Round Of 32 Begns In NCAA Tournament And The Pac-12 Is There

Today is one of those rare occasions when its ok for Beaver fans to root for the Ducks, as Oregon attempts to carry the conference flag into the Sweet 16.

Half the field of 64 in the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament were sent home in the last 2 days, including, unfortunately for Buff, Sun Devil, and Pac-12 fans, Colorado.

But today when the the field of the remaining 32 teams will be cut to 24, and half of the "Sweet 16" selected, the conference is still in the thick of things.

Arizona and Stanford earned wins yesterday afternoon to get their shots to advance tomorrow, as the Wildcats won a cat-fight over the Weber St. Wildcats 68-59, and the Cardinal claimed the first NCAA tournament win ever under coach Johnny Dawkins, upsetting New Mexico 58-53.

And late last night, well after midnight in half the country, UCLA became the 4th Pac-12 team to earn a shot at the advancing to the "Sweet 16", overcoming both a delay of over an hour, due to long running and overtime basketball earlier in San Diego, and Tulsa, pulling away from the persistent Golden Hurricane for a 76-59 win.

But Oregon could get there first, if they can spring a road game upset this afternoon.

The Oregon Ducks (24-9, 10-8 in the Pac-12, and the 7 seed in the West Region) take on the Wisconsin Badgers (27-7, 12-6 in the Big 10, and the 2 seed in the West). The game is in the Badgers' back yard, in Milwaukee, WI, which means in addition to having to overcome the team that tied for second place in the B1G, they have to do in in front of essentially a Badger home crowd.

It's at 6:45 PM CDT locally (4:45 PM PDT) in Wisconsin, so its even more perfect for Badger fans. The CBS/TNT/TBS tv brass see this as a big one, as the coverage is on CBS, making it available anywhere and everywhere.

Oregon got there with a 19 point 87-68 win over injury depleted BYU, thanks to a huge, 23 point effort by Elgin Cook, who happens to hail from Milwaukee.

Wisconsin walloped American University by 40, downing the Eagles 75-35.

Hard as it may be for Beaver fans to root for the "team down the road", remember, the Pac-12 shares revenue, and also obscurity, so any tournament accomplishment by any member of the conference pays dividends down the road for everyone else. So you can say "Go Ducks" with a semi-clear conscience when against an outsider, especially one from the rival Big Ten.

And there are 7 other games today, even including the likes of North Dakota St., and their state of Oregon connection, in Taylor Braun.

And remember, in addition to every game being televised, every game is also being streamed live via March Madness Live. (Though replays aren't an option.)

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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