Pac-12 Morning Five: 01.31.12 EditionPosted by AMurawa on January 31st, 2012
- It wasn’t too long ago where Washington was given up for dead as another underachieving Lorenzo Romar squad doomed to limp through the regular season before perhaps scraping it together in time for a run in the Pac-12 Tournament. But now, after a road sweep of the Arizona schools in which the Huskies played with assertiveness and passion, they’re tied for first place and have a schedule advantageous enough where they should be considered legitimate title contenders. Unfortunately, with an RPI still in the 70s, even a regular season Pac-12 title may not be quite enough to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, so winning that Pac-12 Tourney may still be a necessity.
- Washington’s win over Arizona knocked the Wildcats back to 5-4, putting Sean Miller’s club in a position where they may need to win the rest of their games to have a chance at the conference title. Add the fact that they will now have to do so without junior wing Kevin Parrom, who broke his foot in the loss to the Huskies. The Parrom loss now makes this UA team that was already undersized even smaller, leaving Miller with only 6’7” Jesse Perry, 6’6” Solomon Hill and 6’9” Angelo Chol as regular contributors up front.
- What’s a rivalry without a little controversy? And hey, if there’s not any controversy, why not make one up? The fact that Oregon State’s cheerleaders were not going to be allowed a spot on the court Sunday night when the Beavers faced in-state rival Oregon at the Ducks’ Matthew Knight Arena was known prior to the game. And, in fact, both schools’ athletic departments had decided that neither road team would send their cheerleaders to the games at the other’s school. But, on Monday, Oregon State’s sports information director, Steve Fenk, noted that if Oregon wanted to bring their cheerleaders to the return game in Corvallis on February 26, they would be welcome to do so.
- With a 5-16 record, Utah doesn’t have a whole lot left to play for this season. But for any Ute that wants a chance to get on the floor, earn some playing time and maybe generate some momentum for next year, the door is wide open. Head coach Larry Krystkowiak is making it very clear that players who are willing to play hard and to play smart will earn minutes the rest of the way. In Saturday’s loss at USC, guys like Alex Mortensen and Kyle Perkins found themselves earning significantly more minutes than normal, a trend that could continue over the last month of the season.
- Lastly, it is always good to check in on the ongoing legacy of former UCLA head coach John Wooden. While his impact on the sport of college basketball is well known, Wooden’s philosophies have now reached into war-torn Uganda, where a handful of basketball coaches have begun trying to use some of the former coach’s teachings to help reach former child soldiers and others touched by the fighting in that country. Last week, a delegation of four coaches from Uganda visited UCLA as part of a State Department grant to learn more about Wooden and to talk about how they use his “Pyramid of Success” and other teachings to help kids in their country.