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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pac-10 Tournament Breakdown

    Arizona, No. 7 Seed

    Record: 18-13, 8-10 Pac-10

    The Wildcats are in the midst of their worst season, statistically, since Lute Olson took over the team in 1983. Having already broken their record for 23 straight seasons with at least 11 Pac-10 wins, they’re trying to extend their streak of 23 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. They’ll need at least a win over lowly Oregon State to get a bid on Selection Sunday, but a win over Stanford tomorrow would seal the deal.

    UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill said Monday’s announcement of Olson’s return next season won’t affect the players.

    “”I don’t worry about our players,”” O’Neill said. “”They’ve been through a lot this year. … That’s the group I’m least worried about.””

    Arizona State, No. 5 Seed

    Record: 19-11, 9-9 Pac-10

    Along with Arizona, ASU is another team on the bubble and needs to impress the committee in this tournament.

    Washington State head coach Tony Bennett said he thinks the Sun Devils will be all right.

    “”In a league like this, if you go 9-9, you certainly should (go to the NCAA Tournament),”” Bennett said.

    But with the No. 76 Ratings Percentage Index and the No. 77 strength of schedule, the team could only benefit from beating No. 4 seed USC tomorrow and then maybe advancing further.

    ASU head coach Herb Sendek said simply, “”It’s always better to win than not.””

    California, No. 9 Seed

    Record: 15-14, 6-12 Pac-10

    Josh Shipp’s over-the-backboard miracle shot killed California’s hopes in Saturday’s 81-80 UCLA win, but Cal head coach Ben Braun didn’t blame the loss on that shot. Instead, he said it came down a botched shot here, a missed assignment there and maybe some free throws.

    The coach added that his team is not looking at all to a possible rematch against No. 1 seed UCLA on Thursday, is rather focusing on one game at a time.

    “”Right now we’ve got our hands full with Washington,”” Braun said. “”We’ll look at UCLA when and if that time comes.””

    Oregon, No. 6 Seed

    Record: 18-12, 9-9 Pac-10

    Saturday’s win over Arizona earned the Ducks a day of rest and matched them up against No. 3 seed Washington State. Oregon, yet another Pac-10 team on the bubble, is in dire need of a win. That won’t come easy as it goes up against a team that has beaten the Ducks twice already this season.

    “”They’re one of the best defense teams in the (conference),”” said OU head coach Ernie Kent of Washington State, “”and you can’t make a lot of mistakes against them.””

    The Cougars rank No. 1 in Pac-10 scoring defense, allowing just 56 points per game.

    Oregon State, No. 10 Seed

    Record: 6-24, 0-18 Pac-10

    Oh, those poor Beavers.

    Plagued by a midseason coaching change, Oregon State finished its regular season losing 20 straight, becoming the only Pac-10 team ever to go winless in the conference season.

    The team with the No. 264 RPI has one more shot to finish the season with some pride.

    “”Our focus is going to be just not shooting ourselves in the foot when we have opportunities,”” said OSU interim head coach Kevin Mouton. “”We’re going to come out just as hard as coach O’Neill has those guys come out. … Our guys are going to come out and bust their butts.””

    No. 11 Stanford, No. 2 Seed

    Record: 24-6, 13-5 Pac-10

    Though the odds are against OSU to beat Arizona tonight, Stanford head coach Trent Johnson said he isn’t fully expecting to play the Wildcats tomorrow.

    “”Arizona is a much better team, but Oregon State – (the Beavers) are still playing for something,”” Johnson said.

    The Wildcats lost to the Cardinal by four points and one point in the teams’ matchups earlier this season.

    No. 3 UCLA, No. 1 Seed

    Record: 28-3, 16-2 Pac-10

    Yeah, we all know UCLA should go far in the NCAA Tournament, but as the Bruins have proven earlier this year when they lost to Washington, anything can happen in this conference.

    And even entering tomorrow with a seven-game winning streak, UCLA head coach Ben Howland said his focus isn’t on opponents.

    “”We’ll spend more time on ourselves than on other teams,”” he said.

    USC, No. 4 Seed

    Record: 20-10, 11-7 Pac-10

    When asked yesterday if USC head coach Tim Floyd was contacted by LSU regarding its job vacancy, Floyd responded, “”This is my last job, at SC.””

    So Floyd, 54, would naturally be more concerned about his team’s date with ASU tomorrow afternoon.

    Behind freshman star O.J. Mayo’s 20.9 points per game – second in the conference – the Trojans anticipate a long journey ahead into the Big Dance.

    That would certainly keep Floyd in So. Cal.

    Washington, No. 8 Seed

    Record: 16-15, 7-11 Pac-10

    The Huskies may take on California without forward Jon Brockman, who leads the team with 17.6 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

    Brockman sprained his ankle in the final minutes of a double-overtime loss at Washington State on Saturday and is currently listed as questionable to play.

    UW head coach Lorenzo Romar said Brockman hasn’t made great progress.

    “”He can walk a little bit without the crutches,”” Romar said. “”If we were to play (yesterday), he definitely would not be able to play.””

    Added Cal head coach Ben Braun: “”If anybody can play through an injury, I can assure you Jon is one of those kids.””

    No. 21 Washington State, No. 3 Seed

    Record: 23-7, 11-7 Pac-10

    The Cougars finished the regular season 23-7, a slight downgrade from last year’s 26-8 finish.

    Bennett said Cougar fans and critics have become spoiled – and that’s not a bad thing – over the last year.

    “”Last year when we won, people would say, ‘How did that happen?'”” Bennett said. “”And this year when we lost, people would say, ‘How did that happen?'””

    Keep your chins up Cougar faithful, “”We’ve only just begun.””

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