Pac-12 M5: New Year’s Day Edition
Posted by PBaruh on January 1st, 2013
- It might not be a big rivalry yet, but contests between Colorado and Arizona since CU’s move to the Pac-12 have been intense every time. The last time these two teams met was at the Pac-12 Tournament final last March, with Colorado pulling out the victory. The next time these teams will meet will be the conference opener for both teams on January 3 down in Tucson. Arizona is heavily favored in this game as they are ranked third in the nation and are clearly the better team, but Sean Miller has mentioned that he has a great deal of respect for Tad Boyle and his Colorado team and won’t take this game lightly.
- Shabazz Muhammad is living up to the hype these days and is getting rewarded for it. He was named the Pac-12 and ESPN player of the week, the first time Muhammad has received this award. If he continues to play like he did against Missouri the rest of the season, he should receive more of these awards as the year goes along. Muhammad scored 27 points in UCLA’s win against Missouri last Friday night and the Bruins will need him to continue on as their leading scorer if they are going to contend with Arizona and others for the Pac-12 title.
- Some believe that it’s time for Lorenzo Romar to go. Last year did not bode well for Romar as he had two first round draft picks on his team in Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross and won the Pac-12 regular season title, but couldn’t make the NCAA Tournament because of less than stellar play in the non-conference slate. This year Romar has talented players once again in Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs, and C.J. Wilcox, but hasn’t managed to do much with it and has picked up some embarrassing home losses along the way to Nevada and Albany. Romar will need to turn this season around quickly and make sure his team steps it up in conference play if he wants to avoid underwhelming back-to-back years that could possibly end his tenure at Washington.
- Arizona is rolling into conference play at 12-0 and the conference schedule that they have this season could benefit them substantially by pushing the Wildcats to receive a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will play Cal, Stanford, Oregon, and Oregon State — all teams that should place somewhere near the top of the conference — only once, and they will face the Bay Area teams at home. They’ll have to take on the Ducks and Beavers on the road as well as Colorado on the road, but other than that, Arizona has a relatively easier road and overall schedule. They’ll play Washington and Washington State, both who have been unspectacular in non-conference play, twice and will play Utah and USC, who look like they’ll be the bottom teams once again, twice as well.
- Could UCLA miss the NCAA Tournament for two straight years? CBS bracketologist Jerry Palm came out with his latest projections and had only three Pac-12 teams making it — Colorado, Oregon and Arizona. Arizona was listed as a #1 seed, but the most alarming part of his projection had to be UCLA not anywhere in the field. Despite their shortcomings so far this year, the Bruins have too much talent to not make the Tournament and if for some reason that did happen, that would certainly be the end of Ben Howland’s career in Westwood.
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