Tag:around the state
Posted on: April 6, 2010 3:00 pm

Northwest Spring Preview

After a disappointing performance over the winter by our three big basketball teams, Seattle's version of spring has hit.

Oddly enough, it seems we are seeing more rain and cold weather now than we did back in winter.

Firstly, the Huskies finished their basketball season by getting into the NCAA tournament through way of winning the Pac-10 tournament, and then showed the nation why the West is vastly underrated. The Huskies beat Marquette and New Mexico to make the Sweet 16, a far better performance than anyone who is not a major homer expected.

The Zags didn't fare as well, getting into the Round of 32 before being blown out by the Orange of Syracuse, something to be expected when a 1 seed plays an 8 seed.

All that is in the past, though, as we take a look into the summer days of soccer, baseball, and woman's basketball.

The Sounders are looking to run the table in the West conference of the MLS in their sophomore year. They beat the new Philadelphia Union, but then lost to the Red Bull, giving them their first win on the road in regular season MLS play in two years. Freddie and Fredy, the two Sounders forwards, are looking to lead the Sounders to a long season of winning, b ut they need to find ways to put the ball in the back of the net. In the loss to the Red Bull, the Sounders took 17 shots, and none of them went in the goal. The ball was in the Sounders' offensive third for most of the game, but the forwards failed to capitalize.

The Mariners picked up quite a few new players in the winter, put together by second-year GM Jack Zduriencik and coached by Don Wakamatsu. Milton Bradley and Chone Figgins should help to pick the Mariners up offensively, and they also will help keep the Mariners' defense the best in the business. Cliff Lee will help out Felix Hernandez on top of the rotation, and give the Mariners a deadly one-two punch that the media will be (and has been) all over. At one point, the Mariners were the hot pick to win the highly competitive AL West, but a bad spring training made many people think twice. Most have the Mariners finishing third behind the Rangers.

The Huskies softball team will look to repeat as champions, led by Daniel Lawrie. Also, the Storm will again be led by Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, looking to take the title in the West.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 8:06 pm

It's basketball time.

Okay, so the Sonics are gone, the Seahawks are crapping out, as well as the Huskies making their way towards a no-bowl finish, and I'm not going to even think about the Cougars, but November does bring one bright spot for Washington.

College basketball has suddenly become the sport of notice in the Needle Neighborhood. The Huskies find themselves starting out #14 in the nation, the Zags find themselves with a few votes but no ranking, and the Cougs have a new head coach. On top of all that, Seattle U begins its second season of D-I competition, and Eastern Washington looks to have a strong season in the Big Sky. Our state should be pretty interesting this year.

A few questions that need to be answered soon: Can Washington find a strong presence in the frontcourt to replace Brockman? Will the Zags be able to handle losing their star pointguard Jeremy Pargo as well as bigman Josh Heytfeld? Can the Cougs still play without Tony Benett at the helm? If the answer to these questions is yes, we may see three local teams in the NCAA tournament this year. Now, I'm not sure about you Huskies that can't stand to see the Cougs suceed, or vice versa, but I would love this.

Not to sound like too much of a homer, but I've always thought our state was underrated in terms of college basketball prowess (North Carolina has waay too many horrible teams for them to be the best), and hopefully our teams will step up and change that this year. Good luck to everyone.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 23, 2009 7:01 pm

Washington teams in the Sweet 16

From now on, this blog will be called State Update, and it will be posted any time there's sports news that doesn't come out of Seattle specifically. I'm trying to bring this blog back to what it was created to be, so I'll post less nationwide stuff. With that...

SEATTLE, WA -- Well, Dawgs, I'm sorry, but you just can't get that ball in the basket.

Demetri Goodson, however, can.

Round two was not helpful to most Seattleites, as the Washington Huskies bowed out at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers. The game was decided on two blocks made by JaJuan Johnson. Both shots would have tied the game and potentially sent it into overtime. But, alas, the Huskies did not get past his 6' 10" frame, and they went 144 miles back to Seattle.

The Bulldogs then took the court in the Rose Garden for a showdown with 12-seeded Western Kentucky. Mendez-Vasquez showed everyone that the Hilltoppers weren't going home without a fight, scoring five threes in the opening five minutes. In the end, the Zags pulled away, but some quick turnovers and missed shots by the Zags with some effort by the Hilltoppers tied the game up with 7.2 remaining. Demetri Goodson got the inbounds pass and went from baseline to baseline to make the gamewinning layup with 0.9 seconds left, giving the Zags a victory 83-81.

The Zags will play North Carolina on Friday, a game that happened two years ago. Josh Heytfelt held then-sophomore forward Tyler Hansborough to just 9 points while scoring 19 himself. Jeremy Pargo and Heytfelt both started that game, and Matt Bouldin came off the bench. Hansborough and Wayne Ellington started for UNC with Ty Lawson coming off the bench. The Zags won then, 82-74. I'll try to get a game preview up on Thursday, if anyone's interested.

In the meantime, I highly recommend you read this article that was in today's Seattle Times. It's pretty good.

Posted on: March 20, 2009 2:04 pm

Washington teams in the NCAA

SEATTLE, WA -- Man, are we lucky!

We've got two teams from Washington playing insanely close to home, just a bit south of the Columbia. And therefore, we have two teams that could potentially make the Sweet 16.

Washington beat Mississippi State convincingly, never trailing in the second half. While Jon Brockman never exploded, and Isaiah Thomas never quite got his shooting down, Quincy Pondexter had a monster night, leading the Huskies with 23 points to a 71-58 victory.

Jon Brockman and Venoy Overton both hit the deck hard during the game. Brockman fell on his side after fielding a rebound, and Overton ran into a wall of a screen. Both made fans everywhere cringe, but they both got back up in about two or three seconds. Overton even went coast to coast after getting a steal on the same possession.

Gonzaga played Akron in a street fight. Gonzaga went on a late run to pull it out, 77-64. Josh Heytfelt continued to show everyone why he will be a first-round draft pick with 22 points and 8 rebounds.

Both teams will play on Saturday for their spot in the Sweet 16. The Huskies will take on the Purdue Boilermakers, a game which could go either way in my opinion. The Zags will play Western Kentucky, a game they should be able to win, but Western Kentucky will be coming off of a thrilling upset over Illinois.

I'll keep posting blogs like this until our teams are out, so keep cheering!

Posted on: March 2, 2009 9:16 pm

Our State's Collegiate Basketball: An Evaluation

(Note: I had serious formatting issues the first time I posted this, let's try again)

Someone posted a thread on the college basketball board today, asking a simple question: What state has the best college basketball right now? A number crunch by Fishstick put Washington in the Top 10 based on RPI rankings of our state’s D-I teams.

This thread got me to thinking: What does our state’s collegiate basketball situation look like right now?

This question brought up another question: Who are our state’s D-I, D-II, and D-III teams? Surprisingly, this question has different answers based on who you ask.

According to KenPom.com, RealTimeRPI.com, CBSSports.com, and most importantly NCAA.com, our D-I colleges are the University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, and Gonzaga University.

But, according to the Sagarin rankings, and also any college basketball fan in Seattle, Seattle University is also on that list. They did, after all, quit the Great Northwestern Athletic Conference and schedule 19 D-I teams. So, let’s go to the source, NCAA.com, and ask what division the Redhawks are in.

The following colleges are in Washington and have D-II basketball programs (according to NCAA.com): Western Washington University, Central Washington University, Seattle Pacific University, St. Martin’s University.

The following colleges are in Washington and have D-III basketball programs (according to NCAA.com): University of Puget Sound, Whitworth University.

Therefore, Seattle University doesn’t exist. So, let’s move on and evaluate our state’s collegiate basketball situation based on those four schools that NCAA.com considers D-I.

Washington Huskies (aka U-Dub Dawgs) – The Huskies are sitting on top of the Pac-10, and they have clinched a share of the Pac-10 title. They could win the title all to themselves if they beat the Cougars (see below) on Saturday. They have potential to be a #3 seed if they take care of business this week (they lose to Seattle and all hell breaks loose) and they pull out a Pac-10 tournament victory. If they lose the tournament (eg they run into California), the highest I see them getting is a #4 seed, but a #5 seed would be more likely. Next year, they will lose two valuable players in playmaker Justin Dentmon and postman Jon Brockman, but they will gain McDonald’s All-American point guard Abdul Gaddy, and will also gain power forwards Clarence Trent and Charles Garcia, shooting guard CJ Wilcox, and they also potentially could pick up DeMarcus Cousins, who I mention due to his status as #6 recruit in the nation (according to Scout.com), who is considering Washington as well as Memphis, Wake Forest, UAB, and some others. Bottom Line: Washington is looking like they could do some damage in the tourney, and with the recruits they have, they could do it all over again next year.

Washington State Cougars (aka Wazzu Cougs) – The Cougars are at the top of the basement in the Pac-10, with their only tourney hopes involving the letters “NIT” and “CBI”. But, if you look at the last two weeks, they have been hotter than the heater I’m sitting next to right now (which, unfortunately, isn’t saying much). They now possess wins over UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State, all three of those being potential tournament teams. They are a young team that could really grow into a contender in the next couple of years. They will also lose a postman and a point guard in Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie, respectively. They will pick up point guard Xavier Thames, power forwards Brock Motum and David Chadwick, and shooting guard Anthony Brown. Bottom Line: The Cougars will not do much this year in the postseason, but they could definitely mature and in a few years challenge in the Pac-10.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (aka Zags) – The Zags (no one calls them the Bulldogs) are sitting on a perfect conference record in the WCC, and they have received another conference title. Of course, this is not saying much at all, sine the three bids the WCC got last year were rare. The WCC tournament could be interesting, especially if Patty Mills comes back in time for the finals. But, regardless, the Zags will likely get somewhere between a #4 and a #7 seed (it really depends on how you look at their resume). Their embarrassing loss to Memphis in the national spotlight at the Kennel could haunt them in terms of seeding, but barring a first game matchup with   Kentucky or another potential dark horse, they should win at least one tourney game, if not make the Sweet 16. They will pick up center Sam Dower, while losing Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytfelt, Ira Brown, and Micah Downs. Bottom Line: The Zags have the talent to make a Sweet 16 this year, and they might not have that talent again for a while.

Eastern Washington Eagles – I’m not much of an Eastern Washington fan, but I am enough of one to know that, barring an incredible Big Sky tournament run, they will not make the tournament this year. Also, Scout.com does not have a team page for them, so I have no idea who they will be picking up for the 2009-10 season. I can run some numbers at you, though. They are 7th in the Big Sky with a record of 12-17 (6-10). They have a Pomeroy ranking of 251 and a Sagarin ranking of 231. Bottom Line: Eastern Washington just needs to keep on truckin’, and if they’re lucky, they’ll pick up a great recruit one of these days and challenge on the national stage. For now, though, they are the worst D-I team in Washington. Sorry!

Sorry about the length of this blog, but I wanted to provide a decent rundown of our state’s teams, as well as make a point about the Redhawks. See all of you in the comments section!


Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 2, 2009 9:11 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2009 9:11 pm
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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com