Home > Uncategorized > Day 4 At The Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament: Washington Huskies Are Deserved Top Dog

Day 4 At The Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament: Washington Huskies Are Deserved Top Dog

It took the Washington Huskies about 20 minutes to find their game in this year’s Pac-10 Conference Championship. Then they became the most impressive team of the week. Sitting firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble prior to this tournamnent, the Huskies needed a good showing and they left no doubt at weekend’s end. They deserve to be called Pac-10 champions.

The Huskies opened the tournament with a somewhat disappointing half against Oregon State, but you have to credit most of that to the Beavers just being absolutely on point from 3-point range. Then the Huskies employed the press defense and blew right past OSU. They dominated Stanford from start to finish the next night.

But we got our money’s worth during Saturday’s game. It began like a mid-80s NBA game, where neither team could miss. It was a lot of fast-paced action as both teams had more than 30 points with more than five minutes remaining in the first half. Both squads turned a mixture of cold from the field and sloppy with the ball to finish the half and the Huskies held a 41-37 advantage.

Both teams staged big runs in the second half, which set up an ultimate six-minute finish with Washington trailing, 66-63. The Huskies then hit six of their final seven shots and all four free throws. Meanwhile, the Huskies’ defense stifled Cal, which made just two of its final six shots. They forced a couple of critical turnovers late and took away the Golden Bears’ strength from 3-point range,  where they made just 5-of-19 shots Saturday. In the end, the Huskies made the plays to become champs. They did it for the majority of the tourney and certainly did it Saturday. They didn’t run into any luck. They just performed better than everyone else. They looked like the most athletic team in the Pac-10 and shot better than 45 percent. Maybe the greatest news for UW fans is that only one player — Quincy Pondexter — won’t be back in for the 2010-11 season. The Huskies have eight underclassmen, none of whom have the ability to become the next Kevin Love or O.J. Mayo and ditch the Pac-10. They’ll be sticking around. But they do have the ability to make the Pac-10 exceedingly difficult for the rest of the league for the next couple of years.

  • Other than the game, the most important thing from Saturday was stomachs. Media row for college basketball games is often right in front of the cheerleaders. That position gives you a lot of time to pick out your favorites. Mine at UCF was this girl who had a well-defined eight pack of abs. It was memorizing — and a bit intimidating. With that being said, I’m pretty sure I could fall in love with all of Washington’s cheerleaders. Six-pack abs must be a requirement for that group. Their stomachs are incredible. You can grate cheese off those things. I’m willing to try.
  • Isaiah Thomas was named tourney MVP, but I would have given the award to Pondexter. He contributed about the same amount of offense and didn’t experience the dreadful quarterfinal game that Thomas had. Plus, he’s the team’s only senior. He deserved it enough. But it’s also his last go-around. Just give it to him.
  • You might remember me complaining about the Washington band’s rendition  of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Thursday. Well on Saturday, the PA system played SLTS with a disco/electronica remix that made the Huskies’ band look like grunge kings. I’m glad Kurt Cobain is already dead because he surely would have killed himself after hearing that.

  • Speaking of music, you know that Muse song “Starlight”? Yeah, I don’t mind that song now. That’s what happens when it gets pounded into your brain at five-minute intervals. You better like Muse if you want to work on the concourses or lobbies of the Staples Center because that song is literally played around the God damn clock. It got so annoying that I started to like the song. Now whenever I think of that song, I’ll forever remember these past four days. Muse has become a checkpoint in my life’s fondest memories. That’s disturbing.

    Oski the Bear: Even Stanford looks at him and feels sorry

  • OK, someone needs to explain Cal’s mascot to me. It dates back to 1941 and I understand tradition, but Oski the Bear has to get a present-day update. Mascots are supposed to look tough, youthful, fierce and strong. Oski looks like the love child of Winnie the Pooh and Mister Rodgers. Look at those scrawny, slumped shoulders, the potbelly, the white tennis shoes, that old-fashioned sweater and that sheepish grin. It can’t be easy to root for something like that. California should just go back to what was regarded as its mascot before Oski: An actual bear. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Cal’s Omondi Amoke missed a dunk Saturday. That doesn’t sound like much, but it wasn’t like he came up short or drove the ball into the rim. On the second play of the game and with both teams still looking for their first points, Amoke grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in the hoop with two hands and plenty of authority. Too much authority apparently, because when he let go of the rim, the ball backtracked from the middle of the net and out the hoop.
  • Three men squared off in the final of the national contest looking for the best Dick Vitale impersonator. And unbelievably, the winner got $10,000. Just to sound like Dick Vitale. Their imaginary girlfriends must be so proud.  Still, that doesn’t top the guy who broke the world record on Friday for most golf balls hit in 60 seconds. Dressed in a white, curly wig and pants that Jesper Parnevik wouldn’t be caught dead in, he recorded more than 100 hits in a minute. What a winner in every aspect of life.

These last four days have been great. But they have taken a toll. Honestly, I am exhausted. And all I’ve been doing is watching the games! Seven games in four days doesn’t sound so bad, but it’s hard to recover after that Thursday quadrupleheader. My dad and I have talked about maybe taking in the Big East Championship at Madison Square Garden one of these years, but I don’t think my body can take 15 games in five days. I feel like an industrial fan has been blowing into my eyes for the past 24 hours. I usually have dark circles underneath them, but now I could be mistaken for a raccoon. I feel bloated after a four-day diet largely consisting of peanuts, Italian sausages and rum. I’m starting to breathe like Tony Soprano. My youthful exuberance is gone. I’m in a wheelchair because I am unable to walk, but if I could walk, I would probably need a wheelchair after this week. And someone to push me as I stare with a glassy expression toward nothing in particular.

And all this means one thing: I’ve got to do this again next year. Hopefully the Pac-10 Tournament will actually have 10 participating teams by then.

Yeah, another screen grab off the Staples Center jumbotron. All the pictures of Lorenzo Romar and UW players cutting down the nets didn't turn out too well

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