Pac-12 Roundup: Week SixPosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) and Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on December 24th, 2013
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the sixth week of Pac-12 basketball.
Power Rankings (As voted upon by Connor Pelton, Andrew Murawa, and Adam Butler):
Arizona is once again the unanimous top choice, with the next four slots all agreed upon as well. From there, things get somewhat muddied but we all agree that there isn’t a lot of difference between the two Washington schools and, say, USC. The #6-#10 spots are the most interesting, so check the results below.
1. Arizona (13-0, 3 Points). Comment: “The Wildcats have proven the most in college basketball. That is something I have no issue saying.” – Bryan Doherty (@BDohertyCFB)
2. Oregon (11-0, 6 Points). Comment: “So the Ducks stay undefeated, but Altman’s got a chore ahead of him in figuring out what his rotation is gonna look like.” – Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa)
3. Colorado (10-2, 9 Points). Comment: “Despite the good things the Buffs did on Saturday (vs. Oklahoma State), they left knowing that a better effort on both ends of the floor could have produced a win, rather than a disappointing defeat.” – Brian Howell (@BrianHowell33)
4. UCLA (10-2, 12 Points). Comment: “Pauley Pavilion drew more fans than it had all season (against Weber State). Those lucky 7,013 could have witnessed the first Bruin to have two career triple-doubles (Kyle Anderson).” – Jack Wang (@thejackwang)
5. Stanford (8-3, 15 Points). Comment: “I am weirdly excited about a Stanford basketball game. Going to lie down and see if this feeling is real or not.” – Scott Allen (@RuleofTree)
6. Arizona State (10-2, 20 Points). Comment: “The Sun Devils were unable to earn “big time” non-conference wins because they didn’t have great opportunities presented to them. Marquette and UNLV arguably fit the criteria but neither stands out prominently. Now the Sun Devils need to avoid devastating non-conference losses.” – Ben Haber (@HaberBen)
7. California (8-4, 22 Points). Comment: “These are dangerous times for the Bears. Without Ricky Kreklow, it’s going to be very tough to play a four-guard lineup. Without Jabari Bird, Cal won’t be able to get by if any of their main offensive options have off nights.” – Nick Kranz
8. Utah (10-1, 23 Points). Comment: “A win over Oregon in Salt Lake City (January 2) would give the Utes even more confidence as they dive into conference play. Utah would also gain the national attention needed to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA.” – Lafe Peavler (@MasterPeavler)
9. USC (8-4, 26 Points). Comment: “USC basketball, thus far, has had a very up-and-down season in new coach Andy Enfield’s first campaign in Los Angeles.” – Matt Lombardi (@Lombosco)
10. Oregon State (7-3, 30 Points). Comment: “For Oregon State, this is a huge victory against George Mason. To be outrebounded by nine and still come away with a win is very impressive.” – Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28)
11. Washington (6-5, 33 Points). Comment: “Washington had hoped an upset victory over a top-10 team would erase its early-season mishaps and prove the Huskies could play with the best teams in the country.” – Percy Allen (@percyallen)
12. Washington State (6-5, 35 Points). Comment: “UTEP started getting hot behind the shooting of Julian Washburn and Vince Hunter to take an early lead that the Miners never relinquished against the Cougs.” – Thomas Clouse (@ClouseThomas)
Best Game – Stanford @ Connecticut: Some might think USC’s overtime, buzzer-beating upset of Dayton deserves this spot, but any time you beat a top ten team on the road, you’re qualifying for the game of the week title. The Cardinal only trailed by two with 3:10 remaining in the first half, but a 8-0 Husky run to enter the locker rooms quieted any talks of an upset. Someone didn’t tell that to Johnny Dawkins‘ squad, however, which battled all the way back despite falling behind by as many as 13. Stanford took the lead with 10:55 to play, and both teams went back and forth from there. The deciding moment came with 3:35 left on a Chasson Randle layup, which put the Cards up 52-49. UConn pulled to within one a minute later and the lead was upped to two after a Josh Huestis free throw with 30 seconds remaining. Both Shabazz Napier and Omar Calhoun had looks in the final ten seconds for the Huskies, one for the tie, one for the win, but both missed, and Stanford escaped Hartford with the 53-51 victory.
Upsets – There were four upsets in the Pac-12 in week six, two of which were good news for the conference. After the aforementioned win in Hartford, USC went down to Long Beach State one night later and managed to fall to the one-loss 49ers, 72-72. Saturday saw 6-5 UTEP travel to the Palouse, where the Miners exited with an easy 13-point win after a horrendous shooting night by Washington State. The final surprise came on Sunday morning in southwestern Ohio, where the Trojans avenged their head-scratching loss earlier in the week with a 79-76 overtime win on a fading away, Pe’Shon Howard three-pointer as time expired to best Dayton.
Team of the Week: Stanford – Even with a neutral court loss against Michigan, the Cardinal made the biggest impression of any Pac-12 team this week, showing that they actually do have a little bit of fight in them. On a tough eastern seaboard road trip, they handle Connecticut in a true road game and then fought back from a stretch of uninspired play against the Wolverines to make things exceedingly interesting late in the Barclays Center. While there is still plenty of room for improvement, at least Johnny Dawkins’ group has a pulse.
Player of the Week: Jason Calliste, Oregon– The senior transfer was an afterthought at the start of the year for the Ducks, what with Mike Moser and Joseph Young getting most of the pub. But Calliste has been a terrific scorer off the bench and checks in as the best shooter on the team to this point, something that might put a shock into fans of Young. Calliste has hit 91.7% from the free throw line, 58.1% from three and had the best game of his career this week with a 31-point explosion in a game where the Ducks needed everyone of those points to knock off BYU.
Newcomer of the Week: Jermaine Marshall, Arizona State – Just to spread around the love a little, we’ll give Marshall a nod here. After all, he was no slouch, knocking in seven threes against Texas Tech on the way to 27 points.
Freshman of the Week: Aaron Gordon, Arizona – You get the feeling Gordon wanted to remind everybody that he was pretty good too, what with some of his teammates usurping the spotlight a bit. And so, last week, on just 11 field goal attempts, Gordon went for 21 points and filled in all the slots on the statsheet (except turnovers – that’s a good thing, remember) in a blowout win over Southern.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Oregon State @ Hawaii – Colorado blowing out Georgia didn’t exactly see like a very fun pick here, so instead, we’re going out to the Islands. The Beavers will meet the Rainbow Warriors on Christmas morning Honolulu time and at 1:00 PM Pacific. This is also for the title of fifth place in the Diamond Head Classic, and the right to leave the tournament at 2-1. Hawaii is off to a nice 8-3 start, with its only losses coming against New Mexico State, Missouri, and Boise State. Its best win would have to be over 9-2 Saint Mary’s last night, who the Rainbows overtook late with a jumper and forced turnover. You can catch the game on ESPNU.