Walcoff: Stanford relishing its double success

There are more than 330 universities playing Division I men’s and women’s basketball, but only four schools have both of their teams in the Sweet 16: Stanford, North Carolina, Tennessee and Louisville.

The only time we’ve had dual champs in the same season was UConn in 2004, my alma mater, thank you.

» Speaking of double winners, how about Brook and Robin Lopez? Stanford’s 7-foot twins took turns leading the Cardinal to victories in the first two games of the NCAA Tournament. Right now, they are probably better than half of the centers in the NBA. Back in December, both brothers told me they wanted to stay in school for four years. While no sophomore has ever left the Cardinal to jump to the NBA, the Lopezes, who turn 20 on April 1, are nobody’s fools. They began working with personal trainers and coaches in middle school and were toughened up by those fierce 2-on-2 driveway duels with older brothers Alex, 6-10, and Christopher, 6-8 … they are ready.

» What a treat seeing Stanford sensation Candice Wiggins tear it up in her farewell game at Maples Pavilion on Monday night. The Pac-10 Conference’s all-time leading scorer was blowing kisses to the fans after her school-record-tying 44-point (including 6-of-13 on 3s), 10-rebound, eight-assist performance against UTEP.

Wiggins has Michael Jordan-like game and crowd appeal. Unfortunately, the women’s tourney has few players in her class.

» Stanford’s continuing basketball success could catapult them into the lead for yet another U.S. Sports Academy Director’s Cup. The Cardinal has won the coveted award for athletic excellence in college sports an amazing 13 straight years and counting.

» How about that no-name A’s lineup outscoring the mighty Boston Red Sox 10-7 in splitting their two-game series in Japan?

Best news for the A’s: Often-injured righty Rich Harden throwing six brilliant, pain-free innings. And while some hearty A’s fans found their way to East Bay watering holes at 3 a.m. to watch the games, the Red Sox Nation hit the bars at 6 a.m. (Eastern time) only to learn they couldn’t drink any beer until 8 a.m.

Boston never heard such cheers for the seventh-inning stretch.

Infamous Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman take note: The Tokyo Dome has screens in front of the first row of seats around the entire field. So, while you probably shouldn’t bring your glove to a game, you might want to bring a calculator because pitch speeds are registered in kilometers per hour.

Too bad Barry Zito isn’t still with the A’s — he would finally throw a heater that looks good on the radar gun, clocking in at about 135 kph.

» As the beleaguered Giants return to AT&T Park tonight (an exhibition game with the Seattle Mariners) for the first time in 16 seasons without Barry Bonds, maybe the embattled home run king, unsigned but still eager to stay in the spotlight, should consider a new career. How about auditioning for the lead role in the O.J. Simpson movie “If I Did It.”

Who better to play “The Juice”?

Rich Walcoff is the sports director at KGO Radio (810 AM) and can be heard weekdays between 5-9 a.m. on the “KGO Morning News.” He can also be reached at richwalcoff@abc-sf.com.

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