Pac-12 Roundup: Week SevenPosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) and Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on December 31st, 2013
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the seventh week of Pac-12 basketball.
Power Rankings (as voted upon by Connor Pelton and Andrew Murawa):
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 both agree that there isn’t a lot of difference between the two Washington schools and, say, Arizona State. The #6-#10 spots are the most interesting, so check the results below.
- Arizona (13-0, 2 Points). Comment: “The Wildcats have steamrolled the teams you’d expect them to and answered the bell against each of the talented opponents it has faced. But there’s probably even a higher gear the team is capable of and will need to bring out to perform like they are expected.” – Bryan Doherty (@BDohertyCFB)
- Oregon (12-0, 4 Points). Comment: “There may be other backcourts that are more efficient, but nobody has more weapons than the Ducks. The firepower is nearly impossible for an opponent to guard on a regular basis.” – Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein)
- Colorado (11-2, 6 Points). Comment: “Coming into the season, the biggest question mark surrounding this team was whether they could find a way to make up for the 11 rebounds per game that Andre Roberson took with him to the NBA. With the non-conference portion of the schedule now complete, the Buffaloes can confidently answer that question with a “yes.” – Brian Howell (@BrianHowell33)
- UCLA (11-2, 8 Points). Comment: “The Bruins had developed a nasty habit of second half collapses against quality competition, and it looked like that might happen on Saturday as well as the Crimson Tide used a 9-0 spurt early in the second half to take a 43-39 lead. But UCLA responded with 10 straight to take a lead they would never relinquish.” – Rob Dauster (@RobDauster)
- Stanford (9-3, 10 Points). Comment: “Stanford has showed signs of improvement. Ever since its loss to Pittsburgh, the Cardinal has stepped up its game. They did more than just show they can beat a ranked team (and a top-10 team at that), they showed they could turn the ball over less.” – Anthony Dimuro (@ADiMuro21Sports)
- Utah (11-1, 13 Points). Comment: “The good news: Utah enters conference play with an 11-1 record – their best start in over a decade. The bad news: Utah has played all of two decent teams, splitting both games.” – (@BlockU)
- Arizona State (11-2, 13 Points). Comment: “It wasn’t done exactly the same way it has been going for Arizona State, but the Sun Devils withstood a late rally [from UC Irvine] to finish a respectable non-conference schedule.” – Al Bravo
- USC (9-4, 17 Points). Comment: “USC has played its worst basketball this season against bad teams, so it was no surprise Sunday the Trojans led lowly Howard by only three points at halftime.” – Scott Wolf (@InsideUSC)
- California (9-4, 18 Points). Comment: “The Furman game was most interesting in part because Monty was completely willing to play deep into the bench throughout the game. At one point, he played a lineup with Sam Singer, Jordan Mathews, Tyrone Wallace, Roger Moute a Bidias, and Kameron Rooks.” – Nick Kranz
- Oregon State (8-4, 19 Points). Difficulty of playing good mid-majors, on paper your talent might be better, but their systems/fits are better & they’re accustomed to winning. — Eric Bowman (@eb_hoops) December 25, 2013
- Washington (8-5, 23 Points). Hawks miss a layup on the other end and for the third time in two months, the Huskies will escape against a terrible team. — Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) December 30, 2013
- Washington State (7-5, 23 Points). WSU Coach Ken Bone said Davonte Lacy is out “for a while” after appendix surgery. Not playing Thursday against Arizona. — Jonathan Gold (@TheCoolSub) December 30, 2013
Best Game – Alabama @ UCLA: While the Oregon State-Hawaii match-up on Christmas Day was a fun one, it was nice to see a competitive SEC/Pac-12 game on a weekend slate filled with cupcakes. Alabama went on a 9-0 run to take the lead on host UCLA early in the second half, but the Bruins calmed down and slowly worked its way back. Second year big man Tony Parker dominated the Crimson Tide inside and posted his highest point total since November 12, scoring a team-high 16 points. UCLA went on a 19-10 run to break a tie coming out of the first media timeout of the second half, and while the Bruins never relinquished that lead, Alabama, or should I say Trevor Releford, came back to tie the game at 67-all with 1:35 left. Releford had scored 10 straight Tide points in fewer than three minutes, and when he recorded two steals and hit a three and a layup on top of the forced turnovers in the course of 15 seconds to knot things up, the crowd of 9,061 at Pauley Pavilion was getting antsy and nervous. A host of four different Bruins settled things down, however, making all eight of their free throw attempts and stepping up on the defensive end of the floor to deny the Tide another basket. The Bruins’ 75-67 victory puts UCLA at 11-2 heading into league play.
Upsets: None. Zip. Nada. In a quiet week around the country thanks to Christmas coming last Wednesday, the slate was light and what games were played were mostly against low-majors.
Team of the Week: Colorado – Really, it’s the last sort of dead week of the year with most teams only playing once (at most) since we last did this. But of all the Pac-12 teams in action, the Buffaloes cornered the market on looking the most impressive against a marginally solid team. Colorado got after it early and often against Georgia, with all five starters notching double-figure scoring. Askia Booker led the way with 19 points, Josh Scott double-doubled (14/13), and the Buffaloes have clearly come a long way since opening night.
Player of the Week: Tony Parker, Sophomore, UCLA – An argument can easily be made that Parker wasn’t one of the best two or three players on his own team on Saturday night. But he was clearly one of the most important. On a Bruins’ team lacking in frontcourt talent, Parker contributed 16 points (on 6-of-7 shooting), five boards and a couple of blocks in just 19 minutes of action. More importantly, down the stretch against Alabama and with UCLA hinting at a late-game collapse, Parker pulled his team along to a win, notching two points, two boards and a block in the final minute after the Crimson Tide had tied the game. While he’s yet to prove his ability to consistently provide the energy and efficiency needed from him, Saturday night’s performance was a welcome sign.
Newcomer of the Week: Joseph Young, Junior, Oregon – Efficiency is the name of the game this week in these awards, what with Young notching 24 points on just 13 field goal attempts on Sunday in a win over Morgan State. While you can bet Young is kicking himself for his single missed free throw (he’s now dipped to just 82.3 percent on the year – gasp!), he’s proven himself to be one of the most efficient offensive players in the nation this season.
Freshman of the Week: Nigel Williams-Goss, Freshman, Washington – It certainly hasn’t been a dream season for the Huskies, but Williams-Goss is beginning to make some strides. Against Mississippi Valley State on Friday night, he scored 18 points (his most in more than a month), grabbed eight boards, and handed out five assists, before following that up on Sunday night with 11 points, three boards and five more assists against Hartford.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Oregon @ Colorado – A Top 25 match-up at the toughest venue in the conference to close out the opening week of league play? Yes, please. The Ducks and Buffaloes will meet at 2:00 PM Pacific time Sunday on Fox Sports 1. The winner becomes the early favorite to combat Arizona for the conference title, and while the loser is by no means in any sort of trouble, they will leave with a blown opportunity to get a signature win in early January. The visiting Ducks are currently 12-0, with quality wins against Georgetown, Mississippi, and Illinois, all away from home. Colorado now sits at 11-2 and has bested Harvard and Kansas along the way.