I was sitting at an establishment near UCLA late Saturday, drinking a brew that tastes like pumpkin and chatting with Ben Howland about the football day that was, about how UCLA and USC had managed to -- as columnist T.J. Simers would subsequently write -- put the loss back in Los Angeles despite being favored by a combined 60 points.
Then out of nowhere, the Bruins basketball coach offered a trivia question.
|Stanford's Brook Lopez has a great chance to jump into the first round. (Getty Images)|
"What's the record for first-round draft picks from a conference in a year?" Howland asked, and I told him I had no idea because, between you and me, I've never been much on trivia, history or the regurgitation of mostly useless facts. I don't have the memory for it. But I promised to do some research upon returning home, and so on Tuesday I called Howland back to relay the news.
"What'd you find out?" he asked.
"The record is eight. Set by the ACC in 1995."
"Well, I think the Pac-10 will equal that this year, at a minimum," Howland said. "I would say there's a good chance we're going to equal eight, and we might get more."
Lots of pros
There has been no shortage of people writing and talking about how the Pac-10 should be the best league in the nation this season, and, honestly, it shouldn't even be close. Some remarkably talented team that on paper seems capable of making the NCAA Tournament is going to finish eighth out of 10 schools, and good luck to the coach who has to explain that to his fan base.
But lost in the praise is the reason.
Everybody knows the Pac-10 will be great, but why?
Because it has great teams.
Yes, but why?