Pac 10 pleads case in NYC

Dec 19, 2006 4:53 AM

This is a big media week for the Pac 10, an opportunity to penetrate some of that East Coast bias that seems to exist.

Hopefully, the message will be received loud and clear that the Pac 10 may be the top conference in the country this season. You have No. 1-ranked and still unbeaten UCLA along with unbeaten Oregon, Washington, Washington State and Arizona as a top five. Then there’s Stanford, USC and California right there.

Even Oregon State, a 12-point dog in Corvallis to SEC power LSU, gave the Tigers all they wanted before falling last Sunday night by just five. Washington State and Gonzaga head to New York for some prime time action. Maybe Dickie V will show up.

The week concludes with a showdown in Gainesville between defending national champ Florida and Ohio State. The Buckeyes lost only to North Carolina, but now have 7-foot-1 giant Glen Oden aboard and the freshman has been fine. He basically dunks and blocks shots, but what else would you want from a genuine center — something of a dinosaur in this day of power forwards and open lane basketball.

We’re about a week away from the real season teams enter conference play. This bunch of games and tourneys are a very nice lead-in.

TUESDAY

Appalachian St at Virginia:The Cavaliers are enjoying their new home by serving up cupcakes. VIRGINIA.

WEDNESDAY

Memphis at Arizona: First to 100 wins. No team can put a spurt together like the Wildcats. The visiting Tigers can match points, but the loss to Tennessee showed cracks in their armor. ARIZONA.

LSU at Washington: The Tigers continue their tour of the Pacific Northwest. Corvallis was tough, but Seattle will be worse. The Huskies are big and talented. Baby Shaq Davis is off to a solid season for LSU. This should go down to the wire. WASH.

THURSDAY

Gonzaga vs Duke: The first part of the twinbill at the Garden. The Zags are the Phoenix Suns of college hoop. Duke goes more to the bench this season, not having a Redick to light it up. Coach K brings the D. Tempo is everything. DUKE.

San Diego St vs Wash St: Watch out for the Cougars, who beat Gonzaga earlier this month. Rare visit to New York for both teams. WASH ST.

Tulsa vs Oklahoma: Neutral site in Oklahoma City favors Tulsa, which is 8-1. Look for the Oklahoma State crowd to pull for the Canes. TULSA.

Pitt vs Okla St: The Panthers suffered their first loss last week at Wisconsin. This will be their second. Look for a bounce back here. Pitt likes the physical play of the Cowboys and has more firepower. PITT.

FRIDAY

Nevada at Akron: The Wolf Pack have just the one loss to UNLV, but played badly against the Rebs and are vulnerable here. Akron is 6-2 and at home could pull the upset. AKRON.

SATURDAY

Michigan at UCLA: The Wolverines are 11-1, but haven’t played a team quite this athletic. The Bruins appear even better than last year’s group that made it to the national final. UCLA.

Miami, FL at Louisville: The Hurricanes aren’t bad and figure to give the Cards problems. Pitino’s bunch is just 5-4, but has played quality opponents. MIAMI.

E.Michigan at Tulsa: The host Golden Hurricane are just off the big in-state battle with Oklahoma. Look for a letdown. E. MICH.

SUNDAY

Ohio State at Florida: Normally we would side with the experienced Gators, but Noah has been struggling and the team has had some health issues. Oden is the real deal and the Buckeyes are my pick to go the distance. OHIO ST.