Pac-12 M5: 02.11.13 EditionPosted by Connor Pelton on February 11th, 2013
- It was another wild weekend in the Pac-12 that left the conference standings even more confusing than they were before the weekend, with a three-way tie for first place and five other teams within two games of the lead. Oregon ended its three-game losing streak on Saturday night by sneaking past Utah, as freshman guard Damyean Dotson had his best game in recent weeks, scoring 12 points in the first 11 minutes of the second half to help spark his Ducks. But it is the Ducks’ other starting freshman guard who is the big news. Dominic Artis has now missed five games with a left foot injury, but it appears he may be close to returning. Artis will meet with a doctor today and could possibly be cleared to play at Washington on Wednesday night. But, even if that happens, head coach Dana Altman warns that Artis won’t jump immediately back into his full complement of minutes.
- During the Ducks’ three-game slide, Arizona jumped to the top of the Pac-12 standings all by itself, albeit briefly. The Wildcats, after playing a solid first half against Cal on Sunday night, came out of the halftime locker room sleepwalking and were repeatedly burned by Allen Crabbe en route to an eight-point home loss to California. Sean Miller had been trying to get his ‘Cats focused on starting games strong, and they were successful in that area, but maybe the problem was just bumped back 20 minutes?
- One of the only Bracketology pieces released on weekends, John Templon’s projections are always fun to look at on Sunday nights. These predictions are focused more on the NIT, but we can of course deduce who is in his Big Dance as well. Templon thinks Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, and Colorado are all in the NCAAs, with Arizona State just missing the cut line and instead getting a one seed in the NIT. Stanford is up next as a four seed, and California and Washington round out the Pac-12’s representation at the six and seven line. Oregon State makes Templon’s list of the “First 16 Out“, meaning the Beavers will need a lot of help, luck, and multiple good wins in the final month of play to avoid another year of the CBI.
- Washington center Aziz N’Diaye has quickly tuned into one of the most productive and trusted players on the Huskies in his final season in Seattle. One of the most durable big men in the Pac-12, N’Diaye is averaging 10.7 PPG and 9.7 RPG to give Washington a useful tool in the post. He’s become a well-needed presence on the defensive end of the court, and if UW needs a late two, the ball will definitely touch his hands. For N’Diaye to move on and succeed at the next level (and he should get that chance), the biggest thing he can do is to just slow down and watch the ball go into his hands. Ball control can be tricky at times for big men, and the same is true for him. Once he catches the ball, however, there is no better center in the league at turning to the hoop and getting the ball up on the rim.
- It was more of the same on Sunday night for Oregon State, who managed to yet again freeze up in the closing minutes and give up a second half lead. Colorado went into Corvallis and left with a sweep of the Oregon schools, possibly getting them off the bubble for the time being and handing the Beavers their eighth loss by eight or fewer points so far this season. The problems stretch all the way from the coaching staff to the players for the Beavs, who just can’t seem to execute in the final minute. Craig Robinson has tried the “let ’em play” approach, which both times resulted in Joe Burton turnovers at the buzzer. Last night Robinson used his timeouts down the stretch, but neglected to call a play to free up a shooter. Instead, two of OSU’s final three possessions resulted in a Burton sky-hook or a dribble drive and fumble when threes were the best option. The Beavers travel to Pullman on Wednesday in a game that could decide who gets the #10 or #11 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Note: Drew Murawa also contributed to this article.