Huskies Sweet Again!
The Washington Huskies rode their seniors to a pair of wins over Utah State and Illinois to punch their second straight ticket into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament, also known as the Big Dance.
The win over Utah State was a workmanlike affair that lasted well into the night after a bomb scare earlier at Cox Arena in San Diego. The Huskies and the Aggies came out flat and started a brick laying contest that evolved into a pretty good basketball game. Washington took control and never let it go as Coach Romar improved his UW tourney record to 3-2 with the win.
Utah State featured a 29 year old former prison inmate who turned down Oregon to play for the Aggies. That's all; I really had nowhere to go with this other than a gratuitous cheap shot at Oregon.
After dispatching the Aggies, the Huskies ran into Big 11 behemoth, Illinois, fresh off a championship game appearance last year, and heavily favored to get by Washington and into the Sweet 16. The Big 11 was the number one conference this season and proved it by getting 6 teams into and out of the tournament in 2 rounds or less.
Washington jumped out to a huge early lead, then mistook the Illini for Washington State and squandered the lead, and then fell behind by double digits midway through the 2nd half.
When it looked darkest, Head Coach Lorenzo Romar stood tallest, willing his troops to victory and telling them what they needed to do and making them believe they could do it. The oft maligned Mike Jensen shut down the Illini middle man and Bobby Jones harassed poor Dee Brown from inside his jersey. Cool Hand Dentmon hit a huge three ball and several key free throws while all world Brandon Roy showed why DFI voted him National Player of the Year over the pretenders from a couple of small private schools.
Romar took over a failed program a mere 4 years ago and has them rolling like never before in their history. This is just the latest example of the University's amazing ability to develop sports programs into big winners.
Well, other than football that is.
UCONN rematch looms large
There is one clear consensus choice to win the NCAA tournament and that is UCONN, Washington's next opponent. For the second time in a decade, the Huskies meet the Huskies in the round of 16. Last time Rip Hamilton ripped the hearts out of Washington fans. This time a huge and deep front line is expected to over run and over power the sleek and fast westerners from Coffee City.
UCONN head coach Jim Calhoun is a living legend with two NCAA titles on his resume. Of late he has been the Duke Slayer, winning him fans across the country. He is a salty northeasterner who has been a bit miffed over the inconsistent play of his ultra talented team. In fact it will be inconsistent Huskies against inconsistent Huskies in this one.
Todd Turner once worked at UCONN, so Husky fans have that going for them, which is nice. Todd is all about developing championship sports programs.
Well, other than football that is.
Should the U Dub survive, and we say they will, they will face one of the two Cinderellas who make up the other side of the region. Glenn Campbell's Wichita Linemen face George "Don't' call me Perry" Mason in the other regional semi final. Mason knocked out North Carolina and Wichita exposed Tennessee to gain the unexpected tickets to the Sweet 16.
The regional final will be more dangerous in many ways than the UCONN game, but the word at Rick's Montlake Casino is that the Huskies of Washington are headed to the Final Four. Bet on it. If you have a memo and stuff.
The Duke Blue Devils are alive baby and everybody else better watch out because the prime time players and the diaper dandies are coming on strong for the used car salesman who coaches them – Mike Krachuskie. Have you ever seen a better car shill that Coach K? He could sell water to a man dying of thirst and he would too baby – no mercy from Coach K baby! You want to drink you better pay baby. That's right baby, slam jam I am a moron baby. A moron I am baby! Coach K and JJ and a Chevrolet! I love it man! I really love it…………….. click BOOM
Editor's note: Duke Vitalis will not be with us any longer. We regret any inconvenience to our readers
Duke will get tested by Texas or LSU, but will advance to the Final Four thanks to their 8 on 5 attack. I don't trust Texas to handle the heat of playing Duke and LSU is big, but easy to foul out.
Villanova survived and is alive after a tough win over Arizona. Waiting for the Cats is their old league mate Boston College, now ACC. The other side is a Big East / SEC grudge match between Georgetown and Florida.
Look for Georgetown to get their revenge 21 years after the greatest upset in NCAA title game history, as John Thompson the Third and Pat Ewing the Second upset Nova and punch the ticket to Indy.
Out west in Oak Town, the two greatest programs on the west coast meet Thursday night. I heard it on ESPN. UCLA and Gonzaga, who went 0-3 against UW this year combined, meet in a semi final game that should expose the Rolling Papers once and for all.
These are your grandfather's Bruins, a tough, hardnosed, defensive minded squad that will beat up the cute little Zags. Mark Few won't get the Coach K calls from the refs and he won't be selling any used cars at halftime either. Look for Ben Howland to continue his march to greatness and a 15 minute contract extension from the ever demanding Bruin faithful. And look for Adam Morrison to tick someone off with his ever-growing legion of fans that appreciate good sportsmanship.
Waiting for them in the regional final will be Memphis. Look for the Bruins to survive a three overtime thriller to advance to the Final Four.
It is looking more and more like a Pac 10 final in Indy.
The Standings - The maligned Missouri Valley Conference and the even more maligned Pac 10 each put two of four teams into the Sweet 16. The over rated Big East also batted .500, putting 4 of 8 teams in. Did they need 8 teams? Did Billy Packer need to whine and cry? He did after the ACC only had two teams of their own make it in.
The West Coast Conference and the Patriot League also had more teams make the Sweet 16 than the Big 11. In fact, the Big 11 was tied with the Big West, the WAC, the SWAC, the MEAC and any and all other conferences with a bunch of letters and compass directions.
Iowa blew an 18 point lead to Southwestern State. In fact, UCLA and Duke are the only major teams to win their league tourney and still live to play another day.
Parity is here and her name is the University of Freaking Washington.
Go Dawgs!!! – Race
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