Posted by rtmsf on March 12th, 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 quarterfinal games.
UCLA 75, Arizona 69
- I know that this is a horrific year for the Pac-10, but in terms of the historic caliber of these two programs and the fact that one of them is literally 10.1 miles away from this gym, it’s more than a little disappointing that the lower bowl of the Staples Center wasn’t even filled at tipoff. Seriously, any of the top eight teams has a shot at winning this event, and with it, the auto-bid. Bruins and Cats fans need to step up a little more.
- I’ve seen UCLA play live a handful of times this season, and I continue to be amazed at how unathletic this team is. How did that happen so quickly to a team that could boast top-drawer athleticism in the form of Arron Afflalo, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, etc.?
- Cool shirt of the day in the Arizona section… “The Streak Matters…” referencing UA’s 25-year streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances that is in dire jeopardy short of a Pac-10 championship this weekend. The guys say that they meet up from all over the country every year to watch the Pac-10 Tournament and have a blast together. The shirts are to make sure that head coach Sean Miller understands that it’s not a ‘new day’ just because he’s in Tucson now — apparently Miller had made some quotes near the start of the season that they found dismissive of their illustrious history. Interesting take from the Arizona fans there.
Arizona Fans Will Need to Start a New Streak
- I continue to have a decent-sized mancrush on freshman forward Derrick Williams for Arizona. 16/7 per game on 59% shooting; he’s rarely out of position, takes care of the ball, draws fouls like a mofo, and has tremendous hands. He could be one of their all-timers if he sticks around for 3-4 years.
- Nic Wise tweeted after the Arizona loss today… in a word: disappointment. That about sums it up for a senior losing in a tournament setting.
California 90, Oregon 74
- Jerome Randle is a really fun player to watch play this game. His bomb from 25 feet followed by a steal and a nifty reverse layup off the ball-around-the-back move was spectacular and happened directly in front of me. I’ve seen a lot of really good guards play this year, but few have the ability to regularly catch fire from all over the court like he does. Nice kid, too.
- It’s the Randle show in the first half here at the Staples Center. with 6:30 left, he already has 20 points, which puts him on a pace for a 70-pt afternoon. I don’t think I’ve seen a single shot of his touch the rim yet today. Backcourt mate Patrick Christopher has at least hit rim a little bit, but he’s also blowing up to a certain extent — 14 in the first half on 4-5 threes. When these two guys are on their game from outside, few teams in America can score with them. The problem is that good defenses can neutralize one or both of them for parts of the game. When that happens, the Bears are in trouble.
- The question I’ve had all year when watching Cal play is how far can a team that relies so abundantly on four perimeter-style players go into the postseason? It can be done, but it’s not easy. Villanova has proven that a four-guard set can work pretty well so long as your guards are willing to be tough inside and not give up anything easy. But what about Cal? I don’t find their perimeter attack nearly as strong as those Nova teams, nor do they defend anywhere near as well. Still, it’ll depend on the matchup, but I don’t think they can win more than one NCAA Tournament game, if that. They would need to play a team that mirrors themselves in terms of perimeter play; otherwise I think they’re likely one-and-done.
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