Category Archives: College Basketball

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Lemons to Lemonade

My alma mater, the University of Washington Huskies, got left out of the Big Dance. Even though they won the Pac-12 regular season title, a couple of bad end-of-the-season losses, kept them out of the March Madness NCAA tournament. They ended up being a #1 seed in the national Invitational Tournament (NIT).

These are 20 year olds. They were discouraged and upset about not being selected to the NCAA tournament after winning their conference. The NIT, though prestigious in history, was of little consolation. It would have been very easy to walk out on the court in the first game with a bad attitude and leftover baggage. That would almost certainly lead to an even more embarrassing loss and a terrible off-season.

On Tuesday, the Huskies defeated their arch nemesis Oregon to advance to the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden in New York. They won three games to earn that distinction. Now they will play on national television in the Big Apple. No matter what happens, this has been a success. They turned lemons into lemonade.

Give credit to the coaches for excellent leadership. Give credit to the players for staying tough. And give credit to the fans for sticking behind them. It was a team effort.

Hey…winning the NIT in New York would be really cool for these kids and the University. Let’s support them. Go Dawgs!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Huskies Should Be Dancing…Barely!

The Pac-12 championship win by Colorado should actually bode well for the Washington Huskies. Colorado earned its way into the March Madness tournament with a close win over Arizona. The popular thinking is that a maximum of two teams from the weak Pac-12 conference make it in. Here is my case for the Dawgs…

  • They are the Pac-12 regular season champs. Bad conference or not, over the course of the season, they won it outright.
  • Cal didn’t make it to the championship game of the tourney, either. Everyone said they were a lock, but an embarrassing loss to Colorado may have changed that.
  • Arizona, who lost in the championship game, was beaten twice by Washington head to head. If that doesn’t mean anything when looking at tie-breakers, then something is wrong.
  • Nobody else has a claim.

I actually think you will see both Washington and Cal sneak in. They may both have to play on the first weekend (or play in games). Who cares, though? It’s about getting in. That being said, there is cause to be a little nervous until your name pops up today. Stay tuned!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

News & Notes

Couple items to discuss. Looking for feedback…

1 – The Kingston Buccaneers draw Anacortes for their first game at the State Basketball Tournament in Yakima. Being from Oak Harbor, I know Anacortes has always had an excellent program. I don’t know anything about them, but I’m guessing Blake Conley’s team will have all they can handle with the Seahawks. Wish I could attend, but I’m out of town. Hey Bucs fans…what do you think about your team and their chances?

2 – Huskies hoops comes from behind to beat Washington State in Pullman last night. Huge game as pertains the the Pac-12 title and getting into to Big Dance. Two games left on the road at UCLA and USC. I think they need to win out to seal their spot in the tournament. Do you agree?

3 – Huskies football gets a chance to show how far they’ve come with a game at LSU early in the season. After that, they open Pac-12 play at Oregon and home against USC. How do Dawg fans feel about the schedule?

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Romar Leading Young Dawgs – Future Bright

The University of Washington basketball team is young. Really young. Gone are floor leaders like Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Poindexter, and Jon Brockman from years past. The roster is filled with freshman

Lorenzo Romar

and sophomores, and even a scholarship football player. The Dawgs have at times looked clumsy and out of sorts. They’ve lost games they should have won. And, through all of that, they find themselves atop the Pac-12 (with a whole lot of other teams) at 6-2, and 13-7 overall after a win against Arizona State last night in Tempe.

At some point, we need to recognize the job Lorenzo Romar has done with this program. It’s one thing to recruit great players, which he has done. But, it is an altogether different thing to take a group of young players and guide them through turbulent times and growing pains, while still winning. That is exactly what he has done. Marv Harshman (Coach Romar’s old coach) at this point is certainly the king of coaches at Washington, at least in the modern era. I see Lorenzo Romar surpassing his mentor at some point. Why? He’s much younger when he got started here; has a long term deal at his alma mater; is a terrific recruiter; and most of all lives by his convictions. And, as it seems, he may know a little bit about X’s and O’s.

This team featuring Terrance Ross and Tony Wroten may end up being his best to date in the next year or so. In the meantime, they may still find a way to win the Pac-12 and go to the Big Dance. And all the credit goes to Lorenzo Romar…

But, that’s just me…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

March Madness Bracket

I’ve started my own Daily Dan Sports Blog on ESPN. To join in the fun, go to ESPN and search under the group “Daily Dan Sports Blog.” You must have a free membership into the ESPN site to play. Let’s get a lot of “players” and enhance your fun during the best time of year for basketball fans.

Click here to join….

Thriller in LA – Dawgs Go Dancing Thanks to IT

The Washington Huskies thrilling victory over the Arizona Wildcats was one for the ages. The defending of their Pac-10 tournament championship sent the Dawgs back into the NCAA Big Dance as a #7 seed against Georgia. Who knows what that seed would have been if they had lost?

A couple of notes on the game…

1. I’ve been watching the Huskies basketball program since the mid-1970’s and the James Edwards era. Isaiah Thomas’s performance was the greatest individual effort I’ve ever seen. He played all 45 minutes (in fact he played every minute of the tourney thanks to Venoy Overton’s suspension); he scored 18 points in the first half when Matthew Bryan-Amening was blanked; he made the kept the team in the game down the stretch, including the assist to send the game into overtime; and then he sealed the deal with a fade-away jumper to win the game as time ran out. A ridiculous game…

2. The two freshmen – C.J. Wilcox and Terrance Ross – came up huge in the tournament and down the stretch in this game. They each hit 3-pointers like veterans to get the Dawgs into OT. The future is bright for this program.

3. Lorenzo Romar is a gamer coach. In other words, he makes all the right moves at the key times for this team. That comes in very handy come tournament time.

4. This team can get by Georgia, but the disappointing play down the stretch puts them in a situation that if they do advance, they will have to beat North Carolina, the #2 seed, to get back to the Sweet 16. Hey, but this is March Madness, right?

Bottom line – that was gigantic win for the good guys. It showed tremendous heart and character by players and coaches as all things looked dark and ominous after the Venoy Overton calamity. That shows great leadership both in coaching (Romar) and players (Thomas). This was the kind of win that a team can build momentum from. Who knows, maybe the best is yet to come…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Pac-10 Expansion

What do you think of potential Pac-10 expansion?

I actually think it’s exciting. I remember when the conference was merely the Pac-8 and the Arizona schools joined. Expansion always brings in a level of excitement because of the unknown, the newness, and in this case, potential big names. Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado have been bandied about as potential new schools. Certainly, football has the most to gain and will bring the most controversy and chatter, but I would argue that the other sports also can benefit. Increased revenue and exposure would be a certainty. The administrative “stuff” would need to be worked out regarding scheduling and post-season, but I say “why not?”

Who knows, it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Wild Monday

1 – I was THIS close! Had Gordon Hayward’s 45-footer at the buzzer banked in instead of out, my prediction of a Butler 1-point win would have come true and we would have witnessed one of the most improbable championships ever. As it was, it was a tremendous game that capped off a scintillating tournament. Let’s hope the powers to be at the NCAA take note and leave the tournament alone!

2 – Mike Krzyzewski stand in second place along with Adolph Rupp for most national championships with 4, behind the legendary John Wooden. When you consider the era, the incredible parity, and the increased competition, Coach K may be the best ever. He has now won championships in three different decades – the only coach to accomplish this feat.

3 – I know it’s only one game, but Casey Kotchman and Chone Figgins look like pretty good deals for the Mariners. Figgins had 3 base on balls, 3 steals, and his speed forced ar errant throw by the third baseman to keep things alive in the 9th inning for the M’s. Kotchman, hitting third in the lineup, had 2 hits (robbed the umps of a third), 4 RBI’s, including the game winner, and was flawless in the field. He has a great stroke and reminds me a bit of John Olerud. I know, I know…161 games to go.  But, that’s why this game is so fun.

4 – It’s Masters week and Tiger held his press conference. The fans aren’t as wildly exuberant over him at least at the start. This will be an interesting week in Augusta. Why do I get a strange feeling that Tiger will be in the last group on Sunday?

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

The Butler Did It!

So far, so good on my Final Four predictions. I was off on the score a little bit, but getting the winners is the end game.

I’m sticking by my pick of Butler by one point. In total transparency, I will reveal that I do have Butler in the Vic Ulsh Oddity Lottery pool and having picked them with the 13th pick will look like the ultimate genius with a win.

Odds and Ends on Championship Day:

  • Is it just me or does Butler coach Brad Stevens look like he should be playing for the team, not coaching it? He looks like he’s 21 for goodness sakes! He’s actually 33 and probably the hottest coaching commodity in the country.
  • A recent ESPN poll shows that 82% of the country thinks that expanding the tournament to 96 teams stinks. The 18% must be NCAA committee members and their families.
  • It’s “madness” to think the expanded tournament is a good idea. It’s the one (and I mean the only one) thing that the NCAA actually does perfectly. That’s probably why they want to ruin it.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

My Final Four Picks

What the heck…I went out on a limb for the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl. It’s time for another bold prediction.

In the semi-finals today, it will be Butler beating Michigan State by 5 points, and Duke edging West Virginia by 1 point. This will set up a beauty on Monday with the perennial powerhouse Dukies taking on the hometown boys. Straight out of Hoosiers. I can imagine Gene Hackman walking out on the floor next to Brad Stevens to help him lead the lads to victory. Maybe Dennis Hopper can make this game…

I’m going Butler all the way for the Cinderella story in their home town. This, of course, will need amendment if they lose today!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved