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Previewing the Pac 10 Tourney

Happy Tuesday Morning Cougar Fans!  Lots of things to get to this morning on Planet Wazzu.  Read on for my preview of this week’s Pac 10 Tournament.

First of all, a shout out to former Wazzu great, RB Clarence Williams who is a nominee for the 2011 Class in the College Football Hall of Fame.  Williams who starred in the crimson backfield from 1962-1964 is a long-shot in my eyes to get in this year.  Hell, how many times was Rueben Mayes a nominee before finally being inducted a year or two back?  Statistics are hard to find on WIlliams, who died of cancer in 1986, but what I have dug up in the Media Guide for him, is as follows:

  • All Conference RB, 1964
  • 1st Team All-American, 1964
  • Hula Bowl participant, 1965
  • East-West Shrine Game participant, 1964
  • 12.0 YPC vs SJSU in 1964 is the fifth highest for a WSU RB in one game (min 8 carries)
  • 9th Overall Selection in the NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, 1965

Congratulations to Clancy’s family.

Moving on.

Yesterday Ted Miller over at ESPN took a look at our Cougs heading into Spring Ball.  I will list some of the interesting notes Miller pointed out.

Players Limited or Out of Spring Practice

RB Arthur Burns (wrist), DE Travis Long (shoulder), DE Jordan Pu’u Robinson (knee), OT Dan Spitz (shoulder), FB Jared Byers (knee), LB Louis Bland (suspended).

Running Back

Senior Logwone Mitz is No. 1 and Carl Winston is No. 2 on the spring depth chart, but watch out for Galvin, who broke his arm on his first play of the opener versus Oklahoma State. He’s undersized but can make folks miss, which the Cougars need at the position. James Montgomery, last year’s starter, is not expected to apply for an injury hardship waiver that would allow him to come back for a sixth year.

Offensive Line

Center is up for grabs between junior Andrew Roxas and JC transfer Taylor Meighen. The other four spots seem mostly set. On Fullington, Wulff said: “[He’s] one of the best young tackles in the country. He’s got special upside… He’s a high draft pick guy.”

That’s it for football notes today.

Ken Bone has reinstated Klay Thompson moving forward..  If it were up to Thompson’s dad, Mychal, he would be done for the season.  My guess is some will question if this truly sends a message to our players about the consequences of their actions.  From a basketball standpoint, it’s business as usual!

In case you missed it,  Klay Thompson was named 1st Team All Pac-10 (no surprise there), while DeAngelo Casto was named 2nd Team and to the All-Defense Team.

The Pac 10 tweeted on Saturday they would be releasing additonal tickets for this week’s event.  Seriously?  More tickets?  Considering the event hasn’t sold out in it’s history, this should come as no surprise.  I wish the league would rotate the tournament between Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, LA and San Francisco each year.  The WCC used to do this and had a phenomenal turnout.

The empty seats and lack of gameday atmosphere really drag this down in my opinion.  Imagine how many fans of the northwest schools would attend if it were played in Seattle or Portland.  If it were in Phoenix, I bet plenty of ASU and Arizona fans would attend.  The LA schools don’t even seem to get a homecourt advantage as it is in LA.

Let’s take a look at the Pac 10 Tournament that begins tomorrow night down in Los Angeles, starting with the teams that don’t have a shot at winning.

No Shot

Oregon State, Stanford, Arizona State: Stanford and ASU square off tomorrow night, and I think Stanford will win rather handily.  If they do knock off the Beavs, look for them to get rolled in the Quarterfinals by Arizona.  ASU, while having just beat Oregon on Saturday faces the Ducks again tomorrow, but in my mind won’t win that match-up.  Dana Altman is too good of a coach to let it happen again.  Sportsbook.com isn’t even listing odds for these three to win the tourney.

Favorites

Arizona and UCLA:  Being the outright conference champs, the WIldcats have the easiest run to the Championship Game, drawing the Stanford/Oregon winner in the Quarters and then the USC / Cal winner in the Semis.  It would be an utter disappointment if the Wildcats aren’t playing for the Championship on Saturday.  UCLA has a much more diffcult road to navigate as they must knock off the Oregon/ASU winner and then the winner of WSU/UW.  The Huskies have won 10 of their last 17 against the Bruins.  Wazzu, while being awful as far as wins and losses go with the Bruins, always play the Bruins well.  WSU’s only two losses this season, while leading at half time, are at the hands of UCLA.  If the Bruins win their first two, look for a great championship matchup with the Wildcats.  Sportsbook lists these two as +300 (aka 3:1 favorites).

http://youtube.com/watch?v=kA4wHQgCp6c

 

Tweener

Washington:  The Huskies started conference play an impressive 4-0 and some folks in Seattle were already handing the Huskies the championship.  Unfortunately games aren’t played on paper, and the Huskies wilted down the stretch going 6-5 to close the slate.  The Huskies are listed as the favorite at SB at 2:1, but have to deal with those pesky Cougs on Thursday, who thoroughly dominated them in their first two match-ups this season.  If the Cougs get by WSU, they would then need to knock off UCLA and Arizona to win it all.  Washington is 1-2 this season on Neutral Courts.  WSU IS THE LAST TEAM THE HUSKIES WANTED TO SEE IN LOS ANGELES.

Dark Horses

Washington State and USC:  Both of these teams had all right seasons, but were nothing spectacular.  Both teams notched impressive victories in and out of conference, and at other times struggled.  Sportsbook has USC as 4:1 favories and Wazzu at 12:1.  If I were a betting man, those are awful odds for a very thin Trojan team who must beat Cal and then Arizona to advance to the Championship; although they have won six of their last eight games!   Our Cougs must do something they have yet to achieve in the Ken Bone era if they want to win it all, and that is knock of three cosnecutive conference foes.  I like our chances Thursday night, as we have matched up extremely well with the Huskies in 2011.  Coach Hironaka has drawn up some nice defensive plans, that have completely shut down Matthew Bryan-Amaning.  The trick?  Stay squared up to him on defense and don’t leave your feet when the ball is in his hands.  A scheme so easy, even a Charlie Enquist can make MBA invisible.  If they are able to do that, look for the Dawgs to fire at will from down-town.  Make your free-throws, take care of the rock, and I think we will be facing UCLA on Friday.  Not many a Husky fan is excited for Round III with old Wazzu.  From there it gets trickier as we will have to face the Bruins in the Semis and then the Wildcats on Saturday.

Long Shot

Oregon and California:  The Ducks should knock of the Sun Devils tomorrow, but I don’t see them sniffing a win in the Quarters against a stingy UCLA squad.  California will face the semi hot Trojans (that’s what she said) early Thursday and if they are to pull the upset would then likely face Arizona in the Semis.  Sportsbook doesn’t list odds on Oregon, but they were definitely the most surprising team (at least, positively surprising, sorry Huskies you get the nod for most disappointing surprise, or is that biggest disappointment?) in the league this year.

Final Analysis

While Zona and UCLA are the favorites in my mind, don’t be shocked if WSU, USC or UW are cutting down the nets on Saturday.  Wazzu played extremely well on Neutral Courts this season, but the one stretch of three games in a row (Diamond Head Classic) started out great, but ended with a thud.  My guess is Arizona will be hoisting the trophy come Saturday night, after an OT thriller against our Cougs!  Look for Arizona, UCLA, UW and WSU to advance to the NCAA Tourney, while USC and Cal will make their mark in the NIT.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen this new You Tube clip making the rounds, do yourself a favor.  Thanks to @WazzusJobu for sharing on Twitter last night!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXMIJqRo6hM&w=425&h=350]

Get em Cougs!!!

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