Pac-12 Morning Five: 11.23.11 EditionPosted by AMurawa on November 23rd, 2011
- Another night, another underwhelming set of outcomes around the conference – and that’s me being generous. Let’s start things out in Kansas City, where California got absolutely drilled by Missouri in the championship game of the CBE Classic, losing by 39 points in a game that was equally mismatched in both halves. Not only could the Golden Bears not get anything going offensively, they had no chance of stopping the Tigers on the other end of the court. Mizzou held Cal to a 31.6 effective field goal percentage on the game, posting a 68.6 eFG% of their own, partly a result of some easy shots generated by the 21 turnovers the Tigers forced. Not only was Cal senior guard Jorge Gutierrez harassed into four turnovers and 4-11 shooting, but sophomore wing Allen Crabbe was held to just 1-8 from the field, and the Cal frontcourt was wholly incapable of taking advantage of an undersized Mizzou front line. The Cal loss leaves Stanford as the sole remaining undefeated team in the conference, with the Cardinal prepping for some tough matchups in New York in the NIT Season Tip-Off beginning tonight.
- From the middle of the country, let’s head to the middle of the Pacific, where another preseason conference favorite was getting whooped at the hands of another Big 12 school, as UCLA fell by 16 to Kansas in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational. Unlike the Bruins’ first two losses of the year, at least this time out they showed a little bit of fight, coming back from a 20-point deficit to cut the lead to as little as five late, before the Jayhawks woke back up and strode back out to the final margin with ease. Reeves Nelson played 28 minutes, although he is still coming off the bench in the wake of his recent behavioral issues, but showed the good emotion that gets his teammates inspired rather than the negative emotion that helps deflate his teammates. And then there’s sophomore center Joshua Smith who fouled out in 13 minutes of play, scoring one point and grabbing one rebound. That’s an absolute crime for a guy as talented as he is.
- The good news of the night for the conference was USC handling Morgan State at home by three and needing last minutes heroics by Maurice Jones and Aaron Fuller to seal a comeback from a 15-point deficit. It was a surprisingly efficient offensive performance for both teams, as each team shot over 50% from the floor, but the difference was the Trojans forcing Morgan State into 21 turnovers. Junior college transfer Greg Allen, a highly-regarded three-point shooter, scored 14 points for the Trojans, including 3-5 shooting from deep, accounting for his first points at the Division I level. With the limited offensive firepower on this USC team, Allen could be an important piece this season for Kevin O’Neill.
- Oregon travels to Nebraska tonight for a matchup with the Cornhuskers (6:00 PM PST, Big Ten Network), and they’ll do so without freshman guard Jabari Brown, who quit the team this past weekend. Head coach Dana Altman still maintains the door is open for Brown’s return, with no deadline for a final decision from the youngster. In the meantime, however, the Ducks have a replacement for Brown’s minutes just waiting, as Devoe Joseph, a transfer from Minnesota, regains his eligibility on December 10. The irony that they’ll be replacing a guy who quit on his team in the middle of a season with another guy who quit on his team in the middle of the season isn’t lost on anybody. There was good news for Oregon, however, as X-rays on the injured right ankle of 6’11” center Tony Woods proved negative, and while Woods’ status for the Wednesday night game is still unknown, he at least is well enough to make the trip to Lincoln.
- In the wake of Washington’s first loss of the season to Saint Louis on Sunday, head coach Lorenzo Romar plans to clamp down a little on the freedom he gives his players on the offensive end. After the Huskies struggled executing their halfcourt offense, Romar plans to use that game as a learning experience, saying that “offensively now guys probably won’t have get as much freedom… to take chances and experiment.” It’s a fine line for Romar, as his team’s offensive strengths are in an open court, up-tempo system, but at the same time, the Huskies need to make sure they are taking good shots, something that was obviously not the case at times on Sunday. On the injury front, junior wing C.J. Wilcox, who suffered a concussion during the loss on Sunday, did not practice with the team on Tuesday and remains a question mark for Friday night against Houston Baptist.