Pac-12 Weekly Five: 07.20.12 EditionPosted by AMurawa on July 20th, 2012
- Last year, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten announced plans to enter into a scheduling partnership with each other, with each school in each conference expected to play one annual game against the opposing conference in football and basketball. However, as has become the norm, football had to ruin everything for the basketball side of things. With the Pac-12 committed to a nine-game football schedule, and with teams on both sides wanting the freedom to schedule a sufficient number of cupcakes, the conferences found out that they just couldn’t get things done and scrapped their plans for a scheduling partnership. Unfortunately, the basketball baby got thrown out with the football bathwater, as plans to increase games between the two conferences in roundball have been scrapped as well. This is why we can’t have nice things.
- After several years of debilitating spinal problems, former UCLA great Bill Walton will be back behind the mic for ESPN this fall, calling an as-yet-undetermined number of Pac-12 games next season. Five years ago he collapsed due to his spine problems and thought that his “life was over.” But, after several successful surgeries, Walton is back up and ready to start over. While he’s not everyone’s cup of tea as the color man, he cracks me the hell up and certainly never takes himself or the game more seriously than it needs to be taken. Welcome back Bill!
- It was a great year for recruiting in the Pac-12 as UCLA and Arizona both scored top five recruiting classes in 2012. But the 2013 class is even more highly regarded and Pac-12 teams are involved with numerous highly-ranked recruits. One of the best of those, San Jose’s Aaron Gordon, confirmed yesterday that Arizona and Washington are his top two choices, with speculation running rampant that it is Washington’s race to lose. The Huskies remain in the hunt for other elite recruits like Jabari Bird and Isaac Hamilton and head coach Lorenzo Romar has staked a lot on landing a big recruiting class in 2013.
- The Pac-12’s crown jewel of that 2012 recruiting class is UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, but his Bruin career got off to a rough start as he sprained his ankle playing in a pickup game following his very first workout with the team. Muhammad has been sitting out ever since, but is expected back in action in plenty of time to take part in the team’s August trip to China. That’s key, since head coach Ben Howland has been pointing toward that trip as a chance to jump start the year and get his new pieces all on the same page prior to the start of the regular season.
- We’ve discussed that Utah recently released an underwhelming 2012-13 non-conference schedule, but for head coach Larry Krystkowiak, that schedule is all part of a rebuilding process. After a 6-25 year, the Utes are still in the middle of remaking their roster in order to get back to a place where they can compete at a high level again. Despite a host of new players, nobody sees the Utes’ current roster consisting of guys who are going to do that. But with the chance to score some early victories against manageable competition and develop some confidence in their young roster, Krystkowiak and company hope that this weak schedule will get the Utes off on the right foot. Meanwhile, the Utes have committed to restarting their series with Utah State in 2014 after two years off, but Krystkowiak hasn’t been shy about admitting that he’d rather skip the dangerous Aggies whenever possible. However, he did suggest the possibility of a four-team tournament at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City featuring the four Division I programs in the state: Utah, Brigham Young, Utah State, and Weber State. Yes, please.