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Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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March 2, 2004

It is time now for my annual predictions regarding the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament. Before I begin these prognostications, let me sound an alarm! Do not bet the house, the kids, the dog, or even that stray cat that hangs around the yard at night. These predictions are as fallible as Pac-10 officiating, U.S. foreign policy, and Susan Sarandon's Oscar night dress designer. But I will do my best, so here it goes!

Friday's first game matches 10th-seeded Washington State against the seventh seed Oregon State. While part of me would love to hype the underdog here, Oregon State will win. The Beavers are just a better team and have something to prove after nearly beating Stanford on Sunday. Oregon and California will tangle in Friday's second game, and Oregon will win. The Ducks swept the Bay Area schools to end their regular season and will run over the struggling Golden Bears, who have had a nightmarish campaign on and off the court.

On Saturday, third-seeded USC will play number six Washington. I think Washington will win this game. The Huskies played without senior Gioconda Mendiola in Saturday's loss to Arizona, and sister Giuliana will not let the season end this soon. I take the Huskies in a very close game. In Saturday's late game, fourth-seeded UCLA will dispose quickly of number five ASU. The Devils are tanking and have injury problems. Meanwhile, the Bruins are hot and hungry. So, UCLA will win this game by at least five points.

The number one and two seeds will also play Saturday. Arizona will get the winner of the game between OSU and WSU. The Cats will have to work but will beat Oregon State in a closer game than most imagine. Stanford will crush Oregon for the sake of revenge after losing in Eugene last Thursday night.

That leads us to Sunday, where the going gets tough for everyone. Arizona will beat Washington, but it will be close. The Huskies want revenge for a ruined Senior Day, but Arizona is simply better than Washington. I take the Cats by three. Meanwhile, Stanford squeaks by UCLA, after the Bruins make a serious run at the reigning tournament champs.

So, Monday night we will have a rematch of last year's final -- Arizona against Stanford. Should I pick a winner in this one? Ugh...nah...I'll let you decide.

So, that's how it will go this year in San Jose. Again, don't bet your life or your life savings, but instead, sit back and enjoy. One thing I can predict with accuracy -- it will be a great tournament!

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson

*All Arizona women's basketball games are broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM!

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