Pac-12 M5: 02.21.13 EditionPosted by AMurawa on February 21st, 2013
- Shove-gate, day four. With California getting back into action tomorrow night, thankfully this overreaction to Mike Montgomery’s regrettable decision to physically contact his star player, Allen Crabbe, is ready to come to a close. The final words on the incident from both sides: First, Montgomery regrets his action, if for no other reason than the fact that all the focus this past week has been on that incident rather than on the fact that his team has risen from mediocrity to, well, more mediocrity, but at least mediocrity that is in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid. Meanwhile, on the other side, Allen Crabbe has brushed off the incident with the brand of typical Crabbe-esque nonchalance that got Montgomery so riled up to begin with. His parents, however, were not so quick to put it behind them. While both his mom and dad have handled the situation with class, each has indicated that Montgomery’s action didn’t sit entirely well with them. Nevertheless, Montgomery’s apology coupled with Crabbe’s mature response to the incident make this story completely ready to be put to bed.
- Last night was perhaps the biggest snoozer on the Pac-12 conference schedule thus far, as both Arizona schools handled their opponents from Washington with relative ease, so in lieu of wasting pixels on games that we already spent time watching, I’ll instead refer you to a Dana O’Neil piece about how Mark Lyons wound up back with Sean Miller in the desert after blowing off Miller’s final meeting at Xavier three years earlier and ignoring his former coach’s texts out of anger with him for leaving the Cincinnati school. But now they’re reunited at Arizona and have a chance to accomplish something special together in Lyons’ last go-round in college.
- Looking ahead to tonight, Dana Altman and Oregon host California in what will be Altman’s first crack at attempting to reach the 600-win mark for his career. Just 66 of those have come in Eugene, and only 476 were chalked up at the Division I level, but with the 54-year-old Altman seemingly having a lot of basketball left in him, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him top the mark in Division I victories alone in the relatively near future. Unfortunately, Duck fans, we also wouldn’t be all that surprised to see him eventually top that 600 mark somewhere back close to his Midwestern roots. As for tonight’s game, if the Ducks can pull off the win, it will mark the first time that anybody on this current roster, including Altman and his 599 career wins, has ever beaten Cal. And if that’s going to happen, it’ll likely have to happen without the services of point guard Dominic Artis, who appears to be on the verge of missing another week of basketball. Unlike Duke’s Ryan Kelly, however, Artis is making visible progress, as his crutches are at least a thing of the past and he is reported to be doing some minimal basketball-related drills.
- Oregon State, meanwhile, will host Stanford tonight, and in doing so Joe Burton will play his second-to-last game in front of the home crowd in his career. Yep, believe it or not, we’re to that point in the season where senior days (or nights, I suppose, depending on when the game is played) begin to crop up. As for Burton, he’s a special kid. The first Native American to earn a scholarship to a Pac-10/Pac-12 school for men’s basketball, Burton has made a name for himself as a below-the-rim space-eater and a phenomenal passer. The first recruit signed by Craig Robinson, Burton is on track to become the first OSU player to ever amass 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists in his career. It’s always bittersweet this time of year, knowing that we’re seeing some of these guys that we’ve gotten to know and love over recent years play their last basketball games for us (even though many, likely including Burton, who aren’t destined for NBA futures have the chance for a pro career somewhere else should they so choose), but it is also a great time to be thankful for the moments we’ve been able to experience.
- Lastly, Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register writes that with Ben Howland having drastically simplified his offense, UCLA is experiencing smooth sailing on the offensive end. Now, apparently, Mr. Kartje skipped the recent Arizona State, USC, Washington and Cal games in favor of simply watching the Stanford game, but his note that Howland has thrown away 36 of the 45 sets he had set up for teams in years past in order to focus on executing a simplified game plan is an interesting one.