Things are heading south out West

December 17, 2009

The bowl season can't start fast enough for Pac-10 basketball teams. If only for a few weeks, the conference's football teams will pull the spotlight away from what has been an ugly hoops season.

A combination of NBA draft defections, coaching turnover and a paucity of standout players has created a tide of mediocrity from the Pacific Northwest to the Sonoran Desert.

Through Tuesday, Pac-10 teams were a combined 5-19 against members of the other five power conferences. The Pac-10 even has struggled against the Mountain West (3-4) and West Coast (3-6) conferences, long regarded as its regional little brothers.

The Pac-10 is winless in 10 tries against the Top 25. Its only ranked team is No. 24 Washington, which has dropped two of its last three.

UCLA dropped its opener to Cal State Fullerton in double overtime, then lost by 11 to Long Beach State. USC lost to Loyola Marymount, and Oregon got beat by Portland and Montana before losing by 37 at Missouri. Oregon State lost to Sacramento State, which went 2-27 a year ago, and Stanford lost by 13 at San Diego.

Sam Ashaolu, the most seriously wounded of the five Duquesne players shot in September 2006, will receive his diploma Thursday. Ashaolu nearly died of head wounds in the shootings. ... A lawyer for former Connecticut team manager Josh Nochimson said his client has not spoken to NCAA investigators about a Yahoo Sports report in March that Nochimson helped guide recruit Nate Miles to the school by giving him lodging, transportation, meals and representation.


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