Pac-12 Roundup: Week TwoPosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) and Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on November 26th, 2013
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the second week of Pac-12 basketball.
Power Rankings (As voted upon by Connor Pelton, Andrew Murawa, and Adam Butler):
- Arizona State
- Oregon State
- Washington State
Best Game – Arizona State @ UNLV: In a week where Harvard-Colorado was probably the second best Pac-12 game, Arizona State and UNLV provided greater drama. Intensity was high from the outset as both teams battled back and forth in the first 20 minutes. Neither team led by more than four points in the first half, and that was the margin when junior Deville Smith hit a jumper as time expired to put UNLV up by a score of 38-34. The crowd of over 12,000 was quieted with about five minutes remaining when the Sun Devils went on a critical 8-2 run to lead by seven, and Jahii Carson made sure the Devils stayed in front with a clutch jumper and two key free throws. When all was said and done, Carson had finished with 40 points and seven assists, a performance you may not see topped this year in conference play, and Arizona State left the Thomas & Mack Center with an 86-80 win to remain undefeated. The 5’10″ sophomore also made 14 of his 16 buckets from the field at the rim, a ridiculous stat for someone of his stature.
Upsets – Only one upset among the 12 conference teams, and it was a bad one. TCU came into Sunday’s meeting with Washington State as a 14-point underdog, not a big surprise after having dropped a game to Longwood and earning its only win coming against Abilene Christian. But the Horned Frogs jumped out to a 36-25 halftime lead on the Cougars in front of a sleepy Beasley Coliseum crowd, and 20 minutes later they were off to the Great Alaska Shootout with a 64-62 win. Things are going downhill quickly for Washington State, which has now lost two straight games. Things don’t get any easier for the Cougs next when they take on a treacherous Old Spice Classic field later this week.
Team of the Week: Arizona State. The Sun Devils are the choice after scoring an exciting road non-conference win over UNLV and following that up with a victory over Marquette on Monday night. While the Runnin’ Rebels may not yet be the type of team that we’re used to from Herb Sendek, the Sun Devils faced down an unwelcoming home crowd with a come-from-behind win behind their star point guard and their senior center and now all-time ASU leader in blocked shots, Jordan Bachynski.
Player of the Week: Jahii Carson, Arizona State. Carson went nuts against the Rebels, going for 40 points on just 25 field goal attempts (making 16), while chipping in seven assists. And after showing a bit of a weakness on his perimeter jumper last year, Carson has made significant strides by knocking down 55 percent of his threes this year, including five of nine attempts this week. Honorable mention goes to UCLA’s Kyle Anderson for a triple-double followed up by a 17/10/7 assts line.
Newcomer of the Week: Jermaine Marshall, Arizona State. While Carson is the big name at Arizona State, Marshall has been a highly efficient sidekick. As Carson was busy knocking in 40 points against UNLV, Marshall simply poured in a ho-hum 20, adding a trio of blocks for good measure.
Freshman of the Week: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona. While his teammate Aaron Gordon is getting all the publicity, his partner in crime isn’t half bad himself. This week the 6’7” wing scored 13 points in each of his team’s games in the early rounds of the NIT Season Tip-Off, while connecting on 11 of his 15 field goal attempts.
Upcoming Game of the Week – California vs Syracuse: We’re choosing between known games only here, so while we can dream about matchups like USC-Kansas and Arizona-Duke, they weren’t included in the deliberations. California and Syracuse will meet at 4:00 PM Pacific time in Lahaina for the first semifinal game of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday evening. The Golden Bears are off to a scorching 5-0 start with convincing wins over Denver and Arkansas. On the other side is the eighth-ranked Orange, which boasts a matching 5-0 record. Syracuse has topped Cornell and Minnesota so far this season and is led by senior forward C.J. Fair, who is averaging 18.0 PPG. Leading the Golden Bears is freshman sensation Jabari Bird, who is scoring at a 13.5 PPG clip in Mike Montgomey‘s backcourt. You can catch the game on ESPN tonight.