Monthly Archives: March 2010

NCAA Thoughts: Bubble Teams, Real Deal Teams, Overrated Teams

One of the benefits of getting hit with the flu this time of year: There’s a lot of entertaining college basketball on television to take your mind off things. Here’s 10 random thoughts from the last three days of bubbledom:

 1)    It’ll be a crime if California isn’t awarded an NCAA at-large berth. The senior-dominated Pac-10 champs are solid. Don’t know about you, but I thought the Pac-10 championship game was a classic, showcasing a couple of teams that are much better than how they’re perceived nationally. Cal’s a veteran team that’s good enough to get to a regional final. So are the Huskies if they can duplicate Saturday’s winning performance.

 2)    My No. 1 seeds: Kansas, Kentucky, Duke (if it wins Sunday) and West Virginia. Sorry Ohio State. If the Big East is the best conference – and it is – then one of the beasts from the East should be a No. 1. It could have been Syracuse, but losses in two of its last three games gives West Virginia that spot. Because of the ACC’s down year, I might even put West Virginia and Syracuse ahead of Duke.

 3)    You might not like Bob Huggins, but I sure like the way his team (West Virginia) plays. Outside of the Pac-10 championship, the Big East title-game between the Mountaineers and Georgetown Hoyas was the best game of the week. The hard-nosed coach turned into an emotional Huggy Bear after the victory.

 4)    How good is the Big East? Georgetown was eighth in the conference during the regular season and the Hoyas are good enough to get to the Final Four.

 5)    Most overrated conference this year: The Big 12. Outside of Kansas, the top team in the country,  I don’t see anybody that’s scary. When Texas was No. 1 and 17-0, they didn’t seem that good to me. Kansas State isn’t any better than Cal, Washington or Arizona State and the Wildcats are projected to be a No. 3, or even  a No. 2 seed.

 6)    San Diego State played its way into the tournament by winning the Mountain West Conference tournament. That’s a tough conference with New Mexico, BYU and UNLV all getting strong consideration for at-large berths. Do you know who’s coaching at San Diego State? Hint: Fab Five. Yeah, Steve Fisher. Yeah,  sometimes nice guys do finish first.

 7)    Illinois has lost six of its last eight games and is still on the bubble? C’mon, that’s not right. The selection committee needs to wipe ‘em off the board early on Sunday.

8) Wonder where and who the Washington Huskies will play? Don’t know how you can even predict this stuff, but Joe Lunardi of, the bracketology guru, has the Huskies (23-9) facing Michigan State (24-8) in the Midwest sub-regional Spokane. Washington’s a 12 seed; MSU a 5 seed. Lunardi’s got Gonzaga (25-6) in the West, playing Old Dominion (26-8) at Oklahoma City. The Zags are a 7 seed; OD a 10 seed. Remember, this is purely conjecture.

 9)    Washington’s getting a lot of contributions from a lot of players right now – which is why they’re riding a seven-game winning streak – but Justin Holiday really caught my eye this week. The 6-6 junior has always been a superb defender, but he’s going to have a chance to be a special player next season when the Huskies look for somebody to replace Quincy Pondexter. Not saying he’s going to be the next Q-Pon, but don’t be surprised if he averages 14-15 points and close to 10 rebounds.

 10)    Strangest thing I saw was the heated verbal exchange between Kentucky coach John Calipari and freshman Daniel Orton. Evidently, Calipari didn’t think Orton went after a loose ball hard enough at one point during the first half of Saturday’s SEC semifinal against Tennessee, and he yanked the player. Orton never sat down and next thing you know, CBS’ cameras show the player walking off the court toward the lockerroom. Minutes later, he was back, apologizing to Calipari, who slapped his hand and put him back in the game.

GolfWeek’s Annual Ratings List Out: Olympic Course No. 5; Trophy Lake No. 8 in State

GolfWeek’s annual list of Best Courses You Can Play is out and Kitsap has two courses included in Washington State’s Top 10 list. Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course comes in at No. 5 and Trophy Lake Golf & Casting is ranked No. 8.

Note: Courses have to be open to the public to be considered.

Here’s the full state list:

1. Chambers Bay, University Place (No. 20 m)
2. Palouse Ridge, Pullman (m)
3. Wine Valley, Walla Walla (m)*
4. Loomis Trail, Blaine (m)*
5. Olympic Course at Gold Mountain, Bremerton (m)
6. Indian Canyon, Spokane (c)
7. Semiahmoo, Blaine (m)
8. Trophy Lake Golf & Casting, Port Orchard (m)
9. Suncadia (Prospector), Roslyn (m)
10. Home Course, DuPont (m)

Note: Chambers Bay is No. 20 nationally; the m is for modert courses and the c is for classic courses. The asterisk is for courses that are new to the list.

Port Ludlow Resort was dropped from the Top 10.

Here’s the GolfWeek story about the the rankings.

Here’s the link to the state-by-state listing.

Here’s the best classic courses and the best modern courses, which has Oregon’s Pacific Dunes No. 2, Bandon Dunes No. 4 and Bandon Trails No. 28. The No. 1 modern course? I let you find out for yourself.

Of course, this is all pretty subjective. How would you rank the top 10 courses in the state? I keep hearing good things about the Home Course in Steilacoom. Should it be higher? And what about McCormick Woods or the Cascade Course at Gold Mountain? Are they among the state’s top 10? Just throwing it out. Chambers Bay will host the U.S. Amateur this summer and the U.S. Open in 2015, but is it the state’s best public-access golf course?

The Raging Bull

We’re not talking about the movie starring Robert De Niro.

Check out this story about a 1,800 pound named Hard Ball who somehow made it out of the stadium while at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

If we could ever get Silverdale rodeo announcer Randy Corley off the golf course, I bet he’d have a few stories to tell about runaway bulls. Corley worked the San Antonio rodeo with his father-in-law, Hadley Barrett, last month. Here’s a picture of Randy Corley annnoucing into a cucumber. Hey, Randy, is that a Raging Cucumber?

Get Ready for the ‘Few to Oregon’ Rumors

Freelancer Howie Stalwick filed this note concerning Gonzaga coach Mark Few on Sunday night. The win over Loyola Marymount tied  Hank Anderson’s school record of 290 wins.

Few is an Oregon graduate, and his name is again circulating as a possible replacement for UO coach Ernie Kent, who is not expected back.
Few has always refused to discuss jobs that are not officially open. An insider with ties to Gonzaga told The Sun that Few recently indicated to him that he plans to remain at GU indefinitely, and Bulldog athletic director Mike Roth said, “No one even calls (inquiring about Few) any more.”

Huskies: Do They Deserve NCAA Hoops Berth Or Not?

Washington can take all of the drama out of that question by winning this week’s Pac-10 Tournament. It’s not out of the question. The Huskies enter as the No. 3 seed, opening against Oregon State on Thursday. Three wins and the Huskies are in.

But what if the Huskies stumble? In a year in which the Pac-10 has been perceived as a weakling in the world of college basketball, the Huskies can’t afford to do that. An at-large berth seems possible if they get to the Pac-10 championship game, but it’s no guarantee.

If they get to the title game and lose, Washington will be 24-10, but their resume looks a lot better than it did two weeks ago. After being discarded by a lot of people who follow college basketball, Washington’s at least put itself on the bubble. They deserve consideration. They’re No. 49 in the latest RPI rankings and do have wins over two Top 50 teams (No. 12 Texas A&M and No. 19 Cal) and are 6-5 against the Top 100. And they are playing better. The Huskies performance on the road, however, remains a sticking point. Washington’s best road win was over Washington State (No. 150).

What do you think? Are the Huskies worthy of a spot in the tournament if they don’t win the Pac-10 tourney?

Meanwhile, cozy up to the tube to watch Gonzaga begins its quest for another West Coast Conference championship. The Zags take on Loyola Marymount in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Finals are Monday. Gonzaga, by the way, is No. 35 in the RPI rankings.

NFL Links: Seneca Wallace to Cleveland?

Brandon Marshall arrrived at Seahawks headquarters today on a sea plane. With the two sides work out a deal?

Mike Klis of the Denver Post breaks down the compensation package from a Broncos’ standpoint. If the Seahawks submit an offer sheet, they would have to surrender the No. 6 pick (their own) in the upcoming draft. Seattle also has the No. 14 overall pick, which they received from Denver for a trade that involved Alphonso Smith.

Marshall’s visit is nothing but a get-to-know-you visit, according to this report..

Also, sounds like Mike Holmgren’s interested in brining Seneca Wallace to Cleveland.

Here’s a guy who agrees with me. The Detroit Lions overpaid Nate Burleson, the former Seahawks’ wide receiver. $25 million over five years. $10 million guaranteed. Are you kidding me?

Miah Davis Playing for Top Team in Cypress

The last time Bremerton High advanced to a state basketball tournament it was led by mecurial guard Miah Davis. Davis and the Knights lost to Lynden in the opening round of the Class 3A 1999 tournament, but rebounded to win three straight games for a fifth-place finish.

Davis went on to star in college at the University of Pacific, where he was the Big West Conference Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-American his senior year. After year in the NBA Development League, Davis headed to Europe. He’s played two seasons in Poland, one in Germany and this year he’s with Proteas EKA AEL Limassil, traditionally a powerhouse in Cypress. AEL is the top seed in the Cypriot League playoffs, which are about to begin. The team was 14-2 during the regular season.

AEL also played in the EuroChallenge Tournament, but didn’t make it out of its group in tournament play. Davis averaged 8.3 points, 2.5  rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 blocks in 11 EuroChallenge games.

Willie’s Bucket List Includes Hunting Grand Slam

Willie Bloomquist’s bucket list includes reeling in a blue marlin, completing the North American Grand Slam for hunting and owning a ranch in Montana. You can learn a few more things about the big-leaguer from Port Orchard by reading this profile in the Sporting News.

And just what is the North American Grand Slam for hunting? I’m not positive this is what Willie is chasing, but here’s a list of 29 North American animals that were on somebody’s online list:

American Alligator
Pronghorn Antelope
Barren Ground Grizzly Bear
American Black Bear
Alaska Brown Bear
Common Grizzly Bear
Polar Bear
American Bison
Barren Ground Muskox
Greenland Muskox
Artic Islands Caribou
Alaska Yukon Barren Ground Caribou
Central Canada Barren Ground Caribou
Mountain Caribou
Quebec Labrador Caribou
Woodland Caribou
Canada Lynx
Mountain Lion
Central American Whitetail Deer
Columbia Blacktail Deer
Coues Whitetail Deer
Desert Mule Deer
Gray Brown Brocket Deer
Mexican Whitetail Deer
Northeastern Whitetail Deer
Northwestern Whitetail Deer
Red Brocket Deer
Rocky Mountain Mule Deer
Sitka Blacktail Deer
Southeastern Whitetail Deer
Texas Whitetail Deer
Rocky Mountain Elk
Roosevelt Elk
Tule Elk
American Mountain Goat
Alaska Yukon Moose
Eastern Canada Moose
Shiras Moose
Western Canada Moose
Collared Peccary or Javelina
White Lipped Peccary
California Bighorn Sheep
Dall Sheep
Desert Bighorn Sheep
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
Stone Sheep
Atlantic Walrus
Pacific Walrus
Gray Wolf

Celebration for Bree Planned for March 10

Hometown Winter Olympian Bree Schaaf will be feted on Wednesday at the Kitsap Golf & Country Club.
The Kitsap County Bremerton Athletic Roundtable is throwing a party to honor the Bremerton bobsledder who combined with brakeman Emily Azevedo to place fifth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Check out this story on Azevedo’s homecoming in Chico, Calif.
The celebration is open to the public — young and old — and will start with a 6 p.m. social hour followed by the dinner program at 7 p.m. Cost is $20 ($15 for KCBAR members) and includes dinner.
Team Schaaf/Azevedo hats and scarves will be raffled and auctioned along with other items. Autographed pictures will also be available.
Proceeds will go to Schaaf, who will soon begin the search for a job after training fulltime the past year. She’s already announced that she hopes to compete in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Olympic High grad was among a group of state Olympians to be honored at a noon rally at Westlake Mall in Seattle, and later at a function hosted by Gov. Chris Gregoire in Olympia today.

Spring Swings: Hammel to Start Cactus Opener; Willie B. Taking It Slow

Some spring training links on local athletes:

Pitcher Jason Hammel will start the exhibition opener for Colorado on Thursday.  “It’s kind of a cool little honor,” said the South Kitsap grad, who is participating in his first spring training in Arizona. His previous club, the Tampa Bay Rays, trained in Florida.

After offseason surgery on both knees, the Kansas City Royals aren’t going to rush veteran utilityman Willie Bloomquist. The 32-year-old graduate of South Kitsap won’t be playing in an early exhibition games. He played seven positions for hte Royals a year ago.

Another South Kitsap grad, outfielder Aaron Cunningham, is in camp with the San Diego Padres after being traded in the offseason from Oakland. This is a pretty interesting story about Cunningham and a relationship he built with former Padres hitting star Tony Gwynn. The story notes that Cunningham will likely start the season at Triple-A Portland.