Can a team with seven Pac-10 losses win an NCAA crown? Sure, as long as they are close losses. And that’s the striking thing about the Huskies’ losses this year — they have all been so close. Of the Dawgs’ ten losses, eight were by less than ten points. Four were by two points or less. So I think it’s a fair question: Are the Huskies a good team having bad luck?
Here’s another team that suffered from a rash of close losses and went 11-7 in Pac-10 play. The 1996-97 NCAA Champion Arizona Wildcats.
Just like the Huskies, eight of the ’96-97 Cats’ losses were by ten points or less (one a 92-88 loss at Hec Ed). Like the Huskies, Arizona had four losses by two points or less. Like the Huskies, Arizona finished the regular season on an uninspiring note, losing two in a row.
Arizona’s path through the NCAA tournament didn’t exactly inspire confidence. A #4-seed, they were a trendy upset pick based on their lack of an inside presence and their late-season losing streak. And they almost were upset, falling ten points behind with 7:30 to go against #13-seed South Alabama. Their second-round win over College of Charleston came down to the final seconds. Getting no respect at this point, Arizona was a 10.5 point underdog to #1-seeded, Paul Pierce-led Kansas. They won that game, and the next three, for Lute Olson’s only NCAA crown.
Granted, the Pac-10 was a stronger league in ’96-97, sending five teams to the tourney. And granted, the ‘Cats had a higher seed that the Dawgs will get. But the fact remains –don’t judge the Huskies’ 7 losses too harshly. This still could be a Final Four team.
In other news…
Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo’s groin injury is a strain that won’t require surgery. Olivo
will stay off the leg for “a week or two,” then see how it feels before returning to baseball activity. Still possible, though not likely, that Olivo will be ready Opening Day.
M’s ace Felix Hernandez allowed five hits in 2.2 IP in his spring debut. His
first batter gave him a scare — the A’s David DeJesus lined a single at the King’s head. Yikes. Pitching after Hernandez, Michael Pineda pitched two scoreless innings, though he did walk two batters. Felix was throwing in the low 90s, Pineda 95-98 mph. Yum.
Wazzu star Klay Thompson will play Thursday against Washington after coach Ken Bone lifted his suspension for a pot bust.
The annual Pac-10 hoops awards were announced yesterday. Matthew Bryan-Amaning was named Most Improved Player, and made 1st-Team All-Pac-10, along with
Isaiah Thomas. C.J. Wilcox made the All-Freshman team (Terrance Ross was an honorable mention), and Venoy Overton and Justin Holiday were both honorable mentions for the All-Defensive Team.
Former Husky RB Greg Lewis is a nominee for the College Football Hall of Fame.
What they’re saying…
“”If we could have done a better job as a team (Isaiah Thomas) could have been in there for player of the year as well.” — Lorenzo Romar
“I told him, ‘First game and you hit a line drive at my face? C’mon man.'” — Felix
“People haven’t been willing to pull the trigger maybe at the right times, haven’t maybe been dynamic enough when we need to be dynamic in the box and that’s something we continue to talk about and we work on and hopefully it will carry over into the next game.” — Sigi Schmid on the Sounders’ scoring woes
The next seven days in Seattle sports…
Today, March 8
Baseball: Mariners at San Francisco, 12:05 p.m. (No radio)
Wednesday, March 9
Baseball: Mariners at Dodgers, 12:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Sounders vs. Colorado at Qwest, Community Shield Charity Match, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 10
Baseball: Mariners vs. Angels, 12:05 p.m. (No radio)
NCAA Hoops: Seattle U vs. Portland St. @ KeyArena, 7:10 p.m. (710-AM)
Pac-10 Men’s Hoops Quarterfinal: Washington vs. Washington St., 8:40 p.m. (FSN)
Friday, March 11
Baseball: Mariners @ Cleveland, 12:05 p.m. (710-AM)
Pac-10 Men’s Hoops Semifinal: UW/Wazzu winner vs. UCLA vs. TBD winner, 8:40 p.m. (FSN)
Saturday, March 12
Baseball: Mariners vs. Oakland, 12:05 p.m. (710-AM)
Pac-10 Men’s Hoops Final, 3:10 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, March 13
Baseball: Mariners @ LA Angels, 1:05 p.m. (710-AM)
Monday, March 14
Baseball: Mariners vs. Cubs, 1:05 p.m. (No local radio, check Cubs.com
for Chicago radio feed)