Pac-12 Burning Questions: Most Memorable Moment?Posted by AMurawa on March 9th, 2013
As we get ready for out last weekend of the regular season, we start with a quick look back at the last few months before we get ready to look ahead to the bulk of March. As such, we asked a simple question:
What has been your favorite moment this season?
Adam Butler: The best moment is one of my favorite questions. Certainly at a time of year (I think I’ve used that as a lead like 200 times thus far in just one week of March) when just a single moment can define so much. But across the course of about thirty games per team, over wins and losses, ups and downs, there have been so many. Cobbs, Gordon, and Drew II have all beat the buzzer. Chen tried to. The conference had its first matchup of ranked opponents since March 2009. Game Day visited the Conference and Bill Walton grabbed the torch (or bullhorn) of touting the Pac’s return. There’s been so much to enjoy all the season long and, to be completely honest, the year’s most memorable moment is yet to come. Something is going to happen inside the MGM, or someone is going to do something in the Dance we’ll talk about for years to come, “Remember when…” But to that effect, I’m going to make the homer pick. Because as Arizona had the improbable opportunity to take the lead at home against Florida, I was squatting on top of my couch. I had two friends locked in arms to my left and an air of tension thicker than Kaleb Tarczewski. The Lyons floater fell and we (in my apartment and in Tucson) went controllably wild. And then the backboard went red and we went uncontrollably wild. My kinda moment.
Parker Baruh: There were so many great moments in the Pac-12 this year that it’s hard to pick the best one. Arizona’s comeback win against Florida, Oregon’s road victory over UCLA, the Drew II buzzer beater, USC’s wins over Arizona and UCLA, and the return of ranked teams all stand out. But I’m going to have to go with the homer pick as well and say Colorado’s win over Oregon on the road in early February was the best moment. The Buffaloes were coming off a terrible loss against Utah and needed to win. It didn’t look like that was going to happen, however, as the Ducks had controlled most of the game. The Ducks looked like they would take over down the stretch and win as they led by seven with under four minutes to play. But, the Buffs started to come back and it looked like the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinal all over again. Andre Roberson kept grabbing rebounds and scored on second chances. The last basket for either team was a Roberson layup with 29 seconds to play after he got his shot blocked similar to Roberson scoring after Dinwiddie got his shot blocked with little time to play at Staples last year. Then, E.J. Singler missed a jumper on what might have been a foul and the ball didn’t reach the hoop and who else but Andre Roberson was there to grab that final rebound. The game ended 48-47 in Colorado’s favor and the Buffaloes went up to Eugene and ended the Ducks’ 20-game home winning streak. The win was ugly, but it was the start of what has now become the Buffs’ best stretch of play all season long. Colorado has won six out of their past eight and it all began with that win in Eugene.
Andrew Murawa: I’m going to take the question at face value and pick one single great moment. But any moment in time is not judged just on that moment, but the series of events that led up to the moment. And the series of events that led up to Sabatino Chen banking home an apparent game-winning three-pointer as time expired in regulation against Arizona on the first Thursday of the Pac-12 regular season was pretty special. For the better part of the game, Colorado had put a whooping on the conference-favorite, undefeated and third-ranked Wildcats, building up a 17-point first half lead. With just under two-minutes left, the Buffalo lead was still nine. But then a combination of missed free throws by CU and big plays by Zona veterans somehow, inexplicably, found the game tied at 80 with ten seconds left. With five seconds left, Chen came off a screen and took a dribble-handoff from Spencer Dinwiddie, turning the corner to look for Askia Booker on the other side. But Nick Johnson was in Booker’s shorts, Mark Lyons was locking up Dinwiddie behind the play and none of the CU bigs found an opening. So Chen, a unheralded senior not known for his scoring ability was forced to pull up from deep as the clock, literally, expired. A little cross-over earned him some space, and he launched over Kevin Parrom. But he launched it quite a bit too far. No matter though, it appeared the basketball gods where on his side as the ball slammed against the glass and then softly dropped through the hoop for the game winning basket. That. That moment. Colorado fans were joyous, Arizona fans were crushed. Parrom rolled his eyes to the heavens in disgust, Lyons did the same. Chen was swarmed by his teammates. A wild college basketball moment that hit both sides with a hefty dose of emotion. If the story ends there, it still goes down as a fantastic moment. But, as we all know, it didn’t end there.
Connor Pelton: Leading up to the night of January 30, USC had dropped five of its past seven games (with the only wins coming against Utah and by one against Oregon State). During that stretch, head coach Kevin O’Neill was let go, and it looked as if the Trojans would just roll over and get the 2012-13 season over with as quickly as possible. That’s what made their 75-71, road upset of rival UCLA so great. After trailing 21-15 early on, SC used a 23-6 binge to take an 11 point lead and shock the quiet Pauley Pavilion crowd. The Bruins, however, were just too good to die, and while they never led in the final 20 minutes, a Jordan Adams jumper with 30 seconds left pulled UCLA even to force overtime. Ben Howland’s bunch led twice in overtime, but each time they took an advantage it was answered immediately by SC. Missing all of their shot attempts in the final 2:15, UCLA went ice cold and got to watch its rivals celebrate on their floor, while the 15 or so cardinal and gold clad fans celebrated behind SC’s bench. The win would mean nothing but one more notch in the victory column if the Trojans didn’t continue to play well after the game, and play well they did. While they did lose the rematch later in the season, Bob Cantu and company won five games after the upset, and find themselves on the NIT bubble heading into Championship Week. One of the reasons March Madness is so terrific is the unpredictably of the tournament. So that’s why this Wednesday night in January is my favorite moment of the season.