Top Seeds Still Alive at SAP Open
This year’s SAP Open was a bit lacking in star power from the get-go, but the top two seeds—No. 1 Fernando Verdasco and No. 2 Gael Monfils—have managed to advance through the first few days of play. The pair could provide an intriguing finals match at HP Pavilion on Sunday, as Verdasco, the No. 9 player in the world and the tourney’s defending champ, has a smooth style that oozes confidence. Meanwhile, Monfils, ranked 12th in the world, is like an octopus on the court, all long limbs that make every ball seem reachable to the consternation of his opponents across the net.
Sharks Smell Blood on the Road
The San Jose Sharks are playing as well as they have all season—which ain’t saying much—but the timing couldn’t be better. Currently in the midst of a seven-game road trip, its longest of the season, San Jose is only a couple of wins away from being the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, the team’s slow start also puts it only a couples losses away from missing the postseason altogether. If you want to catch a game on TV this week, look for an excuse to get out of work early or hustle over to Happy Hour. Each of the four games preceding the Sharks’ return home next Thursday to face Washington will start at 5 p.m. or earlier.
Stanford Women Keep Racking up Wins
The Stanford women’s basketball team (20-2) is so good, Johnny Dawkins, the men’s coach on The Farm, might want to start recruiting a few players from the other locker room. Tera Vandeveere has her squad poised to win its 50th straight game in Pac 10 play if Stanford can get by visiting Washington on Thursday and Washington State on Saturday. Considering the Cardinal has won 14 games in a row, and the closest victory was by 12 over Connecticut, which owned the longest winning streak in collegiate hoops history at the time, the Huskies and Cougars aren’t expected to offer much resistance. It might be wise to join the bandwagon now; otherwise, feel free to have Ann Killion say I told you so while bemoaning latent sexism in 21st century sports media. What’s that—Killion no longer works for the Merc? Then I guess you’ll have to settle for a Mark Purdy column. So.
Broncos Look to Bust First-Place Saint Mary’s
Kevin Foster has Ray Townsend-like range from the perimeter, which makes the Santa Clara sophomore a must-see when it comes to local college hoops. Foster, averaging 19 points per game, and freshman phenom Evan Roquemore (11 ppg) lead the Broncos against visiting St. Mary’s at 8 p.m. Thursday in a pivotal West Coast Conference matchup, which will be televised on ESPN U. The Gaels (20-4) enter with just one loss in nine conference games, but Santa Clara (15-10) would be just a game out of first with a victory. After stunning Gonzaga earlier this season and another matchup looming Feb. 17, it will be crucial for the Broncos to gain momentum entering the WCC Tournament early next month. Santa Clara will likely need to win the tourney to earn an automatic berth to March Madness.