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January 26, 2009
Monday with Mike: Six surprising teams so far
We're past the halfway point of the basketball season, and it's time to recognize some teams that have been much better than expected.
Here's a look at six teams that at least have a chance to go to the NCAA tournament after opening the season with most observers thinking they'd be lucky to finish .500.
Oregon State pulled two big upsets since Obama was inaugurated, winning at California by four and at Stanford by 15. The wins came after Robinson attended the inauguration and gave the Beavers three Pac-10 victories a season after they had none.
"Initially, we were surprising ourselves out there," Robinson said. "Now we have a locker room full of guys who expect to come into a game and win it every single time."
Oregon State plays its next four at home. While this is not an NCAA tourney team, it is a squad that has NIT hopes.
Big rivalry games won't end the season for eight Pac-10 teams next season. Instead of Arizona-Arizona State, Cal-Stanford, UCLA-USC and Washington-Washington State, we'll get Arizona at USC and Cal at Washington on Dec. 5. Boo.
For those who like to plan ahead, the 2009 national title game will be Jan. 7, 2010, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. And remember that because ABC has a TV deal with the Rose Bowl, it also will broadcast the title game next season.
Good news for East Carolina in that starting quarterback Patrick Pinkney was granted a sixth season of eligibility. His return means ECU should be the preseason favorite to win the East Division title in Conference USA; the Pirates are the defending league champion.
Washington has "the greatest coaching staff in America." Well, that's what new Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian says, anyway. He and his new staff were introduced at halftime of Washington's basketball victory over UCLA on Saturday. While the "greatest coaching staff" comment is nothing but hyperbole, one thing Sarkisian said that should warm the hearts of Huskies fans is that his team will be physical and knock opponents around. That hasn't been the case at Washington for a while.