Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Introducing...Odds and Ends

As the Spot sits here munching down on a homemade Chicken Salad Wrap (ingredients ala Trader Joe’s), we’d like to introduce a new weekly feature: Odds and ends.  Odds and ends will feature briefs on stories you might have missed during the week, along with some weekend activities to keep you out and about in the Central Valley Sporting landscape.  So, for your reading pleasure (as I finish off my Wrap)…

For those of you expecting Hilmar’s own Nate Costa to just walk into the starting QB spot at the University of Oregon (due to Jeremiah Massoli’s stint as a wanna be extra on “COPS”) well, as Lee Corso would say on College Gameday…”Not so fast my friends”…Redshirt Sophmore Darron Thomas is also in the mix, and according to Oregon Coach Chip Kelly, “Fortunaltey for us, we don’t have to pick a starter till New Mexico….that’s a long ways away”.

Yes Fresno State Bulldog fans…we have a couple bones to throw your way also….

According to the Fresno Bee, the Contract extension with Coach Pat Hill that was announced on December 13 still hasn’t been signed…hmmm….does it really take this long to dot the “I’s” and cross the “T’s”?

The Bulldogs have released their official schedule for the 2010 football season.  Among the highlights are trips to Bulldog Stadium by Big East Champs the University of Cincinatti Bearcats and the Big 10’s University of Illinois Fighting Illini.  The Bulldogs will also be making a trip to the land of Dixie to take on Cotton Bowl Champ the Ole’ Miss Rebels.

Two valley basketball products are transferring from their respective Pac-10 schools, most likely to look for more playing time.  D.J. Seeley (Modesto Christian/Tokay) is leaving Cal and Xavier Thames (Elk Grove) is leaving Washington St….might there be some valley college programs looking for an infusion of talent?

Congrats to Pacific’s Joe Ford, who was just named to the mid-major All-Defensive Team and the CIT all tournament team (along with Pacific’s Sam Willard).

Help wanted:  The following high school programs currently have the help wanted sign out for their Boys Basketball Programs: Venture Academy (Stockton), Big Valley Christian (Modesto), Wilton Christian (Sacramento) and Atwater High School.  On the Girls side of things, Cordova in Sacramento is looking…who has their resumes out?

Calling all basketball coaches: Former college assistant and head coach Terry Battenberg will be holding a coaches clinic on April 17th at Mesa Verde High School in Citrus Heights focusing on the offensive transition game and getting the most out of your team’s fast break.  In the Spot’s past life as a High School Basketball Coach, he attended one of Coach Battenberg’s clinic’s and found it to be well worth the time! For more information go to

Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach Tara Vander Vere would like to see the NCAA tournament expanded to 96 teams…apparently they have stopped teaching common sense down on the Farm.

Out and About this weekend
Looking for something to do this Easter Weekend?  Here are a few options!

Stockton Ports Fan Fest- Saturday April 3rd 2pm to 5pm:  A free fan event where fans of all ages are invited to attend and enjoy a variety of fun activities including an easter egg hunt, taking some swings in the batting cages and playing catch on the field!

Fresno State Softball Double Header vs. Boise State- Saturday April 3rd 1pm and 3pm at Bulldog Diamond- Watch the perennial national title contenders Lady ‘Dogs as they take on Boise State (minus the smurf turf) for a Saturday double header…let’s play two!

Sacramento State Baseball vs. UC Santa Barbara- Saturday April 3rd 1pm at Hornet Field:  Hey, it’s gotta be more exciting and less frustrating than watching the State Legislature in action!

Looking to get in a good pre-Easter jog?...then check out these options:
Saturday April 3rd:

That’s all for now Spot fans…till next time…

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don't leave me this way....

Well Spot fans, the season for the Pacific Tigers was going to end tonight one way or another.  Unfortunatley for Tiger fans, the end of the CIT Championship Game left them thinking of the Thelma Houston Disco hit "Don't leave me this way", as the Tigers let a 6 point lead evaporate in the final 10 minutes and lost to the Missouri State Bears 78-65.  Caleb Patterson, a reserve who normally averages just over 5 points a game, led the Bears with 16 points as Kyle Weems added in 14 for the CIT Champs.  Demetrece Young led the Tigers with 17 points and Joe Ford, playing in his final game as a Tiger, added 16.  Sam Willard had another in-n-out special with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Freshman Allen Huddleston also added in 10 points.

Here is the official take on the game from the Pacific Athletic Department, along with the Sacramento Bee's recap.

So how did the Missouri State Bears do it?  Runs of 11-0 and 8-0 in the final 10 minutes will get the job done for any team.  Add to that three key stats that just reach out and scream at you.  The Bears made 17-23 free throws in the 2nd half alone!  They outscored the Tigers in the paint 38-24 and shot 57.4% from the floor for the game.  Stats like that will spell doom for any team, let alone the road weary Tigers.

But all is not overcast and dreary in Tigerland.  Pacific made it's deepest run ever in post-season play this year, and return a strong core of players for next year.  Demetrece  Young, Sam Willard and Allen Huddleston form a nucleus that will once again be a favorite for the Big West Title and seek to make a 3rd straight post-season apperance.

In the meanwhile, between now Midnight Maddness, we here at the Spot will keep you up to date on all things Pacific Basketball with updates on recruiting and how those around the team seek to make the program stronger.

In the mean time....stay classy Central Valley!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Show-Me show me somewhere near St. Louis

Well, its finally here Spot it what you will, the show down in the Show-Me State, the sprint to Springfield, or, as the wonderful people at the would probably perfer...the CIT Championship.  There are 12 teams in men's DI college basketball that are still playing for something, and your Pacific Tigers happen to be one of them as they take on the Missouri State Bears at the JQH Arena ( Sorry Spot fans, the June 15th Carrie Underwood concert is sold out!) for the CIT Championship.  Here is a little info on both teams and the Spot's take on the Championship Game:

CIT Championship Game: Pacific vs. Missouri State- 5pm on Fox College Sports (3/30)

23-11 overall/11-6 on the road
5-6 vs. teams in the post-season (Wins vs. San Diego St., Nevada, Northern Colorado, Appalachian State and Loyola Marymount)

Head Coach Bob Thomason- 22nd Season at Pacific, 364 total wins, 5-time Big West Conference Coach of the Year.

Key Players:
Sam Willard 11.2 ppg/8.1 rpg
Demetrece Young 9.4 ppg/2.8 apg
Michael Nunally 7.8 ppg/4.2 rpg
Joe Ford...not to sound like a broken record...but, just play defense Joe!!

Key off the Bench:
Allen Huddleston
Nykia Williams
Lavar Neufville
Pat Eveland

Missouri State Bears
Record: 23-12/19-2 @ home
Vs. teams in the post-season:  8-7
(Wins vs. Tulsa, St. Louis University, Indiana State, Creighton (2), Nevada, Middle Tennesse St., Louisiana Tech)

Head Coach Cuonzo Martin- 2nd year 34-32 overall
Former player/ asst. coach at Purdue University 

Key players:
Kyle Weems- 6-6 F/Soph. 13.6 ppg/6.1 rpg/40.8 3pt. percentage
Adam Leonard 6-1 G/Jr. 13.1 ppg/ 39.5%  3pt. percentage
Jermain Mallet  6-3 G/Jr. 10.7 ppg/5.7 rpg
Will Creekmore 6-9 F-C/Jr. 8.5 ppg/4.8 rpg

The Spot's take: These teams seem to be mirror images of each other:

  •  Both teams have out-scored their opponents by nearly identical margins this season (Pacific 65.6 to 60.4 for a 5.2 point margin while Missouri State outscored its opponents 71.3 to 65.3 for a 6 point margin). 
  • Both coaches know what the Post-Season is all about.  Pacific's Thomason having guided the Tigers to 4 NCAA Tournaments, 2 CIT Tournaments and 1 NIT Tournament and Missouri State's Martin having made it to an Elite Eight and Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament as a player for the Purdue Boilermakers and helping to guide his alma mater to another Elite Eight and three NCAA 2nd round apperances as an Assistant Coach.  
  • Both teams distribute their scoring evenly with three players averaging in double digits for the Bears, led by 6-6 do-it-all Sophmore Kyle Weems, who leads his team in scoring, rebounding and 3-point percentage, while Sam Willard leads Pacific's balanced attack with 11.7 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. 
  •  Both teams also have guards who can hit from beyond the arc, with Pacific's Demetrece Young making nearly 38% of his three point shots while the Bear's Adam Leonard hits on 39.5% of his three's.

The difference in this game will come down to two things, the bench and intangibles.  Pacific has the ability to go to it's bench, which has helped it endure a two week CIT road trip that rivals anything the Griswold Family ever had to go through.  Pat Eveland averages 7.4 points per game and 33% behind the arc coming off the bench.  Eveland is a streaky shooter...when he's on he doesn't miss...when's he's not, cover your eyes please.  Pacific can also bring in newly minted Mid-Major Freshman All-American Allen Huddleston along with big man Nykia Williams, who has shown drastic improvement and made significant contributions off the bench late in the season.  Missouri State brings Nafis Ricks and Caleb Patterson and their combined 13.1 points per game off the bench but not much else.

As for intangibles, Missouri State is a member of the always tough Missouri Valley Conference, which can often be confused for College Basketball's version of "Survivor".  As recently as a few years ago "The Valley" as it's called, sent 4 teams to the NCAA tournament, and this year sent 6 teams to post-season play.  As a testament to how tough and talented "The Valley" can be, the Bears took Conference Champion Northern Iowa to the final shot before losing by 1 at home this past season (for refrences on how good Northern Iowa is, please see Jayhawks, Kansas).

Pacific, on the other hand, has attained true "Road Warrior" status over the past couple of weeks.  The Tiger's road in the CIT has taken it cross-country and half way back again, and they have done so in games where the defense has stepped up when needed.  Against Northern Colorado, the key was to contain their leading scorer Will Figures, and Pacific's D held him to 4 points.  Against Appalachian State the key was for the Tiger front line to counter-act their opponent's strength up front, and they responded by out-rebounding the Mountaineers by 15.  In other words, if it needs to get done, Pacific has been able to get it done, some way, some how, they continue to survive.

So what's the Spot's a nail-bitter, the Tigers find a way to win once again, 57-55.

Quick facts you may not know:  

  • Springfield, Missouri, home of the Bears, has the motto "The Middle of Everywhere".
  • Degrees of separation: Pacific Coach Bob Thomason coached at Escalon High School in the mid-70's, leading them to a State Championship.  The Spot played at Escalon High School as a member of his alma mater, the Hilmar High Yellowjackets...where he got burned for 19 points by David Anderson and tried unsuccessfully to....umm..."Borrow" the stuffed cougar that sat above Escalon's trophy case.
  • A win for Pacific would be it's first ever post-season championship, while Missouri State won back-to-back NAIA National Championships in 1952-53.
  • Missouri State was formerly known as Southwest Missouri State.
  • Current New Mexico Coach and former Indiana star Steve Alford had his first Division I head coaching job at Missouri State.  He led them to a Sweet 16 apperance before becoming head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sometimes the best laid plans....

Good morning Spot fans and happy Saturday!  The Spot would like to take this opportunity to introduce Carrie Springfield (see picture to your left), the Sport Spot's new contributing beer expert and the 3rd hottest woman the Spot knows (right behind Erin Andrews at #2 and #1...well, she knows who she is!).  She can also pretty much drink any man alive under the table...which qualifies her for beer expert status!  We and a group headed out for the night to Modesto's Firkin and Fox Where the plan was to have some of the Central Valley's own Dust Bowl Brewing Co.'s "Hops of Wrath". 

Unfortunatley, when it came time to order, we found out, much to our chagrin, that they currently didn't have our beer of choice in stock!  Scrambling to find another beer for our very first beer review, we settled upon the rather aptly named "Arrogant Bastard Ale" .  Why rather aptly  named you ask?  Well, one visit to it's rather simple web site and they ask "are you worthy?" and in its description states: "It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth".  Well, after having one (ok ok, maybe two) rounds of the ale...we have to is an ale of outstanding quality and depth.  It had a very smooth texture which made it easy to drink and had that excellent ale taste that strikes the perfect balance between its sweet, fruity taste brought about from its fermintation with the bitter herbal flavor of the hops that are added in.  All in all, Carrie gives the Arrogant Bastard a thumbs up! 

Stay tuned for our next beer review as we hit opening day for the Stockton Ports on April 15th, and see what they have serving at the ol' ball game!

Till next time....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who's hungry: Easy...easy...garlic cheesy! (bread that is!)

The weekend's almost here Spot fans...and on occasion, we'll order that pizza for the weekend's festivities and as soon as we walk in the door say to ourselves "Doh! We forgot the Cheesy Bread!"  If that's the case, then never fear, the Spot's Food Contributor Claudia Pruett is here!  From her debut cookbook "Cooking Dinner" here is a nice and easy receipe for some rather tasty garlic (and cheesy garlic) bread...enjoy!:

Garlic Bread

SERVES: 8 • PREP TIME: 10 minutes • COOK TIME: 5 minutes

HELPING HANDS: Kids can help brush the bread with melted butter.

1 loaf French bread

½ cup butter, 1 stick

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Heat butter and garlic in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.

Slice bread loaf lengthwise. Place on a baking sheet. Brush evenly with melted butter. Broil for a few minutes in the oven. Watch carefully so it does not burn.

To turn it into Cheesy Garlic Bread, simply add Jack, Cheddar or Parmesean Cheese (or all 3!) to bread near end of broiling time and melt to desired consistency.

There you go Spot fans, a nice, easy appetizer for you and your friends to enjoy during this weekend's Elite Eight games.  Be on the look out tomorrow as we introduce the Spot's new resident beer expert as she gives her review of one of the Valley's very own creations!

'Till next time...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Road Warriors...Pacific advances to CIT Championship

To quote Road Warrior Hawk (or was it Animal?)..."Whaaatttt aaaaa rrruuuusssshhhh!" the Pacific Tigers, who haven't played a game at the Spanos Center in a month, continued their Road Warrior act with a 64-56 win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the Semi-Finals of the CIT Post-Season Tournament.

The Tigers were, once again, led by Sam Willard recording a double-double (which reminds me, in-n-out right now anybody?) with 22 points and 10 rebounds.  Demetrece Young was the only other Tiger in double digits with 12 points including 3-7 from behind the arc.

So how did the Tigers pull out their third straight road win in the CIT?...A hot start, including jumping out to leads of 11-2, 21-7 and 28-13 certainly helped.  But, much like against Northern Colorado...the defense did it.  Pacific held Appalachian State to 18 points below their season average of 74 points per game and forced the Mountaineers to shoot a dismal 33.3% from the field as opposed to the 46.7% that they averaged during in-season.  Pacific's big men did what the Spot figured they needed to do, out-rebounding the Mountaineers by 15 boards.  Joe Ford and Michael Nunally were beasts on the boards for the Tigers with 13 and 9 rebounds respectively.

Up next for the Tigers, a spot in the CIT Championship Game vs. the Missouri State Bears.  Pacific will once again continue its Road Warrior act as the game will be held at the Home of the Bears (it must be nice...Carrie Underwood is performing there on June 15th!) in Springfield, Missouri.  And no Spot fans, its not this Springfield...or this one either.

In the is the official recap of Pacific's Semi-Final win from the Pacific Athletic Department, along with the Appalachian State perspective on things from the Watauga Democrat.

Power picks from Power Cat!

Afternoon Spot fans...needing a little last minute advice on the Sweet 16?  The Spot sure did, so who better to ask than Pacific's own Power Cat!  So, without further ado...Power Cat's take on the Sweet 16....

Syracuse vs. Butler: PC likes the Orangemen, and just like Pacific, Syracuse represents well. We are in the Big West, they are Big East, either way they win.

UDub vs WV: Powercat was a fan of Pat White and Steve Slaton running the spread option at West Virginia, but he’s not playing in this game. Washington serves to represent the West Coast in a close close game.

Xavier vs KState: KansasState, a lil’ intrastate competition never hurt anyone right?

Cornell vs Kentucky: Is John Wall overlooking Cornell and their hot shooting? Keys to this game for Cornell to win, make baskets, make baskets, and make more baskets! Free throws will be a huge part of this, and we all know John Wall is a top pick, he can cement that tonight. PC goes with Kentucky because of the John Wall Dance

Tennessee vs Ohio St.: I like Evan Turner, but look for Hopson and Prince to have huge games. OhioState by 5.

St. Mary’s vs. Baylor: The Gaels beat Pacific, but they won’t beat Baylor.

Northern Iowa vs. Michigan St.: PC digs Michigan St, I like their mascot Sparty. But Northern Iowa continues their run for at least one more round.

Purdue vs Duke. Purdue wins. Hummel’s out, but I’m not a fan of Duke.

You like the Cat's way of thinking?  Or do you think he'd just had a bad batch of Fancy Feast?  Let the Spot know!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CIT Semi-Final Preview: The Magical Mystery Tour Continues

To quote the fab five "Roll up...and that's an invitation...roll up for the mystery tour". In this case, Pacific's magical mystery tour has taken it from the beaches of L.A., to the mountains of Colorado and now to the backwoods of North Carolina, where they'll meet the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Yes, the same Appalachian State that took it to Michigan in the "Big House" three years ago. Here is the Spot's take on the Semi-Final match-up:

22-11 overall/10-6 on the road
4-6 vs. teams in the post-season (Wins vs. San Diego St., Nevada, Northern Colorado and Loyola Marymount)

Key Players:
Sam Willard 11.2 ppg/8.1 rpg
Demetrece Young 9.4 ppg/2.8 apg
Michael Nunally 7.8 ppg/4.2 rpg
Joe Ford...defense! defense! defense!

Key off the Bench:
Allen Huddleston
Nykia Williams
Lavar Neufville
Pat Eveland

Appalachian State Mountaineers
24-12/ 14-3 at home
6-5 vs. teams in the post-season (Wins vs. Morgan State, Winthrop, Robert Morris, College of Charleston, Harvard and Marshall)

Key Players:
Donald Sims, Jr. 20.3ppg
Kellen Brand, Sr. 11.6ppg
Issac Butts, Jr. 8.6ppg/8.3rpg
Josh Hunter, Sr. 6.7ppg/5.7rpg

The Spots Semi-Final take: The Appalachian State Mountaineers present an extremly tough match-up for the Pacific Tigers. They are an experienced team with their key players being either Seniors or Juniors, and are coached by Buzz Peterson, a guy who knows a thing or two about post-season play from his previous stops at Tulsa and Tennessee (this is his 2nd go-round at Appalachian State). They are led by Junior Guard Donald Sims and Senior Guard Kellen Brand, both of whom shoot at or near 40% from the 3-point arc. They also have a strong inside presence, led by 6-10 Junior Center Issac Butts who averages 8 rebounds per game. As a team, Appalachian State has out-rebounded its opponents this year by an average of 8 boards per contest, and have out-scored their opponents by nearly 6 points per game.

So what must Pacific do to leave the Carolina Mountain Country with a win? Much like they did vs. Northern Colorado, its time to grind one out. If they can do the same to Donald Sims (averaging 20 points per game) as they did to Northern Colorado's Will Figures, whom Pacific held to 4 points on Monday, then Pacific will go a long way towards a positive result vs. the Mountaineers. Pacific's big men, ALL of them, must also show up to play. The Mountaineers are well balanced inside with three players averaging over 5 rebounds per game and boast front line that is bigger and more experienced than those Pacific faced vs. Loyola Marymount and Northern Colorado. Sam Willard can't do it all himself this time. Michael Nunally and Nykia Williams (coming off the bench) must be able to hold their own against the Mountaineers. If not, it may very well be a long night for the Tigers.

The one x-factor in all this is the travel. In the span of a week Pacific has traveled from coast to coast, a fact that won't be lost on the Mountaineers as they try to push the ball against the Tiger's road weary legs. Due to a freak snow storm in Denver, the game was pushed back a day, giving the Tigers and extra day to rest up, something I'm sure they could very well have used.

Game time is 5pm Pacific, and can be seen online on the B2 Network (and yes, it is a pay-per-view network). So, by this time Thursday night, we'll know if Pacific was able to "Roll make a reservation"...a reservation to the CIT Championship vs. the Missouri State Bears.

To quote none other than Ron Burgundy Himself....Stay Classy Central Valley

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bulldogs, Bruins and Trojans, oh my!

Well Spot fans, this IS a Central Valley blog, so the Spot figured it was time to pay a visit (or at the very least blog about) our friends down in Fresno.

For those who don't already know, the Pac-10 has already gone on record as saying that it will seriously look at expansion over the next year or so. Conventional wisdom from the usual cast of pundits in Bristol, Conn. (ya know, ESPN) and other alleged experts have the the most likely suspects being BYU, the Univ. of Utah, Colorado or Texas. Nothing wrong with those choices, they're nice, safe and could possibly happen. However, there's a group from Fresno that won't take being bypassed for Pac-10 inclusion laying down.

David Mitzman is a Fresno State alum who started the Facebook group "Get the Bulldogs in the Pac-12". In just three weeks the group has already attracted over 1,000 fans and has the feel of a real grassroots movement to get the Pac-10 to seriously consider the Fresno State Bulldogs when it comes to expansion.

According to David, who was kind enough to reply to some e-mail questions the Spot had on the subject:

"What better school to be selected than Fresno State? Our amazing fan base travels for all sports and contributes significant revenue to the respective school and city; we post great records against the Pac 10 in all sports; the university is centrally located for ease of travel to Cal, Stanford, USC, UCLA, by bus which will reduce travel expenses for all the universities teams; our fabulous home base of fans who attend all sporting events in huge numbers, and most importantly our exceptional athletic facilities for all NCAA sports including the soon to open state of the art swim and diving complex."

The group's grassroots plan is to get over 20,000 emails sent to the Pac-10 offices (emails should be sent to Pat Cesnik: for those who are interested) by the time the Pac-10 gets into serious deliberations on expansion. Will it work, the Spot doesn't know, but 1,000 facebook fans in 3 weeks and 20,000 emails has to catch someone's attention, right?

So whats the Spot's take on Fresno State in the Pac-12...err...I mean 10. Well, first off, the Pac-10 should stop daydreaming about getting Texas and Colorado. They aren't leaving their rivalries with Oaklahoma, Nebraska and all the ESPN/ABC money that it brings. Sorry guys, not gonna happen!

That leaves the Pac-10 with four options: BYU, Utah, Boise State and Fresno State. If the Pac-10 were smart and decided to, oh, I don't know, think outside the box, they'd take Boise State and Fresno State in a heartbeat. BYU and Utah are comfortable being big fish in their small pond. Why go from king of the hill in a Conference with its own TV network, to becoming possibly just a middle of the pack (no pun intended) Pac-12 school.

Both Fresno State and Boise State have proven they aren't afraid to mix it up with the BCS powers that be, any time, any place. For the Pac-12, adding Boise would make national waves, because lets face it, when it comes to football (and football is the only thing driving the bus on expansion) Boise State IS a national program, smurf turf and all. As for Fresno, the Pac-12 would be expanding into a television market that could potentially extend from Sacramento to Bakersfield, and Fresno's rabid fan base, the "Red Wave", travels not by just the thousands, but ten's of thousands (The Spot was on hand to see 20k+ "Red Wave" fans invade San Jose to play Air Force and Michigan State in the old Sillicon Valley Classic). I've seen the Rose Bowl during UCLA home games...they could use the extra 20k fans in there! All of that equals just that much more money, and thats why the Pac-10 is even talking expansion, right? (as a matter of fact, thats why ANY conference talks expansion)

Well, that's the Spots take on the subject. What do you think? Feel free to let the Spot know! Till next time....

Movin' on....Pacific onto the CIT Semi-Finals

The Post-Season continues for the Pacific Tigers, as they defeated the University of Northern Colorado 63-59 Monday Night in the Quarterfinals of the CIT. Here is the official release from Pacific along game stories from both the Stockton Record and Greeley Tribune.

So how did the Tigers do it? It sure wasn't their free throw shooting, as they were an abysmal 14-29 from the charity stripe. It was defense-defense-defense. As the Spot said in his preview, hold Northern Colorado in the 50-60 point range and they can come away with a win. Pacific's D held the Bears to just 34% from the field, out-rebounded the Bears on both the offensive and defensive boards and held their star guard Will Figures was held to only 4 points, 13 below his season average.

Whats up next for Pacific? A trip to Boone, North Carolina to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers, in tomorrow's 4pm (our time) Semi-Final. Appalachian State earned their spot in the Semi-Finals with an 80-72 win over Marshall University. And for the Spot's female fans, yes, thats the same Marshall University that was featured in the movie "We Are Marshall" starring every female's favorite Hollywood hunk-of-the-month, Matthew McConaughey.

Be on the look-out tomorrow morning for the Spot's take on Pacific's Semi-Final game...till then!

Monday, March 22, 2010

CIT Quarterfinal Preview: Pacific visits the land of Mork and Mindy

Nanoo Nanoo College hoops fans...there are 44 Division 1 men's basketball teams still playing basketball...and Pacific happens to be one of them. Tonight they visit the land of "Mork and Mindy", and play the University of Northern Colorado out of the Big Sky Conference in the Quarterfinals of the CIT. Here is the Spot's preview of tonight's match-up:

20-11 overall/9-6 on the road
3-6 vs. teams in the post-season (Wins vs. San Diego St., Nevada and Loyola Marymount)

Key Players:
Sam Willard 11.2 ppg/8.1 rpg
Demetrece Young 9.4 ppg/2.8 apg
Michael Nunally 7.8 ppg/4.2 rpg
Joe Ford...who cares about your numbers tonight Joe, just play defense!

Key off the Bench:
Allen Huddleston
Nykia Williams
Lavar Neufville

25-7 overall/13-1 at home
4-3 vs. teams in the post-season (wins over Montana, Portland, Colorado State & Weber State)

Key Players:
Will Figures 17 ppg/21.4 ppg last 4 games
Devon Beitzel 14.3 ppg
Taylor Montgomery 8.6 ppg
Mike Proctor 8.1 ppg

The Spot's take: The Bears will look to turn this game into an indoor track meet. They average 21st nationally in 3-point field goal percentage and boast wins this year over teams such as Colorado State, the Air Force Academy and Hawaii. Senior Guard Will Figures is the engine that runs this car, as he averages 17 points per game and is the stand out Senior leader on the team. The Bears average 2200 per game in their 2800 capacity on campus gym, which sits over 4000 ft. above sea level.

Pacific will have the inside size advantage in this game and must establish itself inside with Willard and Manteca's own Michael Nunally to control the tempo of the game. The main match up of the night will be Joe Ford's defense vs. Will Figure's offensive game. If Pacific can keep the Bears score in the 50's or 60's, a win in a very hostile environment is likely. If the Bears can force their tempo in the rarefied Rocky Mountain air, it won't be a pleasant trip to the land of Mork and Mindy for Pacific.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

...and they're off!...

The Sports Spot decided to wake up way to early this morning and take in the start of the Inaugural Modesto Marathon. At first when I arrived, I was thinking to myself "why on earth am I up, and in Modesto, this early on a Sunday Morning!"...then the Spot started to notice once thing...women, lots of them, wearing Under Armor, Nike, Adidas and any other wide range of ummm....rather nice fitting running apparel...suddenly my decision to make the early trip to Modesto didn't seem so bad after all!!

But I's always good to see high-caliber sporting events taking place here in the Central Valley, and the organizers of the Modesto Marathon have done a great job with this one. Already certified by USA Track & Field, the Marathon serves as an official qualifier for the world's most famous foot races, 2011 Boston Marathon. The crowd was excellent and the field was packed with runners from across California.

The Spot was able to take some pictures (the quality of which show's that the Spot needs someone who knows what they're doing with a camera!) of the start of the race...and as the runners began to pound out the 26 mile course...the Spot then blazed his own trail...over to the nearest Starbucks!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Some women have all the luck...

For those of you who are fans of the Spot on Facebook, then you know that on Thursday, while your erstwhile blogger was stuck at home yelling at BYU and Butler for ruining an otherwise pretty good day, my little sister (and her husband) got to enjoy the first round action taking place over in San Jose.

Luckily for the Spot, she was kind enough to take some pictures to share, including pics of the uber-exciting Murray State/Vanderbilt game and the Washington/Marquette, here ya go, proof that my lil' sis does know the way to San Jose! (and yes Spot fans...she'll be there today taking in all the Second Round action!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

There's a marathon in...Modesto!?!

Here it is Sports Spot fans, proof that the Spot will cover more than just basketball!

This one is for all the runners out there, as this Sunday marks the inaugural Modesto Marathon. The Modesto Bee has a pretty good write up on the marathon in today's paper also.

It looks to be pretty good event, brining some world-class athletes here to the valley, as the marathon will also serve as an official qualifier for the 2011 Boston Marathon. Official race time starts at 7am with the start and finish lines both being on M St. in Downtown Modesto.

The Spot will be there bright and early to snap some pictures of the race start (and grab a skinny vanilla latte from the nearby Starbucks), so if you see the Spot, feel free to say stop and say hi! (For those crazy enough to be out and about that early on a Sunday Morning!)

We're taking it to Facebook....

Yep, thats right...the Valley Sports Spot is now on Facebook too! So if you a Facebook freak like the Spot is (ok, so the Spot just finds the Facebook rather amusing and sometimes informative) then stop by and become a can see who else is a fan of the spot to!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pacific to play on the road for CIT Quarterfinals

Well...looks like the Pacific Tigers will once again go on the road for the quarterfinals of the post-season tournament, where they'll take on the University of Northern Colorado on Monday in Greely, Colorado (seriously, who's ever heard of Greely?!?).

Among Northern Colorado's more impressive wins this year are their opening round CIT win over the University of Portland and win's over the University of Hawaii, TCU, the Air Force Academy and Colorado State. Monday definitely won't be a cakewalk for Pacific.

Whats for lunch?!?

Well, if your like me, when 1:30pm rolls around today, you'll be thinking two things: a) Can UTEP upset Butler in the 5-12 game, and b) whats for lunch! Well, lucky for us, the Sports Spot's resident chef and cookbook co-author, Claudia Pruett, has the answer right out of her cookbook: "Cooking Dinner" (shamless plug, it's available at your local Barnes & Noble and online at
Tri-tip Panino
4 dutch crunch or sourdough rolls
1 lb tri-tip, cut across the grain into approx 1/4-inch thick slices
2 zucchini squash, rinsed and cut length wise into 1/8-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil (I'm a big fan of Bogetti Olive Oil myself!)
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 -inch slices
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 slices of provolone or pepperjack cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

prepare a hot grill. Generously sprinkle the slices of tri-tip with salt and pepper on both sides and grill for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

Repeat with the zucchini and grill 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to plate also.

While your doing that, heat the olive oil in large non-stick skillet, over low to med. heat. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and add grilled zucchini to the pan. Stir to coat.

Now slap it all on the bread rolls and go to town! Enjoy, and thanks Claudia!!

Pacific Moves on in CIT Tourney

Making a 2nd straight apperance in the Post-Season Tourney, the Pacific Tigers (disclaimer, also my alma mater!) went on the road and beat WCC School Loyola Marymount University 86-76 to advance to the quarterfinals of the CIT. Forward Sam Willard led the way with 23 points and 17 rebounds, to lead 5 Tigers in double figures, including Manteca's own Michael Nunally with 12 points, Merced native Allen Huddleston with 11 points (told you this blog is all about the valley!).

The Tigers will next face the University of Northern Colorado this monday, with the host school still to be announced.

Here is the Stockton Record's story on the game, as well as the official take from

Our Final Four Pics

Now whats a sports blog in March without the requisite final four, for your viewing pleasure...its the Valley Sports Spot's final four pics....

Kansas over Gonzaga
Kentucky over Duke

Kentucky over Kansas

Like what you see?....think the sports spot has no idea what it's talking about? Let us know!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Follow us on Twitter!

Need your info up to the minute? Then follow us on twitter: @valleysportspot

Hi and welcome!

Sometimes in life, you have to take just come up with a wild idea during lunch at your local Chipotle and run with it! Well, for me, here it is! The Valley Sports Spot, your one stop spot for everything sports related here in the Central Valley!

In the weeks and months to come, we hope to add fellow bloggers to the Sports Spot, along with run-downs of all things sports related from Sacramento to Bakersfield and in between (given the fact that I work in Stockton and live near Modesto, it will be mostly the inbetween part to start!). We'll also include special guest interviews, recipies to get your grubb on (because whats watching sports without the food to enjoy it with) and a variety of other things to numerous to mention right now (probably because I'm not technologically advanced enough yet to figure them out!)

In the meanwhile, thanks for stopping by, and enjoy one of the greatest weekends of the year...the first weekend of March Madness!