It was a long first day at the Staples Center, and today figures to be just as long with four more games. So let’s get to it.
We’ll start with today’s games …
- Obviously, it’s a big game. The Huskies are going for a three-peat in the place where they coined the phrase.
Washington will begin its quest to win a third straight conference tournament title when it steps on the floor today at noon to face the eighth-seeded Oregon State Beavers, who advanced to the quarterfinal game with a 69-64 win over Washington State on Wednesday.
The Huskies will try to defeat the Beavers for the third time after sweeping them in the regular season.
It will be difficult for Washington because the Beavers are one of the few teams in the Pacific-12 Conference who can match the Huskies’ athleticism.
“I’d like to think we match up well against them; but once again, that is a team that’s had our number twice this year, so I can’t say that fully,” OSU head coach Craig Robinson said.
It’s not something many teams can do. Washington overwhelms players with its athleticism. Few teams have anyone as gifted as Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten, C.J. Wilcox or Aziz N’Diaye.
“Arguably three pros, maybe even four pros on that team, so we’re going to have to really execute our defensive plan as much as our offensive plan,” Robinson said.
That defensive plan includes throwing several zone defensive looks at the Huskies. But it won’t be anything Washington hasn’t seen.
The whole situation is familiar for the Huskies. They need to win games, possibly win the tournament to reach the NCAA tournament.
- The Bruins picked up an ugly win. Here’s the game story from the LA Times and game story from the OC Register. But the bigger news was Josh Smith showing up late for the team bus and having to sit out the first half of the game. From Bill Plaschke’s column…
Ben Howland’s Bruins are the exception. They travel the block by bus. Before their first-round game with USC on Wednesday, Bruins center Josh Smith was four minutes late for that bus.
Smith walked across the street and arrived at the locker room before the team, only to discover he was being benched in the first half because he was late for a bus that was, well, later than him.
There’s something really weird about all this, right?
Said Howland: “He hasn’t been late one other time the whole year … but I don’t care … this is too big and too important.”
Said Smith: “Don’t get me wrong, I was late. But I still beat the bus here.”
Yeah, the chaos continues, the final days of Howland’s toughest winter becoming even more maddening after the Bruins won by a 15-point margin that should have been at least twice that much.
- Arizona wasn’t without its drama. Head coach Sean Miller suspended starting freshman point guard Josiah Turner indefinitely for another violation of team rules. Here’s Bruce Pascoe’s preview for the tourney. Patrick Finley had the “Seen and Heard” from Day 1 with Kevin O’Neill mocking the refs.
- Stanford crushed ASU getting 30 points from Chasson Randle, setting up a showdown from the Bay Area teams. Here’s the scouting report from Jeff Faurado