Pac-12 Morning Five: 12.22.11 EditionPosted by AMurawa on December 22nd, 2011
- Let’s start things off with a wrap-up of the latest Shabazz Muhammad buzz. Five Star Basketball reported on Wednesday that he had cut his list to six schools: Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UCLA, Arizona and UNLV, in the order in which he mentioned them, for those wishing to come up with yet another clue as to his intentions. USC and Texas A&M were among the schools trimmed off the list. Muhammad confirmed that Sean Miller still had the Wildcats in the running, even with (or maybe because of) the already stacked recruiting class headed to Tucson. But if you ask Nerlens Noel (currently the #2 rated recruit in the 2013 class, according to ESPNU) or Brandon Bibbs, either UCLA or Kentucky are the favorites. There had been a report last week from Jerry Meyer that Muhammad was losing interest in UCLA, however, so as always, this story is a long ways from being decided.
- USC hosts Kansas tonight at the Galen Center, and if recent history is any indication, the Trojans might have a chance. Although the Pac-12 is just 9-37 against ranked teams the last three seasons, USC owns four of those nine wins. And with the Trojans coming off their best offensive performance of the season, and Kansas coming off a loss to Davidson and still working to get point guard Tyshawn Taylor back in the groove after knee surgery, perhaps Kevin O’Neill has his team primed to pull a whopper.
- Arizona State lost on a late three-pointer for the third time in as many games on Wednesday night, when Fresno State’s Kevin Olekaibe hit a go-ahead three with 30 seconds left to send the Sun Devils to their third straight loss. But ASU head coach Herb Sendek wanted to look beyond the play in the final minute, as the team blew a 17-point lead and played “despicable” defense in the second half. Olekaibe scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half and sparked a 23-4 Bulldog run that put FSU up, prior to ASU responding and taking the lead back. After a Kyle Cain three-point play put the Sun Devils back up, Olekaibe drove the final nail in the ASU coffin, sending them to 4-8 on the year.
- More good news out of Salt Lake City on Wednesday, as junior guard Glen Dean, just one week removed from brain surgery to repair a ruptured blood vessel, was able to watch Utah practice. Head coach Larry Krystkowiak hopes Dean, a transfer who is sitting out this season, will be able to return to practice fully sometime in early January, and a complete recovery is expected.
- Lastly, Tony Woods is getting a second chance at a college basketball career at Oregon, after transferring from Wake Forest following a guilty plea to a charge of assault on his girlfriend. While Woods’ game is still raw, head coach Dana Altman is hoping to mold a difference maker out of the 6’11” junior, building his post-up game while keeping on him to give consistent effort on the defensive end. And Woods is buying in and happy, saying that “life is good here.”