Talking Points: Regional playoff games don't have buzz

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

The state high school basketball tournaments start Friday and Saturday.

But it doesn't seem like it.

Because to get the true tournament experience, teams must win one more game.

And that's too bad.

The state basketball tournament, with 16 teams converging on a site for four days of hoops, was one of the most enjoyable experiences on the high school sports calendar — an event even grumpy old sportswriters looked forward to.

The regional games, even with the tension of single-elimination, don't come close to creating the buzz of a one-site tournament first-round game.

This is the third year that the WIAA — in the name of money — has used the regional format. We fear it's here to stay.

Eight teams in each bracket will feel like winners this weekend. But with the regional format everybody loses.

2

The Pac-12 men's basketball race is thrilling. Well, if you like games with final scores such as 48-46.

That was the count by which California beat Oregon on Thursday. And the Ducks are still tied for the conference lead.

Yikes.

To be fair, Oregon lost its most dynamic player — freshman Dominic Artis — to injury eight games ago. But Oregon shot only 27.6 percent on Thursday, and that can't be caused by the loss of one player.

Last year, a dreadful Pac-12 got two teams into the NCAA tournament, and Colorado actually managed to win a game. The conference appears to be improved this season, but Thursday's marquee game might suggest otherwise.

Cal won on a last-second shot, yet the game showed again that this is a league of more chills than thrills.

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