Dime will be in the building all week for the 2012 Pac-12 basketball tournament to drop some knowledge on you about multiple, epic fails of NCAA Tournament hopes and Ernie Kent’s drink of choice.
As a recent college graduate, I’m not down with dropping the cash to stay at the media hotel across from Staples Center. The first night of the tourney, I made the mistake of shelling out $40 bucks to stay at a downtown hotel that Hotels.com didn’t mention as being, essentially, a hostel. Lesson learned. I found a happy medium at a Best Western 30 minutes away from downtown, near the beach nonetheless.
However, I’ll surely partake in media hospitality events that include drinks. That’s where I ended up last night after the games, and I found myself breaking down stereotypes of people within the media.
The most interesting of the media types, to me, are the TV personalities. That’s because they’re either tall, pretty blonde girls or ex-basketball coaches. Rebecca Haarlow and former Oregon Ducks coach Ernie Kent of Fox Sports were lounging in the media hotel lobby last night, and I really can’t image what a conversation between the two would be about.
Breaking down a zone defense? The hasty reapplication of blush during the under-15 media timeout? Dirty recruiting tactics? That awkward interview with Sean Miller? Maybe Ernie was only there for the red wine. As the great George Carlin put it, these are the things I think about when sitting home alone in the dark.
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Arizona (4) 72, Oregon State (9) 61
Colorado (6) 70, California (2) 59
Best of the day: With all the tomfoolery of Pac-12 teams shooting themselves in the foot, the Arizona Wildcats are taking clear advantage. A brutal regular season loss to the struggling Arizona State Sun Devils put their NCAA tourney hopes in the freezer, but the Wildcats have begun thawing out. Beating a streaking Oregon State team on Friday by a score of 72-61 gives the Wildcats control of their own destiny.
The victory was evidence of the “basketball is a game of runs” cliche. The Wildcats led 23-14 with eight minutes to play before the Beavers responded with an 18-1 spurt to go ahead 32-24. After that, Arizona put up a 23-5 run that went well into the second half. That lead held as the Beavers ran out of gas, and Kyle Fogg paced the Wildcats with 22 points to help his team advance to the finals.
Worst of the day: California continued the Pac-12 tradition of blowing sure-fire NCAA considerations into oblivion. The No. 2 seed Golden Bears fell to the No. 6 seeded Colorado Buffaloes in the nightcap by a 70-59 score, finishing off the trifecta of the three top seeds failing to reach the final day of the tournament.
If there were any season in which a major conference could only earn one NCAA Tournament bid, this would be the year. No, I don’t think that’s too likely, but if the committee is ticked off enough with the Pac-12’s refusal to make the decision-making easy, maybe they’ll take it out on the conference.
Faces in the crowd: Producer Harvey Mason Jr. is well-known for working with music stars like Chris Brown, Drake, Justin Timberlake and Mary J. Blige, but the guy is also a big basketball fan. He also helped produce “More Than A Game,” the documentary film that takes us through the growth of LeBron James and his high school basketball teammates at St. Vincent-St.Mary’s in Akron (I highly recommend the film, by the way). Working out of the Los Angeles area, Mason Jr. dropped in to see his Arizona Wildcats face Oregon State on Friday. Harvey played basketball for former head coach Lute Olson in the late 1980s and played with future NBA players Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott and Jud Buechler, along with former MLB star Kenny Lofton.
Quotable: Oregon State is one of the highest-scoring teams in the NCAA, and with a lot of returning players next season, it’s of little doubt they’ll have much drop off. Asked if he expects next year’s squad to have even more firepower, Beavers coach Craig Robinson said the following: “We’re tenth in the nation in scoring. How much faster do you want me to be? I mean, my goodness. We are tenth in the nation in scoring. That’s pretty fast. I don’t know if we can get any faster, but if we can, we’d love to.”
Eyes and ears: Famous people wish they were Brent Barry. Guys like Michael Jordan can’t walk around in public without being noticed, and I’m sure it gets overwhelming. Barry, however, doesn’t have that problem. His scruffy beard and nondescript clothing makes him blend into the crowd. I had to do a double-take when I walked by him to make sure that was really his face under the brim of his dingy baseball cap.
And here’s something you don’t see everyday. The Pac-12 Tourney is sponsored by Pacific Life, which has a brand icon of some sort of whale crashing into the ocean on its back. During each game, cheerleaders were throwing plushy whales into the stands. Oregon State guard Roberto Nelson apparently digs plushy whales, standing up and waving his hands. He did not get a plushy whale.
Colorado vs. Arizona, 3 p.m. PST
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