Pac-12 M5: 10.24.12 EditionPosted by PBaruh on October 24th, 2012
- CBS released its 2012 Top 50 Big Men list and a handful of Pac-12 players were scattered throughout. Highest on the list was Andre Roberson at #15, however, some have projected Roberson as a future lottery pick and coming in at that spot seems a little too low for someone with his talent. He averaged a double-double last year, was one of the nation’s best rebounders, and clearly was a major factor in Colorado’s run to the NCAA Tournament last season. The second man from the Pac-12 on the list was Brock Motum at #29, while Josh Smith of UCLA followed at #34. Motum should continue to help Washington State greatly this year, but Smith seems too high in his position. Last year he was only effective in spurts and since his weight issues don’t seem to be going away, foul trouble will continue to plague him most nights out. As the list nears the end, two out of the three Arizona freshman big men made it with Brandon Ashley coming in at #40 and Grant Jerrett landing at #50. Out of the three big freshman for the Wildcats this fall, Kaleb Tarczewski was the only one left off the list although he was the highest ranked recruit for the Wildcats of the group. Overall, five entries on a 50-player list is not exactly staggering, but it does show that the talent level in the Pac-12 is improving.
- Can the Pac-12 make its way back to respectability? It’s the oft-repeated question of this offseason, and ESPN the Magazine took its crack at answering it. The conference has been struggling for at least three years now and it certainly was not pretty last season. But the article points out that things might be beginning to round into shape. What hasn’t been noticed as much is that the creation of the Pac-12 Networks should have a major impact going forward. That, coupled with the Pac-12’s new national television agreement with ESPN, will allow all teams to get some consistent national exposure which should aid recruiting and will definitely generate more money for the schools. Additionally, the fact that all the head coaches this season return with another year under their belt at their respective schools should help the conference considerably.
- Colorado continues to reap the rewards of Tad Boyle and its move to the Pac-12. Now in their second year in the conference, CU season ticket sales are at an all-time high with more than 5,000 season ticket packages sold thus far. And although the Coors Event Center cannot hold as many fans as other venues in the Pac-12, it’s a continued step in the right direction for the Buffaloes, the Division I school that has seen the greatest percentage attendance increase over the past four years. Since Boyle has arrived, the Buffaloes have gone 32-4 at home and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier to pick up a victory in Boulder this upcoming season.
- Finally there is some good news for the Utah Utes: Jason Washburn returned to practice for first time in a week today. After already losing Aaron Dotson for 4-6 weeks and David Foster for the entire year, the return of key players to practice and to get conditioned and prepared for the season is crucial. Washburn had been experiencing concussion-like symptoms, but should be good to go now. Utah needs him to be one of the bright spots on this inexperienced squad and any setback could bring the Utes the same terrible results as last year.
- ESPN.com‘s Eamonn Brennan talks about what he can’t wait to see in the Pac-12 this year, particularly mentioning the potential of Arizona and UCLA. It’s generally agreed upon that the Wildcats will be at the top of the conference this year with the Bruins somewhere right above or below them, but will any other team make a run to contend for the Pac-12 title? Although anything can happen in this conference, it seems likely that Arizona and UCLA will go 1-2; however, spots 3-8 are wide open. USC has a team full of talented transfers; Colorado could surprise with its frontcourt depth and backcourt experience; Stanford has the talent to win the conference, but does Johnny Dawkins finally have a title within him? All in all, the Pac-12 is up for grabs and there are various reasons to be excited.