It’s amazing how little things change in the world of women’s basketball. Just when you think that new teams are going to rise to the top or that the mighty will plummet, everything begins to fall back into place. The same old teams are winning with regularity. Connecticut is back on track, Duke is in the Top 5, Stanford is ranked No. 2 and Tennessee is starting to play like ... well like Tennessee! All of this to say, that in the Pac-10, when all is said and done in this 2004-2005 season, very little will have changed.
At the beginning of this current campaign, I took advantage of my annual privilege of attending the Pac-10 Media Day. On this particular day, each year, everyone is a champion. We heard about Washington State’s new commitment to win and California’s soon to be explosive triangle offense. We heard about ASU’s newfound experience and Oregon State’s rebuilding process. But as usual, on a Monday night in March, Stanford and Arizona will play for the Pac-10 Tournament title. You see, nothing changes all that much.
As this season began, it looked as though change had set in. UCLA was red hot and Arizona was stumbling. Washington was rumored to be better than expected and ASU was beating teams like U-Conn and Georgia. But as we make the turn into the second half of conference play, everything is coming back in line. Stanford is in first place, the Wildcats are tied for second place (in the loss column), and everyone else is beginning to show their true colors. For example, after a fast start, USC all of the sudden has three losses and must still play the Wildcats in Tucson. UCLA has dropped three of its last four, and the desert lies ahead for the Bruins, too. ASU has come back down to earth having lost to a feisty Arizona team last week and Oregon State, California, Washington State and Washington are almost certain bottom feeders.
So, here is what we’ve got. Stanford is in great shape. The Cardinal has lost just one game and hosts the Cats this week. Arizona plays both L.A. schools at home and the Wildcats are starting to play their best basketball of the season. That’s why nothing has really changed. By Monday, March 7, Stanford (the No. 1 seed) will be facing Arizona (the No. 2 seed) in the Pac-10 Tournament final. You heard it here first. Even in a season of promised reshuffling, in the end the results will look very, very familiar.
See you on the radio!
*All Wildcat games are broadcast live on AM 1330 KJLL.