Home > Uncategorized > Day 1 At The Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament: An Exhilaratingly Sloppy Open

Day 1 At The Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament: An Exhilaratingly Sloppy Open

The worst part of Day 1 of the Pac-10 Conference Championship is exactly that number: 1

There is only one game during Wednesday’s opening round at Staples Center. As soon as you are getting settled in, the ushers are telling you it’s time to go. There should have been two games Wednesday, but USC just had to have a conscience, didn’t it? How selfish of them! Screw doing what’s right! What about the fans?!

At least that one game was entertaining. Hardly anyone was there to watch it and it was hard to watch at times. But in the end, Oregon won in overtime, 82-80, with the help of a true buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Truthfully, the Ducks sucked a little less than the Cougars. Here is my take through words and some (way-too-small) photos.

The game was a 8 p.m., so we got there at 6. Yeah, we got there a little early. I just couldn't wait to see the worst team take on the second-worst team in a horribly disappointing conference. And really, not many more seats were filled by tip-off time

  • I live on the West Coast and love following college basketball, but I’d be lying if I said I was really knowledgeable about the Pac-10. I would be if it was as good as usual. But it’s not even close. I did some research prior to the game and saw that Oregon bases its defense out of the 1-3-1 zone. When I got to the game, I saw one of the big reasons why Oregon is terrible this year: They can’t play in it.  They couldn’t stop anything out of that zone and fell behind quickly, 11-5.

But I give Ernie Kent some credit because after those first few minutes, Oregon mixed up its defenses — displaying some man-to-man and a few different zones — which seemed to really confuse Washington St.

  • To further display my lack of Pac-10 awareness. I didn’t know Kyle Singler’s brother, E.J., plays for Oregon. He scored the Ducks’ first five points … and then completely vanished from the court. Metaphorically at first. He returned briefly, just in time to record the overtime-forcing basket, and then honestly vanished from the court when he fouled out during overtime. He’s only a freshman, but I’m sure that Singler family is well aware of which horse to bet on.
  • Washington State had the ball, trailing by two with 16 seconds left in the OT. Supposedly, here is the play they set up during the timeout: Reggie Moore brings it in and holds it. He’s 2 for 8 from the field, but he holds it. He should try to find Klay Thompson, but he holds. And holds it. HOLDS IT! With five seconds left, he makes his move. Two steps in, two steps back and the fall-away 17-footer bounces off the rim as the ultimate horn sounds.

So in case you were wondering, Reggie Moore is not Kobe Bryant. It cost his team’s season to prove it.

  • Neither of these teams have ever practiced ball security. Ever. I’m sure of that. Errant and dropped passes, frenzied dribbling, interrupted dribbles that sent players to the floor not looking to call a timeout or hold on for a jump ball, but so they can blindly chuck it further down the court, basically hoping that one player in the same-colored jersey is not caught in the dog pile. You could tell that these were the two worst teams in the league.

    This halftime exhibition between 10-year-olds was nearly as fundamentally sound as the actual game

    • Game-deciding statistic: Oregon went 10 for 10 at the free-throw line; Washington State went 12 for 25.
    • Tajuan Porter, for a guy who is 5-foot-7, is a tough kid and an excellent scorer when hot. He scored 32 points and was the reason why Oregon had any chance in this game. But he took 28 shots while no other Duck took more than eight. He’s not afraid to go 1-on-4, but obviously that doesn’t always work out. Numerous times Wednesday he ran too fast for his own good and left the ball behind him. Dog pile ensues and purists shields their eyes.
    • I’m a little discouraged that the Ducks won. Now, I feel great for Ernie Kent. He is a lame-duck coach just waiting for someone to pull the switch to the electric chair and his team is acting  like the governor who won’t get off the phone. But I would rather have seen the Cougars advance. They are the more complete team, with Klay Thompson’s shooting and the defense of DeAngelo Casto. Five Cougars scored in double-figures last night (Wow, I can’t type that with a straight face). Unlike Oregon, they’ve actually played California tough this season. They played better defense in this game. They have a better bench. Oh well. I’m sure it won’t be the last surprising result in what will be an unpredictable weekend.

    If fans were the deciding factor, WaSU (left) would have won in a blowout. There were only about 300 of them, but they largely outnumbered Ducks fans (right, I guess). Oregon's showing must have treated themselves to some pregame opiates

    No matter what argument I use, one thing is for sure: Either one of these teams would be mauled by the Cal Bears. Washington State will have that honor Thursday at 2:30.

    The most important thing I learned: I need to find a setting on my camera with which I can show larger photos than the ones above on this blog, but not so large that it covers the entire page. It’s OK because Wednesday was just a primer. During Thursday four-game marathon, I’ll figure it out.

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