Pac-12 Morning Five: 01.05.12 EditionPosted by AMurawa on January 5th, 2012
- Not only did Oregon State lose its first two road games of this Pac-12 conference season, it has lost the last 11 conference road games it has played. As you might expect, the Beavers are quite happy to be back home this week. However, the bad part is, they kick off the homestand with California, a team that has beaten OSU in 29 of its last 34 contests. However, if Craig Robinson’s club can gain a little momentum this weekend at Gill Coliseum, perhaps they could use that energy to turn around their poor fortune on the road.
- Colorado is the one team in the conference with a winning conference record that gets to continue to play at home this week. However, after having dispatched with Utah easily last Saturday, tonight they will host Washington, “a different animal,” according to head coach Tad Boyle. While the Buffaloes are young and talented, Boyle says he will use this game against the Huskies as a litmus test for where they stand in the Pac-12. Given that CU is placing so much importance on this game, it will be interesting to see how the Huskies respond to their first conference road test.
- Is Tony Wroten a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate, asks The Arizona Republic’s Doug Haller. Of course, answers ESPN west-coast analyst Sean Farnham. Farnham cites Wroten’s tremendous ability in the open court, his scoring acumen, his strong rebounding for a guard, and, really, the weakness of the rest of the Pac-12 as key reasons why Wroten is the favorite for the Pac-12 POTY title. And, if you need some visual evidence, check out the sequence embedded there, where Wroten rebounds at one end, goes coast to coast, finishes above the rim, then hustles back downcourt and rejects a Devoe Joseph jumper. Classic.
- Most years, a UCLA/Arizona matchup is a contender for conference game of the year. This year, the luster is off the rivalry a bit, as UCLA has struggled and, frankly, isn’t always much fun to watch. But still, it is UCLA/Arizona, and any self-respecting obsessive college hoops fan will want to take a look at it. However, if you were to check out Ben Howland’s comment and read between the lines a little bit, you might want to have a Plan B on hold. UCLA’s defense has struggled mightily stopping dribble penetration this year, and Howland admits “Arizona is very hard for us to match up with. Basically, we’re playing against five guards.” For the Bruins to have any chance to hang with the Wildcats, they’ll need to find a way to slow the penetration from those guards and find a way to use guys like Joshua Smith and the Wear twins to take advantage of the relatively underized Wildcat frontline.
- Lastly, we head back up to Seattle for a great profile from The Seattle Times’ Percy Allen on Washington’s Abdul Gaddy, a friend of RTC. It was one year ago yesterday that Gaddy tore his ACL in practice, and it is amazing to think that he was back ready to go at the start of the 2011-12 season, just nine and half months later. While Gaddy’s injury-shortened sophomore campaign looked to be a breakout year for the Husky point guard, he has picked up this year right where he left off, leading his team in minutes played and assists and earning a co-captain role for Lorenzo Romar.
Finally, here’s this week’s Youtube Play of the Week… Arizona’s Josiah Turner to Nick Johnson.