Checking in on the… Pac-10

Posted by nvr1983 on February 26th, 2009

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

News & Notes

  • Lute Olson compiled a 43-6 record against Arizona State. Since he took a leave of absence last year, Arizona is 0-4 against the Sun Devils.
  • Against ASU, Jordan Hill, Chase Budinger, and Nic Wise all logged 40 minutes. For the year the three are each averaging over 35 minutes a game. They are the only team in the Pac-10 with three players averaging over 35 minutes a game. Come Pac-10 tournament time these three horses have to be tiring.
  • Oregon State swept the season series against Cal for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
  • Jerome Randle has 59 three-pointers this season putting him 9 shy of the school season record 68 set by Ryan Drew in 1990. With four games left and Randle averaging over two a game he stands a fighting chance at overtaking Drew.
  • Washington State’s win at UCLA last week was only their second win in their 53 games at Pauley Pavilion.
  • The battle for coach of the year in the Pac-10 has four solid candidates. With the jobs Mike Montgomery, Russ Pennell, Craig Robinson, and Lorenzo Romar have done, there is an excess of candidates to choose from.
  • Pennell is the front-runner right now in my mind. He turned this Arizona team around and has them at 8-6 in the Pac-10 and 18-9 overall. He was the second choice for interim coach in late October. Last year he did color commentary for Arizona State radio network.
  • Jon Brockman is the only mid-season candidate for the Naismith trophy from the Pac-10.

Player of the week: Taylor Rochestie
Rochestie scored 24.5 points a game for Washington State this week. Rochestie also averaged five rebounds and four assists a game. Rochestie scored 33 points in WSU’s upset of UCLA. He shot 5-for-7 from three-point range and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw stripe.

Honorable Mention: Darren Collison and Rihards Kuksiks
Collison scored 18.5 points and averaged 6.5 assists for UCLA this past week. Collison went a perfect 7-for-7 from the line in the two games. Kuksiks scored 17 points in Arizona State’s win this week. Kuksiks scored 15 of those on five three-pointers.

Team of the week: Arizona State
The Sun Devils snapped Arizona’s winning streak putting them half a game behind Washington for first place in the Pac-10. It sets up a huge match-up this Thursday, the 26th, between Arizona State and Washington.

Game of the week
Arizona State ended Arizona’s long winning streak with a victory at home over the Wildcats. It was the first sellout at Arizona State this year. The teams did not disappoint as Arizona State took a huge lead before a fervent rally by the Wildcats. The last four minutes were back and forth and Arizona had a couple chances at the end, but came up short. Arizona State now sits half a game back in the Pac-10 standings.

Best game(s) of the upcoming week
02/26 Arizona State vs. Washington– Only half a game separates the top two teams in the Pac-10. This game will be a big decider for the regular season championship. It is the first of Washington’s three game homestand. The following two are against Arizona and Washington State. Arizona State plays another on the road against Washington State, before ending at home against Stanford and California.

Team Rankings
1. Washington (20-7, 11-4)
Last week: 02/19 L 85-76 at UCLA, 02/21 W 60-51 at USC
Next week: 02/26 at home vs. Arizona State, 02/28 at home vs. Arizona

Washington had a chance to put the separation needed between them and UCLA for the Pac-10 crown, but lost a tough one at the Pauley Pavilion. Justin Dentmon scored 22 points for the Huskies and Jon Brockman tallied 16 points and 14 rebounds. Their efforts were not enough. They allowed UCLA to hit eight three-pointers including several big ones in the second half. Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter each added 14 points. In the Huskies’ second game of the week they rebounded with a victory at USC. Pondexter led the way with a season-high 22 points for Washington. He tallied eight of those in the last six minutes. It was a game in which they shot under 38 percent from the field and hit only one three-pointer. Their defense came up big, and they out-rebounded the Trojans 37-28. Brockman finished with a team-high 14 rebounds.

2. Arizona State (21-5, 10-4)
Last week: 02/22 W 70-68 over Arizona at home
Next week: 02/26 at Washington, 02/28 at Washington State

The victory over the hottest team in the Pac-10, Arizona, was a big one for the Sun Devils. It was their fourth straight victory over the Wildcats. The Sun Devils blew a 17-point second half lead, but Rihards Kuksiks came up big hitting a couple of three-pointers late to help Arizona State win their fifth straight game. Jeff Pendergraph had 16 points, including the final two free throws providing the margin of victory. Pendergraph also pulled down 12 rebounds. James Harden led ASU with 18 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.

3. Arizona (18-9, 8-6)
Last week: 02/22 L 70-68 at Arizona State
Next week: 02/26 at Washington State, 02/28 at Washington

In the Wildcats only game of the week, their seven-game winning streak came to an end against state rival ASU. Arizona, who was down by as many as seventeen points in the second half, took the lead on Jamelle Horne’s three-pointer with four minutes left in the game. The game then went back and forth for the final four minutes. Jordan Hill scored on an offensive rebound with 55 seconds left to tie the game. After a couple free throws put the Wildcats down by two again, Hill missed a shot in the lane. There was a lot of contact on the shot, but no call. Arizona had one last chance, but lost the ball at mid-court with no time left. Nic Wise led the Wildcats with 17 points and seven assists. Hill and Kyle Fogg each had 14 points. Chase Budinger added 13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. The loss does little to solidify Arizona’s position in the tournament, they are still on the bubble.

4. UCLA (20-7, 9-5)
Last week: 02/19 W 85-76 over Washington at home, 02/21 L 82-81 at home to WSU
Next week: 02/26 at Stanford, 02/28 at California

The Bruins won the first game of the week against Pac-10 leader Washington. Josh Shipp scored 20 points for UCLA in the win as they closed in to within half a game of Washington. Darren Collison scored 17 points, Nikola Gragovic 15, and Alfred Aboya 13. The win snapped the Bruins two-game losing streak. In the very next game UCLA’s hopes of the Pac-10 regular season championship fell back to slim. Washington State came in and won at Pauley Pavilion dealing UCLA only their second loss there this year. UCLA was behind by as many as eight points with six minutes to go, but had one final push in them. Collison scored 20 points and had eight assists, but missed a shot in the lane and a three-pointer in the last minute. UCLA’s last chance was a half court shot by Shipp that was blocked.

5. Oregon State (13-13, 7-8)
Last week: 02/19 W 66-54 over Stanford at home, 02/21 W 65-54 over Cal at home
Next week: 03/01 at Oregon

Oregon State won both contests at home this past week, beating Stanford and California. Against Stanford Oregon State led wire-to-wire, Roeland Schaftenaar scored 26 points to lead the Beavers. Calvin Haynes scored 17 for the Beavers. Oregon State’s lead ballooned to as many as 21 points before Stanford closed it to five with just under two minutes to go. In the game against Cal, Calvin Haynes had another big game with 19 points. Lathen Wallace added 12 points in 22 minutes off the bench.

6. California (20-7, 9-5)
Last week: 02/19 W 78-60 at Oregon, 02/21 L 65-54 at Oregon State
Next week: 02/26 at home vs. USC, 02/28 at home vs. UCLA

California won their first game of the week at Oregon. Sophomore Harper Kamp, who had only scored in double-digits in four games prior, scored a career-high 18 points. Three other Golden Bears finished in double-digits, Jerome Randle with 17, Patrick Christopher with 16, and Jamal Boykin, who had 11. Boykin also registered 14 rebounds. In the second game, at Oregon State, California’s NCAA tournament hopes took a hit with a loss. Cal held a lead as large as 12 points early in the second half, but Oregon State took the lead with just over seven minutes remaining and never relinquished it. California shot 3-for-20 from three-point range. Randle was held to a season low three points, only the second game this year he failed to hit double digits. Theo Robertson finished with 15 points and Jamal Boykin 11 points.

7. USC (16-10, 7-7)
Last week: 02/19 W 61-51 over WSU at home, 02//21 L 60-51 to Washington at home
Next week: 02/26 at California, 02/28 at Stanford

USC started off the week right with a win against Washington State at home. Dwight Lewis led all scorers with 17 points and Taj Gibson added 16 points and eight rebounds. USC held Washington State to thirty-six percent from the field and 2-for-18 from three-point range. In the second game of the week USC dropped a tough one to Washington. USC’s leading scorers were Daniel Hackett and Lewis each scoring 11. The loss was dropped USC back to 7-7 in the conference and hurt their chances for an at-large bid.

8. Washington State (14-13, 6-9)
Last week: 02/19 L 61-51 at USC, 02/21 W 82-81 at UCLA
Next week: 02/26 at home vs. Arizona, 02/28 at home vs. Arizona State

Washington State split their games in Southern California this past week. They lost at USC by ten. Taylor Rochestie scored 16 points to lead the Cougars and Caleb Forrest added 12 points. WSU shot 2-for-18 from the three-point range, including a 2-for-12 shooting performance from Klay Thompson and Rochestie. In the second game of the week Washington State pulled away with a huge upset at Pauley Pavilion. It was the second loss for UCLA at home this year. Rochestie scored a career-high 33 points and had five rebounds and four assists. Thompson added 15 and Aron Baynes scored 13 points.

9. Stanford (15-10, 4-10)
Last week: 02/19 L 66-54 at Oregon State, 02/21 L 68-60 at Oregon
Next week: 02/26 at home vs. UCLA, 02/28 at home vs. USC

Stanford lost both games this past week in the state of Oregon. The Cardinal dropped a game at Oregon State by 12 points. Stanford scored only 17 points in the first half. Jeremy Green scored 19 points for the Cardinal in the second half after he was scoreless in the first. Stanford had a big rally late in the second half behind Green’s 19 points. Green hit three straight three-pointers to trim the deficit to five points. Landry Fields added 17 points for Stanford. Stanford then lost at Oregon to the Ducks. Stanford lost by eight to Oregon. Fields scored 19 and Lawrence Hill added 18, but it was not enough to prevent the Ducks from getting their first Pac-10 win.

10. Oregon (7-20, 1-14)
Last week: 02/19 L 78-60 to Cal at home, 02/21 W 68-60 over Stanford at home
Next week: 03/01 at home vs. Oregon State

Oregon lost their fourteenth straight game against California. Tajuan Porter scored 19 for the Ducks, but could not keep the Ducks from their first twenty-loss season since 1993-94. The next game Oregon ended their losing streak and secured the first Pac-10 win of the year. Michael Dunigan led the way with 14 points. LeKendric Longmire and Joevan Catron each scored in double figures, finishing with 11 and 10 points respectively.

nvr1983 (1398 Posts)

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