winning streak to 24 in a row.

Kansas 88 Kentucky 76

This rout was practically a repeat of last year's meeting between the teams in Lawrence, Kan. Rush led the way in that one, a 73-46 blowout that was Kentucky's worst loss in Tubby Smith's 10 years as coach.

USC 87 Texas 68

The fifth-seeded Trojans (25-11) got 20 points from Daniel Hackett and 17 points and 14 rebounds from Taj Gibson a 6-foot-9 freshman. USC won by playing smarter, more disciplined basketball, especially on the defensive end, and looking much more like a team in doing it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March Madness Day Three

The first week of the tournament is my favorite, maybe that is why I wouldn't mind seeing the madness expanded to 96-128 teams. Realistically while we have seen some pretty good games so far there hasn't been any earth shaking upsets as of yet, plus we have seen some teams that were definitely over classed such as Niagra.

The second round starts today. The big game most of us will be watching is WSU vs Vanderbilt. Should be a pretty good game that will go down to the buzzer. Vandy was pretty impressive against GW. The Cougars have their work cut out to get to Sweet Sixteen.

Husky Women are One and Done

Once the 3-pointers started falling and the crowd started rocking, Washington didn't stand a chance. Nicky Wieben scored 11 of her 18 points in the second half and Toccara Ross added 12 points to lead the sixth-seeded Cyclones to a 79-60 victory over 11th-seeded Washington in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. Iowa State (26-8) overcame a shoddy start by shutting down Huskies star Cameo Hicks early. Hicks finished with 19 points for Washington (18-13), but missed seven of her first nine shots and didn't get going until the game was out of reach midway through the second half.

I don't think just getting there was enough for June to keep her job. I am pretty sure Turner has had someone else in mind for quite some time. Every school Turner has been at has had a stellar womens basketball program. Look for him to make a change if the right person is available. Look for the Daugherty's to land on their feet.

Ohio State pull's it out in overtime

Xavier vs Ohio St has been a great game so far. Xavier leads by nine with around seven minutes to go in the game. Greg Oden has been on the sidelines because of foul trouble. Xavier is about to knock off the #1 seed leading 59-50 with 2:54 left in the game. Ohio State just hit a threemand then stole the inbound pass, then they hit a basket and are fouled in the 59-58 Xavier with 1:35 left. Xavier heads to the line for two, and hits both 61-58 with 1:14 left. Oden heads to the line after a foul and bricks the first and hits the second. 61-59 Xavier with less 43.3 remaining. Oden makes a great defensive play but Ohio State does not convert at the other end, Oden fouls out with just 9.3 ticks left. Xavier heads to the line to shoot two, if they hit them both consider it over. Xavier hits only one. Ohio State hits a three with 2 seconds to go and we are going to overtime. Greg Oden has fouled out so Xavier has an advantage so to speak. Just a fantastic game, and yes I always root for the mid majors. Ohio State is leading 76-67 with a minute to go and it looks like they have survived the scare.

Butler Bounces Maryland

Butler and Maryland have tipped off and it is 19-18 Terrapins midway through the first half. 6:43 left in the second half and Butler is leading 51-46. 61-59 with four seconds left in the game and Buler is at the line. Butler hits one of the two, 62-59, and there is a scramble on the floor after the shot....Butler is headed to the Sweet Sixteen!

Texas A&M Edges Louisville

Louisville and Texas A&M are knotted up at 28 at the half. 35-29 Louisville with around 17 minutes left in the second half. Louisville is about to take control of this one. I wasn't impressed with the Aggie's on Thursday. 16:18 left and A&M leads by one 35-34 but Louisville is stepping up the press. 9:02 left in this one and is tied at 56. The game is being played in Lexington so there is a very loud Louisville contingent. 5:58 left and the Cardinals have stretched it out a bit to a 63-57 lead. 3:48 left and it is Louisville 65-62. 3:24 left and A&M leads 66-65.

This is another fantastic game and with 1:46 left A&M leads 68-67. 29.8 seconds to go, and Louisville just missed two at the line. A&M heads to the line after the scramble and misses two. So it is 70-69 A&M with 16.4 seconds left and Louisville has the ball for what could be the last shot. Louisville gets a poor shot off and A&M gets the rebound and is immediately fouled with 1.7 seconds left. Texas A&M advances 72-69.

Vanderbilt beats WSU in Double Overtime

Vanderbilt, and WSU have tipped off and the Cougars are off to a 9-8 lead. 12:06 left in the first half and the game is tied at 13. We have two very disciplined teams out there on the floor that are pretty evenly matched. The team who makes the least mistakes will win this one. 8:35 left and the Cougars are up 18-13. 6:32 left and it is WSU 20-14. 4:48 and it is 22-19 WSU, this one is starting to heat up a bit. 3:03 and WSU is up 28-21. WSU 31 -23 after a very nice three from the corner, 2:16 left in the half. 33-25 WSU at the half. 39-30 with 16:09 left.

The second half has started and the Cougars still lead 37-27. It looks like the Cougars have been wearing the Commodore's down. 15:27 left 41-33 WSU leads. 11:24 left and Vandy is scratching itself back into the game trailing by only two points. 51-49 WSU and the Cougars have their hands full in this one, 10:04 remaining.

Oh oh...Vandy has taken the lead 55-52 over WSU with 7:43 left. No need to panic Coug fans, but they need to start shooting better. 56-55 WSU with six minutes to go. 3:22 left and WSU holds on to a 58-57 lead.

59-57 WSU with 1:45 left. 1:10 left and Vandy hits a three to take a 60-59 lead. Coug's hit one at the line to tie it at 60. Vandy has the ball with 37 seconds left in the game. 24.1 left and Ivory Clark makes a great defensive stop. This one is headed to overtime.

67-64 with 2:14 left in overtime as Vandy hits a three to take the lead, but Low answers 67-66 Vandy with 1:45 left. 69-66 Vandy with 40 seconds left, and WSU hits a three to tie. 30 seconds left Vandy is playing for the last shot, and loses the ball out of bounds but keeps possession. 8 seconds left and the season is in the blance for the Cougars.

Vandy did more things right than the Cougars in the second overtime, but WSU still had a chance at the end but couldn't put the ball in the hole. Vandy advances 78-74.

Georgetown Escapes BC

Georgetown has moved out to a 12-7 lead, BC just went on a five point run. 11:48 left and GTown is up 15-8. 17-14 Hoya's, and Kate is predicting an 8:06 left and it is tied at 19. 7:41 left and GTown is up 22-19. The Eagles though have picked it up. BC now leads 28-24 with 3:53 left in the first half. 28-24 BC with around 2 minutes to go. 30-26 BC at the half. Nice half for BC.

BC leads 36-29 with 18:oo left.....could be an upset brewing here. 12:07 left and it is tied at 39. Georgetown is asserting itself on the glass and takes a 41-39 lead with 11:25 remaining. This one is going down to the wire and you have to appreciate the athletes the Hoya's put on the floor. 50-49 Hoya's lead. 1:58 left in this one and GTown 56-53. BC loses 62-55.

Virginia Commonwealth Falls to Pittsburgh in OT

These guys just tipped off. I think Pitt's backcourt is going to be exposed this afternoon, 9-6 Pitt with 16:13 left in the first. 16-11 Pitt with around 12 minutes left. 8:58 left and Pit still leads 22-15. Pitt leads 24-19 with 7:23 left. 28-19 Pitt with 5:16 left in the half. 34-22 with 4:15 left in the half. 3:46 and it 34-22. I have been waiting for VCU to make a move with the quickness in the backcourt but Pitt has held them in check so far. Time for VCU to turn up the pressure.

51-36 Pitt with around ten minutes left. VCU hasn't been able to put up a challenge. 35-16 run by VCU has tied the game with one minute to go. This one ended up in overtime after not being very competitve early. 33.5 left and it is 80-77 Pitt. 80-79 with 19 seconds left and Pitt is at the line. 82-79 Pitt with 19 to go. Pitt wins 84-79.

North Carolina Pulls away from Michigan State

Michigan St and North Carolina have tipped off with UNC grabbing an early 6-4 lead. UNC is another #1 seed in peril since Michigan State is a pretty good team. 11:28 left and UNC leads 19-18. 26-23 with 7:58 to go. 36-27 UNC with 4:37 left. 41-33 UNC at the half. 43-38 with 19:11 left. 48-47 UNC with 12:52 left. 54-54 with 9:34 left. MSU has been staying in this thing all night. 62-59 with six minutes to go UNC. 1:53 in this one and UNC looks like they have put it away leading 74-65. 81-67 UNC wins.

UCLA Holds Off Indiana

They have finally have tipped off and the Bruins are off to a 6-0 lead. Shades of Henry is only 10-9 UCLA with 7:59 left in the first half. 13-11 with 5:49 to go in the high scoring affair. 15:11 with 2:06 left. 20-13 UCLA at the half. 34-22 with 11:51 to go.

UCLA wakes up in the second half and goes on a 7-0 run, 27-13 UCLA. 41-29 with 7:16 left in the game. Looks like UCLA will advance unless something drastic happens. Drastic has happened as usual in this tournament, and Indiana has rallied. 2:38 left and it is 46-43 UCLA. 1:44 left, and it is 47-45. 1:01 left and Indiana has tied it at 49. 38 seconds left 51-49 UCLA. 53-49 UCLA with 28 seconds left. UCLA wins 54-49.

Friday, March 16, 2007

March Madness Day Two

Only one big upset yesterday as Duke was eliminated in the first round. The rest of the games went pretty much as expected. Gonzaga went out after a loss to Indiana and frankly didn't play very well yesterday. Would Heytvelt have made a difference? He could have, but they were not a Final Four contender with him despite what the local newspapers say. For some reason this edition of Gonzaga was not as cohesive as in past years.

The Cougars are going to be facing a very potent Vanderbilt team on Saturday. Vanderbilt just took apart George Washington in dominating fashion last night. I think the Coug's can get by Vandy, but it is going to be close.

Morning Games

Virginia is crushing Albany 32-14 early in the first half. It is now up to 43-21 with Virginia heading into to cruise mode. 45-25 Virginia at the half. 70-49 Virginia with around five minutes left. Virginia wins 84-57.

UNLV leads Georgia Tech 11-8 in the early going. UNLV is really taking it to Georgia Tech 21-10 with 7:51 left. Georgia Tech is in serious trouble, they aren't playing well today. The guy's doing the seeds know what they are doing, quite a bit of difference between #7 UNLV, and #11 GTU. 33-26 at the half. It is tied at 46 with ten to go. Tech is the second team from the ACC to get bounced early this year. UNLV advances 67-63.

North Texas is surprising Memphis 17-11 in the early going. Memphis holds a 23-22 lead with 8:09 left in the first. You would expect Memphis to break out against these guys soon, but NTU leads by one with six minutes left. Memphis's top player was called for a double foul earlier in the game, and that has really evened things up as he sat on the bench with three. 28-28 with four minutes left in the half. 37-28 Memphis at the half. 46-38 with 13 minutes to go. 67-56 Memphis with 3 minutes left. Memphis advances with a 73-58 win.

Irish Eyes Aren't Smiling

Wow.... welcome to the NBA....Tennessee put away Long Beach State 121-86. The point total matched the most in a first-round game, set by UNLV in 1977 against San Francisco.

Winthrop upset Notre Dame at Spokane today 74-64 to win their first game in NCAA tournament play.

Wisconsin put away Texas A&M Corpus Christi 76-73.

Nevada beats Creighton in overtime 77-71.

Duck's Sneak By Miami

The Duck's have been slowed down by Miami of Ohio but hold a 25-22 lead at the half. 48-40 Oregon with around eight minutes left in the game. Oregon is about ready to put this one away in the next couple of minutes. 54-46 Oregon with 4:24 left, and Miami still has a little life in them if they can hit some three's. Crunch time with 41 ticks left and Oregon is only up by one, and Miami is going to get a chance at the end for a three to tie it. 21.1 seconds left and Miami has the ball down by three after a couple of Brooks foul shots. Duck's go on to win after Miami misses a three. Ducks get the rebound, Miami fouls, and this one is over 58-56 as Miami hits a three from midcourt to close out the game. Duck's are going to need to play better to beat Winthrop.

No Surprises in Early Evening Games

Kansas is pounding Niagra 52-27 at the half. they end up winning big 107-67.

Illinois leads Virginia Tech 29-21 at the half. The Illini can't put it together in the second half and lose by two 54-52.

Purdue leads Arizona 29-25 at the half. Arizona is the second Pac Ten team to fall in the first round losing 72-63. Lute Olson, Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski are already in the Basketball Hall of Fame. What else do they have in common? They're all out of the NCAA tournament.

New Mexico St trails Texas 29-23 at the half. Texas goes on to win 79-67.

USC advances in the nightcap

Villanova falls to Kentucky 67-58.

Southern Illinois had little problem with Holy Cross winning 61-51.

Jackson State is humbled by Florida 112-69.

Southern California is one of four Pac Ten teams to advance to the next round beating Arkansas 77-67. Taj Gibson finished with 18 points and eight rebounds to lead the Trojans.

Weekly Poll Question

Last weeks question was a follow up to the previous weeks question. How many yards of total offense per game do you expect the Huskies to gain in 2007?

The decided majority expected Washington to average around 400 yards per game which would be a huge improvement over the last few years. I agree, and think the Huskies will be more potent on offense. In fact I think they average a little over 400 yards per game in 2007.

I penciled the Huskies in for 195 rushing yards per game, and if you go back a few posts to last weeks post I explain the reasoning behind it. The other component of total offense is of course the passing game which is another area Washington has struggled with since Cody Pickett was injured a few years ago.

There is a new sheriff in town by the name of Jake Locker. Now I don't expect him to win a Heisman in his second year, I do expect him to be able to pass more accurately, and make better reads than Stanback which will result in less turnovers, and more receivers being involved. How many times have we watched Husky QB's the last four years lock on their primary receiver only to miss other open guys out there. I think Locker will be an improvement in that area.

The Huskies passed the ball for an average of 193 yards per game last year using three different signal callers. Stanback averaged only 165 yards passing per game in his eight appearances last year. I think that can be improved on quite a bit.

Locker is going to have better targets next year, let me explain why.

Marcel Reese is going to be stud now that he is in shape, knows the offense, and is familiar with the QB's. As far as possession receiving goes the Huskies have four seniors, Ellis, Russo, Williams, and a healthy Quinton Daniels. They add speed and big play ability with Boyles who should be in the rotation from the get go. Don't count out Aguilar who is also very talented.

We need to use our TE's, and FB's better this season. Kirton, Gottleib, and Lewis all return, and Izbicki could play early since Ty feels he is the complete package. Homer has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield which has been lacking from the position for a few years.

Locker is a mobile QB, just like Bonnell, and Stanback were, this helps a young offensive line, and buys some time to make things happen. With more balance being provided by the running game the Huskies should have less third, and longs this season which gives them less predictability.

USC led the conference in passing last year with an average of 263 yards per game.
Oregon led the conference in total offense with 423 per game.

I think the Huskies will be pretty balanced passing for just under 200 per game, and running the ball for about the same amount. That would give the Huskies around 390 yards per game by my estimation. Not exactly BCS material unless you have a great defense, like SC did last year, but it will get you to a bowl game.

Scoring average at Washington has been a problem during the rebuilding process. The Huskies have only averaged around 20-21 points per game over the last three years, and that won't do it. The Dawg's need to figure out a way to score 10 more points per game to make a move to the upper division, and increasing their total offense by 80 yards per game, and having a stronger running game to pick up those first downs in short yardage situations will go a long way toward solving the problem.

This Weeks Poll Question

How many points per game will Washington score next season?

We already figured in a balanced offense averaging around 400 yards per game. We also know the the Dawg's have been averaging around 20-21 points per game over the last few years. California led the conference last year scoring around 32 points per game, while USC, and Oregon tallied in with 30.5, and 29.5 respectively.

The question is how many extra points, will 80 extra yards, improved special teams, and hopefully a more opportunistic defense get you in 2007?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March Madness

March Madness starts today across the country and the Northwest has three entrants in the annual bash, WSU, Gonzaga, and Oregon. Based on how things are seeded it looks like the Duck's have the best opportunity to advance the farthest if they can stay hot. Oregon was very impressive during the Pac Ten tournament and are obviously the hottest team on the West Coast that will be headed to the tournament.

I will be rooting for the Cougars who are an enjoyable team to watch as they out discipline their opponents. The Coug's picked up a #3 and they open it up this morning against Oral Roberts. The Zag's in a down year, picked up the #10 seed, and as usual will be dangerous. They play Indiana in the opener and should be able to get by the Hoosier's for the second straight year.

I always purchase the Direct TV package that allows me access to all the games in their entirety. I hate it when they switch from one of the local teams, and being in Chicago it isn't like any of the teams I watch are local.

The first rounds of the tournament, are what makes this thing a spectacle. I wouldn't mind at all if they expanded the thing to 128 teams. I am a big fan of the little guy's knocking off the big guy's, and it happens every year. So here is to the Winthrop's, and George Mason's of the world, today is your day!

Early Games

Stanford is getting pounded by Louisville 41-16 in the early going, just think that could be Washington. Stanford continues to be blown out trailing 52-25 with 15 to go. the Tree falls hard 78-58.

Boston College and Texas Tech are tied at 39 as we near the end of the first half. BC has more talent, but Tech has coach Knight. BC is up 72-68 with 6 minutes left. BC wins 84-75.

Davidson is giving Maryland a run for the money trailing 44-43 at the half. Could the first upset of the day be already coming? Davidson looks tough. Still close at 58-57 Maryland with 10:46 to go. The Terrapins outlast Davidson 82-70.

WSU wins it's opener against Oral Roberts

The Cougars have taken the floor in Sacramento. Oral Roberts is off to a small 13-10 lead with 12:22 left. 20-16 Oral Roberts with 7:40 left in the first. Coug's finish strong with 4 straight points and head to the dressing room down 28-26 at the half.

The Cougars are stretching it out in the second half against Oral Roberts running to a 49-39 lead with 11:58 left in the first half. Look like the Cougars are in control of this one. Coug's go on to win 70-54.

Watch out for the Ivy League early

Belmont is off to an early lead over Georgetown, don't figure for it to last too long. It didn't last too long as Georgetown went on a 16-1 run, they lead 18-12. Georgetown leads 38-25 at the half. 69-46 G-Town with a couple of minutes left. 80-55 Georgetown wins.

Texas A&M and Penn have tipped it off with A&M off to a 5-0 lead. With 31 ticks left in the first they continue to lead 31-18. Penn has closed to 35-29 with 14:24 left. Penn has now taken the lead 39-37 with 12:22 left. always beware of an Ivy League team in the early rounds. 47-41 A&M with 6:29 to go.

Old Dominion and Butler are under way tied at nine with 10:18 left in the half. Butler leads Old Dominion 41-32 with 8:37 left. 51-42 Butler with 1:28 left.

Vanderbilt and George Washington are tipping off. Vandy jumps out to a 13-5 lead with 13:40 remaining in the first. Looks like the Commodore's are going to be playing WSU next as they hold a 50-21 lead over GW with 17 minutes remaining. This one has never been in doubt. Vandy wins going away 77-44.

Dukies are first big name to fall

Duke is off to a 14-7 lead over VCU, but the Blue Devils only lead by a basket at the half 40-38. This game has been close all night and VCU leads 76-74 with a 1:19 to go. The first big name to go down today is Duke who falls to Virginia Commonwealth 70-77.

Marquette has been no match for Michigan State trailing 30-18 at the half. 61-49 win for MSU.

Ohio State is leading Central Connecticut St 17-3 with 12 minutes left in the first half. 66-24 Ohio State with 16:29 left. OSU goes on to win 78-57.

UCLA is killing Weber State 37-19 lead at the half. Looks like the Pac Ten will go 2-1 today, UCLA wins 70-42.

The Nightcap

Pitt is off to a 15-4 lead against Wright State. Wright has come back to tie it up with less than five minutes left in the first half 25-25. 43-30 Pitt at the half. Pitt has stretched it out to 57-38.

UNC is off to an early 9-3 lead over Eastern Kentucky. 24-6 with 12:38 to go. 47-35 UNC at the half. Eastern has closed UNC's lead to four with 15:54 left, nice turn around. The #1 seed in the East is in peril. 57-46 UNC with 11:21 left.

BYU is off to a 14-2 start against Xavier. The X-Men have recovered from a slow start and are now behind by two, 28-26. 38-32 at the half BYU. This is a tie game at 55 with 10:29 left. Xavier is now up by 6 in a dramatic turn around. This is a great game tied at 75 with a minute to go. 79-75 Xavier with only seconds left.

Zag's are One and Done!

Indiana has been able to stretch the Gonzaga with 3's early and is off to a 20-15 lead with 9:48 left in the half. 30-27 with 3:42 left Indiana. 34-29 at the half Indiana. The second half has started and Indiana is up 36-33. Indiana has the advantage inside as leading 43-35 with 14:35 left. Zag's need to start hitting from the outside to loosen things up. Zag's go on a 6-0 run and cut the Indiana lead to 45-41. Indiana back up by ten just that quick, and the Hoosiers are in the bonus. The Zags are down by 12 with 7:44 left, looks like Cinderella won't find her slipper this year. 70-57 win for Indiana.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pac Ten Alley

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.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Monday Morning Wash

The story of the weekend is Washington was snubbed by the NIT which is a surprise at first glance since Washington finished 19-13, and were in one of the toughest conferences in the country. They even beat the #3 team in the country, UCLA, only a week ago at home.

At second glance when you look at the NIT lineup you only see one team, NC State, who has a worse record than Washington in the field. You can say that Washington was a bubble team for this event when you look at the participants records. The lack of a definitive road win, or two probably was the deciding factor, and frankly, Washington isn't very good away from home.

Romar's initial comments lead us to believe that there is more than basketball going on here, and Washington must have been left out for other reasons. I am sure more of that will bubble to the surface this week, but if you look at the field, it seems the inability to win on the road was the deciding factor.

The NCAA took over the NIT this year, and dropped the field from 40 to 32 teams. One major change was that the NIT guaranteed automatic berths to those teams that won their conference, but didn't win their conference tournament. That took up eight berth's.

I personally think the post season NIT will go away sometime in the near future, and the Big Dance will expand to as many as 128 teams. The pre season NIT would continue to exist under the format, and be expanded to let's say 64 teams, that would allow both tournaments the opportunity to showcase the very best, and of course maximize the all important TV dollars for the member schools. Just think how much money could be made with an extra week of the Big Dance? How much money would they make if they selected the top 64 teams each year to play in a tournament right after Thanksgiving to kick off the season?

Bob Condotta posts some of the reactions this morning from members of the team, and actually posted the email addresses of every person on the selection committee.

Art Thiel of the PI gives his take on the selection process. All the area papers are in agreement that Washington and the Pac Ten were screwed.

Perhaps the most jagged part of the incredulity is that a few hours earlier, the Pac-10 advanced six teams into the NCAA field, tying the conference record and matching all but the ACC this season. The selection committee validated the season-long contention among West Coast hoops observers that the Pac-10 deserved national eminence. The Huskies were a part of it, not apart from it.

Nathan Ware who is the PI's designated fan blogger points out the geographic bias in selecting teams for the tournament.

Apparently, the NIT selection committee is full of idiots. In announcing their 32-team field, they seemed to forget that there was a pretty good team in Seattle that deserved an invitation. As a matter of fact, they apparently are too old to stay up and watch much basketball late at night because they could only find room for 5 teams west of the Mississippi River.

Husky Football

Not much to report concerning the football team this week, and that should continue till the start of Spring practice unless UW picks up another local recruit....Todd Turner's latest blog entry reports that the Legends Center, and weight room expansion should be finished by September 29th which should give recruiting this Fall a boost....The stadium remodel plans are moving along as Washington is working on putting together it's fund raising program. The biggest component of course is a major multi million dollar contribution to get the momentum rolling.... .

Spring Sports and Winter Championships

Washington senior Ryan Brown became just the second Husky track and field athlete in the past 38 years to win multiple NCAA titles Saturday, coming from 10 meters back on the final lap to win the 800-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Brown's win helped the Washington men to a tie for seventh in the final team standings, the best-ever performance by a UW men's team indoors.

The 10th-ranked University of Washington softball team (18-4) defeated Missouri 6-4 Sunday morning to round out the Pac-10/Big XII Face-Off with a 3-2 record. Sophomore Caitlin Noble (7-2) earned the victory while sophomore Marnie Koziol went 2-for-3 from the plate.

The 31st-ranked Washington men's golf team shot its best round of the tournament - 10-over 298 - in Sunday's final round to finish 12th overall at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Championship hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev.

University of Washington sophomore Kim Jasmer capped off the 2007 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday night with a 14th place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle. She scored nine points overall to lead UW to a 35th place finish at the national meet.

Alex Slovic, and Daniel Chu each won their Husky record 78th career doubles match, and Slovic added his 87th career singles win as No. 19 Washington (10-3) beat Gonzaga (5-7) on Friday at the Nordstrom Tennis Center. The Huskies defeated Gonzaga 7-0 to earn their 18th-straight home victory.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Weekly Poll Question

The vote this week was pretty split, but by a narrow margin the consensus predicted UW would run for over 190 yards per game next season. I agree, and I also picked the Huskies to dramatically improve on the ground next year.

Why the optimism, have I lost my objectivity?

I think Jake Locker will actually be more of a threat than Stanback because I believe he will make better decisions, and handle the ball better from the onset of his career. IS never knew when to run even though he started catching on last year, Locker on the other hand is a beast, and he will run as well, or better than IS. IS averaged around 44 yards per game last season, and I am putting Locker down for the same.

What about Carl Bonnell? He is going to get a chance to hold on to the starting job, and when healthy does a credible job, but I think the better, more durable athlete wins the starting job, but Carl will see quality time.

Rankin averaged 55 yards a game last year, and his counterpart Kenny James averaged 41 while being banged up most of the year. Rankin returns, and is good for about the same based on his past history. I however think we go with a rotation of 3 backs this year to keep him from wearing down which has been a problem the last two years.

IS didn't run the option well at all, so Locker is an upgrade in that department which means the RB's get a little more help on the outside turning the corner. Hasty to me is an enigma....he started out great on the Scout Team, and they almost played him as a true freshman, then he arrived for Spring Football weighing too much, and became a credits casualty in the Fall. I am looking forward to seeing what he looks like in the Spring.

Another reason I am optimistic is because I think the frosh are good enough to play right away. They better be, because Michael Houston is transferring. Shaw, Johnson, and Griffin make up an impressive class. All three are going to get a chance to play early, and earn time in the rotation next year. Williams, and Yakaboski will start off at TB too, but I think after a quick look they will migrate to other positions.

Our Fullbacks weren't a factor last year, but I think Homer is ready to get 4-5 carries per game, and that is worth at least 15 yards. Homer was special teams beast as a true freshman. A year to get stronger and quicker should help him as he moves into the starting position.

The horses up front are in year three under Mike Denbrock and while they need to replace two guys inside they should be able to do it with guys who have a higher ceiling than Daniels, and Walker who didn't really get better each year. Ben Ossai had a tough first year as a starter, but a year of experience, and another year in the weight room should yield marked improvement.

Rankin 60
Hasty 50
Locker 45
Shaw, Johnson, or Griffin 25 (Combined)
Homer 15

You add that all together, and you get 195 yards per game. 195 yards per game would have led the conference last season. In most season's it will put you at least in the top three, and that is where you need to be if you are going anywhere in the post season.

So anyway lets file this one away for Fall and see how well the prediction works out.

This Weeks Poll Question

This weeks poll question is how many yards of total offense do you predict the Huskies will have next season per game?

Here is a little background information for comparison, so you can gauge it by what we did last year, and how our competition did this past season, and in the past.

Oregon led the conference last year with an average of 423 yards of total offense per game. Cal followed at 415, and conference champion USC rang up 391, which was down considerably from their conference record of 560 yards of offense in

Washington finished with an average of 321 total yards per game last year which was good for eight in the conference. Arizona, and Stanford were the worst, chiming in at 252, and 231 respectively, so it could have been worse.

For the record in 2006 the Huskies rushed for 127 ypg, and passed for 193, totaling 321.

Where do you think they will end up in 2008?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

WSU beats UW for third straight time

Pretty exciting day so far in the tournament, first Oregon cruised by Arizona to start the day 69-50. The Duck's are looking very dangerous right now. California came up with a big time upset, and made the Huskies road to the title a little easier by knocking off UCLA 76-69 in overtime. Underdog Stanford is on top of USC at the half 42-31. 5:21 now left and USC has closed the gap after trailing most of the game to 59-58.

The Huskies are facing a team tonight that they haven't beaten in two years. They got close last time in Seattle, but they are going to have their work cut out for them. Win this one tonight, and the Huskies will face a couple of teams they have beaten this year, and played well against. See you at tip off.

Stanford and USC are tied at 69 at the end of regulation, so they are going to overtime which will make this a pretty late start back here in Chicago. USC wins in overtime 83-76 and advances to play the winner of the UW/WSU game tomorrow.

Tight evenly played game so far with WSU leading 13-11 with 12:04 to go in the first half. Washington is working patiently for high percentage shots. Low scoring game as usual with Washington leading 19-17 with 6:38 left. The Huskies aren't rushing it out there, and Artem Wallace is playing pretty well tonight. Ivory Clark has hit a couple in a row, but UW still has a 23-21 lead at the 4:33 mark. Pondexter is playing well tnoight, he has scored the last two baskets and UW leads 25-21. Dawg's are playing some great defense tonight, and dominating the boards. Appleby hits from long range and Washington is now up 28-21.

Lowe hits for five points in two possessions, Appleby hits another 3, and Rochester of WSU hits another for 2, followed by another Wallace basket, and it is 33-28. Wallace is playing great tonight with Hawes in foul trouble.

Appleby is hot tonight and hits another from long distance and the Huskies lead by 6, Coug's answer for 2 before the half ends, and Washington heads into the locker room leading 36-32.

The Huskies are led by Pondexter with 10, Appleby with 9, Wallace with 8, and Brockman 7. Very balanced scoring attack tonight for the Dawg's. Hawes has been on the bench most of the half with foul trouble, but Wallace has responded with his best game as a Dawg. UW needs to just keep doing what they have been doing to get a victory....great half.

First half starts a little sloppy, and Cowgill is leading the charge for WSU, 36-35 UW. Brockman has hit the last two baskets for the Dawg's, love it when he gets going, 40-37 with 17 minutes left. Coug's go on a five point run to take the lead 42-40. WSU is doing a good job penetrating on offense to start the second half. The Huskies need to figure out an answer, 45-41 WSU with 15:46 left.

Huskies are getting sloppy on offense and the Cougars are on a 9-1 run, 48-43 WSU with 13:48 left. Great block by Adrian Oliver on the defensive end.

8:11 left and this game is getting physical, but it is a well officiated game. Oliver has scred twice in the last minute and the score is tied 54-54 after a 9-2 UW run. Cowgill hits for two, 56-54 WSU, 7:04 remaining.

3:41 left in this one and WSU leads 61-58. UW needs a run right now to be in control during the last minute. Dentmon just fouled out with 3:08 left...that could be a problem. I wonder who is going to handle the rock?

Spencer drops one and it is 63-60 with 2:30 left, and Hawes draws his 4th foul on the defensive end, Romar has to leave him in. Coug's hit both shots and are back up by five. Pondexter for 2, Coug's by 3. Coug's hit a three, then Spencer answers for 2, 68-64.

Cougars should win this one, they take a 70-64 lead with 30 seconds left in the game. Washington loses the last three minutes of the game like they did in Seattle, but give the Coug's credit, they made the shots they had to make, and the Huskies played well even though they lost tonight. 74-64 WSU.

Gonzaga Blocks Seattle U.

Seatttle University's proposed move back to Division One was met with a blow this week when the WCC announced that the conference had no plans to expand now, or in the near future. The WCC is made up of mostly Jesuit schools on the West Coast. Denver, and Seattle U were both candidates to move into the conference expanding it to ten teams.

The catalyst for the decision was Gonzaga University who does not want any additional WCC games added to it's schedule. Gonzaga also doesn't want to give up it's presence in Seattle for recruiting, scheduling non conference game's, and pre season tournaments. Adding Seattle U. to the conference would complicate matters for Gonzaga on all fronts. Gonzaga is currently the tail that wags the dog in the WCC. The Zag's have grown into a national power who play the majority of their games on ESPN. Two more conference games means two less marquee opponents for the Zag's to play on ESPN.

Seattle U. hasn't given up it's quest for Division One, but now it's options are much more limited.
Option #1 would be too play an independent schedule which is tough since there are only around ten independent teams left in the country. Five of those teams however are in the Western United States....North Dakota St, South Dakota State, UC Davis, Utah Valley St, and Texas-Pan American.

Option #2 would be too try to get into the West's other basketball only conference, the Big West which is made up of entirely of California school's who probably have little interest in playing in Seattle.

Option #3 would be playing in the Sun Belt as a basketball only member. The Sun Belt has an open door policy concerning membership, but the closest opponents would be in West Texas, and Colorado, with the majority East of the Mississippi.

Option #4 would be applying for membership in the Big Sky as a basketball only member. Gonzaga once had such a relationship with the Big Sky before joining the WCC. The Big Sky currently has nine members, and is in an expansion mode, but they historically prefer schools that also play football.

With rejoining the WCC not a current option, the broader question of SU's athletic conference alignment remains. In May, Seattle University's Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet to discuss the task force findings and will be using that opportunity to discuss the role of athletics in contributing to the educational experience and the quality of student life at Seattle University.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Four games on Thursday

The Pac Ten Tournament has a full slate of four games tomorrow starting at noon Pacific time.

Our Huskies square off against a very good WSU team for the third time this season. WSU embarrased us in Pullman, and while we got close in Seattle, the Cougars were able to pull it out in the last three minutes.

Washington can beat these guys, but we need to shoot much better than we did last night against ASU. Keeping the bigs out of foul trouble is another key.

Thursday's Slate

Arizona and Oregon at 12:00 PM PST

California and UCLA at 2:30 PM PST

Stanford and USC at 6:00 PM PST

Washington and Washington State 8:30 PM PST

If the Huskies get by the Cougars they will likely play USC on Friday night. The Huskies lost in triple overtime in LA early this year, and then had no problem with Troy last week in Seattle. Win that one and they probably have a rematch against UCLA for all the marbles. First things first, they need to find a way to beat the Cougars.

Huskies get by Sun Devils 59-51

We are getting close to tip off at Staples Center in Los Angeles. California is beating Oregon St 58-46 with five minutes left in the first game of the evening. Looks like the Beavers are going to exit early as predicted. Cal finished off OSU 71-50, so the Bear's live to play another day.

Washington is off to it's typical slow start on the road trailing Arizona State 19-10 with 9:53 to go in the first half. Tough to say why Washington doesn't get it going away from home with so much on the line this late in the season. Crowd noise isn't a factor on a neutral court. ASU is fiesty and dangerous, like UW they started to come together, but with far less talent on the roster than UW.

5:53 left in the first half and Washington has started a mini run closing the ASU lead to 22-17. The key is Washington is getting the ball inside to Brockman, and Hawes who the Sun Devils really don't have an answer for. The officials are calling the game pretty close right now, lots of ticky tack fouls.

24-2o with 4:29 left in the half after Pondexter complete a 3 point play after he was fouled. Pondexter missed the foul shot, UW isn't shooting very well from the line tonight. Appleby misses badly on a three but Hawes outs in the rebound, 24-22 with 3:40 remaining. 24-24 after Hawes puts back another offensive rebound in the hole. The Huskies switched from zone to man, and it has tightened up the game after a slow start. One thing in the Huskies favor is it looks like our big guys will dominate if we can get them the ball inside.

1:10 left and Brockman, and Hawes are creating havoc inside. The Huskies have moved out to a 29-24 lead after a couple of Pondexter free throws. ASU has certainly cooled down as UW has gone on a 22 -3 run to take a 32-24 lead at the intermission.

The Huskies at the half are led by Brockman with 12 points, and 7 rebounds, followed by Hawes with 7 points, and 8 boards. I like the new Spencer. Not a great half shooting for either team, the difference so far is at the free throw line for UW.

15:27 left in the game and Washington is up 36-29. Brockman is still a best on the inside. The Huskies can put this one away if they start hitting from the outside. ASU has tightened up their defense. Hawes is out right now, and ASU is making a run at UW with 14:06 left 36-33. ASU is getting right back in it after a 9-4 run. Hawes just made a great look off move as he drove the lane for two, but ASU answers with 3, 38-36 UW.

Appleby is pretty cold tonight (1-8), and Brockman is on the bench with three fouls. It is different team when one of the big men is on the bench. ASU just hit another 3, then Appleby turn it over Devils up by one, and the Huskies are stalling again on offense. Dentmon hits one from outside and the Huskies go up 41-39.

Brockman is coming back in with 10:01 left and ASU up 43-41. The Huskies are not hanling the ball well making one bad pass after another in the second half, lots of unforced errors. Brockman just drew is 4th foul....yikes, we are in trouble now. time for someone else to step up and fillt he void. The officials are really calling this one close, and it is really an ugly game because the teams can't get into any type of rythym. 45-41 ASU with 8:03 remaining. the Huskies are only shooting 34% on the night.

Appleby finally hits after going 1-9, Huskies down by one, 45-44. ASU turns the ball over on the other side of the floor, maybe UW can go on a abit of a run now before Brockman returns. Pondexter gets a dunk after a scramble, UW 46-45 with 6:00 remaining. Expect Brockman to return within the next ninety seconds. Hopefully he can avoid drawing that 5th foul.

Artem Wallace gets beat badly inside, ASU up by one, 47-46. Hawes loses the ball on offense while trying to do too much, you can't dribble through three people. Brockman is back in the game with 4:20 left after Dentmon draws an offensive foul.

Dentmon just made a nice drive for 2 and the Huskies are back up by one. Arizona State's extended zone is clamping down at the point. ASU just turned the ball over, so UW has a chance to eat some clock and extend the lead. Hawes drops one in with 2:45 left, UW 50-47. Brockman hits one with 4 seconds left on the shot clock, 52-48 UW with 1:41 to go. 16 points and 9 rebounds to night in limited duty for Brockman.

UW just had a great defensive sequence where they didn't let ASU get a shot off before the shot clock expired. ASU is in fouling mode right now as ASU is trying to get into the penalty. Dentmon goes to the line, and misses so it pays off, UW needs to convert at the line tonght to win this one. Appleby gets fouled on the next possession, heads to the line and hits both of them to give UW a 54-48 lead with 53 seconds remaining, that should be enough to put this one away since ASU has been attrocious from outside tonight.

With 34 seconds left Appleby picks up a loose ball and his fouled again, he hits one, UW 55-48, and this one is about over. Brockman picks up a charge on the other end. UW responds by not being able to get the ball in play. They make up for it by making a steal. Appleby at the line one more time. He hits both and UW is up 57-48 with 20 seconds to play. ASU responds by hitting a, 57-51 UW.

Hawes hit 2 from the line, and Washington wins 59-51 to stay alive another day.