By Andrew Kahn
The Pac-12 has had an impressive postseason, and after UCLA, Utah, and Arizona were eliminated this past weekend, Stanford is the last team playing. Meanwhile, one Pac-12 team is searching for a new coach.READ MORE: Getting Answers: Who can penalize you for not getting vaccinated?
An Elite Program
For the third time in five years, Arizona was eliminated in the regional final. For the second year in a row, it came at the hands of Wisconsin. The start of Saturday’s game couldn’t have gone worse for Arizona, as Frank Kaminsky drew two fouls on Brandon Ashley on Wisconsin’s first two possessions, immediately sending the power forward to the bench. Wisconsin led 10-2, but the Wildcats regrouped and led 33-30 at half. Within the first three minutes of the second half, Stanley Johnson, Kaleb Tarczewski, and Rondae Hollis-Johnson all picked up their third foul, and the Badgers caught fire from long-range. They hit 10 threes in the second half and finished 12 of 18 from deep, which helped them post the best offensive performance against an Arizona team since 2010. The Wildcats shot 55 percent and made 28 of 30 foul shots, but the three-point shooting was the difference (Arizona made just two of its six attempts).
Utah, UCLA Bow Out
Utah did some things well against No. 1 seed Duke, such as crash the offensive glass and limit Duke’s three-point opportunities, but they turned it over 18 times and just couldn’t find a groove offensively. All Pac-12 First Team point guard Delon Wright struggled against Quinn Cook, going 4 for 13 with 10 points, and Utah lost 63-57. The Utes won just six games in Larry Krystkowiak’s first season in 2011-12, so their 26 wins this season and Sweet 16 appearance were a major step forward.
UCLA’s surprising Tournament run also ended in Houston, at the hands of Gonzaga, 74-62. Both teams went through a shooting drought in the first half, combining to miss 19 straight shots, but UCLA pulled within one early in the second. Gonzaga’s center Przemek Karnowski took over from there, dominating inside with his scoring, passing, and rebounding. He finished 8 of 11 from the field and helped the Bulldogs grab 18 offensive boards.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Will You Get A Fourth Relief Payment?
Stanford In Semis
Stanford beat Vanderbilt 78-75 last week to advance to the semifinals of the NIT. They will play Old Dominion tonight in Madison Square Garden (6 p.m. PT, ESPN). A win would send them to the finals on Thursday against Miami or Temple. Chasson Randle became Stanford’s second leading scorer of all time and needs just 11 points to pass Todd Lichti for first. He is now the Pac-12’s fourth-leading all-time scorer, one spot ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar.
Randle gets it done off the court, too. He’s the Pac-12 men’s basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, headlining a first team that also includes Arizona’s Bo Barnes, Washington’s Nigel Williams-Goss, and Utah’s Jeremy Olsen and Brandon Taylor.
Sendek Sent Packing
Arizona State fired coach Herb Sendek after nine seasons. He took the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament twice, winning a game as a 6 seed with James Harden in 2009 and losing in the first round as a 10 seed last year. Arizona State was 18-16 this season and 9-9 in the Pac-12, losing to last place USC in the Pac-12 Tournament and falling in its second NIT game to Richmond. The Sun Devils blew late leads in both. Former VCU and Oklahoma head coach and current Duke assistant Jeff Capel is a possibility to replace him, as is Steve Lavin, who parted with St. John’s last week.MORE NEWS: 'He Gives Me Everything To Be': Therapy Dog For Woman In Wheelchair Now Needs Wheelchair Of His Own
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about college basketball and other sports at AndrewJKahn.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn.