Pac-12---It has been a strange year for Pac-12 basketball, but strange in this case might be good.
With the Cal victory on Thursday night over Oregon in Eugene, it not only upset the apple cart for who wins the league, but it probably punched the Bears' ticket to get into the NCAA tournament.
And with so many upsets and key victories by Pac-12 teams on the road this year, that also means the league is getting better and will give the selection committee on March 17th, a really good chance to validate putting possibly up to six Pac-12 teams in the tournament.
As a matter of fact, right now, here is my thinking on who gets in the NCAA tournament from the Pac-12. Cal, ASU, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and UCLA. That would be a great representative group of teams, that obviously could win more than one game in the tournament.
Back to the Cal upset of Oregon. I guess if you have beaten a team now, 11 straight games, it might be better called a minor upset, but none the less, the loss was disaster for the Oregon Ducks. A Duck win would have really solidified their chances of winning the regular season championship. Now with the loss, they need so much help and it puts UCLA in the driver's seat to win the regular season title.
The Bruins must take care of business and beat USC this Sunday, then the big weekend comes following, when Arizona State and Arizona come to Pauley Pavilion. As for the Ducks, they have to play Colorado on the road March 7th, a place that is never easy to win. There is a slight chance that four teams, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon and Cal, all could end the regular season tied, with five losses. Wow.
My prediction, which has been constant since November, UCLA will win the Pac-12 title, for one reason. They have the best player in the league in Shabazz Muhammad and the best talent to support him.
And in conclusion, if you did not know before, the point guard is the most important position in all of basketball. Any doubt, just ask Dana Altman and injured Ducks freshman point guard star, Dominic Artis.
Portland, Oregon---Good chance to support the local teams tomorrow in my hometown. And for all those that continue to complain about nobody plays afternoon games, both University of Portland and Portland State have matinee specials tomorrow. Portland State tips at 1:05 against UC Riverside and U of Portland plays a very good Santa Clara team at 2:00.
Once again, what a shame there could not have been a little space between these two contests, so fans who attend both schools' game on a regular basis, could attend both, instead of having to make a choice.
It is what is shamefully, so you as fan make a choice. Both U of Portland and Portland State are playing some of their best basketball of the season, so you will not be disappointed either way.
Speaking of fans, hats off to Eric Reveno at U of Portland. In this day of selfishness among many people in athletics, it is so refreshing to see Reveno genuinely acknowledge the fans and students that come out to his games, immediately following each game, win or lose. It is also fun to see a coach, as he does, fire up the crowd during the game. Good live viewing for sure.
And a little tip of the hat to his cross town rival coach Tyler Geving. Win or lose, Geving takes as much time to be interviewed after any game. He is a stand-up guy, which is also refreshing to see these days in the competitive world of college athletics. As we first reported in Crawford's Court on CSNNW.com, I am glad both Reveno and Geving will return for 2013-14 seasons.
Scores---Still way above .500 for the year, actually at .610 clip, but I need a huge weekend to return to glory. Now you can laugh please.
All Saturday games:
UC Riverside (93) at Portland State (106)--- Vikings are playing good and their free throw shooting as of late is off the charts.
Washington (59) at Arizona State (60) ---Just a down year for the Huskies.
California (81) at Oregon State (68)---Disappointing for the Beavers this year is an understatement
Stanford (81) at Oregon (82)---Would not be shocked if I miss on this one.
Santa Clara (60) at Portland (63)---For some reason, the Pilots have just emerged into a darn good club, congrats to them.
Greg Crawford, CSNNW.com College Basketball Insider