While the Pac-10 Conference, which Dick Vitale never knew existed, tries to cram seven teams into the NCAA tournament, my beloved Arizona State Sun Devils are on the brink of making some ignominious history.
At 0-13 in the Pac-10 (6-18 overall), they could become the first team to go winless since the conference’s inception in 1978. The Devils have five games left, and none look easy: at home vs. UCLA, USC, Arizona then away at Stanford and Cal.
The latest loss was a 59-55 setback at Oregon State, ASU’s 14th straight loss. The Beavers, who more resembled a junior high team in scoring 35 points against UCLA on Feb. 3, have two Pac-10 wins. Yes, both are against ASU.
If it’s possible, poor Herb Sendek (above) is losing more hair, though he’s a crack-up in postgame press conferences. Lamenting Oregon State’s 72.7 percent shooting from the free-throw line (the Beavers were 57.9 percent coming in), Herbie said, “We can’t work on our free-throw defense.” Hey, ooooooh!
He even got tossed — his first career ejection — in a 66-61 loss to Washington on Feb. 1.
In a comment to a pool reporter, (official Michael) Reed said Sendek ran afoul of Rule No. 1096 by “inciting an undesirable response from the crowd after he had been asked not to do that.”
But Sendek has been doing it all season.
“I wasn’t trying to get the crowd to throw eggs at the officials,” he said.
I’m afraid that may be ASU’s only chance.