Checking in on the… Pac-10Posted by nvr1983 on February 6th, 2009
Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 Conference.
News and Notes
- Arizona State‘s Rihards Kuksiks leads the nation in 3-point percentage, but is only third in the Pac-10. How is that possible? Well NCAA statistical leaders need to make a minimum of 2.5 per game from three-point range to qualify, while Pac-10 needs to make one per game and play in 75 percent of the team’s games. Theo Robertson is shooting 56.2% and Michael Roll is shooting 54.5%, both ahead of Kuksiks’s 46.7%. Either way Kuksiks has had a tough time the past two games going 3-for-20 from behind the arc.
- Ben Howland‘s 13-4 record against California is his best against any team in the Pac-10.
- UCLA’s recent victory over Stanford was UCLA’s largest victory over Stanford at Pauley Pavilion in over 30 years. It was also UCLA’s highest scoring game under Howland. UCLA shot 73% from 3-point range and only 62% from the free throw line. Maybe they should start taking their foul shots from behind the arc.
- California, the best three-point shooting team in the nation at 47%, shot 2-for-16 from three-point range against USC.
- UCLA dominated teams this week. The Bruins went 3-0 with average margin of victory over 21 points.
- Darren Collison, who earlier this year broke the UCLA record for consecutive free-throws with 43, is shooting 94.4% from the line, which leads the nation.
- Craig Robinson has turned it around for Oregon State. The Beavers have four wins in the first half of the Pac-10 schedule for the first time since 2002-03.
- After another week of ups and downs in the Pac-10, there are really only two locks for the tournament at this point: UCLA and Washington. Four others (Arizona, Arizona State, California, and USC) still have work to do.
Now onto the awards. . .
Player of the Week: Justin Dentmon
Dentmon averaged 26.5 points in the Huskies two games this week (including 30 against Arizona State), which is 11 points higher than his season average. He did this by shooting 11-for-19 from three-point range.
In Arizona’s undefeated week, Jordan Hill averaged 17 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. Chase Budinger also had a big week for the Wildcats averaging 22 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists in the two victories. Freshman Klay Thompson, averaged 18 points and 4.5 rebounds per game this week. He scored 28 in Washington State’s victory over the Sun Devils, including shooting 8-for-10 from downtown.
Team of the Week: Arizona
The team had been left for dead and on a Pac-10 three-game losing streak before managing to beat Pac-10 leader Washington. Yes they were at home, but with Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill both playing like monsters at the same time, they look scary good. They have always had the talent, they just need to put it together to make a run at it. If Nic Wise keeps playing like he did against Washington they will be tough to stop.
Game of the Week
USC’s one point win at home over Stanford was the best game of the past week. This one went down to the buzzer. Lawrence Hill had a chance at the buzzer from baseline, but his shot was in-and-out. Taj Gibson returned from the flu, to drop 20 points on the Cardinal.
Best game of the upcoming week
02/07, Notre Dame at UCLA– UCLA is still looking for a marquee win out of conference and this would have looked a lot better at the beginning of the season. Notre Dame has been slipping as of late. This would still help the Bruins come seeding time, especially if Notre Dame wins at Cincinnati and starts playing like they were at the beginning of the season.
1. UCLA (18-4, 8-2)
Last week: 01/29 W 81-66 over Cal at home, 01/31 W 97-63 over Stanford at home, 02/04 W 76-60 over USC at home
Next week: 02/07 at home vs. Notre Dame
After a tough loss at Washington, UCLA bounced back this week with three victories at home at the Pauley Pavilion. Darren Collison scored 18 points for the Bruins who, coupled with Washington’s loss, moved back into a first place tie in the Pac-10. The Bruins got to the line 23 times and hit a season best 91 percent. They put four other players in double figures, Jrue Holiday with 13 points, Josh Shipp with 11, Alfred Aboya with 10, and Michael Roll with 10. A three-point lead a minute into the second half for UCLA ballooned to as much as 19 points. The Bruins also set a season high with 16 steals with 12 in the first half. In their second game of the week the Bruins put a thorough beating on the Cardinal. In the 36-point victory, the Bruins placed the same five scorers in double-figures again. Collison, Aboya, and Holiday all finished with 15 points. Roll added 12 and Shipp 11. UCLA shot 63% from the field and 73% from behind the arc. In the final victory of the week UCLA stomped out cross-town rival USC. The Bruins had a 23-point lead at halftime en route to a 16-point victory. Shipp finished with 19 including 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Aboya had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Holiday filled up the stat sheet with 13 points, seven assists, and five rebounds. Nikola Dragovic added 12 points all on three-pointers.
2. Washington (16-5, 7-2)
Last week: 01/29 L 106-97 at Arizona, 01/31 W 84-71 at Arizona State
Next week: 02/05 at California, 02/08 at Stanford
Washington’s winning streak was snapped in Arizona, just a game earlier than anybody envisioned. Despite Jon Brockman’s 27 points and 16 rebounds Washington came up short losing their second Pac-10 game. Justin Dentmon added 23 points and Isaiah Thomas 15, but it was not enough. At one point the Huskies were down by 16 points in the second half. They managed to cut it to three with just over two minutes left. Thomas’ 15 points were on 7-for-21 shooting including 0-for-7 from downtown. In the Huskies second game in the state of Arizona they managed to come away with a victory. Led by Dentmon’s 30 points and Thomas’ 25, the Sun Devils snagged a 13-point victory. They led by 19 points at two separate times in the second half, but allowed ASU back into the game. ASU cut it to six with two minutes left. Then the Huskies went on a 10-3 run to finish the game. Their strategy of double-teaming James Harden worked well holding him to only five points at halftime.
3. Arizona (14-8, 4-5)
Last week: 01/29 W 106-97 over Washington at home, 01/31 W 66-56 over Washington State at home
Next week: 02/05 at Oregon State, 02/07 at Oregon
Arizona climbed back into the Pac-10 race after losing their previous three conference games. The Wildcats victory over the number one team in the Pac-10, Washington, was huge for them. The Wildcats shot 41-for-51 from the foul line including 34-for-40 in the first half. Nic Wise led the way with 14-for-14 from the stripe finishing with a career-high 29 points. Chase Budinger finished with 25 points, his highest scoring game since the second game of the year. Jordan Hill scored 18 points and had 9 rebounds. Against Washington State, Budinger scored 19 points in the 10-point victory. Budinger only hit 1 of his first 12 shots, but hit 4 of his last 5 to finish the game. Budinger also had 11 rebounds and seven assists. Hill added 16 points and 16 rebounds.
4. USC (15-7, 6-4)
Last week: 01/29 W 70-69 over Stanford at home, 01/31 W 73-62 over Cal at home, 02/04 L 76-60 at UCLA
Next week: Off
USC is bank in the hunt for the Pac-10 crown, now sitting alone in third place at 6-4. In the first game of the week they squeaked one out over Stanford. Taj Gibson scored 20 points in the one-point victory. Daniel Hackett and Leonard Washington added 12 points each. In the second game DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points, after not breaking double digits the last two games. Gibson had another big game scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. USC’s three-game winning streak was snapped by UCLA. Gibson was shut down scoring only two points and grabbing four rebounds. Dwight Lewis scored 20 points and DeRozan 15, but it was not enough for the Trojans.
5. Arizona State (16-5, 5-4)
Last week: 01/29 L 65-55 to WSU at home, 01/31 L 84-71 to Washington at home
Next week: 02/05 at Oregon, 02/07 at Oregon State
Arizona State had a disappointing week as they lost ground in the conference race going winless in both games. The Sun Devils took on both squads from Washington at home and came away empty. James Harden led the way against Washington State scoring 26 points, almost half the Sun Devils total. Harden only shot 8-for-20 and 8-for-13 from the stripe. Rihards Kuksiks had his second straight awful shooting game going 2-for-10 from three-point range. Arizona State then took on Washington in what was thought to be a game between top tier teams, but both team were coming off a loss. Harden had a tough game scoring only 15 points with 10 coming after halftime. He faced aggressive double-teams throughout the game. Jeff Pendergraph tried picking up the slack scoring 21 points and corralling 14 rebounds, but it was not enough as ASU lost their second straight game.
6. California (16-6, 5-4)
Last week: 01/29 L 81-66 at UCLA, 01/31 L 73-62 at USC
Next week: 02/05 at home vs. Washington, 02/07 at home vs. WSU
The Golden Bears had a frustrating week in Southern California. They dropped both contests to UCLA and USC. Their conference championship hopes took a hit, they are now a full two games behind UCLA and Washington. Theo Robertson scored 19 points and Jerome Randle added 11, but the team got out-rebounded by eleven, allowed UCLA to shoot 55 percent, and turned the ball over 21 times. Cal led the second game as late as nine minutes left in the second half, but they couldn’t hold it. Jamal Boykin finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Randle finished with 12 points while shooting 2-for-8 from downtown.
7. Oregon State (10-10, 4-5)
Last week: 01/31 W 57-54 over Oregon at home
Next week: 02/05 at home vs. Arizona, 02/07 at home vs. Arizona State
Oregon State was victorious in the “Civil War”, pitting Oregon State against Oregon. Calvin Haynes scored 15 points and Omari Johnson added 14 points. The Beavers were down by as many as 12 points in the first half and five at halftime. They finally took the lead for good on a Haynes three-pointer with thirteen minutes remaining.
8. Washington State (12-9, 4-5)
Last week: 01/29 W 65-55 at Arizona State, 01/31 L 66-56 at Arizona
Next week: 02/05 at Stanford, 02/07 at California
Washington State was able to steal a game from the Sun Devils to start the week, but was not as successful against the Wildcats. Freshman Klay Thompson scored a career-high 28 points on 8-for-10 shooting from 3-point range. Aaron Baynes added 22 points and had nine rebounds. The two players combined for 77 percent of the Cougars’ points. Against Arizona, Thompson did not have the hot hand anymore shooting 2-for-7 from downtown. Taylor Rochestie led the way with 22 points and Baynes finished with 12. WSU had a five-point lead at halftime, but gave up 43 second half points.
9. Stanford (13-6, 3-6)
Last week: 01/29 L 70-69 at USC, 01/31 L 97-63 at UCLA
Next week: 02/05 at home vs. WSU, 02/08 at home vs. Washington
Stanford fell further down the Pac-10 totem pole with a winless week on the road. They only loss by one at USC, but Lawrence Hill’s jumper at the buzzer went in-and-out. Hill finished with 19 points and eight rebounds and Landry Fields added 18 points. Stanford lost the lead with nine minutes left in the second half and was never able to get it back despite closing within one multiple times. The Cardinal then got handed a 34-point loss at the hands of UCLA. Stanford only put one player in double-digits, Anthony Goods, who finished with 15 points.
10. Oregon (6-15, 0-9)
Last week: 01/31 L 57-54 at Oregon State,
Next week: 02/05 at home vs. Arizona State
In Oregon’s only game of the week they lost by three at Oregon State. Tajuan Porter finished with 22 points for the Ducks. Oregon held a five-point lead at halftime, but lost it for good with thirteen minutes left in the second half. Matt Humphrey had a three-point heave from just inside halfcourt with no time left.