Roundup: 3-for-3 Thursday
Score three for the good guys - every Pac-12 team that played in the NCAA tournament yesterday won. No. 12 seed Oregon kicked off the fun with a defeat of fifth-seeded Oklahoma State. Our old friend John Canzano writes that the Oregon Ducks must believe the Sweet 16 is within reach after the performance they had Thursday. I think Bryan Fischer would agree - he says that Oregon is looking scary after the win over Oklahoma State. Saint Louis is up next for the Quacks on Saturday.
To borrow a lede from Bruce Pascoe, so much for that trendy upset pick. A lot of people liked the 11th-seeded Bruins in this one, but Arizona beat Belmont 81-64 in what was more or less a breathe-easyish game from the second half on. That's because the Wildcats closed the first half on a 9-1 run without Solomon Hill, who had picked up his third foul. As one idiot put it, it was no Hill, no problem for the 'Cats.
Cal became the second No. 12 seed of the day and from the conference to pull one out after the Golden Bears upset fifth-seeded UNLV 64-61. Having lost to the Runnin' Rebels earlier this year, Cal won and learned from its mistakes this time around. While the Cal men were underdogs going into Thursday, the Cal women will be huge favorites when they take on Fresno State Saturday afternoon. They will be led on the floor by the highly respected Lindsay Gottlieb, who was named one of four finalists for the Naismith women's coach of the year award, along with Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame) and Jim Jabir (Dayton). That's some pretty good company right there.
'Twill be a busy weekend for Colorado hoops fans. First, #RollTad takes on Illinois at 1:40 p.m. PT in a 7-10 matchup. Despite Illinois being considered three seeds better than the Buffs, Illinois and Colorado have similar résumés. Next, Lappe Hour goes to work against former conference rival Kansas tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m. PT (or 4:30 p.m. Buff time) in the first round of the women's tournament. Nobody on the Colorado roster has played in an NCAA tournament game, but the coaching staff has plenty of NCAA experience. Thus, Lappe hopes that her staff's tourney experience rubs off on the players.
UCLA basketball fans will be just as occupied. The men's team has a (roughly) 6:57 p.m. PT start tonight against Minnesota in a Pac-12-B1G tussle. While this has been a very good season for the Bruins thus far (you're kidding yourself if you don't think 25 wins and a Pac-12 regular season title is very good), this isn't the first time the program has been to the Big Dance, so UCLA has something to prove in the NCAA tournament. After that game is over, there will be an approximately 13-and-a-half hour reprieve before third-seeded UCLA women's basketball squares off against 14th-seeded Stetson in a first-round battle.
Can't forget about Tara VanDerveer, Chiney Ogwumike, Amber Orrange and the like. Top-seeded Stanford hosts Tulsa Sunday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. Perhaps President Obama has provided a little extra incentive to the Farm Girls...
Can't forget about the NIT, either. Arizona State has a date in Waco tonight with Baylor, and the Sun Devils must stop Bears guard Pierre Jackson if they want to continue their trek to Madison Square Garden.
The Pac-12 is also reppin' in the WNIT. Utah beat Long Beach State Wednesday night, and the Dawgs begin their WNIT run by hosting Eastern Washington tonight.
The NCAA wrestling championships started yesterday, and led by 141-pounder Mike Mangrum, Oregon State heads to the NCAAs with hopes of improving upon last season's 10th-place finish. So far, so good - the Beavs are fifth after the first day of competition, and Mangrum has moved into fifth place all-time for OSU career wrestling victories.
The roundup has been far too light on men's volleyball coverage - it's the best sport not enough people watch. And while Tony Ciarelli might not be going off the block at the Galen Center anymore, USC men's volleyball was able to upset No. 3 Pepperdine in four sets last night (I tried to start a #Tony2012 campaign over Twitter last year during the NCAA men's volleyball championships, but it didn't get too far).
Utah began its spring football practice schedule on Tuesday, and since then, the backup quarterbacks have been getting plenty of looks. Travis Wilson is the presumed starter, but this is a good chance to see what Adam Schulz and Brandon Cox bring to the table.
Washington State began spring football practice yesterday, so click on the link to watch coach Mike Leach and quarterback Connor Halliday talk about practice, man.