Guess which Arizona coach said this about the perceived lack of respect for Pac-10 basketball:
“You can be certain of three things every year: death, taxes, and Pac-10 bashing. All those people who keep pooh-paahing about the Pac-10 better come out here and play us.”
Lute Olson or Sean Miller?
If you said Olson, you are correct. If you said Olson but thought Miller could say the same thing, you are correct and having the same thoughts you had 18 years ago — when Olson made that comment. He said it on Feb. 21, 1993, after Arizona cruised to a 70-60 win over Cincinnati and Nick Van Exel in Phoenix.
Hate to use a cliche here, but I have to: The more things change — almost two decades since the UA positioned itself for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament after that Cincinnati game — the more they stay the same — Miller talked during his weekly press conference Wednesday about the national media’s apathy toward the Pac-10, which his 20-4 team leads with four weekends left in the regular season.
“In terms of national attention, I don’t think we get any,” Miller said. “Every conference in the country gets more than us. … The number of teams (from the Pac-10) that can make the (NCAA) tournament is under-appreciated nationally.”
One significant issue is the conference’s contract with Fox Sports Net, which does not have the same notoriety and programming power and prowess of ESPN. Olson commented on the Pac-10′s contract with FSN before the 2005 Pac-10 tournament and his statement echoes today:
“If you think FSN is national, you are kidding yourself,” Olson told the media. “We have recruits in Texas who wanted to watch our game with Washington, but instead turn on the TV and see the (Southern Methodist) versus Texas Tech women’s game. Nothing against women’s basketball, but that is ridiculous.
“I don’t know the solution, but I do know that something has to be done.”
San Jose Mercury-News reporter Jon Wilner, a former Arizona basketball beat writer for The Arizona Daily Star, criticized FSN’s programming and the Pac-10′s involvement with the network in his blog Tuesday. Here’s the excerpt (which merits to be shown in its entirety here):
“Neither Cal game this week (against Washington and Washington State) will be televised here in the Bay Area. (Good thing they don’t carry any league title or postseason implications!) However, we will be able to watch both Oregon State games: at USC on Thursday and at UCLA on Saturday (on Comcast).
That’s right: No Cal games; two OSU games.
I have not looked into how the situation came about and I don’t want to know, because the answer will probably make me even more frustrated. All I know is, it stinks.
(*** I should have mentioned this earlier: The Cal-UW will be shown by Fox-NW as part of UW’s institutional package but has not been picked up by Comcast. The Cal-WSU game is scheduled for Webcast, but only for subscribers.)
(Dear commissioner (Larry) Scott: Please, please, PLEASE try to get the Pac-12 Network up and running next season, even if it means flushing all existing contracts down the toilet! Don’t make us go through another year of this!)
Wilner deserves a standing applause.