Well, after an up-and-down season in the Pac-10, it looks as if the conference will likely be sending two teams in Cal and Washington to the NCAA Tournament next week. As a result, it shouldn't come as a major surprise that both the Golden Bears and Huskies will also be appearing in the Pac-10 Tournament Championship Game this afternoon at Staples Center. While Mike Montgomery's Cal team has been in the driver's seat for an at-large bid for some time now, it is the sudden rise of Washington that has suddenly gotten people's attention. From ESPN.com:
Since its Jan. 23 loss to USC, Washington (23-9) has won 11 of its last 13 games and six games in a row heading into today's Pac-10 Tournament championship game against Cal (23-9). After being left for dead as late as last week, the Huskies can now claim the conference's automatic bid or at least make a case for an at-large berth with a strong showing on national television.
"The landmark moment for us was after the USC game," said Pondexter. "At the end of the game guys knew it couldn't get any worse. And we started playing the right way. ... I think we've bought into everything offensively and defensively since then and we've been playing much better basketball."
With a surging Washington team taking on a Cal bunch that has been incredibly consistent over the past weeks, today's contest promises to be an exciting, high-scoring affair.
The game will feature five of the top ten scorers in the league (Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas for Washington and Randle, Christopher and Robertson for Cal) and California and Washington are ranked in the top two in the conference in scoring offense and scoring margin. Judging from their first two games the Pac-10 final could easily turn into a rout for whichever team feels more at home. Cal has certainly made it a point to run teams off court as of late, winning nine of its last 10 games by double digits.
It's hard to predict what will happen in this year in the Pac-10 so who knows what will transpire this afternoon at Staples. There could be a Cal route or a Washington blowout. Or possibly an overtime thriller. Based on the way this season has played out, I might way to stray away from any bold prognostications. But nonetheless, I'm hopeful that this afternoon's matchup will be an exciting affair for all Pac-10 hoops fans to enjoy, even for us Trojan fans.
More open threads...