By Jeff Faraudo
Monday, March 1st, 2010 at 3:31 pm in Basketball.
A week Cal fans will remember until the next title comes along, presumably not 50 more years . . .
– John Wooden, with 16 conference titles and 10 NCAA crowns, is the coaching gold standard in the Pac-10. Lute Olson won 11 Pac-10 titles at Arizona, reached the Final Four four times and won a national title. But Mike Montgomery, the only coach to lead two different schools to conference titles, now has five conference titles and belongs on the short list, behind Wooden and Olson. Nibs Price collected six at Cal over 30 seasons, and Slats Gill won five at Oregon State in 26 seasons.
– A special niche for Pete Newell, who won four straight conference titles at Cal, got the the Bears to the Final Four twice and won a national title in 1959. Imagine what he might have accomplished had he quit smoking and gnawing on towels and coached the Bears for 20 years instead of just six.
– Presuming that Cal, ASU or Washington — all with nine defeats — don’t win out (through the national championship), this will be the first season in history where every Pac-10 teams has double-digit loss totals.
– With its unexpected sweep in Los Angeles, Oregon has six Pac-10 wins, assuring that for the first time the last-place team will have more than five conference victories.
– Go figure the Ducks. They still reside in last place but have pulled off road sweeps in Washington and L.A. Cannot imagine that’s ever happened.
– And who provided oxygen and a shot of adrenaline to Oregon senior Tajuan Porter? The 5-foot-6 senior from Detroit was 4-for-25 from the 3-point arc in five previous games before going 8-for-12 and scoring 45 points in the wins over USC and UCLA.
– USC has failed to score 50 points in three consecutive games for the first time in 26 years. What’s worse? Only 12 second-half points (six on tip-ins) at home against Oregon or the failure to reach 70 in any Pac-10 game this season?
– Presuming that the Trojans don’t go all Tajuan Porter and wake up this week, figure ASU to win Thursday night, meaning Cal will need to/get to beat Stanford on Saturday to clinch their outright title.
– Arizona already has ruled out playing in the College Basketball Invitational, if neither the NCAA or NIT come calling. “It’s more important for us to start lifting weights,” coach Sean Miller told the Arizona Daily Star. Not exactly words to put on the CBI promotional posters.
– Those four teams that beat Cal in non-conference play — Syracuse, Kansas, Ohio State and New Mexico — have a combined record of 104-14 and are all in the top eight of the AP Top-25.