Portland State basketball makes NCAA tournament

The Buzz on sports

As we head into the most exciting time of college basketball, the NCAA Division-I basketball tournaments, Oregon has two teams headed to the show.

The Oregon Ducks and the Portland State Vikings.

That's right, the Vikings are headed to the show for the first time in school history by winning the Big Sky Conference tournament for the automatic bid to the tournament.

The Ducks played poorly, losing in the first round of the Pac-10 conference tournament after stumbling to a 9-9 in the Pac 10 and 18-12 overall, then slipped through with an at-large bid even though many "experts" didn't believe they deserved a bid.

The Beavers never had shot at making the tournament, unless they scored one of the biggest upsets in NCAA SPORTS history and won the Pac-10 tournament.

No such luck.

The Beavers fell in the first round, easily, and will look for a new coach and try to improve on an 0-18 Pac-10 record and 6-24 overall.

Shouldn't be too hard to do that.

Back to the Vikings, while they don't have any local boys playing on the team, it is still an exciting team to get behind.

The Vikings finished 14-2 to win the Big Sky conference and finished 23-9 overall, the 23 wins a new school record. Then they went out and won the Big Sky tournament to secure an automatic bid to the tournament.

The Vikings, who have not advanced to any NCAA tournament since advancing to old the Pacific Coast College Regional in 1967. Portland State dropped men's basketball following the 1980-82 season, but reinstated it upon joining the Big Sky Conference in 1996-97.

Portland State finished the season winning 14 out of their final 15 games, including the final five to win the Big Sky Tournament.

Guard's Jerimiah Dominquez and Deonte Huff, who was the Big Sky Tournament most valuable player, averaged 14.3 and 13.9 points a game during the season. Dominguez finished 22nd in 3-point field goal percentage in all of Division I.

Dominguez was named most valuable player in the Big Sky Conference and Morrison was named defensive player of the year.

Dominguez finished the regular season as the league-leader in steals (1.90 per game), free-throw percentage (83.8), and 3-pointers made per game (2.66). He was third in the league in scoring (14.4 ppg.), and third in assists (4.03). Dominguez was also third in 3-point field goal percentage at 44.5 percent, and 11th in field-goal percentage (48.1).

Throw in center Scott Morrison's 10.6 points and six rebounds plus Andre Murray, Kyle Coston and Dupree Lucas (who each averaged over six points a game) and you can see the excitement on this team.

This is such an exciting time for the entire university, not just the basketball program. All it takes is one program to excel and others will follow, its proven in the past. Not only will this could Portland State on the athletic map; it could help draw great recruits to attend PSU and become part of a new exciting winning tradition.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they drew a sixteen seed and lost to tournament favorite Kansas 85-61.

A No. 16 seed has never beaten a No. 1 seed in the history of the tournament. I know everybody was hoping to see Cinderella reside on the campus of the Portland State Vikings, but maybe next year.

*** Lot's of "so-called experts" are filling out their brackets and picking the men's tournament, so why not me? I went through the brackets and I see No. 3 Louisville out of the East, No. 5 Clemson out of the Midwest, No. 4 Pittsburgh out of the South and No. 1 UCLA from the West. All four number one seeds never advanced to the final four.

I see Pittsburgh beating UCLA and Louisville beating Clemson with Louisville cutting down the nets on April 7.

*** On the women's bracket, .I have No. 1 Connecticut from the Greensboro bracket (the women's brackets are named after the city they are played in), No. 2 Stanford out of the Spokane, No. 1 North Carolina out of New Orleans and No.1 Tennessee out of Oklahoma City.

Give me Tennessee winning another great battle against Connecticut and the Lady Vols cutting down the nets on April 8.