Pac-12 Roundup: Week NinePosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) and Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on January 14th, 2014
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the ninth 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 this week, but every spot below the Wildcats saw more turmoil than usual. Check the results below.
- Arizona (17-0, 3 Points). Comment: “It seemed like there was just an overall lack of focus and too much hero ball going on early. Once everyone settled in and started moving the ball around, there was no way USC was able to get back into it, and Arizona asserted itself by finishing the game with a 25-10 run to win the game by 20.” – Jason Bartel (@jasonbartel)
- California (12-4, 6 Points). Comment: “And so the Bears have won three straight conference road games by an average margin of eight points. Who saw that one coming? With three straight winnable games on the horizon, Cal has a sudden and unexpected opportunity to make some serious noise in the Pac-12.” – Nick Kranz (@GoldenBlogs)
- UCLA (13-3, 10 Points). Comment: “UCLA enters the AP poll with a loss to Arizona.” – Adam Butler (@pachoopsab)
- Colorado (14-3, 14 Points). Comment: “Damn. Dinwiddie news is terrible. Have a feeling Boyle will get this team to respond, but doubt they can make the second weekend now.” – Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa)
- Washington (11-6, 18 Points). Comment: “Those who have complained about Romar’s offense definitely have been put to silence. The UW offense looks much improved in the second year of the high post system, as the Huskies have been using an array of screens and cuts to get Wilcox and the rest of the guards open.” – Erik Erickson (@Erik_Erickson)
- Stanford (10-5, 19 Points). Comment: “Maybe we start a new segment in here that’s just called WHAT DOES THE STANFORD SAY? and then I just write or link to whatever I want and it’s wildly unpredictable and completely upsetting but you’re attracted to that instability by some unintelligible force that keeps telling you that they’ll change. Did I just describe my ex-girlfriend?” – Adam Butler (@pachoopsab)
- Oregon (13-3, 21 Points). Comment: “Oregon could not capitalize on their golden opportunities to steal one from Stanford as their last two shots clanked off the rim; first Johnathan Loyd’s jumper and then a driving layup from Dominic Artis, allowing the Cardinal to escape with an 82-80 win.” – Jake Tabor (@JakeTabor541)
- Arizona State (13-4, 22 Points). Comment: “The Sun Devils are in a tough spot going forward, too, as eight of their 14 remaining games come against Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon. Herb Sendek’s crew has a fight on its hands just to get to .500 in the Pac-12.” – Matt Norlander and Jeff Borzello (@EyeOnCBB)
- Oregon State (9-7, 25 Points). Comment: “The Beavers beat Stanford, 81-72! Great reward for a great week of practice. Really impressed by the team on both ends of the court.” – Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28)
- Utah (12-4, 30 Points). Comment: “What a joke this program is. Just drop basketball.” – (@BlockU)
- Washington State (8-8, 32 Points). Comment: “Every recap I’ve read regarding the Utah game proclaimed the Cougs won “ugly.” I don’t know; I’m not thrilled at the amount of missed open shots relatively close to the basket last night, but the Cougs played some pretty fantastic defense for the second game in a row and got to the free throw line when shots weren’t falling. If that’s ugly, I’ll take it over losing pretty any day.” – Kyle Sherwood (@BigWoodWSU)
- USC (9-7, 35 Points). Comment: “Apparently my decision to go out for sushi instead of watching the USC basketball game was a good one.” – Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy)
Best Game – Arizona @ UCLA: This was our highlighted game of the week and we weren’t disappointed. The host Bruins saved their best play for the late-arriving Los Angeles crowd after trailing big for most of the night. A Kyle Anderson jumper with 5:15 left started a 15-1 binge for UCLA that quickly turned a 13-point deficit into a one-point lead. Arizona, however, then proved why it’s the top ranked team in the country. The Wildcats hit eight free throws in the final 65 seconds to escape Pauley Pavilion with the 79-75 win. Arizona guard Nick Johnson led all scorers with 22 points, while Anderson led the Bruins with 16 points and 11 boards. You can add this victory to a list of quality ones away from home for the Cats, one that also includes teams like San Diego State, Duke, and Michigan. Things don’t get any easier this week as Arizona State comes calling for the first Territorial Cup of the season.
Team of the Week – California – Anytime you go on the road in conference play and come away with a pair of wins, you’re in the money. When you start your conference schedule with three consecutive road wins, not to mention doing so while playing shorthanded, you are in dire need of attention. When one of those three wins includes a road win over a team that was, until just recently, undefeated and a top 10 team? Give ‘em the trophy. The Golden Bears are such a team. Led by senior point guard Justin Cobbs (20.0 PPG, 10.0 APG, 5.5 RPG this week), but getting contributions from some unexpected sources (Jordan Mathews a breakout 32 points in the win over Oregon and Jeff Powers knocking down four threes on the way to 14 points against Oregon State), the Golden Bears are looking like the team perhaps best suited to challenge Arizona in the conference.
Player of the Week – Chasson Randle, Junior, Stanford – The Cardinal point guard was absurd this week, unstoppable in getting into the lane and scoring against the Oregon schools. The numbers alone (26.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 60.9% eFG) only begin to tell the story of his dominance, especially against the Ducks on Sunday when he willed his team to the road victory.
Freshman of the Week – Zach LaVine, Freshman, UCLA – The numbers are fine – 14.0 PPG, 61.9% eFG – but really. Who are we kidding? LaVine won this award right here.
Upsets: There were four upsets up and down the conference in the second week of league play. On Thursday the spotlight was on the state of Oregon, where Oregon State topped Stanford behind some lineup changes, and California shocked Oregon thanks to a career high, 32-point performance from freshman Jordan Matthews. The Ducks were surprised again three days later by the aforementioned Cardinal, dropping Dana Altman’s club out of the Top 25 rankings. But the biggest upset of the week came on a Sunday afternoon in Seattle, where 10-6 Washington destroyed #15 Colorado, 71-54.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Arizona State @ Arizona - This one has to go up against UCLA-Colorado on the same night, but I think the Territorial Cup edges out that one. Arizona comes in at 17-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country, and has handled every test to date beautifully. It’s topped San Diego State, Michigan, and UCLA on the road and Duke in New York City. An upset win for Arizona State would take the Sun Devils’ tournament résumé from one of a top NIT team to the NCAA Tournament. The game will tip-off Thursday at 6:00 PM Pacific on Fox Sports 1.