Pre-tourney look at Pac-12


Pre-tourney look at Pac-12

Well class, we havent had a chance to sit down and talk about Pac-12 basketball in a while, have we? Remember when we said -- back in November -- that the league was down a bit this year?

Guess what? The leagues not down its downright taken root. It's required by the NCAA that the conference tournament winner be selected as a leagues representative to its postseason dance, but beyond that there are no guarantees for anyone -- up to and including the conference champions. And, while I never thought Id see the day that the Pac had just a single representative in the NCAA Tournament, this could possibly be the year.
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To start, the Pac 12s non-conference winning percentage is lower than the cost of a share of stock in a Nevada silver mine. That is to say worthless.

That in itself will drive the selection committee to say, Lets see, shall we take Oregon or Seattle Pacific? Well, Seattle Pacific is a D2 school -- but they beat Arizona. Lets go for them.

Heres a pre-tournament rundown of the Pac 12 -- through jaded eyes.

Mike Montgomery has been masterful in what hes done with this team. They play hard, theyre tough, theyre experienced and theyre one player short. They can win any game. Or lose any game. Pretty much like the rest of the league.

Too many good players, not enough basketballs. Tony Wroten is the freshman of the year, a one-and-done guy, one of the best players in the conference -- and the Huskies would be better off without him. I get the sense that Lorenzo Romar -- one of my favorite guys -- would rather be watching a colonoscopy than what he sees from a talented bunch of players and one really selfish one.

Youthful, athletic, wonderful young men who seem to be in every game and just cant find a way to close the deal. I sometimes get the sense that Johnny Dawkins is asking for volunteers.

This team is big, soft, fat and brings a shot selection that has the coach using all his timeouts in the first 22 minutes of a game. By which time he usually has nothing left to say to his team anyway. Not a staunch group.

Six transfers and an ability to win on the road make the Ducks at least an interesting team to watch. Wouldnt shock me if they won the Pac-12 Tournament. Dana Altman: Coach of the year. Team: A bunch of guys.

Oregon State
This is the most complete team in the conference. Only drawback is that they dont win. I dont get it. The Beavs usually start slow and finish fast. This year, the opposite. They simply should be better than they are.

Two words: Freshman guards. The 'Cats are well coached and talented but wildly inconsistent because of backcourt youth. Also, weaving AAU stars into a college program can be problematic when they feel they already know more than the coach. They dont. Especially in the case of Sean Miller. Next year for the 'Cats.

Unknown, untalked about, and one of the better teams in the league. The Buffs are still learning how to win at sea level but Tad Boyle has done a masterful coaching job with a team picked 11th in the conference.

Washington State
Give it up for coach Ken Bone. He got the most of what he had. Which was very little. It aint easy recruiting to Pullman, Wash. -- unless its very dark out.

Their hopes ended in September in Brazil when Tio Fontan went down with a season-ending injury. Kevin ONeil said he and his assistants sat on a bench on Ipanema Beach drinking Mojitos until dawn. He knew it was going to be bad. It was worse.

Arizona State
No point guard, internal problems, best player down with injury for much of the season, more turnovers per game than people in the stands. Tough year for Herb Sendek.

Worse college basketball team Ive seen in this conference in -- let me think -- ever.

Other than that though, its been a hell of a year in the Pac 12.

Barry Tompkins is a regular contributor to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Chronicle Live.

EWU head coach leaving to become Cal’s new offensive coordinator


EWU head coach leaving to become Cal’s new offensive coordinator

Newly announced Cal head football coach Justin Wilcox has his offensive coordinator just two days into the job. Eastern Washington University head coach Beau Baldwin is stepping down and is on his way to run the offense in Berkeley, EWU announced on Monday.

"I’m excited for the great opportunity that’s ahead but I’ll miss an amazing place," Baldwin said at a press conference held at EWU to announce his decision to leave the school.

Under Baldwin, EWU turned into a powerhouse at the FCS level, posting an 85-32 record in nine seasons. The Eagles won five Big Sky Conference titles and were crowned national champions in 2010.

Baldwin has never coached at the Division I FBS level, but has posted success in the past against those teams. Last season, Baldwin and the Eagles started off the year with a 45-42 win on the road against Washington State.

To open the 2013 season, Baldwin received national attention as EWU pulled off a huge upset by taking down No. 25 Oregon State, 49-46.

In 2016, EWU averaged 42.36 points per game. The Eagles rushed for 112 yards per game and gained 238 yards per game through the air.

With Dykes out, ex-Cal OC returns to West Virginia


With Dykes out, ex-Cal OC returns to West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jake Spavital is returning to West Virginia as offensive coordinator.

Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen announced Spavital's hiring Saturday. He'll also coach the quarterbacks.

Spavital was interim coach at Cal after Sonny Dykes was fired last Sunday. Spavital had finished his first season as Cal's offensive coordinator. Under him, Davis Webb threw for 4,295 and 37 touchdowns.

Spavital was the quarterbacks coach in 2011 and 2012 under Holgorsen at West Virginia, where Geno Smith set numerous school records. Spavital spent three years after that at Texas A&M.