Pac-12 ATB: Weekend in Review

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 12th, 2011



The Lede. 
Picked by almost all preseason pundits as a lock to make the NCAA Tournament, Washington finds itself at .500 through eight games. There was the embarrassing double-figure loss at Saint Louis, an overtime heartbreaker at Nevada, and some questionable coaching at the end of the Jimmy V Classic against Marquette. Now the Huskies are on the wrong side of the bubble and slipping fast. In order for the Dawgs to get back into the NCAA picture, blowout victories in their final three nonconference games (UC Santa Barbara, South Dakota State, and Cal State Northridge) are vital, and 12 or 13 wins in the Pac-12 will also be necessary.

Washington's Run Against Duke Came a Bit Too Late Saturday

For the sake of comparison, and because I have a degree in Bracketology, here’s a look at Washington’s current résumé compared to the three other teams that I have on the wrong side of the bubble:

Washington

  • Record: 4-4
  • RPI: 78
  • SOS: 28
  • Quality Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: @ Nevada

Oklahoma State

  • Record: 6-3
  • RPI: 86
  • SOS: 80
  • Quality Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: N/A

Nebraska

  • Record: 6-3
  • RPI: 97
  • SOS: 105
  • Quality Wins: @ TCU
  • Bad Losses: Wake Forest

Clemson

  • Record: 4-4
  • RPI: 170
  • SOS: 171
  • Good Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: South Carolina

Looking over the résumés, it appears that Washington, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska are all pretty even at this point, while Clemson is a few steps behind. I am big on strength of schedule so if I had to fill one spot with any of those three teams, I would go with Washington. The Cornhuskers do have a nice win at TCU, but a home loss against a terrible Wake Forest team cancels that out. The Cowboys boast a nice record and a mediocre RPI, but with no quality wins and an SOS that is far behind Washington’s, I don’t feel good putting them in the field.


What we have not yet mentioned was the great game that took place on Saturday between Duke and the Huskies. It took Washington 15 minutes into the second half to FINALLY make some baskets, but they grouped that with great defense and some poor Blue Devil shooting to cut a deficit that was as big as 19 in the second half all the way down to three with a minute left. Unfortunately for Washington, Duke eventually found their touch at the line in the final minute, and the only time they would get back within six was on a Terrence Ross three as time expired.

Meanwhile…  It may be just Idaho and Santa Clara, but Washington State will definitely take a pair of wins over two solid mid-majors any day of the week. On Wednesday, the Cougars pulled out the “neighborhood rivalry” victory in Moscow against the Vandals. With the game tied, Reggie Moore hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer to lift the Cougs to a 66-64 win. Going into Cowan Spectrum and getting a win is never easy, especially this season. The other three losses came against a good Long Beach State team, Montana (who beat LBSU), and an underrated Eastern Washington club. UI also has double-digit road wins over Oregon State and Seattle U to add to their résumé.

However, the big question was whether the Cougars could follow that win with a victory over a solid Santa Clara team. The Broncos came into Pullman on Sunday afternoon with a 5-2 record, which included wins over New Mexico and Villanova. They would leave 5-3, and in embarassing fashion. Sparked by a career-high 27 points from junior forward Brock Motum, the Cougars dominated from the jump. Forty minutes and an empty bench later, the Cougars had a 93-55 win. This week was absolutely huge for the Cougs. This is the same team that got swept at the 76 Classic just three weeks ago. If they finish up non-conference play with blowout wins over Western Oregon and Pepperdine and manage a solid record in the Pac-12, a return bid to the NIT is very likely.

While the Cougars are on the rise, can Oregon State be on the downswing? Many think so after the Beavers laid an egg at home against Idaho. The Beavers shot the ball terribly (Jared Cunningham went 0-9 from the field), while Idaho would seemingly hit a three every time the Beavs made a mini-run to cut into the deficit. It should not be lost that the game came just 48 hours after the passing of Fred Thompson, another student-athlete at Oregon State. Group that with taking final exams and the loss becomes more understandable (take Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State in football, for example).

Today.  Just one game is on tap, but it’s a solid one. At 7:00 PM PST Portland State will take on Oregon in an in-state rivalry. This is a tricky game for the Ducks. A win would get them to 7-2 going into a huge game with Virginia on Sunday, but they have to take the Vikings seriously. PSU has the talent to go into Matthew Knight Arena and pull off the upset, and anything can happen in these rivalry games. The key for Oregon will be stopping Viking guard Charles Odum. Odum is averaging 18.2 PPG and is by far the best option for PSU on offense. If the Ducks make him a focal point and hold him under his average, it will be a good night for Oregon.

Connor Pelton (296 Posts)

I'm from Portland. College basketball and football is life.


Share this story

Leave a Reply