Beyond Golf — 19 March 2012 by Bob Sherwin
NCAAs: West denied; Ohio rules

Indeed, West Coast basketball is as bad as we all thought it was.

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament wiped out every West Coast team, from New Mexico to Washington and Colorado to the Pacific. A dozen West teams earned a berth into the tournament and all of them won’t see a second weekend.

One team, California (24-10), was eliminated in a play-in game Wednesday, essentially gone before things really got started.

Six more were eliminated in opening games Thursday, New Mexico State (26-10), Montana (25-7), Colorado State (20-12), Long Beach State (27-7), UNLV (26-1) and BYU (26-9). Two West teams won that day, New Mexico (28-7) and Colorado (24-12), but they beat two other West teams.

On Friday, two more departed in their first games,  San Diego State (26-7) and St. Mary’s (27-6). Gonzaga (26-7) won that day, the only West team to advance that did not beat a West Coast team, although in was West Virginia.

All three would tumble Saturday, but Gonzaga gave a mighty fight to Ohio State, a potential tournament champion, as the Zags lost, 73-66.

The weekend wasn’t even over and they all caught flights home. It’s not like this was unexpected. Earlier in the week, I wrote that none of the teams would reach the Sweet 16 and was 12-2 in my predictions, figuring Gonzaga, Colorado and New Mexico would win (then lose). The two I missed were Cal’s pathetic effort and I thought San Diego State could beat North Carolina State in their opener but they lost, 79-65.

Of the 16 teams remaining, Ohio has four schools represented, Ohio State, Ohio U., Cincinnati and Xavier. First time that’s ever happened. One is guaranteed to advance as OSU plays Cincinnati in the next round.

Kentucky and Louisville advanced. They could meet each other in the national semifinals. North Carolina and North Carolina State both moved on and they could meet in the Elite Eight.

And you wonder why there’s an East Coast bias?

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About Author

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 53rd 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 19 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 Cascade Golfer Magazine and Destination Golfer. 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, 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.

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