NCAA round of 16: Stanford against the world

With the exception of Stanford, the #1 seed and alive in the Spokane region, the Pac-12 teams have been wiped out of the NCAA tournament. With the exception of Utah, they were all knocked out by lower-seeded opponents.

If you’re backing the Pac, you’re hoping for Stanford to hold off the rest of the world in the remaining field of 16, and for UCLA or Oregon State to win the WNIT. Otherwise, our stance that the Pac is the toughest league in the NCAA is on shaky ground.

The defending champion Cardinal look like a fair bet to survive the regional. The Hull twins found additional incentive in the possibility of playing the rounds of 16 and 8 in their hometown, and Lexie had a career game in round two vs. Kansas. Hull scored a career-best 36 points, and added 6 rebounds, 6 steals, and 3 assists in Stanford’s 91-65 win at Stanford. Her Hollinger GameScore of 35.2 is the highest I’ve crunched yet this season.

Stanford led merely by two at half, 33-31, and Coach Tara VanDerveer said the outcome was truly in doubt, until Hull poured in 25 points in the third and fourth quarters. “(The game) came down to ‘we had Lexie Hull, and they didn’t,” she said.

That was the night before Arizona was knocked out by North Carolina, and after Texas eliminated Utah 78-56 on the Longhorns’ home floor (it’s high time the first two rounds be conducted on neutral floors). “That was a tough loss for Utah,” said VanDerveer, “but how great for their freshmen and sophomores to play in this tournament for the first time. I’m very happy for what (Utah coach Lynne Roberts) has done with that team.”

Stanford takes on AP #13 Maryland, the #4 seed in the Spokane region, tonight. The rules against personal electronic devices at chess tournaments get more and more stringent. These days, you’re required to leave your phone powered off beside your board (these restrictions don’t have much effect on me; I work in the office downstairs from the chess club, so my work computer is always a few steps away, enabling me to cheat at chess or watch basketball at will).