It’s the last Saturday of the Pac-10 basketball regular season. Next week is the Pac-10 Tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The week after that is the postseason – for a few conference teams. After tonight we’ll know the seeding for next week and next week we’ll figure out the week after. But for now, all we know is the past. And that recent past hasn’t been kind to the Washington State Cougars. Read on for more.
• Washington State: The Cougars have lost 8 of their last 10 games. If that trend continues tonight and Oregon, ahem, sweeps the season series from WSU, the Cougars will finish last for the first time since finishing 4-14 in 2005-06, Dick Bennett’s final season. Six of those losses came by five points or less, as the sophomore-dominated team was learning what it took to win. They learned, going 26-8 overall and 13-5 (second) in the conference the next season in Tony Bennett’s first year. … By the way, in 2006, WSU played Oregon in the first round of the Pac-10 tourney. Lose tonight, or if Stanford upsets Cal tonight, and WSU will play the Ducks in the first round once again. It would be the fourth time in five years WSU has met UO in its tourney opener. … On to the links. We had our story on teammates helping teammates, which is the only WSU-based men’s basketball story I could find. … But the women upset Oregon in Pullman last night, so I found this Register-Guard piece. … And the baseball team moved to 8-0 by sweeping Utah. … Back to the game tonight, it’s Senior Night in Eugene so the place should be rocking (hell, it rocks when you walk up the stairs). There’s a school of thought that this will be coach Ernie Kent’s last game at Mac Court as well.
• Around the Pac-10: The Cal Bears have won at least a share for the Pac-10 title for the first time since 1960. That one came under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell. This one under soon-to-be Hall of Fame coach Mike Montgomery. How does Montgomery coach? You’ll know a lot better after you read this story. … Montgomery’s Bears will be in Stanford tonight in a game not only that will decide the Bay Area and WSU’s Pac-10 tourney fate, but will also showcase two of the best players in the nation. … Kevin O’Neill takes USC into McKale today. How does he feel about it? Bruce Pascoe’s story covers it all. … It’s been a long, strange season for USC and O’Neill. … Arizona State is rooting hard for Stanford (just like WSU is rooting for Cal). Then the Sun Devils have to take care of the depleted UCLA Bruins. … Up the road in Corvallis, the Huskies’ Quincy Pondexter hopes to continue his, and his teams’, recent good play. … There’s a lot at stake for OSU as well.
• That’s all for this morning. We’ll be back with our pregame thoughts from Mac Court – You know the best part of the place? It’s the wood stairs. How perfect for Oregon? – before the game. Until then …