Tag Archives: NCAA

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

Head Injuries and Concussions

Head injuries and concussions have caught the national spotlight. The NFL, NCAA, and NHL have been proactively and aggressively taking steps to prevent head injuries and maybe most importantly, to make sure athletes don’t go back too soon. This is not only a major topic and challenge in professional and college sports, but in high schools, too.

The reality is that school districts don’t have the money to commit to sweeping changes. It’s very sad as it turns out our most vulnerable are at most risk. At North Kitsap School District, the bar has been raised by Chris Franklin. Franklin has been the head athletic trainer at North Kitsap HS for 17 years. He is the guru of making sure kids at North Kitsap stay safe. The work he and his team have done with baseline testing and prevention has drawn local and national attention. Recently, several schools have come to visit North Kitsap to see what they are doing, so they can make similar strides in their schools. And, just recently, a national web site has published a story on what North Kitsap has been doing in this arena.

Read the story here

Full disclosure: I am a North Kitsap School Board Director and I am proud of Chris and his team. I’m proud that our board has continued to fund this program at the level it has for the benefit of our athletes. I’ve watched Chris and his colleagues for 8 years as a coach. I know the work they do not only with head injuries, but all injuries. Great job!

© 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

Class of 2012 – Wait and See

The Huskies class looks pretty good. Now. The real test will come over the next 2-3 years. It’s funny to look back over the recruiting classes and see how guys actually turned out to be stars. Of course, it’s all across the board.

I’m pleased with how my home team and alma mater did. Landing Shaq Thompson, Jeff Lindquist and a few of the other guys whose names I can’t quite remember now sets them up for a bright future. In the end, however, it will all come down to execution on the field. That comes from coaching, talent, and a bit of serendipity.

The crazy thing is how many kids flipped back and forth in just the past few days. Maybe reform is needed for the process, but I don’t see it happening. As Steve Sarkisian said today at his press conference, it boils down to finishing strong. Let’s hope that the Dawgs finished strong with the right guys!

Huskies Land Big Fish in Football

Sure, the Dawgs were spurned by a couple of former players kids when Josh Garnett (Scott Garnett’s son) and Zack Banner (Lincoln Kennedy’s son) chose Stanford and USC respectively over their pop’s alma mater. Yes, it hurts but let’s be real. Maybe these guys wanted to make a mark in a school different than where their fathers played. I get that.

But all is not lost…

Steve Sarkisian landed an even bigger fish. Shaq Thompson is the #1 rated safety in the country and one the top 5 players nationally. Certainly, all these kids still need to perform, but this was a coup for the Huskies. They also picked up a few more kids from California this evening and their class is rounding into fine shape.

You never know what you’re getting. Sometimes kids don’t pan out. But, on a week that sets the stage for years to come, the Dawgs should be pleased even if they didn’t land Garnett and Banner. The best of the bunch may be heading to Montlake!

© 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

Hawks and Huskies and a Little Storm

While the V-Mac in Renton resembles a Chinese fire drill, Montake won’t be pulling the emergency fire alarm.

The Seahawks continue to mold their 53-man roster, definitely proving that they are in a rebuilding frame of mind. Julius Jones must feel like the famous Mark Twain quote about the “reports of his death being greatly exaggerated,” as the reports of his dismissal from the team being erroneous. What isn’t wrong is that he’s not the main man at running back anymore as that title goes to Justin Forsett. He isn’t even the #2 guy undoubtedly, but he still has a place on the squad. #6 pick Russell Okung won’t be playing on Sunday as he is still injured. Matt Hasselbeck better have his rear view mirror working as his blindside may be in danger. The most interesting pickup for me this weekend was 337-pound offensive guard Stacy Andrews. This guy could be a real help on what has been a light offensive line that is being turned into a larger one. Andrews may be the best acquisition of the several new faces.

The Huskies didn’t snap their nearly 2 year losing streak on the road and sounded (no TV…really?) like they played an awful 2nd half. But, not to jump to conclusions. BYU is a very solid team, especially at home. This was no gimmie, in fact they were 3-point underdogs going in. This week at home against Syracuse is a different story. This is a “must-win” for a team looking to get to a bowl game again. They must hold serve at home, particularly against oponents that they are supposed to be better than. I expect a different game and a different outcome.

Shame on me for having not blogged on the Seattle Storm most of the year. As a former high school girls basketball coach, that is inexcusable. The Storm have been the best team in the league and proved it over again in the playoffs, as they reach their second WNBA Finals. Yes, I know they don’t get quite the respect they should in this town because the sport is not considered in the same breath as the NFL, NBA, and MLB. The reality is that they brought this city a professional championship a few years ago, there coach is perhaps the best in the league, and they have three of the top players in the league in Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird, and Swin Cash. As they head into the finals, I will be spending more time covering them and their quest to win their second title. Heck, I may even need to find a ticket to the Finals. That may be our only opportunity for a few years!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved