Checking in on the… Pac-10

Posted by rtmsf on February 12th, 2009

Michael Hurley is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 Conference. 

My checking in on the Pac-10 this week is a breakdown of each teams’ chances at postseason.

Locks

UCLA

Overall: 19-4  Conference: 8-2
Home: 13-1  Road: 4-2  Neutral: 2-1
Last 10: 8-2
Good Wins: at USC, Arizona, California, USC
Bad Losses: Michigan (neutral),

The Bruins have really picked it up under Ben Howland and won 15 of their last 17.  This is the team that was ranked four in the country in the preseason. Darren Collison is leading this tear, while freshman Jrue Holiday scored in double figures three straight games  for the first time this season before facing Notre Dame. They have held home court with only Arizona State beating them at the Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins are in the driver’s seat in the Pac-10 the rest of the way. They have won their last four games by an average of over 22 points a game. Out of the four losses Michigan is the only inexcusable one, at Texas, at Washington, and even at home against Arizona State are not big deals.  At this point they are just fighting for seeding, right now I would have them at a three seed.

Washington

Overall: 17-6 Conference: 8-3
Home: 12-2 Road: 5-3 Neutral: 0-1
Last 10: 7-3
Good Wins:  USC, UCLA, at Arizona State
Bad Losses: at Portland

Only one loss out of first place is not a bad situation for the Huskies. They have held home court well in the Pac-10 going 3-1, with the only loss a triple overtime game against California. They have managed to go 5-2 on the road in the Pac-10 so far.  The early season losses to Florida and Kansas will hurt them, but only when it comes to seeding. Isaiah Thomas is going to be a force for years to come. Right now I would put them at a six seed.

In Good Standing

Arizona State

Overall: 18-5  Conference: 7-4
Home: 9-2  Away: 6-2  Neutral: 3-1
Last 10: 6-4
Good Wins: BYU (neutral), at UCLA, at Arizona,
Bad Losses: Baylor (neutral), Washington State

The Sun Devils looked like the best team in the Pac-10 coming off the non-conference schedule. They had won 11 out of 12 and James Harden looked like the Player of the Year.  Since then they have cooled off a bit, but are still a force to be reckoned with. Harden is still a first or second team All-American. Arizona State is still in the tournament. They are the only team that beat UCLA in the Pavilion this year, which in itself is something to say about a squad.  Even though they are a game behind Washington in the conference I give them a higher seeding at five.

California

Overall: 18-6  Conference: 7-4
Home: 14-1  Road: 4-4  Neutral: 0-1
Last 10: 6-4
Good Wins: Away: at Utah, at Washington Home: Washington, Arizona State, Arizona
Bad Losses: Oregon State, at Stanford

California has put themselves in a good position, but still need to make some noise.  The Utah win was their best win out of conference.  If they could have won at Missouri or against Florida State in Las Vegas I think this team would have no worries. The win against Washington last week was a big one coming off the trip to Southern California. They are in good standing and are probably a lock if they win their next three, but their still is not a lot of room for error. I have them at an eight seed.

Work Left to Do

USC

Overall: 15-7  Conference: 6-4
Home: 13-1  Road: 2-5  Neutral: 0-1
Last 10: 6-4
Good Wins: Home: Arizona State, Arizona, California
Bad Losses: at Oregon State, at Seton Hall

USC is a team all year I expected to be better than they are. They have been up and down.  They are not a good road team (2-5) with the only wins coming against the worst two teams in the conference. The loss at Seton Hall hurts a lot because their best out of conference win was against a bad ACC team, Georgia Tech.  They have managed to play great at home though, (UCLA the only loss) so if they win out their home games and steal two of the four remaining roads they would be tough to keep out of the tournament.  Right now I have them as one of the first teams looking in from the outside.

Arizona

Overall: 16-8 Conference: 6-5
Home: 14-2 Road: 2-6
Last 10: 7-3
Good Wins: Home: Washington, Kansas, Gonzaga
Bad Losses: UAB, at Texas A&M, at UNLV, at Stanford

Arizona is just as bad as USC on the road.  They have more bad losses – UAB, Texas A&M, UNLV, Stanford.  I still think they are a better team than USC. They seem to have finally put it together and have won seven out of the last ten and five straight. Life was breathed into this team the minute Chase Budinger’s face was crushed by the shoe.  Since then they have been putting up a solid fight.  I like them more than USC because of the recent success, better non-conference wins (Kansas and Gonzaga) and they have a win against the top-two in the Pac-10, Washington. I have them as one of the last teams in the tournament at a 9 seed.

NIT Bound

Stanford

Overall: 15-7  Conference: 4-7
Home: 14-1  Road: 4-4
Last 10: 4-6
Good Wins: Arizona, California
Bad Losses: at Washington State, Oregon State

Stanford was undefeated coming into Pac-10 play. The critics said they had played no one though.  The critics were right, their easy scheduling shows everyone was a little too hyped up about Johnny Dawkins’ squad.  They are 4-7 in the Pac-10 with only two impressive wins over Arizona and California, both at home. They seem destined for the NIT and will finish the regular season with no more than 18 wins.

Wait Till Next Year

Washington State

Overall: 12-11  Conference: 4-7
Home: 6-6  Road: 4-4  Neutral 2-1
Last 10: 4-6
Good Wins: at Arizona State
Bad Losses: Baylor, at Stanford

Washington State has made little noise in the Pac-10 and even less out of conference.  Their only decent win was at Mississippi State, the rest came against the likes of Idaho, Idaho State, Montana State, Sacramento State, Mississippi Valley State, Canisius, and Farleigh Dickinson. They have an impressive freshman in Klay Thompson that they can build on, but they will have to wait till next year to do it, it will be tough to just finish at .500.

Oregon State

Overall: 10-12  Conference: 4-7
Home: 7-7  Road 3-5
Last 10: 4-6
Good Wins: at California, USC
Bad Losses: at Howard, at Nevada, Washington State, Yale, Montana State

Oregon State’s 4-7 conference record is great to see if you have been following them the last two years. Last year they didn’t win one conference game. Craig Robinson has done a great job with this team. Calvin Haynes looks like he is a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully this team can keep improving, but they will have to wait for next year to prove themselves in the postseason.

Futility

Oregon

Overall: 6-17  Conference: 0-11
Home: 4-10  Road: 2-6  Neutral: 0-1
Last 10: 0-10
Good Wins: Kansas State
Bad Losses: Too many to list

Oregon is chasing a record no one wants.  They have a chance to follow Oregon State’s squad from last year in futility. With a goose egg in the Pac-10 wins column they need to upset somebody before the season finishes out. With only three games remaining at home that may be tough.

Games to watch tonight

  • 2/12 USC at Arizona- With both teams fighting for a spot in the dance this game will go a long way to deciding it. USC needs an impressive road victory and Arizona cannot get swept by USC and expect to jump then when Selection Sunday comes around.
  • 2/12 UCLA at Arizona State- After Arizona State’s victory in the Pauley, UCLA is out for revenge. If the Sun Devils win they have their ticket punched, if not they still have some business to take care of at home against USC and Arizona. The Sun Devils are going to make it, but a sweep of UCLA would go a long way into seeding.
rtmsf (3742 Posts)


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One Response to “Checking in on the… Pac-10”

  1. There have been some crazy games.

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