Pac-12 Report Card, Volume V: Solid StudentsPosted by AMurawa on February 6th, 2013
Yesterday, Professor Pac handed out good grades to all his pet pupils. Today, he takes a look at a few students who might not be quite as pleased with their most recent grades.
Arizona State – B+
A pair of road games in Washington, a delayed flight out of Pullman to Seattle, and a split with the last game being at least partially decided on a very questionable no-call at the end? There’s no way I’m going to punish the Sun Devils too much for that week. Still, when you shoot, as they did against Washington — a nearly 75% effective field goal percentage — and still come away with a loss, you need to examine exactly what you missed on defense. ASU gave up better than 1.26 points per possession to an often uninspiring offensive team, got absolutely manhandled on the glass (the Huskies grabbed nearly 44% of their own misses and 92% of ASU’s misses), and were outscored from the stripe, 21-6. While there may have been a missed call at the end, the Sun Devils had plenty to do with their eventual demise.
Focus on: Ruslan Pateev. Not long ago it was in fashion to marvel about how Pateev had come from being invisible in the non-conference to make a nice impact in solid minutes in the middle of conference play. Well, this past week we came to a combination of those two things, wherein Pateev played solid minutes and yet was still invisible. In 20 total minutes against the Washington schools, Pateev grabbed two rebounds and made his only field goal attempt. He’s not the sole reason the Devils got killed on the glass, but he certainly didn’t help much.
Looking ahead: The Sun Devils host Cal and Stanford this week at Wells Fargo Arena and, especially against a suddenly hot Stanford team that doesn’t see all that interested in playing a ton of defense, we could be on our way to seeing ASU both score and give up 90 points or more in a game for the third consecutive week.
Washington – B-
A home split is never a great thing; you want to be able to take care of business at home. But, a home split against the toughest pair of traveling partners in the league where the one loss came by four points to a team that is in the top ten in the nation? I’ll gladly show some mercy on the Huskies, especially since they showed some serious offensive punch against Arizona State.
Focus on: Shawn Kemp, Jr. After starting the season as a spectator due to a knee injury, it has taken some time for the sophomore forward to earn back some minutes in the Washington rotation. But I think we can safely say he’s back now. Kemp has scored 37 points in 65 minutes of action in his last three games making 17 of his 24 field goal attempts over that span while showing a good nose for the ball on the glass. Coupled with Desmond Simmons and Aziz N’Diaye up front, the Husky front line has turned what was a weakness early in the year into one of the team’s biggest strengths.
Looking ahead: The Los Angeles swing is next up for the Huskies, with UCLA on Thursday evening and USC on Sunday. They’ll need that frontcourt trio to bring it against the Bruins in order to exploit one of UCLA’s biggest weaknesses.
Oregon – C-
The previously unbeaten Ducks went on the road and got swept in the Bay Area; not really a surprise since they’ve not swept a Bay Area trip in 27 years now, having themselves been swept better than half of the time in that stretch and have now lost 10 straight games to Cal. Also feel free to throw in the fact that starting point guard Dominic Artis was out with a foot injury and that they ran into a smoking hot Stanford team, and then against Cal, reserve point Jonathan Loyd went down late in the first half with a thumb injury (although he did return). Given all of that, and considering Oregon’s previous excellence this season, I’m ready to give them something of a pass this week. Although, man, it sure would have been nice to see senior forward E.J. Singler step up his game in the wake of all the injuries around him.
Focus on: Tony Woods. The man is an enigma. Way back in 2008, he was rated the 27th best prospect in the nation by ESPN, the fifth best-center in the class (albeit behind busts like Samardo Samuels, B.J. Mullens, Michael Dunigan and J’Mison Morgan) and his rebounding was compared favorably to Dwight Howard. After a couple unimpressive seasons with the Demon Deacons (and an unceremonious departure), he’s now turned into a strong defensive center with a passable offensive game. But, for a 6’11” guy with his athleticism and strength, you’d sure like to see the guy grab a few more rebounds, wouldn’t you? Certainly, part of the reason he grabs just nine percent of his opponents’ missed shots is the fact that he is often trying to block those same shots (and often accomplishes that, blocking six percent of his opponents’ two-point field goal attempts). And yeah, he’s also playing alongside one of the country’s best rebounders. But not once in his four-year career on either coast has this man had a double-figure rebounding game. For shame.
Looking ahead: The Ducks hope to get back on track as they host Colorado and Utah this week. The last time the Ducks played the Buffaloes, Colorado knocked off Oregon in the quarterfinals of last year’s Pac-12 Tournament on a late Andre Roberson layup.