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Afternoon Thread: Pac-10 Tournament Kicks Off, More Trouble in Eugene

It's a rather slow news day here at USC with most Trojan fans continuously glancing at their calendars to check the dates for spring football (note: the first practice is March 30th). Nonetheless, tonight marks the start of the Pac-10 tournament at Staples Center with bottom feeders Oregon and Washington State facing each other in the play-in-game with the winner looking to advance to faced top seeded Cal in the quarterfinals (I know, it's terribly exciting). But still, here's some stuff to keep tabs on this afternoon:

  • Jeff Nusser of CougCenter breaks down one of the least intriguing Pac-10 tournaments in recent memory. Actually, with the postseason contest being just instituted back in 2002, this might be the least compelling event in history. It's not a stretch. Even still, a strong performance from either bubble team Arizona State or Washington could propel either of them into the field of 65. Or could a team like Arizona surprise and earn the conference's automatic birth?
  • It's a tough time to be Ernie Kent right now, as the Oregon coach, who once led the Ducks to two Elite Eight finishes, was fired earlier this yet. Yet, Kent and senior point Tajuan Porter will look to cap off their careers in Eugene with a solid performance in the conference tournament.
  • It hasn't been an easy season for the UCLA basketball team as evident by their sub-.500 record. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles examines some of the problems that have been plaguing Ben Brat's as they head into the final stretch.
  • Things haven't gotten any easier for Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks, as accused running back LaMichael James will change his plea to guilty according to various sources, including The Oregonian. Not exactly a pleasing turn of events for Kelly, who has yet to suspend James for a determined amount of time.
  • After losing 2-out-of-3 to New Mexico over the weekend, the USC baseball team rebounded nicely with a 5-0 shutout victory on the road against Pepperdine. Starter Kevin Couture was particularly impressive, as the senior rebounded from a poor outing on Sunday to throw seven scoreless innings. The Trojans will face an up-and-coming Connecticut team tonight at Dedeaux Field before heading to Hawaii for a mid-season tournament.
  • While most of the talk surrounding the USC basketball program has centered around the men's ban from the postseason, it's important to remember that the Women of Troy remain in the hunt for a birth in the NCAA Tournament this spring, especially with the return of redshirt junior and former five-start recruit Jackie Gamelos.
Additionally, feel free to leave any relevant links or comments below, as we head into the night.

Fight On!