It’s easy to understand why Pac-10 women’s basketball tends to fly under the radar. This weekend, while West coast teams were disappearing on Fox Sports Net, Tennessee and Connecticut were playing on CBS in front of 24,000 in Knoxville. Meanwhile, Rutgers and Michigan State were dueling in front of a huge crowd in East Lancing on network television. Not only do you have less exposure in the west, but Pac-10 teams usually kick each other around and therefore it is difficult to distinguish oneself from the rest of the pack. To the rest of the country, this looks like there isn’t a great team west of the Rockies and this season will be no exception. Pac-10 teams are already in the middle of a wonderful free for all!
After the first two plus weekends of conference play, there are no undefeated outfits left standing. Stanford looks vulnerable and ASU ran into problems in Los Angeles. UCLA is inconsistent and USC may not be as talented as everyone had thought. So what gives? This is just another typical Pac-10 season. The problem comes in March and it could mean less tournament bids than the conference deserves.
Because there are only 10 teams in our conference, while other “super-conferences” have emerged, there are less “easy” targets on a team’s schedule. Many other conferences around the country have two divisions, and you don’t always have to face someone twice. So, the great teams feast on bad teams and run up the win totals. In the Pac-10, you always have a “revenge” game on the second time around and winning on the road becomes even more difficult. It is also worth noting that the entire league has become competitive, so you have the brawl that we currently see, shaping up to continue into the new-year. So, when “Joe-writer” from the “Newark News” looks at the Pac-10 standings, he simply looks at wins or losses and then assumes that it’s a weak conference. Thus, even the Conference of Champions winds up with low seeds and advancing to the Final Four becomes a difficult task (note the 2003-2004 Pac-10 champion Wildcats that were sent to play at Texas)!
Here is the point: enjoy the regular season for what it is. It is fun to see a Wildcat team get better and still have hope even after a 1-4 start. It is great to play Oregon at home knowing that you will see them again in four weeks. Enjoy the fact that Pac-10 teams are better than everybody thinks and just get it through your head that the rest of the nation will never catch on.
Pac-10 women’s basketball is a wild free for all. Enjoy it while it lasts!
See you on the radio.
*All games and coaches shows (Mondays 6-7 p.m.) are heard on AM 1330 KJLL!