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The Bounce: Lopez takes blame for ASU’s sweep

<h4>Web slinger turns marathoner </h4></p>
<p>A runner dressed as Spider-Man races in the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo on Sunday.

<h4>Web slinger turns marathoner </h4>

A runner dressed as Spider-Man races in the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo on Sunday.

TEMPE – Arizona baseball coach Andy Lopez walked off the field shaking his head and blaming himself for a three-game sweep to No. 4 Arizona State.

“It was a really bad job of coaching on my part. Horrible. All-time worst,” Lopez said. “I did a horrible job of preparing them. It was the worst job of coaching that I’ve done, maybe in my 32 years.”

UA lost 23-9 on Sunday to ASU after falling 4-1 on Friday and 7-3 on Saturday.

The losses dropped the Wildcats to 11-10 overall and 0-3 in the Pac-10.

“Players play, coaches coach. What happens on the field is our fault,” UA catcher Dwight Childs said. “Our pitching staff struggled a little bit this weekend, our defense struggled and our bats struggled.”

There is certainly a lot of blame to go around after UA allowed 16 hits and 11 walks, while hitting four batters Sunday.

A lot of credit has to go to the Sun Devils (17-3, 3-0). Arizona State took advantage of almost every hit and every error for the Pac-10 season-opening sweep.

Arizona’s hitters were to blame for the first two games with ASU starters Mike Leake and Josh Spence combining to strike out 25.

UA’s Dillon Baird went 4 for 5 with three doubles in the finale, but that was not nearly enough to offset ASU’s outburst against six Arizona pitchers.

UA starting pitcher Bruce Bandilla didn’t get an out before being replaced after four batters.

He was in long enough to allow three runs on one hit, while walking two and hitting one batter.

Even normally reliable closer Jason Stoffel was shelled, giving up six runs and six hits, and walking three in 1 1/2 innings.

“We won’t forget about games like this,” said UA third baseman Brad Glenn who went 1 for 4 with two errors. “They are a good team and they just kicked our butt. “We have to realize that we can’t let this happen again.”

In order to make sure teams don’t score in bunches like ASU did (putting up runs in six of the eight innings, including seven in the third, five in the fifth and six in the sixth), the Wildcat leaders are trying to step forward.

Players like Glenn, Childs and shortstop Bryce Ortega are not going to put up with excuses or hear about who is at fault when the Wildcats travel to UCLA this weekend.

“We have already discussed our leadership roles. We have to step up a little bit more, a lot more,” Childs said. “We have to take control what is happening on the field, in the dugout and at practice . . .

“This is a game of failure, and how you respond to failures is how you define yourself and how teams define themselves.”

Syracuse in the zone

MIAMI – Syracuse’s zone was more twilight than 2-3, more Rod Serling traveling through another dimension type stuff where seemingly gifted college basketball players lose all sense of time and space upon entrance.

Well, well. So that’s what a program with a little continuity and tradition looks like. Credit Arizona State for a gritty effort Sunday in the NCAA Tournament, but there was definitely some David and Goliath business going on in the 78-67 Orangemen victory.

The Sun Devils were overmatched. Syracuse’s awesome zone is effective not only because Jim Boeheim teaches it so well but because the coach lures the type of elite athletes that can execute it to perfection.

“It doesn’t seem like they’re there, and then all of a sudden they’ve got two guys there,” ASU guard Derek Glasser said.

“They have great length, they have terrific athletes and they cover the ground well,” Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek said.

Tradition is a tough opponent. Boeheim is in 33rd season. The Orangemen have played in three NCAA title games and won the championship in 2003. That title paid dividends in recruiting. Junior Eric Devendorf, who devastated the Sun Devils with his outside shooting, came two years later along with Arinze Onuaku, the brute 6-foot-9, 275-pound inside force that ASU senior Jeff Pendergraph referred to as a “7-foot Ray Lewis.”

The 2007 class was ranked second in the nation by most recruiting services and included pesky guard Jonny Flynn and forward Rick Jackson, both starters Sunday.

“We’re not that far off from them,” Pendergraph said. “This is a good season to build on. If any players out there want to get better and have a good college experience, they need to come see Herb.”

Losing to Syracuse, which looked liked a Final Four team, is no shame. Once the hangover of the defeat wears off, the Sun Devils should embrace what they’ve accomplished. Three years ago, Sendek’s first season, the team was 8-22 and had suffered a 15-game losing streak. They since have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons.


Attendance woes

Attendance improved – a tiny bit – in Miami for the NCAA tournament.

Sunday’s two games drew 10,204 fans, a bit over Friday’s two-session average, although the building still seemed considerably empty for the Arizona-Cleveland State matchup, which UA won 71-57.

American Airlines Arena can hold 19,600 for Miami Heat games.

Even with curtains drawn over large parts of the upper deck, most seats in the second rung of the building were empty all day Sunday, especially so after Syracuse – which seemed to have the largest contingent – cleared out following its win over Arizona State in the first game.

The Associated Press



UA’s RPI ranking, the lowest of any Sweet 16 team. Others still standing, with their RPI:

Duke (1), Pittsburgh (2), North Carolina (3), Louisville (4), Oklahoma (5) Michigan State (6), Memphis (7), Connecticut (8), Missouri (10), Kansas (11), Syracuse (12), Villanova (13), Xavier (17), Purdue (20), Gonzaga (26)

<br />
<h4>QUOTABLE </h4>
<p>‘It’s scary when coach isn’t yelling at us so much.’</p>
<p>Memphis player, on Tigers coach John Calipari (left), who had no complaints about his team in its rout of Maryland on Saturday.” width=”500″ height=”640″ /><p class=


'It's scary when coach isn't yelling at us so much.'


Memphis player, on Tigers coach John Calipari (left), who had no complaints about his team in its rout of Maryland on Saturday.



1939: Long Island University finishes the season undefeated after a 44-32 victory over Loyola of Chicago in the NIT championship.

1956: Bill Russell leads San Francisco to an 83-71 victory over Iowa in the NCAA basketball championship.

1993: Winnipeg’s Teemu Selanne sets an NHL rookie points record in a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Selanne scores two goals and an assist to give him 111 points.



Cats could win it all

Re: UA advances to Sweet 16

• This was the weekend that Chase became a man. Cats can win it all. Just need a couple of gumbys to step up.


• ASU experienced what happened to the UA in past, you have one good player and when teams prepare for him and he is outplayed, you can’t win.


• That is soooo SWEEEEEET! CATS roll into sweet 16 . . . make Dickie V. look like an idiot (easy to do, I know, but still fun when it happens) . . . ASU will be at home watching TV (gosh, sounds like their football team . . . didn’t they get to sit home and watch bowl games?) . . . CATS bringing ‘A’ game out at the right time.


• If Pennell doesn’t effectively manage the players with fouls against Louisville, UA has no shot. Let’s rotate some other guys in, instead of waiting until you are forced to.


• Most of the top seeds are playing tight. Louisville is struggling and if we play loose we can beat these guys. It’s a tough matchup but we are doing everything right and need to continue.


• If UA plays smart and stays out of foul trouble it can beat anybody in the nation. How sweet is it that UA fans listened to endless garbage from ASU fans and now we’re the only Pac-10 team left standing?


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