Pac-12 M5: 03.20.13 EditionPosted by PBaruh on March 20th, 2013
- Arizona has become a trendy pick to get upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will play Belmont on Thursday and analysts of CBS Sports, Yahoo!, ESPN and USA Today have predicted an early exit for Arizona. Solomon Hill and Jordan Mayes don’t seem to be worried, however, noting that analysts are just doing their job and it won’t affect their preparation or performance. Arizona has the talent to compete with anyone in the field of 68, but nothing will come easy starting with Belmont. The Bruins were the Ohio Valley Conference champions and are the 18th best three-point shooting team in the nation at 38.6 percent. That doesn’t bode well for Arizona as they rank 276th in the nation in defending the three with opponents shooting 36 percent from behind the arc.
- Cal’s Justin Cobbs has finally found his balance. When the Bears take on UNLV Thursday, it will be a rematch of a non-conference game from earlier in the season when the Runnin’ Rebels came away with a 76-75 victory on a last second tip-in. Cobbs understands his role at this point of the season much better as a combination of a scorer and facilitator for Mike Montgomery’s offense. Earlier in the year, Cobbs was shooting poorly by averaging just 11.4 points per game and couldn’t find his rhythm. Over the past 13 games, however, Cobbs is averaging 17.1 points and 5.7 assists per game. Allen Crabbe is the focal point of the Cal offense, but if the Bears want to get past UNLV this time, they are going to need a strong game from Cobbs.
- Craig Robinson started out the season by saying this Oregon State team was the best he has ever had, and now he’s the first to say it was a disappointment. The Beavers finished a lowly 4-14 in the Pac-12, but if any of the Oregon State faithful want a coaching change, it’s unlikely to happen this year. Athletic director Bob De Carolis met with Robinson in Las Vegas last week and confirmed that the administration is still in full support of its head coach. Next year, the Beavers will lose Joe Burton but will return Angus Brandt who had a season-ending knee injury very early in the year. In addition to Brandt, the Beavers will have Roberto Nelson, Devon Collier, and Ahmad Starks all back, but if they can’t make strides in the 2013-14 season, Robinson could find himself on the hot seat.
- Arizona State and Herb Sendek plan to make the most of out of their NIT appearance. Tonight the Sun Devils will play Detroit in Tempe and won’t be taking them lightly at all. Although Arizona State is playing in the postseason, there is some disappointment from the fans that the team didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament. Sendek isn’t one of those disappointed, though, mentioning that there is no way Arizona State won’t be motivated as they will get another opportunity to play in front of their home crowd in a postseason setting.
- For the first time in a half-century, Colorado is in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. The Buffaloes will be playing in Austin against Illinois on Friday afternoon and will certainly have a significant rebounding advantage. Colorado has Andre Roberson who averages 11.3 rebounds per game while Illinois’ best rebounder is Nnanna Egwu who pales in comparison at only 4.6 rebounds per game. Tad Boyle said after practice yesterday that Roberson will guard Illinois’ leading scorer Brandon Paul, which could spell trouble for the Illini as Roberson has already successfully defended Allen Crabbe and Solomon Hill this year.