Monday, February 15, 2010
The San Diego State men's basketball team beat a nationally-ranked opponent this weekend. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.
ALAN RAY (Host): The San Diego State men's basketball team beat a nationally-ranked opponent this weekend. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris. Jay, the Aztecs handled UNLV 68-58 on Saturday, how did they manage that?
JAY PARIS (Sports Columnist, North County Times): They leaned on what they do best, and that’s get up and down, run the floor, hit those boards and show off that athleticism they have throughout their line-up. It was an impressive win and a key win going down the stretch here. That now makes three wins in their last five games against top 25 teams and that’s going to come in handy when they start picking the NCAA tournament.
PAMELA DAVIS (Host): SDSU is 18-7 now, how might this help their March Madness hopes?
PARIS: Well, they’re probably too far away to win the conference regular season, but they’re going go to the tournament in Las Vegas in mid-March and the winner of that gets an automatic birth and they’re going to be a handful. I’d keep an eye on them and even if they advance deep into that tournament, they still might be able to sneak into the NCAA’s, but their best shot is going to be winning that tournament in Vegas and don’t sell them short, this is a good ball club.
RAY: If published reports are saying Washington State University athletic director is going to be getting the same job over here at SDSU. Do you know anything about Jim Sterk?
PARIS: Learning more, I know his football team’s gone 3-22 under the coach he’s hired. They were 0-9 last year and the rest of the sports are kinda down up there as well. I just hoping it’s not another … You know, the last time a guy came to San Diego with a lot of fanfare from Washington State it was Ryan Leaf. So, certainly we don’t want to put that on Jim, but just curious how this process went about. It seems like President Weber had his candidate and kind of didn’t take much credence into his selection committee over there, so all reports are Jim’s going to be introduced today and we wish him well and as the school moves on from the Jeff Schemmel scandal and disgrace and all that maybe they found a winner here with Jim.
DAVIS: Let’s turn to baseball now, the San Diego Padres hosted Fan Fest at Petco Park this weekend. Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Thursday. Will Padres fans be rooting for a winning team this season?
PARIS: Possibly. They’re going to be rooting for a team that’s, if nothing else, young and exciting and can run and really show some speed. And maybe players are more built for Petco Park. It seemed there for a while that Padres were in the rut of getting older players who didn’t move very well and that doesn’t play well in Petco Park. But, out at that Fan Fest Saturday, there was an air of optimism. 10,000 people showed up. The price was right: free. So that always helps, but you know the Padres aren’t going to win the World Series this year, but they’re going to possibly make progress and it’s going interesting to see if these young guys can really develop because that’s the template for this organization going forward, being young, developing talent. I can say that the biggest cheer out there at Fan Fest was that beer will be $5 next year at Petco Park.
RAY: Can you handicap the National League West for us at this point?
PARIS: I still think that the Dodgers are the team to beat. They’ve got young, proven talent. The Giants are loaded up on pitching and if you’ve got pitching you’ve always got a chance. Then probably the Diamondbacks and Padres falling it in from there. But the Rockies are right up there too. So, you know, it’s a good division. The division always got kind of downtrodden and wasn’t given much reputation as being much, but there’s some good arms in this division. The Padres are going to make a little noise. They’re going to be fun to watch. It’s that time in an organization where you see if the farm system can develop. See if your young kids are really as good as you’ve heard they are going to be. It’s going to be a fun season, I think.
RAY: That’s North County Times Sports Columnist Jay Paris.