Pac-12 has work to do on the hardwood

Mar 15, 2012, 4:38 PM | Updated: 7:51 pm

It’s worse than we even thought.

The Pac-12 is a joke and the punch line isn’t very funny.

The first 10 minutes of the Mississippi Valley State/Western
Kentucky 2nd half became an insult to the Pac-12 and the
conference wasn’t involved. Stewart Mandel is a major
college sports writer for Sports Illustrated, and he
tweeted out, “If the President is taking our best ally to
this game, what about his enemy? The Pac-12 tourney?”

Gutierrez scored with 8:53 to go in the first half for
California’s 12 and 13th points of the half. They didn’t
score again the rest of the half. California was out of
the tourney before the real one starts. As much as I love
my hometown, it’s bad enough when a team gets sent to
Dayton to prove themselves but this wasn’t about Cal. The
Pac-12 got sent to Dayton to send a message.

Some day Pac-12, you’ll be good enough to earn a trip to
Omaha, but for now be happy with Dayton. Colorado is so
well-respected that they earned a trip to paradise,
otherwise known as Albuquerque. If you’re reading this
Friday morning, the Pac-12 might be out of the tourney.

The biggest story this year for the Pac-12 is Ben Howland
mocks kids with concussions and UCLA supports the
decision. Second was the running national commentary about how
bad the Pac-12 is. The conference has slipped so far, the
most positive thing that can be said is it has a 3-1 record in the
NIT.

The state of Arizona is even tougher to swallow. It’s not
breaking news that ASU plays in a flavorless building
while supplying few wins for their 900 fans. U of A took
the “payday” of hosting the NIT but decided they didn’t
need to get ready for the game.

I love the excuse, “We weren’t over the Pac-12 Tourney.”
It’s Bucknell! The only people who will offer you any
sympathy are KU fans still suffering from Bradley and
Bucknell losses in back-to-back years. You’re Arizona.
You’ve got the tradition. All we read about is the
greatness of Sean Miller and the line of recruits standing
at his office door dying to come to Tucson. The best our
state could muster in division one college basketball
post-season is one-and-done in a 9-point loss in the NIT.

Larry Scott is an unbelievable commissioner. He has done
the impossible. He blew every conference out of the water,
but what did he sell? The Pac-12 Tournament is the most
poorly-attended tournament among BCS conferences and one
of the worst attended in all of college basketball. The
basketball in the conference is horrific. The two
signature programs in the conference are embarrassing
themselves. Other than Oregon football fans, there’s no
fan passions to speak of yet this commissioner has the SEC
jealous of the revenue streams.

Ten years ago, the commissioner of the Missouri Valley
Conference changed the way revenue was distributed in
basketball. He forced teams to challenge themselves in
their non-conference schedule in an attempt to impress the
NCAA Tournament committee. Not only did the number of
teams earning at-large bids increase, but also the quality
of basketball. As the bar was raised for each program,
the quality of recruits choosing MVC schools went up with
the bar.

The decision by the Pac-12 to partner with the Big Ten is a
strong step in this direction For far too long the
number of teams in the Pac-12 truly challenging themselves
was minimal. The head coaches in this conference must
stop thinking they’ve arrived. I guarantee few of them
recruit or schedule with the same vigor they did when they
were mid-major coaches. The same desperate energy they
beg from their players needs to be applied to themselves.

The commissioner has done his job to bring the Pac-12 back
to the national prominence it once enjoyed. It will be
interesting to see if the fans and coaches get the
message.

Penguin Air

Doug Franz

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Pac-12 has work to do on the hardwood