Washington Huskies softball team closes home stand with win

Washington Huskies

Washington Huskies softball team closes home stand with win


The sun was out and so were the fans as the University of Washington Huskies softball team defeated the Stanford Cardinals 10-2 in their final Pac-12 regular season home game last Sunday at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

The atmosphere was full of excitement as everyone seemed to enjoy the annual Fan Fest and emotion as they prepared to say good-bye to seniors Ali Aguilar and Casey Stangel on Senior Day.

Trying to keep emotions in check during Senior Day is always tough but Huskies head coach Heather Tarr kept the focus on what it’s all about.

“I think that it’s a challenge but I think it being Senior Day before our seniors are truly done…makes it a little bit easier,” said Tarr. “But it’s just more of trying to think of it as a celebration and you’re celebrating them before their gone…We never want them to leave but that’s the whole of college athletics is that you graduate.”

It was a rocky start for Washington pitcher sophomore Taran Alvelo (25-6) who gave up a home run to the Cardinal’s lead-off hitter senior Kylie Sorenson.

Alvelo got out of the inning and her teammates quickly brought the game back to their side.

After senior Ali Aguilar and freshman Sis Bates hit back-to-back singles senior Casey Stangel worked out a walk to load the bases. Sophomore Morganne Flores doubled to left field scoring Aguilar and Bates.

This brought up junior Taylor Van Zee who deposited the ball over the left field fence to bring the remaining Huskies home and extend to a 5-1 lead.

Seventh ranked Washington (40-11) never looked back as they continued to pound Stanford pitchers. The second inning saw Bates triple and come in on a sacrifice fly by Flores.-

The third saw junior Kirstyn Thomas lead-off with a double then stole third. She come in on a single by Bates and the Huskies had pushed their lead to 7-1.

The Cardinals (19-29) produced another lead-off home run in the top of the fourth by senior Lauren Bertoy but Alvelo once again stayed steady and kept Stanford hitless the rest of the inning.

Washington head coach Heather Tarr liked what she saw in Alvelo’s ability to keep the home runs from rocking her game.

“I thought she did a good job. She could have easily given herself a hard time after that leadoff home run (in the first),” said Tarr. But I think she knew that she made a mistake and it was a good hitter and she got through the next pitch and she worked it and found a way to win the game for us.”

The Huskies closed out the weekend series when junior Kelly Burdick took first base by a Stanford error, stole second and watched as both Aguilar and Stangel walked to load the bases.

This brought up Flores who collected her third hit of the game with a single that brought in two runs and gave Washington a 10-2 walk-off win.

The runs gave Flores five RBIs as she joined junior Julia Deponte and Bates with three hits apiece of the team’s 13 total hits. Alvelo pitched a complete game with three strikeouts and four hits allowed.

Washington completes the Pac-12 regular season this weekend with a three-game series against the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Gonzaga is the top dog in Washington

© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga is the top dog in Washington


Nearly 12 years to the day from the last time the Gonzaga Bulldogs took the court on the Washington Huskies’ home floor, there was a palpable tension in the air. Having played each other the last two seasons, there was something different about this matchup. The Huskies, coming off a win over #2 Kansas, had a renewed sense of optimism. Fans had suddenly been reminded that yes, their Dawgs had in-fact started the basketball season and yes, Mike Hopkins may have turned this program around much sooner than anticipated.  Another key ingredient to this Sunday night game is the large contingent of Zags alumni and fans in Seattle. Having navigated UW’s tricky requirements of purchasing five-game plans just to get in the door, a couple thousand Zag-faithful decked in blue and red showed up, hoping to witness the Zags first win at Hec-Ed Pavilion since 2003.  Look down towards the court to see Adam Morrison (Zags radio color commentator) with a headset on, and flashbacks to his 2005 43-point performance spoiled in a 95-93 loss come rushing back to any Zag.

Was the perfect storm brewing in Seattle for the Huskies to top the Zags? A small but faithful UW student section, highlighted by frat-boys with “H-O-P-K-I-N-S” painted on their chests, seemed confident. David Crisp appeared calm, as he mingled with fans five minutes before the game, choosing to dap-up those sitting courtside before clanking a long three off the front iron.  Husky students invaded a good chunk of the Zags’ side during warmups, as they prepared for some sort of high-five tunnel that you may see at an 8u soccer game. Gonzaga’s basketballs would bounce over to students, only for the UW faithful take it upon themselves to shoot and miss ugly-looking jumpers.

If the UW season ticket holders sitting near the court looked up, however, they would see a dark cloud looming in their arena. A sleeper-cell among Husky Five-Game Ticket Package holders had been born, and tonight was their coming out party.  It would only take an electric play by the Zags before everyone in the arena would know just what they were in for. It only took four minutes, as Zach Norvell Jr. grabbed a steal, went coast-to-coast, and packed a dunk with his left hand that not many knew he was capable of. Norvell proved he was more than just a three-point threat, as he was undercut by a Husky defender, dunked with authority, and went spilling onto the floor for the and-one. The arena went nuts, with Norvell motioning to the crowd as you would expect he would if the game were in Spokane.  It was over from there, as the Zags out-rebounded, out-hustled, and out-played the Huskies all night long.

This 97-70 blowout by the Zags made a few things evident:

  1. Gonzaga is here to stay. It’s a national brand that is now too big to fail under Mark Few. Gone are the days of wondering if this is going to be an up or down season for the Zags. “Who did we lose from last season?” is no longer all that important of a question. Few and co. are attracting players from all over the country and world, have mastered the art of the redshirt season (Olynyk, Wiltjer, Goss, Williams, Norvell), and are unbelievably consistent year-in and year-out. The last three seasons have seen an Elite 8, Sweet 16, and Championship Game despite nearly complete starting-five turnover each season. It’s clear that the Zags are more similar to programs like Duke, Michigan State, and Villanova than they are St. Mary’s or Butler. Their fans travel like an annual Final Four contender and they play like it. UW better not bank on Gonzaga being a little mid-major that may give them some trouble from time to time. The Zags are a barometer that UW will have to try and measure themselves against for a long, long time.


  1. UW is going to take a couple years to rebuild. Riding high off their upset over Kansas (I mean, who isn’t beating Kansas these days?), Husky fans decided to start paying attention to basketball this week. Their football season is on pause, as a month passes by between games, and the 7-2 basketball team has grabbed their attention. #TougherTogether was splattered all over video boards and social media announcements throughout the game. Ultimately, true colors came through for the fair-weathered fans in attendance, as streams of people poured out of the stadium with eight minutes left in the game. If UW is going to be #TougherTogether at home, more than roughly 1/100th of their students are going to need to show up. The shirtless H-O-P-K-I-N-S crew in the front row does deserve some respect, as they stuck it out the whole game, even if the P, K, and N were on their phones for most of the second half. As for the UW students on the court, UW has a few good pieces. Dickerson is a monster down low and Nowell is a stud freshman that loves to taunt defenders when he makes buckets to close the gap from 20 to 18. UW does not play any senior significant minutes, which could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. On one hand, Hopkins will have an experienced team next year. On the other, he will have trouble freeing up any scholarships to begin bringing his own recruits in, unless he cuts a few players. The question remains- is Hopkins here to stay, or will he use UW as a springboard for his head coaching career? When Boeheim does retire, will Hopkins be on the first flight to Syracuse? It certainly seems like a possibility, and whether Husky fans totally buy into this program could depend on whether the Hopkins family is buying or renting their house.


  1. Hec-Ed (Alaska Airlines Arena) needs a face-lift. I hope Mike Hopkins put this into his contract, as this facility is not on-par with those of premier programs. With a listed seating capacity of 10,000, this arena should only be comfortably seating 8,500. This way, they could sell-out without the help of a couple thousand fans from the opponent. The upper bleachers are just that- bleachers with no backs. The lower bowl has bleachers as well. The band is cornered on an awkward second level walkway. Bathrooms saw lines 50 feet out the door, clogging up the concourse during halftime. Access was limited to four lines total, creating a log-jam outside along Montlake Ave. There are some great features to Hec-Ed, such as the classic windows and brick exterior. However, if fans are expected to pack this gym, they deserve an experience more similar to what’s currently available at the football stadium across the parking lot.

University Of Washington Men’s Basketball – Rebuilding Starts With The Coaching Staff


University Of Washington Men’s Basketball – Rebuilding Starts With The Coaching Staff


Former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar was largely credited with an affable personality for bringing in highly ranked recruits from California, and promoted a brand of basketball largely dependent on that kind of personality. Unfortunately, this brand didn’t translate into as many NCAA tournament appearances or PAC-12 championships as the athletic department wanted. The coaching style largely depended on familiar big-time Husky players to take over games and lead teams into the postseason. Unless the likes of Isaiah Thomas or Brandon Roy mightily willed the Huskies into tournaments, seasons were lost. This is slightly disappointing because Romar was really good at recruiting and was liked by many fans. These same fans however, should be ecstatic about their new coach Mike Hopkins.

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The hiring of former Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins by the UW signified a push towards a traditional style of basketball, not just on the court but via recruiting front as well. Fans shouldn’t expect results quickly, but the signs are evident that major improvement is coming, and it starts with this coaching staff.

Will Conroy and Cameron Dollar are being retained as assistant coaches. Their ties to the local communities is paramount to the success of luring local high school basketball standouts down the Husky pipeline. Conroy has been on the Husky bench since 2015, and is also a decorated Husky player. Having also played locally on the high school level, his retention signifies Hopkins’ desire to maintain stability on the bench and the recruiting front. Dollar should be viewed as someone who can help strategically on the floor on a nightly basis. His last appointment was head coach of the Seattle Redhawks where he maintained winning records at home, and had his team appear consistently at the College Basketball Invitationals.

The assistant coach that doesn’t have the most recognition in the Pacific Northwest quite yet is assistant coach Dave Rice. There’s real significance to this hire, as I personally had the pleasure of witnessing his UNLV head-coaching tenure back in Las Vegas. To say the least, there was usually always some kind of drama, but his recruiting ability competes with the best recruiters out there.

In short, he wasn’t the greatest head coach from a playbook standpoint. While he was personable, he lacked the stratagem to bring some of his talented teams to the next level. He was able to bring the Runnin’ Rebels to the NCAA tournament twice, but couldn’t consistently dominate a relatively weaker Mountain West Conference. His recruiting classes were always outstanding for being in a city where playing college basketball had become lackluster.

The likes of Anthony Bennett, Rashad Vaughn, and Patrick McCaw came through his system before entering the NBA. He has experience building local pipelines as well and even poaching a couple players from PAC-12 programs. A lot of his former players are also on the edge of being in the NBA or are currently playing in lesser leagues around the world. Rice remains as the third most winningest coach at UNLV and his unique experience from Las Vegas brings a certain tenacity on the recruiting front.

The mix of carryover and new blood to the bench shows how Hopkins is willing to adapt to this new climate. Coming in, he’s showing Husky fans that he won’t just be copy-pasting his former mentor Jim Boeheim’s system from Syracuse.

The rebuild will take some time. Recently in an exhibition match, the Huskies barely escaped with a narrow win over a Division II school, Saint Martin. While scoring 91 points on any night is a great sign for offensive ability, giving up 87 points is a cause for concern. Nonetheless, Husky players David Crisp, Noah Dickerson, and Matisse Thybulle look to carry this offense early on. The loss of Romar also saw the loss of the highly touted Michael Porter Jr., who took his talents to Missouri, noting a big hit to the Husky offense. Hopkins will surely be stressing defense.

The first game for this new squad is this Friday against the Belmont Bruins, a team that has maintained relative success in the Ohio Valley Conference. Their senior guard is a premier passer and will cause trouble for the Huskies early in the game. Again, Husky players Crisp, Dickerson, and Thybulle will be responsible for responding with easy baskets. Fans shouldn’t expect much, but a win would be a great start to this season.

College Football Playoff spot for a Pac-12 team looking dim

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

College Football Playoff spot for a Pac-12 team looking dim


Fans from the conference of champions should get familiar with this statement because it won’t change. The conference is filled with parity right now and the end result will be playing in a somewhat meaningless bowl across the board. The parity fares well for programs like Arizona and Utah who aren’t traditional powers. Coming into the season there appeared to be three possible playoff contenders in Washington, Washington State, and USC. USC and Washington State have essentially been eliminated. SC was routed by Notre Dame, and Wazzu ran into a hungry Arizona team on its homecoming. At this point, it’s a battle for one New Year’s Six Bowl birth across the conference.

Now that we’ve unpacked the fact that there aren’t any elite teams, who’s the favorite to win the conference? There are four teams that have a compelling case. I’ll address each division and pick the two teams that’ll meet in the conference championship game.

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Pac-12 North

Stanford escaped in Corvallis last Thursday with a win over the Beavers without its Heisman candidate, Bryce Love. They’ve got a brutal stretch coming up with back to back games against Washington State and Washington. My guess is The Cardinal lose one of those two. Next, Washington State who’s currently reeling after an embarrassing loss against Arizona.

Washington State is in an interesting spot. It seems like the sky’s falling, but it’s actually in control of its own destiny. If they win their remaining three games, they win the division. However, there’s a reality factor when making this choice and for that alone I have no faith in the Cougars. I expect them to go 2-1 at the very best and ultimately eliminate themselves from contention.

Washington seemed like the bride amongst bridesmaids in the preseason. Its special teams unit caught a case of the yips against Arizona State, but it rebounded nicely against UCLA Saturday. With one away gain remaining against Stanford, it should come into each game as favorites. More than anything else, it’s more talented than each of the teams it’ll face. I’d be crazy to go against Chris Peterson’s ability to have his team ready for a strong close.

Pac-12 South

Arizona fans might want to pump the breaks on the basketball season. Rich Rod has something cooking right now. Khalil Tate is in the Heisman hunt after putting on another show against Wazzu. He threw for 275 yards and 2 TD to go along with 146 yards rushing and 1 TD. The kicker to this incredible stretch is he’s a true sophomore that just turned 18. What the hell was Rich Rod doing starting Brandon Dawkins the first five weeks of the season?! Saturday will essentially decide the Wildcats fate when they face off against USC; both are tied to the lead in the division. They won’t face another ranked opponent the rest of the way, but the rivalry with Arizona State is always tough to predict. I’ll pass on the Wildcats as my pick, but I’d love to be wrong.

USC and their golden boy, Sam Darnold, have been a bit of a disappointment this season losing each of its primetime games against ranked opponents. This is SC’s chance to salvage the season and I expect them to with home field being the difference in a tight high-scoring game. From there they face Arizona and Colorado; each winnable games.

That leaves Washington and USC in the championship.

Looking forward to this weekend’s Pac-12 football match-ups

© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Looking forward to this weekend’s Pac-12 football match-ups

The Pac-12 finished the first-half of their season, paving the way for an exciting second-half finish. The Cougars are still without a loss and coach Gary Anderson has already, albeit mysteriously, left the Oregon State program. The state of Washington finally anticipates an exciting Apple Cup this Thanksgiving, and while it will be great having an Apple Cup holding significance again, ticket prices for the game have already skyrocketed.

Barring some miraculous upset, things look to be relatively quiet this weekend for the northwest college football programs.

#8 Washington State at California:

The Cougars didn’t give up 300 yards on the ground to Oregon last week as I’d predicted would happen. Their defensive front made a big statement as they took advantage of a Ducks team without their starting quarterback. The Cougs stopped the Ducks’ running game easily, forcing the Oregon team into an inefficient passing game, which sealed the victory for Washington State.

Cougars’ quarterback, Luke Falk, had his difficulties in the game as some passes were thrown short, and he posted his worst QBR of the year against the Ducks. Falk has been sacked 19 times so far this season, so it’ll be interesting to see what solutions the team has to keep their quarterback safe and away from constant pressure, especially up against a solid defense.

All that said, California shouldn’t be a threat for the Cougars Friday night. Falk and Leach look to keep everyone involved on offense and this should easily elude California’s questionable defense. Of course, there’s always a possibility that the Cougars could “Coug’ it” Friday night, given their reputation.

#5 Washington at Arizona State:

The Huskies look to take advantage of a weak Arizona State team on Saturday. Running-back Myles Gaskin should post his best numbers of the year against this team, since Arizona State’s defense is relatively poor. ASU hasn’t been able to compete well this year, barely beating Oregon and New Mexico State, while losing every other game.

It’s likely another easy win for the Huskies this season. It’s imperative that they strive for a large-margin win to avoid any possible blemish on their resume, as they’ll be compared to the other teams contending for a national playoff spot.

Oregon at #23 Stanford:

Both Oregon and Stanford have been fighting for third in the PAC-12 North division, but Stanford has been looking better as of late. If the Oregon Ducks can’t get their running game going early on Saturday, then they’ll struggle to find another answer on offense. Their backup quarterback had trouble completing passes to keep drives moving against the Cougars, dismantling their game-plan. Since they were forced to punt the ball often, their defense stayed on the field longer, which resulted in them being tired early in the game. Stanford should be able to run and win this game with ease.

Colorado at Oregon State:

The Oregon State program is in disarray after their coach left unexpectedly in the middle of this season. He did leave near $12 million on the table for OSU, agreeing to get the rest of this year paid out before he goes. It’d be surprising if any players can muster the will to play hard against Colorado after this sudden coaching change. The team isn’t playing very well at all on the offensive or defensive side as it is, so it’ll be curious to see whether the interim coach can get something extra out of the players. The Buffalos should walk away this weekend with a win after a rough start to their conference schedule.

Wait a minute! Corruption in college basketball? Who knew?

Wait a minute! Corruption in college basketball? Who knew?

Wait just a minute. What did I just hear? A major scandal involving college basketball? Money being funneled through coaches, agents, shoe companies, money managers to recruits?

Who would have ever expected something like this?

Well, only those with even a passive interest in college sports. Folks, college basketball has been dirty for decades and I think by now just about everybody is aware of that. But with the news of this scandal today I think we're going to hear more about it that ever before. This time it's not some soft NCAA investigation into a rogue program, it's an FBI probe three years old covering the gamut -- from shoe companies to the players. People are going to go to prison before this is finished.

It's about time somebody looked into this mess.

I have been in the business of following sports and writing about them for a long time and I have to go back at least 30 years to remember the first time I heard a story about illegal inducements being paid for a university to obtain a high school basketball player. Since then, there has been story on top of story. Former college coaches laugh about them over dinner and drinks. Why didn't I write about them? There was never proof. I didn't want to get sued -- and these guys have learned to cover their tracks pretty well. The NCAA has never seemed serious about putting a stop to it.

The first story I heard was about a well-known player who was recruited by a college entirely without contact with that player's high school coach. Which seemed crazy. But what happened was the player's AAU coach and personal workout coach was the one in contact with the colleges. He brokered the deal. That coach eventually hand delivered the player to a college and guess what?

That AAU coach soon showed up as a paid counselor/coach at the college's summer camp for kids -- at a rumored salary of $10,000 a week, which was way above the going rate for such things.

I've heard stories of players getting cars, money being passed through the hands of girlfriends or relatives and even brown paper bags full of cash being left for players at a secret location.

It's a nasty business that turned me off to college basketball -- even college sports in general -- years ago. And now, perhaps, there might be a chance to dive into the cess pool and see what can be done about the problems.


A look at Portland State's million-dollar early season football schedule

A look at Portland State's million-dollar early season football schedule

Portland State this week is headed to Corvallis for the second half of a very difficult season-opening schedule against teams out of their league. Way out of their league.

The Vikings' first game of the season was at Brigham Young last week. This week, "Barneyball" heads down I-5 to meet Oregon State in Corvallis.

By now, you know the reason the Vikings have scheduled two games they won't likely win:

Money. Big money for a Big Sky football program.

Portland State, it has been reported, got $575,000 for its 20-6 loss at BYU and is scheduled to receive $500,000 for the bus ride and expected loss to the Beavers.

Those are pretty good paydays but nothing like what a team gets for getting massacred by college football's big boys. Arkansas State is getting $1.65 million for a trip to Nebraska and Wyoming -- a pretty good team -- is going to get a million bucks for playing at Iowa.

I've never liked the idea that the smaller schools seem to need these big guarantees to keep their programs going. Playing up in class brings problems. First -- even though PSU can point to an upset win at Pullman over Washington State a couple of years back -- they are most likely going to get beat. And beat by a large margin. Second, when you play bigger and faster teams you'll be lucky to get out of some of these games without taking a physical pounding.

I don't like the notion that players' health could be sacrificed for the sake of money.

But welcome to the reality of college football.

Josh Rosen: You think college athletes have it tougher than the rest of the student body?

Josh Rosen: You think college athletes have it tougher than the rest of the student body?

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen made headlines this week with some remarks he made about academics and football -- and how they don't mesh very well. He got a lot of attention for an off-hand thought he had about raising the SAT requirements to get into Alabama but that statement was taken out of context.

But I have a problem with some of the other things he said, which to me came off as naive or insensitive about others trying to get through college without the benefit of a football scholarship:

Look, football and school don't go together. They just don't. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they're here because this is the path to the NFL. There's no other way.

No one in their right mind should have a football player's schedule, and go to school. It's not that some players shouldn't be in school; it's just that universities should help them more—instead of just finding ways to keep them eligible.

Any time any player puts into school will take away from the time they could put into football. They don't realize that they're getting screwed until it's too late. You have a bunch of people at the universities who are supposed to help you out, and they're more interested in helping you stay eligible. At some point, universities have to do more to prepare players for university life and help them succeed beyond football. There's so much money being made in this sport. It's a crime to not do everything you can to help the people who are making it for those who are spending it.

Pardon me if I'm not feeling all that sorry for these guys. I worked my way through school. So did my brother. And we had it easy. We had parents in a position to give us a little help. But what about that single mom with two kids working in a restaurant or clothing store trying to get through college? What about that young guy working eight hours of construction all day and then trying to put together enough night-school hours to get a degree? Or how about the kid who isn't working now but will be grinding for the next 20 years paying off that $100,000 student loan?

And those people aren't getting the "help" (tutors, advisers, etc..) that those football players are getting.

I understand the whole idea of big-time college sports generating a lot of revenue that never trickles down to the players. But I also see a whole lot of athletes -- including the ones who are in college ONLY as a path to the pros -- who place no value whatsoever on that college education. The athletes are often the rare ones leaving school without major unpaid loans hanging over their heads.

Let's talk about UCLA, where Rosen goes.

It's estimated that the cost of attending UCLA for just one year -- for a California resident -- is $34,056. For a non-resident it's $60,738. PER YEAR. So please, spare me all the talk about athletes not being paid for their athletic participation. They are being given something of great value, whether they realize it or not. Do they have to work for their scholarships? Of course, but maybe no longer or no harder than you or me or, more appropriately, our children did at jobs not quite as glamorous as playing college football or basketball.

There's nobody there to give you a standing ovation when you leave that janitor job every night on the way to night school. And certainly you're never going to be the Big Man (or Woman) On Campus -- with all the perks that go with it -- while slinging bento at a local food cart.

Spare me, Mr. Rosen. You and your teammates don't really have it so tough.

Brackets Revealed for PK80

Brackets Revealed for PK80

The brackets for the much-hyped PK80 tournament have been released, and if you are a fan of college basketball you are in for a treat.

The tournament, boasted as one of the largest regular season tournaments in college basketball history, features 16 teams – a list that includes a combined 24 National Championships, three of last season’s Final Four teams, as well as five other teams that made the field of 64 last season.

PK80 will consist of two brackets, “Victory” and “Motion,” with each bracket crowning their own champion over the weekend. 

According to a press release, the names were chosen to pay tribute Nike and Phil Knight –

- “Victory”: In Greek mythology, Nike was considered the goddess of Victory

- “Motion”: The swoosh logo is not only meant to represent motion, but to also resemble the wings of the goddess Nike

Here is a quick breakdown of both:


The “Victory” bracket will play host to local teams Oregon and Portland, 2017 National Champions North Carolina, as well as UConn, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Arkansas.

Round 1 will see North Carolina vs Portland, Arkansas vs Oklahoma, Georgetown vs Michigan State, and UConn vs Oregon.


“Motion” will be headlined by 2017 runner-up and Northwest favorite Gonzaga, along with fellow local school Portland State. They will be joined by Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils, Texas, Stanford, Ohio State, Florida, and Butler.

Round 1 will see Duke vs Portland State,  Butler vs Texas, Florida vs Stanford, and Gonzaga vs Ohio State.

Click here to view a printable bracket

The two brackets will run simultaneously at Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum from Thursday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 26, with no games being played on Saturday.

Note: The champsions of the individual brackets will not play eachother, instead the brackets are being treated like two individual tournaments. 

For more information visit




I'm not certain that every NBA franchise wants to have to listen to Old Man Ball

I'm not certain that every NBA franchise wants to have to listen to Old Man Ball

I'm not sure whether we should laugh or cry at all the preposterous stuff LaVar Ball is saying about his basketball-playing sons -- and even himself.

Here's a compilation of some of the things Old Man Ball has said recently and you can make your own decision about which is the most ridiculous. For me, it was the latest remark:

“Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one."

How in the world am I supposed to buy into all the wonderful things he says about his basketball-playing sons when the man makes a stupid statement like that one? He played one season of basketball at Washington State and averaged 2.2 points per game. There is delusional and there is DELUSIONAL. LaVar is the latter. And it's obviously not confined to his own basketball talents.

This man once famously said his son Lonzo is better than Steph Curry:

“I have the utmost confidence in what my boy is doing. He’s better than Steph Curry to me. Put Steph Curry on UCLA’s team right now and put my boy on Golden State and watch what happens.”

Here's the thing about that: Even if his kid IS better than Curry, what's the point in saying it? Why put that pressure on his oldest son? If he's that good, he'll prove it.

People tell me that the dad's plan is to make sure his kids get attention through his remarks. But come on, they are going to get plenty of attention if they're as good as he says they are. And I'm not sure any teenager needs to hear all this stuff. To me, it's all about getting some attention for himself.

You can look back at parents/coaches like Richard Williams and Earl Woods and say that Ball's kids have a chance to be every bit as good as their dad says they will. Or you can look back at the sad story of Todd Marinovich and his father, Marv, and shake your head.

But there are unintended consequences to all the attention the daddy is getting. Basketball is a team sport, unlike tennis and golf, and these kids have to fit into a team. A franchise, even. I am hearing there are some NBA teams that are worrying about what kind of a problem LaVar would cause if they draft Lonzo. What I'm hearing is that if the kid is judged to be about the same ability as another player, the other player is more likely to be drafted first because of the possible pain in the backside the elder Ball could turn out to be.

You don't want this guy in the ear of the media if his son doesn't get to play as many minutes as LaVar thinks he should. Or he doesn't start right away. Or... whatever. NBA coaches have enough problems without this guy yelling at them to use his son in a different manner, get him more shots, etc. The father makes a lot of noise and I'm not sure coaches and general managers in the league want to put up with it.

And over time, I'm not sure what it's going to be like for young Lonzo to try to live up to his father's lofty and very public expectations. As good as Steph Curry? Well, if he falls a little short of performing like a two-time MVP will he be a failure? Probably not to you or me... but to his father?

It's going to be very entertaining to see this story play out over the next three or four seasons, as sons No. 2 and 3 show up at UCLA and then, the NBA. And at some point we'll find out the truth about that old NBA truism, "Ball don't lie."