STANFORD CARDINAL (20-10) Lost in NCAA Tournament 2nd round
WHAT WENT RIGHT- Ask Cardinal fans, and they might say not much. Expectations were high on the Farm this year. A 2nd round loss in the tournament would probably be looked upon as a disappointing finish. Casey Jacobsen was superb however, and Curtis Borchardt was dominant in the paint.
WHAT WENT WRONG- A supporting cast. Mike Montgomery had difficulty getting consistent play this year. At times, Stanford was almost unbeatable, but those times were few and far between. The Cardinal got blitzed by an inspired Kansas team, falling behind 15-0 and never recovering.
BIGGEST WIN- Beating a very good Western Kentucky team in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
TEAM MVP- Jacobsen, who lit up Arizona State for 49, then 2 games later put 41 on the Ducks. Ooops, while I was writing this, he just scored again.
WHO'S LEAVING- This is the $64,000 question. If Jacobsen and Borchardt go pro, the Cardinal are in trouble. The only senior on the roster was Tony Giovachhi. Casey Jacobsen can replace his 3.8 PPG from the team bus.
WHO'S COMING- 6'10" Center Matt Haryasz. Just another in the long list of quality big men that Stanford produces.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT YEAR- So much of this depends on whether Jacobsen and Borchardt stay. We think they will. The Cardinal will have a devastating one-two punch, and with another year under everyone's belts, this team should go deeper into the tournament. Maples Pavilion is traditionally one of the toughest places in the conference to play. Next year, the locals will have plenty to cheer about.
ARIZONA WILDCATS (24-10) Lost in NCAA Regional Semifinals
WHAT WENT RIGHT- The development of the Wildcat freshman. They matured quicker than anyone expected, including pre-season wins versus Maryland and Florida. A rebuilding year quickly transformed into another Pac Ten conference tournament championship.
WHAT WENT WRONG- They got stuck in the loaded West region of the NCAA tournament and were forced into playing defensive minded Oklahoma.
BIGGEST WIN- Defeating Maryland. To say that this raised some eyebrows in November would be an understatement.
TEAM MVP- Luke Walton, who didn't resemble last year's awkward reserve. A team devoid of leadership in October rallied behind the heady forward who led the conference in assists.
WHO'S LEAVING- Looks like Jason Gardner, who danced with the idea of going pro last year, has played his last game for the Wildcats. The rest of this talented crew is back.
WHO'S COMING- Hassan Adams out of Los Angeles might be the darling of this year's Pac Ten freshman. Chris Rodgers from Wilson HS in Portland is another in the gems that Lute continues to pull out of the Beaver state.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT YEAR- Dare I say it? National Championship? This team has been rumored by some of the more vocal and hairless college basketball analysts to be the pre-season number one. The Wildcats showed the conference this year that Lute hasn't lost any steam. A balanced team with senior leadership in Walton will be very difficult to beat next season. Also, the Wildcats play one of the best schedules in the country, and that toughens them come March.
UCLA BRUINS (21-12) Lost in NCAA Regional Semifinals
WHAT WENT RIGHT- The play of Dan Gadzuric. The physical presence inside helped the Bruins get hot and beat number one seed Cincinnati in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.
WHAT WENT WRONG- We're still trying to figure out how this team lost 12 games, including losses by 18 to Ball State and Pepperdine. Inconsistency has become the Bruins modus operandi the past 4 years, and 2001-2002 was no different.
BIGGEST WIN- Defeating Cincinnati 105-101 in overtime in the NCAA tournament. This was the Bruin team we all expected to see this season.
TEAM MVP- It's hard to argue with Jason Kapono here. Shooting 45% from beyond the arc and leading the Bruins in scoring are enough to sell us.
WHO'S LEAVING- We hope Jason Kapono stays. Gadzuric, Matt Barnes and Billy Knight accounted for almost 40 points a game. If Kapono goes, now UCLA will have to replace 80% of it's offense.
WHO'S COMING- Evan Burns will see immediate playing time and get a chance to showcase his skills for UCLA next season. The 6'8" forward will be one of the conferences best newcomers.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT YEAR- If Kapono stays, the Bruins will drop off a little, but not much. The talent is still there, but we wonder if Steve Lavin will ever be able to look back on a season and marvel about how his kids "overachieved". If Kapono does declare for the NBA draft, we'll go out on a limb and say that UCLA will be NIT bound. PG Cedric Bozeman will have to become a scorer for the Bruins to make it back to the NCAA tournament. His youth showed, but we love his overall talent.
Part III concludes with the Arizona State Sundevils, the Washington Huskies, the Oregon State Beavers and the Washington Cougars.