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Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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March 20, 2008 9:24 PM

So is the Pac-10 holding up its reputation?

Posted by Bob Condotta

This was a record day for the Pac-10 in the NCAA Tournament, with conference teams taking part in five games. That had never happened before.

The Pac-10 went 3-2, with big favorites UCLA, WSU and Stanford winning easily, but the two teams in relative toss-up games --- USC and Arizona --- each losing, and each in what ended up as fairly decisive fashion.

So does that begin to impact what we thought about the Pac-10 all season, that this might have been the best year in the history of the conference?

I've always thought it dangerous to base too much on the tournament, which is such a function of matchups, momentum and the vagaries of what can happen in any one game (foul trouble or an injury to a key player, etc.).

But it's a popular (and easy) way to make such comparisons, and the Pac-10 will judged as intently as any other conference after all the hype it received this year.

A lot may rest on Oregon's shoulders tomorrow when it plays Mississippi State in an 8-9 game.

Having half the conference gone before the second round even starts obviously won't look good, and would be worse than the conference has done a number of times of late.

Four Pac-10 teams got to the second round last year, three to the Sweet 16. Four also got to the second round in 2003, and five in 2002, the season that coaches often said was the best for the conference prior to this year. That season, Arizona, Oregon, Cal, Stanford and UCLA all won first-round games, and Arizona, Oregon and UCLA all got to the Sweet 16.

The best years for the Pac-10 in terms of the tournament were 1997 and 1998 when four teams got the Sweet 16 each time (including UW in 1998) with Arizona winning it all in '97, the last conference team to capture the national title.

This can still be that kind of post-season for the conference, but the margin for error shrunk a little today.

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Posted by WSU

10:38 PM, Mar 20, 2008

WSU=the real deal

Posted by Beer Man

10:40 PM, Mar 20, 2008

Arizona had no business being there in 2008.

Posted by Randy

10:52 PM, Mar 20, 2008

I think the tournament will show the pac ten was strong at the top but mediocre from 4-9. WSU clicked on every level today and could easily make a sweet 16 run if not further if they play similar. UCLA dominated and Stanford remains the toughest matchup in the tourney.

The rest of the pac 10 is good but not great and it showed today.

Posted by Lar

12:03 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Add in the Washington loss to Valparaiso at home and it just makes it look worse. At least Cal beat New Mexico and ASU beat Southern Illinois...

Posted by Craig

1:02 AM, Mar 21, 2008


Have you heard any news on the SAT / grades status of Thomas? I have seen other people mention on here that he still has not qualified. Any truth to that?

Posted by Selection Committee

2:18 AM, Mar 21, 2008

The only real surprise/letdown here is the USC result. Arizona was not a tournament quality team, and it showed. Arizona St., the team that should have been in the tourney over Arizona, is into the third round of the NIT. The UW loss in the CBI didn't help the conference rep either.

Posted by Tone

5:08 AM, Mar 21, 2008

I have said it all along - the Pac 10 was over ranked this year in my book, except for UCLA and to a lesser degree Stanford. WSU played nobody of real significance outside the conference and U of A is already gone. I think USC should be legit next year; too much hype for them this year.

This still isn't the ACC or Big East guys...I don't care what anybody says.

The rest of the group - average or below average.

Posted by Pauley

7:03 AM, Mar 21, 2008

I would say the PAC 10 is off to a weak start. A final 4 run by one or 2 teams can easily turn that around.

USC played K-State in Omaha, NE
Arizona played WV in Washington DC
Oregon will play Miss St in Little Rock, AK

These are very favorable locations for the opponents. If any of these games were in Portland or Salt Lake City or whatever, I think the results would have been drastically different in these 3 cases.

Posted by Husky Fan In New York

7:45 AM, Mar 21, 2008

What do people envision the starting 5 being next season with the top back-ups?

I'm thinking Brockman, MBA, Overton, and Pondexter, but who starts at SG???

Posted by MT Husky

7:54 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Husky Fan in NY - I've enjoyed contemplating the same question.

I agree with your first 4. The 5th spot is tough because we haven't actually seen any of the freshmen play.

Based on what I've read I like the thought of Suggs at SG. He reportedly has a real well rounded game and is 6'7".

I think others will say Thomas because of his scoring abilities.

I also would love for Holiday to improve enough to have consideration.

I absolutely do not think it should be Dentmon but based on Romar's insistence that Dentmon should be on the floor I strongly suspect that is who Romar will put there in the 5th starting spot.

Posted by sequimdawgbob

8:06 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Low-Tone, What makes you think that Pac-10 fans want to be in the ACC or some other conference? The Pac is good and improving.

"This still isn't the ACC or Big East guys...I don't care what anybody says." Read your second sentence. Get the Point?

Huskies will improve!

Posted by mattysimone

8:18 AM, Mar 21, 2008

yeah the loses dont make the pac look good and even more so today when hopefully nike gets whacked ( even though I picked them ) Stanford and wsu have there work cut out for them next round. I picked both to win but I think ND could beat wsu? time will tell, hopefully all three advance. I found that very odd that AZ was in the west but playing the big east conf champ in DC? how does that work, I guess it doesnt matter what your doing, but politics are ALWAYS involved

Posted by Trevor

8:22 AM, Mar 21, 2008

USC has great talent and has the ability to beat almost anyone, but it's uneven and still a bit rough. It just had an off night. Arizona probably didn't deserve to be in the tournament. Possibly the same goes for Oregon.

Posted by mattysimone

8:34 AM, Mar 21, 2008

wow if those 4 play to there potential and the 5th is suggs or thomas then that could be a very dangerous squad, with another 5 comin off the bench that have shown flashes

Posted by justin

8:41 AM, Mar 21, 2008

I think what we're learning is that UW was a truly bad team this year. With Lorenzo's blessing, we kept convincing ourselves that we were a good team in a really good conference. After the loss to Valpo + tourney so far it's fair to start questioning that.

Posted by LA Husky

9:17 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Holiday deserves a real chance next year. I don't know what was in his head most of the time out there on the floor, but things happened when Holiday was playing. I hope he sees the error in his ways this year and treats the newcomers with more respect next year.

Posted by MT Husky

9:19 AM, Mar 21, 2008

I think that for various reasons college sports is unlike it was in the 70’s and 80’s and we now have a level of parity that was foreign to sports fans back then. The level of competitive difference between conferences is slight. Therefore, Pac-10 probably is one of the better conferences but you still are going to see instances of teams like Belmont (Atlantic Sun Conference) nearly defeating Duke (Mighty ACC) whereas this would have been unheard of twenty years ago. These days on any given night almost any Division I college team can defeat another Division I college team. That is why I bet you it won’t be long until we see for the first time a #16 seed defeating a #1 seed.

Posted by MT Husky

9:20 AM, Mar 21, 2008

LA Husky, I was intrigued by your comments but don't quite follow you. Can you elaborate?

Posted by

9:21 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Wanna bet right now the Huskies do NOT make it to thee NCAA next year? They have about the same chance as the football team does of getting to a bowl game. About 10%..........

Posted by LA Husky

10:30 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Meaning, I hope he doesn't inexplicably keep Suggs, Brashears and the rest on the bench most of the season, as he did with Holiday (when he was available).

Posted by MT Husky

10:39 AM, Mar 21, 2008

Thanks LA Husky...I thought you were referring to Holiday needing to respect the other guys. That does make sense.

I know we're not at the practices, we're not head coaches so we don't see the same things, but I did feel like Romar seemed to like to play the upper-classmen when it appeared some of the younger guys brought more to the table.

Next year will be really interesting.

Posted by JugHead

12:25 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Starting 5 next year: Overton, Dentmon, Pondexter, Brockman, MBA...should be formidalbe. And nice depth on the bench and a nice class coming in. Good times ahead for Huskies. As a Coug fan, I welcome this. We share homestands and road trips and the better we both are the tougher it is going to be on our opponents. There is room for 3 good programs in this state, especially when you consider WSU, UW, and Gonzaga have all shown the ability to recruit outside the local region with success.

Posted by Nick

1:33 PM, Mar 21, 2008

To Tone:

WSU played nobody of real significance outside the conference ...

I disagree, with this comment. They played Boise State, Baylor, Mississippi Valley State, Gonzaga, and Portland State. These teams ALL made the NCAA Tourney this year!

Posted by bomberboy

2:11 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Nick...and none of them did anything ...pretty marginal bunch

Posted by Tone

4:20 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Nick - None of those teams made the final top 20 ranking. MSVU, Gonzaga and Portland State all got dumped in the first round.

I am talking about a level such as Kansas, UNC, Memphis, Tenn or Georgetown.

WSU's schedule may now come back to haunt them in the next round, or two, in the tourney.

Posted by Geno

6:34 PM, Mar 21, 2008

One of the main reasons I check in on this blog is to see what fan made the stupidest comment that day. Well, today it’s yours Ms Tone. To downgrade the Cougar schedule yet be a fan of a Division 1 college basketball team that has played well, just slightly better than a Community College team is downright hilarious. Imagine, if you have the capacity, how incredibly stupid that comment sounds considering your team couldn’t even make it out the C-B-I….you know, the Tourney for the REALLY bad teams. On top of that the very team you mock has beaten your silly team for the past seven straight times they’ve played – some ending in a rout…winning by as much as nearly THIRTY POINTS (remember the 75-47 laugher in Pullman in January 2006 – I bet not…kinda want to erase that fun memory from your iddy brain don’t you).

Please Ms Tone, please refrain from being the daily idiot next Monday or else the Cougars will simply have to put it to your little Doggies again soon that the fun day. Oh, by the way, did you kiss the Valpo players good-bye as they were leaving your city?

Your team isn't going anywhere in the foreseeable future...not with your players and coach. Get used to it.

Posted by Tone

7:15 PM, Mar 21, 2008

Geno - I am not a woman. If you read my message, I did not say that WSU is a bad team, just not up to the level from what I have seen as some of the teams they may confront in the tourney, such as a UNC. I would agree with you that the UW had a very poor season but I never even made mention of the UW being equal to or better than WSU. But if you wnat to go down that road, I would remind you though that the UW has had more total wins since 2003 thru this year than WSU (119 vs. 94), more first round draft picks, more recruiting classes ranked in the national top 20, more Sweet 16 appearances since 2003, more total NCAA appearances, more Pac 10 championships since 2003, etc. Yes, WSU has very much outplayed the UW over the past 2 years but that does not make WSU a national powerhouse. And I am not saying the UW is either. But if you compare the overall history of the two programs, and especially since Romar joined (since you seem to discredit him for everything, as well as the UW), I believe the numbers speak for themselves. I do want to give credit where credit is due: Bennet has proven to be a very solid coach with a great future in this game and a special ability to get the most out of players that were not considered "top" talent when they came to the program. In addition, he has done that in a challenging marketing area such as Pullman. I applaud him and his program for that. But please do not discredit the UW for what it has done as well.

I had commented that in my opinion, the Pac 10 is a bit overrated this year with the exception of UCLA. In the first round of a conference deemed by many to be the best in the USA, Arizona, USC and now Oregon are all gone. Again, I am not comparing them to UW - UW played horrible much of the season and ended on a very bad note in the CBI. I did question that I think WSU's schedule was not strong enough to go deep into this tourney. If they prove me wrong, I will come back here and give more credit where it's due but by bet will be on UNC and not WSU advancing out of that region. And ND will pose a challenge too.

One last note: I would like to say that I have worked extensively in the collegiate basketball (with a great deal of experience with the NCAA tourney) ranks, have been very close to the Pac 10 and even closer to the UW, so I consider my background to be extensive enough to make assessments such as the one I just laid out.

Posted by Ed Schrob

9:23 PM, Mar 21, 2008


Disregard Geno. He's a sorry sad sack from god knows where masquerading as a Husky hating Coug. Probably from Corvalis.
Ironically, if there was a vote amongst the contributors here, Geno's comments, poor grammar and misspelling aside, would win hands down, daily, for the most inane, poorly thought out and ill-conceived sputum that clogs up this board. That said, I do enjoy the Geno trashing here though and I might actually be sad if he ever leaves us.

Posted by Geno

3:28 PM, Mar 22, 2008

Quite the post coming from a Husky horses ass such as our Mr. Ed (by the way, did you brush your teeth today yet, your breath is even penetrating the internet...pretty gross and has the hint of mossy wheat).

Does your family know you talk to friendly Coug fans like this? Shame on you. And here I thought I was helping you Husky fans coup with your disappointing (once again mind you) basketball season.

Now, almost time to sit myself down for another great game….you know – one that doesn’t feature the dismal Huskies.

Posted by Geno

3:34 PM, Mar 22, 2008 said "If you read my message, I did not say that WSU is a bad team, just not up to the level from what I have seen as some of the teams they may confront in the tourney, such as a UNC."

Like wow man, that was a really intelligent comment. Can you tell me how many teams IN the NCAA Tourney this year that is as good as North Carolina? Like….very very few…maybe two…three if that many??

For goodness sakes Tone, it appears like I wasted my valuable time on you. Keep up the great analysis that your think you do and uh, take what Mr. Ed says with a grain of salt, a BIG grain mind you because after all, he is a horses ass.

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