Pac-10 Tournament PreviewPosted by rtmsf on March 10th, 2010
Andrew Murawa is the RTC correspondent for the Pac-10 Conference.
- California (13-5, 21-9)
- Arizona State (12-6, 22-9)
- Washington (11-7, 21-9)
- Arizona (10-8, 16-14)
- USC (8-10, 16-14)
- Oregon State (8-10, 14-16)
- UCLA (8-10, 13-17)
- Stanford (7-11, 13-17)
- Oregon ( 7-11, 15-15)
- Washington State (6-12, 16-14)
- Player of the Year: Quincy Pondexter, Sr, Washington. Pondexter won the Pac-10 Player of the Week award a record five times this season while averaging 20 points and eight rebounds a game (second and third in the conference, respectively) for the third place Huskies.
- Coach of the Year: Herb Sendek, Arizona State. After losing two starters from last year’s team to the NBA, the Sun Devils were expected to take a big step back in the conference. Instead, Sendek kept his team in the race for the regular season title until the last weekend and put his squad in position to possibly earn an NCAA tournament bid.
- Freshman of the Year: Derrick Williams, Arizona. The freshman from La Mirada High School in Southern California averaged 15.7 point and seven rebounds per game for the Wildcats and connected on 58.8% of his field goal attempts to help coach Sean Miller post a winning record in his first year in Tucson.
- Defensive Player of the Year: Seth Tarver, Oregon State. Tarver led the Pac-10 with 2.3 steals per game and led his Beaver squad in rebounding, all while manning the point in coach Craig Robinson’s zone defense.
All Pac-10 First Team
- G Jerome Randle, Sr, California
- G Nic Wise, Sr, Arizona
- F Quincy Pondexter, Sr, Washington
- F Landry Fields, Sr, Stanford
- F Derrick Williams, Fr, Arizona
All Pac-10 Second Team
- G Isaiah Thomas, So, Washington
- G Patrick Christopher, Sr, California
- G Ty Abbott, Jr, Arizona State
- G Klay Thompson, So, Washington State
- F Nikola Vucevic, So, USC
All Pac-10 Freshman Team
- G Reggie Moore, Washington State
- G Trent Lockett, Arizona State
- F Derrick Williams, Arizona
- F Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
- F Reeves Nelson, UCLA
Pac-10 Tournament Preview
- #8 Oregon vs. #9 Washington State, March 10, 8:10pm, FSN. With USC holding its team out of all postseason play as self-punishment for previous rules violations, there will only be nine teams participating in this year’s tournament, leaving us with just one first round game between these two young squads (each team has just one active scholarship senior) that finished at the bottom of the Pac-10 standings. Both teams have a ton of potential and high hopes for the future, but in all likelihood the winner here goes no further.
- #4 Arizona vs. #5 UCLA, March 11, 12:10pm, FSN. The two traditional powers in the Pac-10 will meet in a first round game with their only hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament an improbable run to the automatic bid. Both programs certainly have brighter days in their futures, but each team has shown that they are capable of beating Cal this season (both schools were 1-1 against Cal during the regular season) and if the stars line up, they could be string a couple wins together and get to the final.
- #1 Cal vs. #8/#9, March 11, 2:40pm, FSN. The Bears have won all four of their matchups this season with the two teams playing in the first round of the tournament, and have enough senior leadership to advance to the semifinal pretty easily against either of their potential opponents.
- #2 Arizona State vs. #7 Stanford, March 11, 6:10pm, FSN. The Sun Devils have done enough down the stretch of the season, having won eight of their last ten, to kick-start their once fleeting at-large hopes, but all of that work will be for naught if they lose their first game in this tournament. There is talk that if ASU and Washington get to the semifinal in the Pac-10, the winner of that game will earn an at-large bid. That of course is still conjecture (given that the bubble is still a work in progress, and neither school has a overwhelmingly good resume), but that should be enough motivation for Sendek’s team to take care of the Cardinal.
- #3 Washington vs. #6 Oregon State, March 11, 8:40pm, FSN. Much like the Sun Devils above, the Huskies, now winners of nine of their last 11, have patched together a stretch of consistent play, and put themselves back in the conversation for an at-large bid. And just like the Sun Devils, a loss in this round of the tournament would end all of that talk. While the Huskies can have trouble with the Beavers’ stingy defense and Defensive Player of the Year, Washington should be able to advance to the much-anticipated semifinal matchup with ASU.
Semifinals – Projected
- #1 Cal vs. #5 UCLA, March 12, 6:18pm, FSN. While the Bruins knocked off Cal in Berkeley earlier in the season, and even gave the Bears fits for a half in Pauley later, Mike Montgomery’s team has shifted into a different gear down the backstretch and should advance to the final.
- #2 Arizona State vs. #3 Washington, March 12, 8:40pm, FSN. If the bracketologists are right, this could be a matchup for a second Pac-10 bid. Neither school has an overly impressive set of non-conference wins (Washington’s home win over Texas A&M is the best, and ASU knocked off fellow bubble team San Diego State), but with a weak bubble and rising win totals and RPI numbers, the winner here would be a deserving member of the NCAA field.
Finals – Projected
- #1 Cal vs. #3 Washington, March 13, 3:10pm, CBS. These are the teams that were projected to compete for the Pac-10 title at the start of the year, and while both have had more than their share of bumps in the road, this would be a very entertaining battle for an automatic bid. With neither team comfortable enough with their records to ensure themselves of a bid, this would be a fight to the finish between two teams with exciting athletes, exciting styles of play and more than a little bit of pressure. My pick? Washington pulls it together long enough to edge Cal.