USC’s playoff hopes alive

first_imgThe year was 2009. Barack Obama had been sworn in as president about two months earlier. The iPhone didn’t have a built-in video camera feature yet. I forget whether I had joined Facebook yet.But there’s one thing about that year I certainly won’t forget. USC men’s basketball won the Pac-10 Tournament that spring.It seems like a distant memory, but it’s one any lifelong Trojan sports fan should certainly remember this week.“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” is one of the oldest sports adages of all time. Whether you remember it as the quintessential Yogi Berra-ism or as Lenny Kravitz’s 1991 single, know that it is especially true in college basketball.The phrase usually takes on a figurative term in sports — you still shouldn’t head to the exits yet, but I don’t think a basketball team can physically come back from a 30-point deficit with 15 seconds to play. At least for those in a traditional conference, however, a Division I NCAA basketball team’s season literally is not over until the team plays its final game.The critique of NCAA basketball is that regular season play does not compare in excitement or significance to that of football. While true, NCAA football finally moved toward basketball this season by adding some sort of a postseason playoff, which proved to be just as awesome as everybody thought it would be.But basketball still has a monopoly over the true Bill Murray Caddyshack Monologue Cinderella Story. Football has no shortages of upsets, but the unique two-tiered tournament style of the NCAA basketball playoffs is really the only system in organized American sports in which a team can go from worst to first in a mere couple of weeks.That’s exactly the position the USC basketball team finds itself in, going into the final week of the regular season. The Trojans are dead last in the Pac-12 conference standings with a record of 3-14. Their overall record is a little better at 11-18, but out-of-conference play would have to get the Trojans above at least .500 for it to matter to the NCAA selection committee. The top team at Alpha Phi’s philanthropy basketball competition this weekend has about as good of a shot at getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament as USC.But with conference tournaments, the worst teams during the regular season can still automatically qualify for the NCAA tournament. While the winner of Phi Ball does not get an automatic bid to March Madness, the Pac-12 Tournament winner certainly does .And every team automatically qualifies for the conference tournament, even the last-place Trojans. The team can hypothetically turn its season around by putting a couple good games together and winning the conference tournament.By now, I should probably throw in a reality check, because the team’s chances at winning the tournament are only marginally better than getting an at-large bid. The Trojans would likely have to get past both   No. 5 Arizona and No. 13 Utah to win the Pac-12, and I would be shocked if the Trojans could pull out a miracle win against just one of those teams — let alone both.The Trojans lost at Utah 79-55 then looked even worse when hosting the Utes, falling 67-39. The Trojans only had to play the Arizona once this year, and they also got the benefit of   home-court advantage in that one. But the Wildcats stomped the Trojans 87-57, the worst of the three losses that were all by at least 20 points.The layout of the conference tournament actually plays to USC’s advantage quite a bit. Unlike the March Madness tournament in which the 16-seed has to face the 1-seed right out of the gate, the Trojans would only have to take down the 5-seed in the Pac-12 in the first round of the tournament. The top four seeds in the conference get a bye in the first round.And rather than reseed the competition after every round so that the highest and lowest seeds always match up against each other — the NHL used to format its playoffs this way until last season — the Trojans would just have to play whomever is on their side of the bracket. The winner between the 5-seed and 12-seed plays the 4-seed in the second round, so the Trojans would hypothetically avoid both of the conference’s heavy hitters for the first two games.The Trojans would likely have to go through 1-seeded Arizona in the semifinal then 2-seeded Utah in the final, but even that’s up in the air. Arizona will hit the winner of the 8-seed v. 9-seed game in its first game. Arizona State is currently tied for eighth place in the standings and is my guess for whom would play the Wildcats in the second round. Sure enough, one of Wildcats’ two in-conference losses this year was to their in-state rival, so an upset in that game is not out of the picture. Utah has four conference losses this season and could also slip up against one of the middle-of-the-pack teams before reaching the Pac-12 final.And despite their record, the Trojans have actually looked competitive against the rest of the conference for the most part. With the exception of a trip to Colorado and a home game against UCLA, the Trojans have been within 10 points of every conference game and within five points of several occasions. The Trojans are one or two baskets away in many of these games, and they even won a trio.The team might not look anything like the 2009 squad. It featured two current NBA players in DeMar DeRozan and Taj Gibson. The Trojans came in as the 6-seed and only had to battle nine other opponents before the conference expanded. It was Tim Floyd’s final year as the head coach of the team, as the NCAA discovered the program’s ascent to new heights was due at least partially to recruiting violations by Floyd.But I haven’t forgotten that 2009 team, so I won’t forget to watch the Trojans try to save their season next week in the conference tournament. They face UCLA on Wednesday to close out the regular season, which hopefully gets them fired up for the final stretch.If the Trojans do pull off the miracle and win an automatic tournament bid, I’d have to borrow another great Yogism: it’d be like deja vu all over again.Luke Holthouse is sophomore majoring in policy, planning and development and broadcast and digital journalism. His column, “Holthouse Party,” runs on Wednesdays.last_img read more

Greyhound racing suspended following COVID-19 lockdown

first_img StumbleUpon UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 Submit BGC: Government must ‘act fast’ and extend furlough scheme August 11, 2020 Share Share Better Collective cautious on quick recovery as COVID drags growth momentum August 25, 2020 Related Articles Greyhound racing has become the latest sport in the UK to be suspended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the decision coming into effect as of today.The suspension, confirmed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), follows on from Boris Johnson’s package of new restrictions on travel and social engagements which will be reviewed in the next three weeks.Commenting on the suspension, Managing Director of GBGB Mark Bird said: “In responding to tonight’s PM’s announcement we have to suspend all racing tomorrow as this is the responsible thing to do however there remains a need to clarify the government position in terms of ‘gatherings’ and ‘work’.“I have contacted our contacts in Defra and DCMS and await their urgent clarification on these points. The GBGB has planned for this eventuality and we are ready to meet it head on.“I firmly believe that the UK racing greyhound community are of the same stoic mind. Let’s remain calm and we will carry on.”Just last week, the GBGB decided that the sport would be moving behind closed doors at all licensed stadia in England, with racing at Shawfield unaffected due the stadium being under Scottish Parliament’s jurisdiction.COVID-19 has continued to have wide-reaching impacts upon the sports and betting industries, as betting shops and casinos were forced to close their doors with immediate effect for a period of two weeks on Friday, pending further review.last_img read more

Vale Elaine Foster

first_imgElaine, a long time and valued employee of the organisation, succumbed to her battle with cancer on Tuesday, 5 October 2010. During her time with the NSWTA she was one of the early “glass ceiling breakers” for female sports administrators through her role as the NSWTA Tournament Manager. A tough job that she handled with aplomb, dedication, professionalism and when needed, humour. Her personal nature and approach saw her make many friends in her time not just with the NSWTA but indeed throughout the sport in general and we know many will be touched by this sad news.On behalf of the Board, Staff and the wider Touch Football community we pass on our condolences and loving thoughts to Bob, Cameron and Stephanie, Evan and Kristy and Elaine’s granddaughter’s Amelia, Claudia and Isla at this sad time. Elaine’s Funeral will be held on Monday, 11 October at 1.30pm, South Chapel Eastern Suburbs Crematorium.  Followed by a celebration of life at Bardwell Park RSL.last_img read more