SAN FRANCISCO -- Zero.
That's how many teams from the West are left in the NCAA Tournament.
Folks out here get indignant about the way West Coast basketball is dismissed from the national conversation, and the postseason usually provides some vindication.
Not this time. For the second time in the history of the NCAA Tournament, and the first time since 1985, not a single team west of the Rockies is among the Sweet 16.
Each of the past seven years, at least two West teams were among the final 16, and last year there were three, despite claims that West Coast basketball was sinking slowly into the Pacific Ocean.
This year, only three of the 12 West teams in the tournament even made it to the round of 32.
More observations from the weekend:
-- Ohio point guard D.J. Cooper, the star of this year's surprise team from Athens, Ohio, was recruited by the high-profile schools but not in a way that appealed to him. He said Baylor offered him a scholarship out of high school in Chicago only after its attempts to land point guard John Wall failed. He didn't want to be someone's backup plan, so he went to Ohio.
When he scored 23 points in a 2010 NCAA Tournament upset of Georgetown as a 145-pound freshman, Cooper claims that about a dozen big-name schools called to see if he wanted to transfer, which, if true, is a violation of NCAA rules.
In his four NCAA Tournament games, the 5-11 Cooper is averaging 19.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
By the way, the 13th-seeded Bobcats, who beat Michigan and South Florida to reach the Sweet 16, finished third in their division of the Mid-American Conference in the regular season, behind Akron and Buffalo.
-- Even though at least three of Kendall Marshall's North Carolina teammates are considered better pro prospects, and even though Marshall is averaging just 7.9 points, people who claim to know basketball insist that he is the most indispensable player on his talent-laden team, as evidenced by the Tar Heels' improvement when he became the starting point guard as a freshman midway through last season.
It's uncertain whether Marshall, who broke a bone in his wrist Sunday, will be able to play against Ohio. But if Stilman White becomes UNC's point guard, is it possible the Tar Heels, who have six other players projected as possible NBA lottery picks this year or next, will fall apart against Ohio, which has no players expected to be drafted?
The Bobcats would have a critical advantage at point guard, with Cooper handling that role for Ohio.
-- The fact that Gonzaga nearly took out No. 2 seed Ohio State with a team that had just one American in the starting lineup (Kevin Pangos and Robert Sacre are from Canada, Elias Harris from Germany and Guy Landry Edy from the Ivory Coast) reminded us of the influence of Canadian players in the NCAA Tournament.
The top Canadians still alive in the NCAA Tournament:
Brady Heslip, Baylor (Burlington, Ontario) -- His nine three-pointers and 27 points helped Baylor beat Colorado, and he is 14-for-22 on threes in the tournament, averaging 22 points.
Kris Joseph, Syracuse (Montreal) -- The Orange's leading scorer is averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in the postseason, but is shooting just 5-for-17.
Junior Cadougan, Marquette (Toronto) -- The starting guard is averaging 6.5 points, 3.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds.
Kyle Wiltjer, Kentucky -- Canadian American with dual citizenship gets meaningful minutes as a freshman.
Alex Johnson, North Carolina State (Toronto) -- He played 33 minutes in the Wolfpack's two postseason victories but has yet to score.