Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Madness in the Bay Area

March Madness is arguably the best month or so in sports, and it just got better for the Bay Area. The Bay Area will be represented this year in the NCAA Tournament by 2 teams (pending Stanford winning the Pac-10 tournament...not likely). Those two teams are California and St. Mary's.

Cal, who hadn't won the Pac-10 regular season title since 1960, finally got the monkey off their back this year and were far and away the best team in the pitiful Pac-10. They are not a lock just yet to be announced to the 65-team field, but the odds are pretty good that they will receive at-least a bid if they do not win the Pac-10 tournament.

Most likely, Cal is looking at an 8 or 9 seed in the Tournament, which just goes to show how bad the Pac-10 was this year. The conference's best team is probably going to be given an 8 or 9 seed. With Pac-10 Player of the Year, Jerome Randle, and Duke transfer, Jamal Boykin, they could a force in March Madness.

I like Cal to win their 1st round game in the NCAA Tournament, given that they are an 8 or 9 seed, that is. But I don't feel that they will get much farther than that. The Pac-10 just isn't that strong this year, and they will be extremely fortunate to win that 1st round game.

Over in Moraga, CA, St. Mary's is doing big things. They defeated #14 ranked Gonzaga last night to take the WCC crown and clinch a birth to the NCAA Tournament, which was not in the cards before the game. Big Omar Samhan and sharp-shooting Mickey McConnell led the team to a 26-5 overall record this season, with 2 losses coming to Gonzaga who they beat by 19 last night.

As for their NCAA Tournament, it is up in the air as to what seed they will get. Beating Gonzaga by 19 could lift them up to maybe an 8 or 9 seed, but i think they're looking at more of a 10 or 11 seed. Either way, i like them to win their 1st round game. They are a surprise to most teams, and when they are hot from the outside, they are like no other. It just depends if that kind of shooting shows up. But I got a feeling head coach Randy Bennett will have that team ready to go come Tournament time.

I feel that this is a great situation for Bay Area fans. This could have easily been a year when the Bay Area didn't have a team in March Madness. Both these teams are extreme underdogs and if they win, it's an accomplishment for their program.

Look out for St. Mary's though. Their sharp-shooting and big-man play could make them quite a Cinderella team in the NCAA Tournament.

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