It’s the end of February. March Madness is just around the corner. And sports fans at World Financial Group have been enjoying this season of Pac-10 men’s basketball. With the Pac-10 tournament just two weeks away, every player is gearing up for the tournament and basketball fans are breaking out their brackets. Who knows where this season will go before it is all over?
Last week’s action saw two very close games and the end of a long losing streak. Oregon State swept the bay area schools of Stanford and California, but the Golden Bears were able to win against Oregon. UCLA won at Washington, but lost at Washington State, while USC won at Washington State, but lost at Washington. Arizona State squeaked by Arizona in a “duel in the desert” while the University of Oregon finally won in the Pac-10 by a 68-60 score against Stanford.
The polls show three Pac-10 schools in their top 25 with two additional WFG-sponsored Pac-10 schools looking in. Arizona State finds itself at 11 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and at 14 in the AP. UCLA is 19 with ESPN but 22 in the AP. Washington is 21 in both the USA Today and AP polls. Arizona finds itself receiving votes (32 ESPN, 29 AP) as well as California (33 USA Today, 34 AP).
World Financial Group basketball fans will be watching this hoop action on Thursday, Feb. 26: (All times are local.)
- The Arizona Wildcats visit the Washington State Cougars. Arizona hopes to rebound after their loss on Sunday while Washington State looks to add to that one game win streak. Wildcat junior forward Chase Budinger’s on a hot streak, averaging 19.5 points a game in his last eight. Cougar freshman guard Klay Thompson seeks to set a new WSU freshman record in three point field goals. This game tips off at 7 p.m. with TV coverage provided by FSN NW and FSN AZ.
- The nationally ranked Arizona State Sun Devils will take on the Washington Huskies in Seattle. This will be closely watched as Washington holds a half game lead over Arizona State in the Pac-10 standings. Sun Devil senior forward Jeff Pendergraph is on fire (please forgive me) over his last six games, averaging 15.2 points and 10.2 rebounds. Washington junior forward Quincy Pondexter needs only nine more points to reach the 1,000 point mark, career wise. The hardwood heats up at 8 p.m. with TV coverage on FSN NW and FSN AZ.
- The USC Trojans will trek north to take on the California Golden Bears. Both teams hope to halt their one game losing streak. USC junior player Taj Gibson currently leads the Pac-10 in blocks with 224. California junior forward Jamal Boykin has made 16 of his last 18 free throws. Look for the hoops to start flying at 7:30 p.m. on CSN W.
- The nationally ranked UCLA Bruins pays a visit to the Stanford Cardinals. Both teams hope to end a one and two game skid, respectively. UCLA senior center Alfred Aboya, fresh off a bout with the flu, posted two double-doubles against the Washington universities. Stanford junior forward Landry Fields has been hot as well, averaging 16.8 points a game and 7 rebounds for his last five. And this game has a 7:30 p.m. tip time in Palo Alto.
WFG-sponsored Pac-10 basketball continues on Saturday, Feb. 28:
- Arizona versus Washington for a Noon contest on FSN
- Arizona State versus Washington State at 2 p.m. on FSN NW/FSN AZ
- USC versus Stanford at 5 p.m.
- UCLA versus California at 6p.m. on ESPN
And the lone Pac-10 game on Sunday, March 1 will be a contest for the 33rd state of the USA as the Oregon State Beavers travel to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks. Both teams hope to build on their three and one game win streaks, respectively. The OSU defense held Stanford’s top two scorers to three points between them. Oregon has home court advantage on their side, as OSU hasn’t won in Eugene since the 1992-93 season. This game tips off at 7 p.m. with TV coverage provided by FSN.
This week’s Pac-10 Player of the Week is Washington State’s senior guard Taylor Rochestie. Taylor had a career day against UCLA with 33 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and two steals. This is his first P.O.W. award from the Pac-10. Congratulations go out to this fine student athlete from all of us at World Financial Group.