Basketball: Pac-12 seems headed to Vegas, but the announcement won’t come yet


Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Wednesday afternoon that no decision has been made on where the Pac-12 tournament will be held in the future.

All signs point to the men going to Las Vegas next year and the women perhaps to Seattle, but Scott said nothing will be decided until the Pac-12 presidents vote at a meeting this weekend.

“When we have a decision, we’ll communicate it in all likelihood shortly after the tournament’s over, if a decision is made this weekend,” Scott said.

Scott said there are multiple cities that have “very aggressively” bid for the event. “So we have some tough decisions to make going forward and we have narrowed the process,” he said.

Asked earlier this week about a change, Cal coach Mike Montgomery said, “I think it’s going to happen.”

And that’s a good thing?

“Absolutely. L.A. hasn’t supported it. It’s been really a negative,” Montgomery said. “Obviously, Staples Center is big-time. It just hasn’t been supported attendance-wise.”

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Basketball: Huskies outlast Ducks to reach final

Isaiah Thomas had 10 points and 12 assists for his second double-double in as many nights and Washington (22-10) ended Oregon’s run through the Pac-10 tournament with a 69-51 semifinal victory at the Staples Center.

C.J. Wilcox scored 14 points and Terrence Ross had 13 for the Huskies, who will play top-seeded Arizona on Saturday at 3 p.m. for the Pac-10’s automatic NCAA tournament bid. In any case, both the Huskies and Wildcats are locks to earn spots in the NCAAs.

The Ducks (16-17), who had beaten Arizona State and UCLA the previous two nights, got 18 points and nine rebounds from senior Joevan Catron.


Basketball: Arizona KOs Trojans

Top-seeded Arizona (27-6) moved into Saturday’s championship game of the Pac-10 tournament with a 67-62 win over USC. Derrick Williams scored 2o for the Wildcats.

The Trojans (19-14), who probably needed the victory to steal an NCAA tournament bid, got a career-high 20 points from Marcus Simmons and 16 points/12 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic.

Arizona will play the winner of the Oregon-Washington game, due to start in 25 minutes.


Basketball: O’Neill at Staples in spirit

Never has USC coach Kevin O’Neill’s nickname — KO — seemed more appropriate.

The suspended coach isn’t here at Staples Center tonight, where the Trojans trail top-seeded Arizona 52-45 with 7:50 left in their Pac-10 tournament semifinal. But his presence is felt.

A USC fan has been waving a sign that reads: Free KO.

But an Arizona fan got the last word with a sign showing a large black arrow and the words: Hotel Bar.


Basketball: Cal women fall to Bruins

Here’s my game story from this afternoon’s Cal-UCLA women’s Pac-10 tournament semifinal:

LOS ANGELES — Cal women’s basketball coach Joanne Boyle had seen it before. Her took an early hit from UCLA on Friday in the Pac-10 tournament semifinals and couldn’t muster the fight to battle back in a 63-50 defeat at the Staples Center.

The seventh-ranked Bruins (27-3) jumped out to an 11-1 lead after 4 minutes, then kept the Bears (17-15) on their heels all afternoon with pressure defense that forced Cal into 34-percent shooting and 19 turnovers.

UCLA transformed those giveaways into 29 points, sending the Bears home one victory shy of reaching Saturday’s championship game against powerhouse Stanford. The Bruins and Cardinal square off at 11:30 a.m.

The Bruins led by as many as 23 points, and Boyle said her club’s inability to fight through adversity is a recurring theme.

“It’s my biggest frustration,” she said. “We got punched in the head a little bit and we got deflated and we didn’t respond to it. When it comes easy, we’re good. We need to find the `it’ factor when it gets tough.”

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Basketball: USC suspends O’Neill for Pac-10’s

USC suspended coach Kevin O’Neill for the duration of the Pac-10 tournament, including tonight’s semifinal against top-seeded Arizona, following Thursday night’s incident, in which O’Neill and his wife got into an argument with an Arizona fan.

Assistant Bob Cantu is coaching the Trojans tonight.

Here is the latest from the L.A. Times along with the official USC news release.


Basketball: USC investigates postgame `incident’ involving Kevin O’Neill and Arizona fan

The Los Angeles Times and other sources are reporting that USC coach Kevin O’Neill was involved in an `incident’ with a fan from Arizona on Thursday night after the Trojans’ victory over Cal at the Pac-10 tournament.

“We have received some information tonight about an incident involving coach Kevin O’Neill, his wife and a fan from another school that occurred following our men’s basketball game today,” USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said in statement released Thursday night.

“We are looking into this and gathering facts. We will determine what appropriate action is necessary.”

The L.A. Times reached O’Neill on Friday morning, when the coach told the newspaper: “I used poor judgment at the team hotel last night and would like to apologize to my team, to my university and to the athletic department. I’m looking forward to our team having another great effort tonight as we try to win the Pac-10 championship.”


Basketball: Friday reading

Here’s my story on the Cal-USC game from this morning’s editions.

The story from USC’s perspective in the L.A. Times.

And a story on the Cal women, who play UCLA in a semifinal game today at 2:30 p.m.

An interesting blog item from the Seattle Times’ beat writer Percy Allen, who picked the 33 greatest players in the 33-year history of the Pac-10. The highest-rated Cal player? We’ll give you a hint: It’s not Jason Kidd. Sorry, that doesn’t work.


Basketball: WSU’s Thompson scores 43 points, breaks Powe’s Pac-10 tournament record in loss

Washington State junior Klay Thompson scored 43 points to set a Pac-10 tournament single-game record, but the Cougars lost 89-87 to Washngton in a dynamite quarterfinal game at the Staples Center.

Thompson eclipsed the record of 41 ex-Cal star Leon Powe, set five years ago in a double-overtime win over Oregon.

Isaiah Thomas had 21 points and 11 assists for UW, which beat the Cougars for the first time in three tries this season.

Friday’s Pac-10 semifinal schedule:

— USC takes on regular-season champion Arizona, which ousted Oregon State 78-69, at 6 p.m. 

— Oregon, which upset second-seeded UCLA 76-59, faces the Huskies at 8:30 p.m.


Basketball: Bears look ahead after loss

Nothing complicated about dissecting Cal’s 70-56 loss to the Trojans: USC was too long, too quick, too strong, too aggressive.

“They were bigger in the post, quicker on the perimeter,” coach Mike Montgomery conceded.

Montgomery suggested the Bears’ failure to open a bigger lead early while their man-to-man defense was containing USC probably cost them.

“I felt like we could have been up 10, 12, 14 points. We got the ball exactly where we wanted it, but we couldn’t score,” he said. “At that point, we seemed to lose a little bit of steam.”

But everyone, starting with Montgomery, said the team is eager to play again.

“I would think we’d be a very strong NIT team,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “We’ve had one hell of a year, given the circumstances. If the NIT comes along, we want jump on that as a springboard.”

“We don’t want the season to be over now,” agreed freshman Allen Crabbe.

The NIT pairings are set to be announced Sunday at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. Cal expects to get a first-round home game, either on Tuesday or Wednesday. They requested a 7 p.m. tipoff, although nothing is guaranteed.

One reporter tried to ask Jorge Gutierrez what kind of team he expects the Bears to be next season. The junior guard was having none of it.

“We’re not done with this season yet,” he said. “We’ve got a game next week and we’ve got to focus on that game.”

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