Doomsday scenario for Pac-12?


Doomsday scenario for Pac-12?

Programming note: Watch the Pac-12 Conference Tournament semifinals tonight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Oregon State faces Arizona at 6 followed by Cal vs. Colorado at 8:30 p.m.

LOS ANGELES -- Clearly the Mayans were college hoop fans. Who knew that when they predicted Armageddon in 2012 they were referring to the Pac-12 conference?

All season, pundits have spouted off about the "Doomsday scenario," in which only one team from this downtrodden conference would get in to the NCAA Tournament.

As recently as five days ago, that permutation seemed silly. No fewer than four squads had legitimate at-large chances. Then Arizona lost to ASU, Cal lost to Stanford, Washington lost to Oregon State and Oregon lost to Colorado.

Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria.

Now we have a situation in which Cal -- by virtue of Thursday night's revenge win over Stanford -- is comfortably in the field of 68. Oh sure, Nervous-Nelly Bear fans will be sweating it out on Sunday but with 24 wins and an RPI of 35, Cal is locked in.

The rest of them however ...

Let's take them one at a time.

Arizona: The loss to ASU (RPI 250) was an absolute killer. It lowered the Wildcats' number to 78. For reference sake, the lowest RPI team ever to receive an at-large bid was USC last year at 67. And it's not like the 'Cats have any good non-conference wins on which to hang their collective hat. Wait, that's redundant. The entire Pac-12 has no good non-conference wins (except, believe it or not, Stanford over Colorado State), which is why we are in this predicament. Good news for Arizona is, it's still alive at the Staples Center.

Oregon: The Ducks were the hot team heading into the conference tournament, but they could ill afford last night's one-point loss to Colorado. Oregon's RPI is 63. The NCAA Tournament is not out of the question, but not likely.

Washington: Here's where it gets tricky. The Huskies were in good shape, having won the regular season title. And that will still carry some weight with the selection committee. But the opening round Pac-12 loss to Oregon State dropped Washington's RPI to 68. Below the unofficial Mendoza Line.

Bottom line: I still believe somehow, some way, the Pac gets two teams. Sadly, the best case for the conference is Cal not winning the tournament, forcing somebody else in. But it does remain a very real possibility that this "power conference" is a one-bid league. So prepare for Armageddon. As if that will do any good.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital


Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract


On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract

MORAGA, Calif. – Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, Saint Mary’s College men’s basketball head coach Randy Bennett has been rewarded with a new 10-year contract, President James Donahue and Director of Athletics Michael Matoso announced today.
Bennett enters his 17th season at Saint Mary’s, which begins Saturday at McKeon Pavilion. He is the school’s all-time leader in wins and ranks second in all-time wins for any coach in the West Coast Conference. His contract will run through the 2026-27 season at Saint Mary’s.
Last year the Gaels finished the season with a school record 29 wins for the second straight year, earned a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and reached the round of 32.
“I’m appreciative and thankful to President Donahue, Mike Matoso and the Saint Mary’s administration for their support. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to work at such a great institution,” Bennett said. “We’ve had great student-athletes and assistant coaches who have put a lot of hard work and effort into building the program to this level. My family and I truly enjoy being in such a supportive community and raising our family around this environment. We are excited to continue what we have started here 17 years ago.”
Over the past 10 years, Bennett has led the Gaels to an impressive 263-76 overall record for a .776 winning percentage. The winning percentage is the best in California and ranks fifth nationally during that stretch.
“Randy represents what Saint Mary’s College is all about. He exemplifies the College’s ongoing commitment to the development of our student-athletes,” Donahue said. “He is not only a remarkable coach, but he is a valued and respected leader on our campus. We are excited to have him committed to this long-term agreement and look forward to him leading Saint Mary’s basketball for the next decade.”
Bennett has led his teams to the post season 11 times, with six NCAA Tournament appearances (2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2017) and the school's first NIT appearances (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015 & 2016). No other SMC coach has guided his squad to more than one post-season appearance.
“It is an exciting day for Saint Mary’s College to announce a 10-year extension for Coach Bennett. Randy embodies the core values of the college and we are very fortunate to have him,” Matoso said. “He has built this program from the ground up and we envision great things for the program in the future under his leadership. His teams have performed extremely well on the court and have matched that success both in the classroom and in the community.”
In addition to team accomplishments, Bennett has had 20 different players earn All-WCC recognition, with a total of 29 first team and eight honorable mention selections. He also coached former Gaels Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, who currently play for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, as well as many others professionally around the world.
In 2017, senior Jock Landale was named the first Gael to be in the top-5 for the Kareem Abdul Jabaar award under Bennett’s tutelage. The center was an AP Honorable Mention and member of the WCC First Team after averaging 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Also under Bennett’s tenure, in 2012, Dellavedova gave the Gaels the first back-to-back WCC players of the year since 1962. He also became the school's first-ever male first-team Academic All-America selection and was among five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. He earned all-WCC honors three times and twice was a honorable mention All-America selection.

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