Pac-12 M5: 03.14.13 EditionPosted by PBaruh on March 14th, 2013
- When the quarterfinals get underway later today in the Pac-12 Tournament, Mike Montgomery and Cal will be ready. Guard Justin Cobbs knows any team is capable of winning the event and hopes that Cal will be the team to do just that. The Bears will face Utah and if Cal can play the way they did down the stretch of the regular season, they could walk away as the tournament champions. Part of the reason Cal finished the season by winning nine of its final 11 games was its strong defense, holding opponents to 39 percent shooting from the field (best in the conference).
- Arizona’s late season struggles could affect the Wildcats come Selection Sunday. Committee chair Mike Bobinski noted how a team finishes is certainly important and that might not bode well for Sean Miller’s team if it doesn’t have a strong conference tournament. Without question, the Wildcats are a lock for the field of 68, but better play in Vegas could certainly earn them a higher seed. Additionally, winning multiple games certainly would make Arizona a little more confident before the NCAA Tournament as the Wildcats don’t have a truly notable win since beating San Diego State in December 2012.
- The status of Ben Howland’s job as head coach of the Bruins has been a recurring topic this year, but Howland is choosing to reflect on his latest Pac-12 title rather than an unpredictable future. This year, Howland has been more relaxed than usual. After a disappointing loss to Cal Poly and near loss to UC Irvine early in the season, Howland clearly revamped his offensive philosophy with this team. The Bruins get out and run more than ever and have a much more open offense than they have in years past. Nevertheless, a successful turnaround and a Pac-12 regular title isn’t enough to keep Howland off the hot seat. Only success in the NCAA Tournament will decide if the veteran coach stays in Westwood.
- A coach that might be on a hotter seat than Howland right now is Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins. With a loss to Arizona State yesterday, the Cardinal will miss the NCAA Tournament again and even another NIT championship might not be enough to keep the former Duke assistant in Palo Alto. Under Dawkins, Stanford has posted an above average 93-73 overall record, but hasn’t finished better than sixth in any year in the Pac-12. The Cardinal were picked by many this year to finally play up to their potential and finish near the top of the league standings, but that didn’t happen. It will be interesting to see how Stanford brass chooses to handle the head coaching position.
- Arizona State co-Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Jahii Carson was sensational yesterday against Stanford, scoring 34 points in their 89-88 overtime win, but Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson says the team needs to continue to upgrade its talent. Carson is likely to leave for the NBA before his four years are up as a Sun Devil and if ASU doesn’t continue to improve as a program, they might be set back once again. Patterson noted with rival Arizona ahead of the curve in recruiting and talent, thinking about remaining more than just competitive is necessary.