Trying to make sense of Pac-10’s night

COUGARS • UPDATED: 11:35 A.M.; 12:30 P.M.

Good morning. It's clear and cold in Pullman though I understand it's warmer in Seattle, where WSU will face the Huskies tomorrow. Last night's Pac-10 results figured out a couple things in the standings: Cal will finish third, ASU fourth, Stanford ninth and Oregon 10th. Other than that, it's up in the air. We have links for you this morning, so read on.

UPDATE 2: Sorry to do this to everyone, but I just received a call with a revised - and official - interpretation of the three-way tiebreaker from the Pac-10. The conference's official word is, in the case of the USC, UA and WSU ending up in three-way tie (all winning Saturday), USC would finish fifth due to its 3-1 record in games between the teams. Then UA and WSU's tie would be settled under the rules of the two-team tiebreaker. That means, because both would have defeated UW and UCLA once and lost both to Cal, WSU's two wins over ASU (UA lost twice to the Sun Devils) would break the tie in WSU's favor and the Cougars would be sixth. THIS IS FROM THE PAC-10 OFFICE as relayed by WSU basketball SID Jessica Schmick. All other ties would be broken as described below ...

UPDATE 1 (EDITED): For a three-way tie at 9-9 between USC, UA and WSU, see paragraph above. If the Cougars win and either USC or UA lose, the Cougars are sixth in a head-to-head tie with USC, fifth if its UA. Also, if UA and WSU both lose and USC wins, USC is fifth, Arizona sixth and WSU seventh. And, of course, with those teams playing after the WSU-UW game, nothing will be known for sure until about 7:30 tomorrow night. If UA, USC and WSU were to all lose, UA would finish fifth, Oregon State sixth, USC seventh and WSU eighth. If USC and WSU lose, OSU is sixth, USC seventh and WSU eighth.

• I tried to go over the tiebreaking formula after the games last night, but I'm not sure I was right (there is a bit of ambiguity in the rules). So I've asked for an official ruling today. When I get that, I'll pass it on. It looks as if WSU can still finish anywhere from fifth to eighth, depending on the games Saturday. And, after watching Stanford defeat ASU last night, I don't think anyone wants to finish eighth right now. (See above for update.)

• Let's go to the links. We start with this feature from freelancer Howie Stalwick on WSU senior Caleb Forrest, the lightly recruited and often-overlooked forward from Colorado. ... At times tomorrow he'll match up inside against Jon Brockman, UW's power forward who will be playing his last game at Hec Ed. No one could call Brockman "lightly recruited" (Gonzaga and Duke went after him hard when he was at Snohomish High) nor could you call Brockman "overlooked," especially not today. There is this feature in the P-I and this one in the Times. ... The P-I's Art Thiel has this column about Lorenzo Romar and the job he's done this season. ... And, being Saturday is Senior Day at UW, the Times has this story on the three seniors. ... USC pulled away late to defeat Oregon on Thursday. ... Josh Shipp went wild in the first half – scoring 17 consecutive UCLA points – as the Bruins hammered Oregon State. ... ASU never looked in synch in its loss to Stanford. ... And Jerome Randle, who I picked as the league MVP in Jeff Faraudo's annual poll of Pac-10 writers, made almost every 3-pointer he tried, lifting Cal past Arizona on Lute Olson night, the Bears first win in Tucson since the mid-90s.


• That's it for this morning. It sure was nice last night to sit and watch three Pac-10 games (had to switch back-and-forth between Cal/UA and UCLA/Oregon State) like normal people do. Usually all we get to see is snippets of the other games. ... As we said, if we get some official confirmation on the Pac-10 tourney, we'll pass it on. We also will pass on our unedited story that will run in tomorrow's S-R. Until then …

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