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Pac-10 tournament: Day 3
2007-03-09 14:30
by Bob Timmermann

After plopping myself down in my seat at Staples Center at 12:20 pm, I finally got home at 11:40 pm. I felt sorry for the PA announcer, who was misidentifying players and was a bit tongue-tied at the end of the day. Probably didn't help him that the final game was between Washington and Washington State to further make it hard. And he referred to Washington State as "the Huskies" in the introductions, although he corrected himself.

But it's easier now with just two games tonight.

The first semifinal tips off at 6:20 pm PT between #4 seed Oregon (24-7) and #8 Cal (16-16).

The Ducks pounded Arizona by a surprisingly easy 69-50 margin. The Ducks made 11 of 20 three-pointers and Tajuan Porter made 5 of 6 from long distance. Porter led the Pac-10 in three-pointers made. Aaron Brooks scored 16 points and Arizona missed a whole lot of shots (21 of 60 from the field.)

Cal stunned #1 seed UCLA, 76-69 in overtime. The Bears had a 12-point lead at halftime, frittered it away in the second half, only to come back thanks to some clutch baskets by Ayinde Ubaka, who scored 29 points. The Bears made 8 three pointers and were second in the Pac-10 in that category with 223, behind Oregon's 279.

So it seems likely that this semifinal will be decided on the perimeter. The two teams split their earlier games this year. Cal beat Oregon last year in the semifinals, 91-87 in 2 OTs. Oregon beat Cal in a first round game in 2002, 87-82.

The second semifinal matches #2 seed Washington State (25-6) and #3 seed USC (22-10). The Cougars won both games over the Trojans this year in exciting fashion. Wazzu won in Los Angeles on December 30, rallying from a double-digit deficit to pull out a 58-55 win. The two teams met again last Saturday and the Cougars won 88-86 in 2 OTs.

Washington State beat intrastate rival Washington 74-64 and USC beat the other private school in the Pac-10, Stanford, 83-79 in overtime. Both teams won their games at the free throw line, each of them making 23 free throws to clinch their wins. Taylor Rochestie lead Wazzu with 20 points and Nick Young led USC with 26 points.

Wazzu has won the most games in a season since 1916-17. That team went 25-1 and was awarded a retroactive mythical national championship. The only team to beat Washington State that year was Cal in Berkeley by the score of 28-20. That team played just eight home games and 18 road games. The Cougars won 26 games in 1940-41 when they were the NCAA 2nd place team. That was also the last time the Cougars won a conference title.

USC won its only matchup against Wazzu in the Pac-10 tournament, 17 years ago in Tempe. USC won 85-68 in a 7-10 matchup.

As for the all-important Griddle contest, here are the updated scores.

I believe this is how the contest will shake out:
If the final is USC vs. Oregon and USC wins, Tom Meagher would win.

If the final is USC vs. Oregon and Oregon wins, the winner would be ... wait for it ... Trojan Ron.

If the final is Washington State vs. Oregon the winner would be Vishal, no matter who won the championship.

If Cal makes it to the final against USC and USC wins, I have a three-way tie to sort out and I've decided that Tom Meagher would win the tiebreaker over the two guys because he had more teams correct in the quarterfinals.

If Cal makes it to the final against USC and Cal wins, there would be a tie between D4P and Trojan Ron and there is no real good tiebreaker I could use, so I'd likely just give them both the prize mainly so D4P wouldn't bother me for the rest of my life.

If Cal makes it to the final against Washington State, and Washington State wins, Philip Michaels win. He would be tied with Vishal, but win the "picking the right champion" tiebreaker.

If Cal makes it to the final against Washington State, and Cal wins, then Vishal wins.

I will doublecheck, but since Vishal is the only person to have a chance to have both finalists correct, he is in good position to pull off the win. He's missed just one game and everybody missed that one as nobody picked UCLA to lose its first game.

Another note: On Wednesday, I remarked that the cover to the program featured five players: Jeff Pendergraph of ASU, Aaron Brooks of Oregon, Ayinde Ubaka of Cal, Nick Young of USC, and Derick Low of Washington State. Obviously, with the exception of Pendergraph, whose team was doomed from the start, there is no Pac-10 Tournament program jinx!

Comments (70)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-03-09 11:03:17
1.   Sam DC
Yes, yes, but what's the scenario in which I win?

Come again?

2007-03-09 11:06:28
2.   kngoworld

or me?

2007-03-09 11:18:01
3.   Sam DC
I think my scenario probably involves Jack Bauer and several Pac-10 Conference Officials having a friendly conversation in the bowels of the Staples Center.
2007-03-09 11:26:05
4.   Bob Timmermann
What was the deal with everybody liking Washington?
2007-03-09 11:38:51
5.   Trojan Ron
Typical: People take teams this year that surprised them last year, despite the fact that this year's War-shington team isn't Tournament ready ...
2007-03-09 11:41:31
6.   Bob Timmermann
There was very little love for Washington State. They didn't finish in second place by accident.
2007-03-09 11:49:51
7.   Eric Enders
So I have gotten two out of six games correct and both of the teams I picked to make the final are now eliminated (neither of which was UCLA). Surely there must be some sort of convoluted possibility for me to win?
2007-03-09 11:59:43
8.   Bob Timmermann
7 see comment 3
2007-03-09 12:01:07
9.   godvls
Once again I'll be the ASU fan at Staples tonight. I'm pretty excited because I'm fairly certain ASU won't lose. I'm on the Wazzu bandwagon now.
2007-03-09 12:04:21
10.   godvls
4 - I liked UW because they're talented and presumably quite motivated. I agree that they weren't tournament ready, but I had a feeling they might pull off a couple of upsets and get to the finals. Shows what I know? I'm in the same boat as Eric Enders now.....two for six with both finalists eliminated.
2007-03-09 12:23:46
11.   Bob Timmermann
I've noticed from WSU this year, whom I seem to encounter on TV a lot, is that they just don't get rattled. They just plug along with their offense, make defensive stops, and just don't deviate from their style.

They do occasionally go for a fast break with Weaver, but rarely anyone else.

The game against USC should be pretty entertaining. I imagine that USC thinks they should have beaten Wazzu twice this year.

2007-03-09 12:41:22
12.   Penarol1916
Well, at least I can take solace in knowing that I'm on pace to win the Big East bracket challenge.
2007-03-09 12:53:28
13.   Bill Crain
I'm still convinced Washington State's whole season is an accident, starting with Gonzaga. What's the deal with this new-fangled interest in obscure stats, like final scores? I don't care about numbers; I know what I seen.

USC by ten.

Oregon over Cal by 4. (8-4 inside; wild 3-pointers even)

2007-03-09 12:55:43
14.   Bob Timmermann
USC and WSU will be a chance for me to test Timmermann's Corollary to Lawler's Law. The team that is ahead when the combined score hits 100 wins!

Timmemann's Law of Overtimes, the first team to go ahead by four or more wins, was 2-0 yesterday!

2007-03-09 13:03:47
15.   Eric Enders
Washington State will be interesting to watch over the next few years, sort of like Georgetown is now: They run a system that was designed to enable very unathletic players to excel, except they're running it with fairly athletic players.
2007-03-09 13:27:07
16.   Penarol1916
15. Georgetown's players are more than fairly athletic, except for maybe Doc Rivers' son, he might be only fairly athletic, now if he would only learn to shoot.
2007-03-09 14:39:22
17.   Eric Enders
Yeah, I was using the "fairly" mostly in reference to Washington State. Georgetown's players are very athletic with a couple of possible exceptions. (Hibbert is agile, but not really athletic in a pure sense.)
2007-03-09 17:50:05
18.   Bob Timmermann
I am looking live at Staples Center! About thirty minutes to tipoff.

I am sitting near the Oregon band, now serenading the crowd with a Kinks song.

There is a different program for the last two days and it features Arron Aflalo, Lawrence Hill, Jon Brockman, Mustafa Shakur, and Marcel Jones.

Both teams have taken the court for warmups

2007-03-09 17:51:39
19.   Sam DC
Yes, yes, but where did you park?
2007-03-09 17:59:03
20.   Bob Timmermann
I parked at 11th and Grand for five bucks. I got to walk on sidewalks although I may skip the trip down the alley on the way back.

My Prius "smart key" is no longer smart and it doesn't open the doors or start the ignition remotely. I actually have to put the Key in the ignition now.

2007-03-09 18:05:11
21.   Bob Timmermann
Cal fans tonight appear to be few in number.

There are a few more Oregon fans, but I think most fans will show up for the WSU-USC nightcap.

2007-03-09 18:13:54
22.   Sam DC
G'town over Notre Dame in a fun squeaker watched closely from the heavens.
2007-03-09 18:17:12
23.   Bob Timmermann
Georgetown is the "Good" Catholic school.
2007-03-09 18:24:32
24.   Bob Timmermann
Two fouls on Ubaka. Could be a long night for the Bears
2007-03-09 18:27:59
25.   D4P
ESPN is telling me that a player by the name of "B Poppen-Abajian" has scored 6 points for the Ducks. I clicked on his name, and he apparently plays for Pacific Lutheran
2007-03-09 18:31:47
26.   Bob Timmermann
He also goes by Tajuan Porter!
2007-03-09 18:39:37
27.   D4P
ESPN is also telling me that only 4 Ducks are playing thus far (well, 3 Ducks and a Pacific Lutheran Lute...)
2007-03-09 18:41:24
28.   Bob Timmermann
They usually only list players who have a stat of some kind.
2007-03-09 18:46:22
29.   Andrew Shimmin
I'd likely just give them both the prize mainly so D4P wouldn't bother me for the rest of my life.

You're saying a five dollar Amazon gift certificate could prevent that? Will have to investigate further.

2007-03-09 18:48:13
30.   D4P
That's what I thought too, but then I looked over and saw a Cal player with all zeros in his box score
2007-03-09 18:49:16
31.   Bob Timmermann
The D4P tiebreaker seems unlikely as Cal looks pretty bad tonight.
2007-03-09 18:51:10
32.   Bob Timmermann
The only player may have had a stat that they don't display like a steal or turnover.
2007-03-09 18:51:44
33.   D4P
It's OK if I don't win, as I might be getting the gift certificate from Andrew instead
2007-03-09 18:55:27
34.   Uncle Miltie
Oregon is going to be in good hands next year with Tajuan Porter running the point next year.

I also think that Bryce Taylor is going to have a breakout year.

2007-03-09 18:56:30
35.   D4P
Oregon is using up all its good play before the NCAAs
2007-03-09 19:01:07
36.   Bob Timmermann
The biggest margin of victory in a Pac-10 tournament game is 32. UCLA beat OSU 79-47 last year.
2007-03-09 19:10:08
37.   Bob Timmermann
Oregon was 18 for 26 from the floor in the first half.

Cal was ....worse.

2007-03-09 19:18:55
38.   Bob Timmermann
The big question for the second half is: when do I go to get a cup of coffee and a cookie?
2007-03-09 19:33:34
39.   D4P
What kind of cookie?
2007-03-09 19:36:30
40.   Bob Timmermann
A big chocolate chip cookie.

Tajuan Porter will have a chance, if the Ducks win to go after the Pac-10 tourney record for most threes in a tournament.

The record is 14 by Chamberlain Oguchi.

2007-03-09 19:37:05
41.   D4P
Chamberlain probably won't pass Tajuan the ball
2007-03-09 19:37:09
42.   Andrew Shimmin
So that's why Bob keeps going back to Japan. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

(The best part about this is that he won't be able to see what he's being accused of till he gets home.)

2007-03-09 19:52:44
43.   Bob Timmermann
The Bears peck away, but I keep thinking that Porter or Brooks have a couple of threes left to hit and that will end it for Cal.
2007-03-09 20:03:32
44.   Uncle Miltie
Hairston is playing like a manchild right now.
2007-03-09 20:05:26
45.   Bob Timmermann
Barring a miraculous comeback by Cal, the contest is down to three contestants: Vishal, Tom Meagher, and Trojan Ron.

Vishal wins if Wazzu beats SC.

If SC wins, Tom Meagher wins if SC beats Oregon tomorrow. If Oregon beats SC then it is Trojan Ron.

2007-03-09 20:09:26
46.   Bob Timmermann
Does the Duck mascot have a name?

The nightcap will feature the two teams in the conference that don't have names on the backs of the jerseys.

2007-03-09 20:11:47
47.   Bob Timmermann
Besides Stanford what was the only school not to send a mascot to Staples Center?
2007-03-09 20:26:35
48.   Uncle Miltie
Washington State?
2007-03-09 20:33:52
49.   Bob Timmermann
Butch the Cougar is here.

However Traveler doesn't do well indoors.

2007-03-09 20:46:46
50.   Bob Timmermann
Fair number of USC fans, but they seem to be matched by a lot of fans who just want to boo them. Not a whole bunch of Cougar fans.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-03-09 20:52:21
51.   D4P
The Ducks have been pretty good so far, but I bet UCLA goes further in the NCAAs
2007-03-09 21:01:26
52.   Bob Timmermann
I would assume UCLA will get a better seed, so you're not going out on a limb.

Remember, I spend a week in Oregon if the Ducks make the Final Four!

2007-03-09 21:23:34
53.   D4P
I say you spend two days in Oregon for each game they win
2007-03-09 21:31:39
54.   Bob Timmermann
USC like Oregon earlier is shooting the lights out, a tough accomplishment against WSU. Pruitt has been unconscious.

But the Cougars have faced crises like this before.

2007-03-09 21:40:36
55.   D4P
Did they replace the lightbulbs after the Oregon game? If so, I hope they used fluorescents...
2007-03-09 21:44:05
56.   Bob Timmermann
Al Gore approves of the new lights.

Wazzu's cheerleaders do not compare favorably with USC's.

2007-03-09 21:50:44
57.   Bob Timmermann
A fan at halftime hit four out of four free throws to win $76000. Each shot was worth 19 grand and he only got four chances.

I bet I would have made none.

2007-03-09 21:54:23
58.   D4P
But would you have won the dunk contest...?
2007-03-09 22:02:47
59.   Bob Timmermann
I would do better with the free throws.
2007-03-09 22:06:01
60.   D4P
What good is being 6'5" if you can't dunk?
2007-03-09 22:10:09
61.   Bob Timmermann
Put a piece of paper on the floor and you can see my vertical leap. I also can't palm a basketball.
2007-03-09 22:13:03
62.   D4P
Sounds like your choice of librarian over NBA superstar was a g.ood one.

I can palm a basketball, but only if I use both palms.

2007-03-09 22:41:38
63.   Bob Timmermann
Vishal's five bucks are in jeopardy.
2007-03-09 22:44:44
64.   D4P
Who would Oregon have a better chance of beating in the finals? They were 2-0 vs. WSU, and 0-2 vs. USC, which either means that they would have an easier time vs. WSU, or that they are "due" to beat USC and lose to WSU.
2007-03-09 22:46:57
65.   Bob Timmermann
I would think it wouldn't matter as well as Oregon has been playing.
2007-03-09 22:49:38
66.   Bob Timmermann
And Vishal is going down

Pending me double checking the points when I get home.

2007-03-09 22:51:07
67.   Bob Timmermann
Does Oregon shoot better in green jerseys?
2007-03-09 22:53:15
68.   D4P
I have no idea. I don't get to watch any of the games*.

*Believe it or not, Oregon basketball is not "big" here in Duke-UNC land

2007-03-09 23:01:08
69.   D4P
Based on my quick calculations, if Oregon wins, Vishal takes the pot; if USC wins, Tom Meagher is the victor
2007-03-09 23:33:18
70.   Bob Timmermann
The most points anyone can get is 7. Vishal originally was going to pick up 2 points for an Oregon win in the final, but now he can only get 1 since it's a 3-4 game.

So Vishal and Trojan Ron would finish with 7 if Oregon wins and Trojan Ron would win the tiebreaker because he has both finalists right.

That is an offshoot of the tiebreaker of picking the final score. Vishal could make a pick for the final, but since one of the scores would be off by infinity, he's out.

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