The Pac-10 got the tournament final it wanted. Washington State won't get the tournament bid it wanted. That's the news for this Saturday morning. Read on.
• Washington State: Everyone on the Cougar team hoped this year would end in an NCAA tournament bid. It won't. It will probably end somewhere following an NIT game. (If you are interested in educated guesses, check here and here.) In New York, maybe? The way the Cougars played their final four games after the Arizona State debacle, it very well could. They beat Washington at Washington. They beat a USC team that was as hot as anyone, and had coach Kevin O'Neill on the sidelines. They almost beat UCLA without Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson. And they played to the final buzzer with Washington despite Moore's inability to cut on his sprained right ankle. So why shouldn't the Cougars be able to compete with anyone they meet in the NIT? If they play with the mindset they showed the last couple weeks, they could end up in New York. And, if Thompson returns next year – if anyone thinks they know the answer to the question of what he is going to do, they're whistling in a dark arena, because only one person really knows and he's not saying – then, despite obvious flaws, the Cougars should end the 2011-12 season in the NCAA.
• Around the Pac-10: The Arizona-USC basketball relationship has been strained beyond the breaking point ever since Tim Floyd was, correctly, run out of Los Angeles. Not only did the Trojans hire O'Neill, who has a fractious history with UA, but then top recruit Derrick Williams shuns USC for Tucson. All that came to a head this weekend in Los Angeles, exploding in headlines, a suspension and a Pac-10 semifinal showdown between the two. The Wildcats controlled USC's inside game and won, 67-62. … The other semifinal featured the most talented team in the conference against quite possibly the least. Talent will win out, especially when it's focused. Washington was focused and ran away from a tired Oregon team 69-51. … So today the Wildcats and Huskies meet again at 3 p.m. on CBS in a rematch of the classic in Tucson. My guess is Washington runs around, through and over UA. … One other story on the other team headed to the NCAAs. That would be UCLA, which will be well-rested.
• That's all we have for this morning. We're headed back to the Inland Northwest this afternoon, so we'll be back on here tomorrow morning. Until then …