The estimable Ray Ratto makes a harrowing observation in Monday's San Francisco Chronicle -- after Cal and Stanford's dreadful winless weekend in southern California and St. Mary's month-long loss of injured Patty Mills, it's quite possible that not one team from the Bay Area will be represented in the NCAA Men's Tournament.
If none of the local men's teams makes the March Madness bracket, it would be the first such shut-out of the region in 18 years. As if the collapse of our retirement accounts and the housing crisis weren't making things bad enough!
One hoped St. Mary's still had a shot with Patty Mills back in time for the tournament but when they lose by 18 to the likes of the Portland Pilots, they'll not remain long anywhere near the top of their conference rankings. Stanford lost a squeaker, then an embarassing blowout in their USC/UCLA road trip. And they're the ones who fared pretty well. Mike Montgomery's Cal Bears got taken to the cleaners in both of their games. Cal and Stanford both have respectable overall records, but their lousy conference play dooms them to mid- to lower status in the PAC-10 standings.
But if you are a glass half-full kind of person, the Cal and Stanford women's teams are doing marvelously. The Lady Cardinal, engaged in yet another season spent entirely in the Top Ten of the national rankings, just demolished UCLA. Slightly to the northeast, the Lady Golden Bears have won ten straight and are now ranked nationally in the top three.