Pac-12 M5: New Year’s Eve EditionPosted by PBaruh on December 31st, 2012
- UCLA fans are still trying to figure out what to make of their major win this past weekend against Missouri. On one hand, Shabazz Muhammad continues to look more and more like one of the best freshman in the nation, averaging 19.6 points per game, and Jordan Adams has been a great surprise thus far for the Bruins. On the other hand, UCLA is arguably the most prestigious basketball school in the country and the coaching job Ben Howland has done since 2008 has not been up to UCLA standards. In terms of this year, the Bruins were upset at home against Cal Poly and are struggling too much defensively by ranking 121st in the nation in defensive efficiency. Ultimately, as the season goes on, UCLA will still have to improve tremendously to meet expectations and for Ben Howland to keep his job.
- Washington certainly hasn’t fared too well in games against Connecticut in its program history and on Saturday it was their cold shooting that factored into a 61-53 loss. The 53 points were a season low for Lorenzo Romar’s team as the Huskies shot a season low 29.4 percent from the field. As the Huskies have incorporated shooters C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs more into their offense this year, a poor shooting night like this was bound to happen. Additionally, Lorenzo Romar continues t0 have little success in road games in the Eastern Time Zone as he is now a putrid 2-13 in such contests as the head coach of Washington.
- Arizona came back from Hawaii as the champions of the Diamond Head Classic and are now 12-0 heading into conference play and without question the best team in the Pac-12. However, like most teams at this point in the year, there is still room for improvement. The Wildcats are averaging 14.5 turnovers per game on the year and the team as a whole and point guard Mark Lyons will need to cut back on that as the season goes on. Arizona could also benefit from more consistent shooting from three. Despite Kevin Parrom shooting 47 percent on the year, Nick Johnson, Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons, who are the Wildcats’ three leading scorers, are all shooting under 40 percent from beyond the arc. As a team, Arizona is shooting 39 percent from three, but remains inconsistent as they shot 25 percent against San Diego State and 44 percent against Miami in their past two games.
- An unexpected home loss to Towson was definitely not what Oregon State needed heading into conference play. This game was supposed to be a confidence builder for the Beavers, but it was anything but that. Going into the game, Oregon State was undefeated at home, but they could never put Towson away despite having a 19-point second half lead. Oregon State has one more home non-conference game against Texas Pan-American that will take place today, and the Beavers will be looking to come away with a much needed victory.
- Cal still can’t manage to pick up that coveted marquee non-conference win as they were unable to beat Harvard at home this weekend. If the Bears want to hear their name on Selection Sunday, the loss to Harvard won’t help, and although losses against UNLV and Creighton will boost their overall RPI, that signature victory seems less and less likely for Mike Montgomery’s team this year. Going forward, the Bears will start off the conference schedule on the road with UCLA, who is coming off their biggest win of the season, and will also be dealing with the injury of starting center Richard Solomon.