Pac-10 Tourney Daily Diary: SemifinalsPosted by rtmsf on March 13th, 2010
In our attempt to bring you the most comprehensive Championship Week coverage anywhere, RTC is covering several of the conference tournaments from the sites. One of our RTC correspondents is at the Pac-10 Tournament. In addition to live-blogging select games throughout the tournament, he will post a nightly diary with his thoughts on each day’s action. Here is his submission for the semifinal games.
Washington 79, Stanford 64
- It’s not difficult to see why Washington (along with Cal) was picked at the top of the Pac-10 this season. There’s a lot of bounce in those legs. Basketball is such an athletic sport, it’s easy to be enticed when you see a team like UW sailing around the arena like they are on pogo sticks. But it’s a game that also requires strategic use of your resources, and wanton jumping around won’t get you very far against teams that understand the game better than you do.
- I referred to this above, but the athleticism that Washington has is among the top fifteen or twenty we’ve seen this year. Lorenzo Romar definitely tries to recruit a certain type of player for his system, which makes their defensive shortcomings all the more frustrating. They’ll turn you over, but they just don’t guard people in the halfcourt like they could or should given the athletes at their disposal. Supposing they committed to defense, they’d be a top ten team and the bubble would be left to other teams to worry about.
- Lorenzo Romar was asked about the bubble situation after the game and he said that he doesn’t worry about it much but that he definitely wants to take the decision out of the NCAA Selection Committee’s hands. Personally, I think they’ve done enough at this point, and both Zach Hayes and Lunardi agree.
- I know the Stanford band is supposed to be quirky and weird and that’s the point of it all — total irreverence as opposed to what Cal does. But man, it’s almost like they had to have tryouts to find the weirdest-looking bunch they could find over there. The tree, however, is, and remains awesome. Love the tree.
- Highlight of the night was UW forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning tomahawking a dunk in the second half over Drew Shiller. Check it out…
- Talk about deja vu. That dunk was remarkably similar to one that MBA threw on Shiller earlier this year. Hey Shiller, stop trying to take charges under the rim, fella! This isn’t Duke.
California 85, UCLA 72
- We all pretty much know that defense is comprised of three major components: 1) fundamentals (knowing where to be, spacing, etc.); 2) athleticism (erases mistakes); 3) effort (you have to want to play it). From 2006-08, UCLA’s defense was better than anybody’s. Without question. Last year there was some slippage, but it was still solid. This year has been a complete disaster on that end of the court. They give up the three; they can’t stop penetration; jeez, they can’t even defend the foul line very well (that last part is a joke, but seriously, teams shoot 69% against them from the stripe). At the half of this game it’s not like UCLA is completely shutting down the Bears (50% FG), but they’ve held them to only three treys and I’ve noticed that they’re aggressively guarding against that line. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the second half.
- Cal has been able to lock up Michael Roll through the first eight minutes of the second half, and with that offensive option shut down, UCLA is searching for answers. The Bruins have always been a little offensively, um, offensive at times during the Ben Howland era, but the scorers on this team are a different level below the others. Which helps to explain why in large part they’re not very good this year. They can’t stop people and have trouble scoring – sounds like a recipe for mediocrity.
- Cal has destroyed the Bruins in the second half on forays by the guards into the lane. This proves Mike Montgomery may know what he’s doing over there on that bench. They’ve exploited the slow-footed defense UCLA has inside all night long. A 16-23 second half display of shooting coming out of the locker room is largely predicated on finding those seams and dropping in the easy 10-footers and layups.
- Jerome Randle broke the scoring record at Cal tonight, which was held by former forward Sean Lampley, who scored 1,776 points from 1997-2001. Randle said that Lampley has been texting him a lot lately to ask him about the record, and he’s certainly proud of the accomplishment, but he’s largely glad to have it behind him.
- I asked Ben Howland after the game what he needed to do to get UCLA back to the lofty heights to which they’re accustomed. He said it comes down to one thing and one thing only: recruiting. So he wants better players – great. I didn’t get to ask a follow-up, but had I gotten to do so I would have asked him if the highly-rated recruits that he already has on his team simply aren’t good enough?