Beyond Golf — 20 March 2014 by Bob Sherwin
West’s one hope – Arizona

How’s the West going to hold up in the NCAA Tournament?

We do have 12 chances at a championship but that’s a little misleading. In four for those games, West teams played each other to open the tournament. So that reduces the chances to just eight.

It won’t help to know that just about every one of our West Coast entries will be eliminated by the second weekend, if not by the first game. Yet there is hope for one – Arizona.

Here’s a quick setup and predictions for each of the West’s Best teams to make it in:

South Region’s No. 8 Colorado (23-11) in Orlando: Opening opponent – No. 9 Pittsburgh (25-9) – Prediction for Buffs: One and out for the late-fading Buffaloes.

South Region’s No. 6 seed UCLA (26-8) in San Diego: Opening opponent – No. 12 Tulsa (21-12) – Prediction for Bruins: Two straight wins, losing in Round of 16 to (eventual champion) Florida.

South Region’s No. 7 New Mexico (27-6) vs. No. 10 Stanford (21-12) in St. Louis: Prediction for Lobos: Victory over Stanford but lose to injury-affected Kansas in second game. Prediction for Cardinal: One and out loss after a competitive loss to New Mexico.

West Region’s No. 1 Arizona (30-4) vs. No. 16 Weber State (19-11) in San Diego: Prediction for Wildcats: After a really tough road with wins over Gonzaga, San Diego State and Wisconsin, Cats  will reach the Final Four, losing to Louisville. Prediction for Wildcats: Big Sky champion Weber St. runs into a Wildcat buzzsaw, one and done.

West Region’s No. 8 Gonzaga (28-6) in San Diego: Opening Opponent – No. 9 Oklahoma State (21-12) – Prediction for Zags: Experience will get the Zags past the Cowboys but, in front of a oppressive Wildcat crowd in San Diego, will lose a tight one to Arizona.

West Region’s No. 4 SDSU (29-4) vs. No. 13 NMSU (26-9) in Spokane: Prediction for Aztecs: Potential to be the surprise team of the West, if not the tournament. Should reach the second weekend and end up in a Sweet 16 matchup against Arizona, in Anaheim. Tossup? Likely loss for the Aztecs. Prediction for Aggies: Not ready for prime time, one and out.

West Region’s No. 7 Oregon (23-9) vs. No. 10 BYU (23-11) at Milwaukee. Prediction for Ducks: Inconsistent Ducks have enough talent to beat BYU but can’t match the power of Wisconsin in the second game. Prediction for Cougars: Just like its Pres favorite Mitt, BYU goes one and out

Midwest Region’s No. 11 Arizona State (21-11) at Milwaukee: Opening opponent – No. 7 Texas (23-10). Prediction for Sun Devils: Good draw and neutral site but Devils don’t have enough talent to overcome the Longhorns, one and out.

 

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 46th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the 'Super Senior'' (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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