Pac-12 Morning Five: 03.12.12 EditionPosted by AMurawa on March 12th, 2012
- In the wake of Selection Sunday, the biggest news in the Pac-12 may be not who made the NCAA Tournament, but who was left out. For the first time since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams, the regular season champion of a power conference was left behind as Washington failed to hear its name called on Sunday afternoon. While Lorenzo Romar was not surprised by the Huskies’ omission, his team was disappointed. Their season goes on, however, as they’ll host Texas-Arlington in the first round of the NIT tomorrow.
- Arizona also missed the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in 27 years, and they’re left pondering the “what-ifs” of a season gone awry. Beginning with their ineffective final possession of the Pac-12 Tournament that ended in an erratic Kyle Fogg three and going back through numerous other twists and turns throughout the season, the Wildcats feel like they left some money on the table. The loss in the final regular season game to Arizona State stands out as a killer, but if they had held on to a seven-point lead against Florida, perhaps that’s the big win that puts UA over the top. Or maybe if Josiah Turner had made better personal decisions through the year, he’s able to help the Wildcats come through in the Pac-12 Tournament. In the end, there’s still plenty of hope in Tucson, as Sean Miller welcomes in the nation’s top recruiting class next year.
- The common theme among Pac-12 coaches is that the conference schools earned the treatment they received by the Selection Committee. California head coach Mike Montgomery is one of two coaches who received good news on Sunday, but even though the Golden Bears are in the NCAA Tournament, they’ve got to knock off South Florida on Wednesday in order to advance to the traditional bracket. And while Montgomery would have liked to see Washington in the Tournament, he knows the lesson that the Pac-12 needs to take from Sunday: Win more (and better) games in November and December.
- For some around the conference, the season is over and so the offseason begins. UCLA was skipped over by the NIT, so its season is done, meaning we’ll find out the answer to one of the bigger potential questions around the league shortly: Will head coach Ben Howland return? While there are many Bruin fans who are hoping for a change, it appears unlikely that Howland’s job is in any serious immediate jeopardy. Aside from the fact that he’s got a couple good recruits coming in (Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams) and another couple on the line (Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker), he’s also got a big buyout clause in his contract, meaning UCLA would have to come up with $3 million or more in order to get rid of him. Translation: He’s safe for now, but would do well to return to the NCAA Tournament next season.
- One other offseason transaction hit the news on Friday when it was announced that Arizona State sharpshooter Chanse Creekmur would be leaving the school in order to play football elsewhere. Creekmur started 13 games for the Sun Devils in 2011-12, averaging 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds, but would likely see his minutes cut next year with Jahii Carson, Evan Gordon and Bo Barnes joining the program next season and all demanding minutes. Creekmur played quarterback in high school and is hoping to transfer to a smaller school closer to home. He becomes the tenth scholarship player to leave Herb Sendek’s program early in the last four years.