Pac-12 Roundup: Week ThreePosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) and Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on December 3rd, 2013
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the third 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 vs Duke: Marquette-Arizona State seemed destined for this slot earlier in the week, what with ASU getting its first marquee win of the season in thrilling fashion in front of a raucous Wells Fargo Arena crowd. Instead, that game was topped by Sun Devils’ rival Arizona, which five days later defeated #6 Duke in the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship in New York City. Neither team led by more than five points in the first half, and it was the Blue Devils who took a 36-33 lead into the locker rooms after a Tyler Thorton bucket. With great effort on the defensive end of the floor, Arizona eventually took the lead for good on a Brandon Ashley tip-in with nine minutes remaining. The lead swelled to double figures at three different points in the last quarter of the game, and when the final buzzer sounded it was 72-66 Wildcats. Junior guard Nick Johnson scored a team high 15 points in the win.
Upsets – There were three upsets in the Pac-12 in week three, two of which were good news for the conference. Each one came on a different day of a busy weekend thanks to all the Feast Week tournaments. First up was Washington State, which outscored Purdue 52-27 in the second half on Friday morning to pull off the surprise. A day later in the Bahamas was USC shocking 5-3 Xavier behind a 23-point performance from senior guard Pe’Shon Howard. Sunday brought the lone upset loss for the Pac with Miami (FL) eking out a 60-57 victory over Arizona State, which claimed fifth place in the Wooden Legacy for the Hurricanes.
Team of the Week: Arizona. This one is an easy call as Arizona went to Madison Square Garden, Duke’s home away from home, and came away with an impressive day-after-Thanksgiving win along with an NIT Season Tip-Off title. There may not have been a single standout Wildcat for the weekend, but Sean Miller got contributions from everybody in his rotation, and as a result, the Cats are in the conversation for the best team in the nation.
Player of the Week: Davonte Lacy, Washington State. The Cougars may not have had the kind of success at the Old Spice Classic that they wanted, but they played everybody closely this week despite coming away with only one win. And it was Lacy who did a lot of the heavy lifting, averaging 22.3 points per game while knocking down 13 of his 26 three-point attempts. For the week, he shot a sparkling 71.3% eFG and has been a rock for a Wazzu team that has otherwise struggled to score.
Newcomer of the Week: Joseph Young, Oregon. The transfer from Houston continued his solid play this week, averaging 16.7 points per game in three impressive wins over weak opponents. But, he missed four more free throws on Sunday? What gives, Joe?
Freshman of the Week: Zach LaVine, UCLA. Sure, the Bruins have been hiding away on the Pac-12 Network beating up on weak opponents in front of sparse crowds. But they’ve quietly turned into one of the most entertaining teams in the nation, and their electric show-stopper has not only been throwing down at least one unbelievable dunk per night, but he’s been a rock solid performer everywhere else on the court. This week it was 19.5 points per game, with 8-of-11 shooting from deep and a blistering 100% eFG. Yup – 18 shots from the field good for 36 points.
Upcoming Game of the Week – Kansas @ Colorado: Washington-San Diego State will be a fun one, but without a doubt the Jayhawks and Buffaloes take this spot. The two will meet at 12:15 PM Pacific on Saturday afternoon in Boulder. Colorado is off to a nice 7-1 start, but dropped its only contest with a ranked team against Baylor. Kansas has topped a pair of ACC opponents in Duke and Wake Forest so far this season and is led by sophomore forward Perry Ellis, who is averaging 15.1 PPG. Leading the Buffs is junior Spencer Dinwiddie, who is scoring at a 13.8 PPG clip in Tad Boyle‘s backcourt. You can catch the game on ESPN2.