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Archive for March 12th, 2008

GAMES THREAD: Pac-10 Tournament, round one

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 12, 2008

The Pac-10 tournament kicks off tonight with some not-so-inspiring matchups, but if you have nothing better to do and feel like you want to talk about what you’re seeing, feel free to do so here.

Here’s tonight’s lineup; all tournament games are on FSN:

  • (9) Cal vs. (8) Washington, 6 p.m. (this should actually be a fun game to watch — here’s to betting the Huskies push the tempo without Brockman) 
  • (10) OSU vs. (7) Arizona, 8:30 p.m. (yuck!) 
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Posted in Game Threads | 2 Comments »

Better to lose to Oregon? No way

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 12, 2008

With the Pac-10 tournament on the horizon, the inevitable question comes up: Would it be the worst thing in the world if this team flamed out in the opener against Oregon, especially coming off a double OT game?

The reasoning behind the question goes something like this.

Our players are tired already after one heck of a grind of a Pac-10 season. At the very least, some of our key guys are banged up — if not outright hurt — and one has to wonder if giving our all to try and win three games in three days really is the best thing for our chances of making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. After all, what is there really to be gained?

I say plenty.

This is about so much more than trying to get from a No. 6 seed — which is where Joe Lunardi has them right now — to a little bit higher seed. (Although, getting a higher seed is a worthy goal, as I’ll explain below.) It’s about trying to make sure you’re playing your best basketball heading into the NCAA Tournament.

The funny thing about this argument is that people argued the opposite ad nauseum for years. When the Pac-10 had no conference tournament and seemingly early upset after early upset in the dance, the fans clamored for what everyone else had. They argued that simply finishing the regular season on the weekend of Selection Sunday didn’t provide their teams with the necessary fire and intensity needed to compete against these other teams who were coming out of the crucible of their own conference tournaments.

Now that we have a tournament, we wonder if asking our guys to play three games in three days might hamper our team.

The reality is this: There is very little evidence that losing early in the Pac-10 Tournament benefits anyone, and there is very little evidence playing three games in the three days leading up to the tournament harms anyone. In fact, recent evidence seems to suggest that it’s actually the opposite with regards to the latter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Breakdowns | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Tony Bennett: They’ll trust him with their kids

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 12, 2008

I ran across an interesting read on InsideBayArea.com this morning, where they polled the Pac-10 writers on a number of different topics relating to the conference. Not a ton of love for the Cougs in there, until this question: If you could choose your son to play for any coach in the Pac-10, who would it be?

Tony Bennett was the overwhelming choice.

“Tony Bennett, in a heartbeat. That team epitomizes teamwork, sublimation of egos for the collective good, and Bennett doesn’t try to be the show. Plus I’ll bet his graduation rate will be outstanding when the numbers come in in several years.”

“Solid values, seems to get more from his players than some other coaches, and also seems to have a clearer vision as to how the pieces will fit together. I like that he doesn’t recruit from Scout.com’s top 100 list.” (Except that we got one this year, Michael Harthun. Give it time, man. We’ll be there in another year.)

“He’s charismatic, yet has minimal ego. He’s got some old-school traits, passed along by gus dad, mixed with a modern take on the game.”

“Good guy, good coach.”

“He’s down to earth, seems to have things in perspective, communicates well, is young enough to appreciate players’ concerns and is not affected by the public’s perception of the players’ abilities.”

“Tony Bennett. Just don’t ever expect me to ever visit my kid in Pullman.”

Other interesting things in there?

  • Two guys said Taylor Rochestie is the conference’s most underrated player — “He resembles an intramural player until he burns you” — an assessment I have a hard time arguing with given that he didn’t make the conference’s honorable mention team, but Mitch freaking Johnson did.
  • An overwhelming number of writers thought the conference’s most overrated player is Chase Budinger, something I also totally agree with. Superstar one minute, disappears the next.
  • More writers felt coach of the year should be Herb Sendek, not Trent Johnson.
  • At least a couple of writers picked Coug fans as the “best and classiest” in the Pac-10, saying, “More than eight thousand brave blizzards to cheer their boys, and they regularly cheer hustle plays by opponents — so long as the Cougars are still comfortably ahead,” and “Washington State seems to have loud, but not belligerent, fans. Perhaps they have not learned how to be repulsive yet.” Perhaps. Perhaps not.
  • Oregon won the most offensive category “by the margin of three offensive gay references,” according to one writer.

(Hat tip to CougHoops.com.)

Posted in Around the 'Net | Tagged: | 2 Comments »