Pac-12 Roundup: Week TenPosted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) & Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on January 22nd, 2014
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the tenth 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, and the next two spots below the Wildcats were in complete agreement as well. Check the full results below.
- Arizona (18-0, 3 Points). Comment: “The Wildcats have restored championship pride in a city that seemed to be dying on the vine after Lute Olson’s empire crumbled, after the Cactus League pulled up stakes and headed up the interstate.” – Dan Bickley (@danbickley)
- California (14-4, 6 Points). Comment: “Pac-12 has changed so much in just three weeks. UO and Colorado no longer contenders & UCLA has been exposed. Cal appears to be the only challenger to Arizona.” – Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28)
- UCLA (14-4, 9 Points). Comment: “I’m so over this @UCLAMBB team. Not watching them the rest of the season. See y’all when spring football starts. Peace.” – Miguel Melendez (@MelendezSports)
- Stanford (12-5, 13 Points). Comment: “Viewed in isolation, one may argue that Stanford has experienced a few bad breaks with the “injury bug”; however, in the context of the last four seasons, a disturbing trend emerges around Dawkins’ inability to keep his players healthy. In Dawkins’ five and a half seasons, there have been eight season-ending injuries; in the six seasons prior to Dawkins’ arrival, there were three.” – Daniel Jacobson (@danieljacobson_)
- Colorado (15-4, 17 Points). Comment: “Ski is about to go into full jack-up mode, and honestly it’s the best option for the Buffs right now.” – Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg)
- Utah (14-4, 18 Points). Comment: “The question now lies in whether Utah can bottle its magic and take it on the road. The numbers are ugly this season. The Utes are 0-3 away from the Huntsman Center. They scored 57 and 46 points, respectively, against Washington and Washington State.” – Tony Jones (@Tjonessltrib)
- Oregon State (10-7, 23 Points). Comment: “That’s a huge win for the Beavers. Could be the difference in some important seeds come Vegas time. On the other end, killer for Oregon.” – Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28)
- Arizona State (13-5, 24 Points). Comment: “As crazy as it sounds, the next six days feel like the biggest of Herb Sendek’s tenure. Arizona State is 13-5 overall, 2-3 in the Pac-12. The hunch here is the Sun Devils would need to win seven of their remaining 13 regular-season games to go 9-9 in the conference and be in good position to secure an NCAA Tournament invitation.” – Paola Boivin (@PaolaBoivin)
- Oregon (13-4, 25 Points). Comment: “Bucks, Ducks and Tar Heels all sinking to the bottom of the pool right now.” – Rush the Court (@rushthecourt)
- Washington (11-8, 29 Points). Comment: “It’d be easy to say that the team I noted as having the most to lose this weekend is our biggest loser. After all, they lost both their games and put up what seemed to be little fight. The Huskies certainly came back down to earth and indeed lost the sweet momentum they’d previously gained.” – Adam Butler (@pachoopsab)
- Washington State (8-10, 34 Points). Comment: “Whatever Washington State is doing at halftime, they might want to change it. On Saturday at Cal, the Cougs again came out of the locker room flat and a scrappy, 34-33 game turned into a runaway train.” – Barry Bolton (@COUGFANcom)
- USC (9-9, 35 Points). Comment: “Doesn’t matter for Enfield though. He gets to live in Southern California with that wife and that money. Pretty nice.” – Parker Baruh (@ParkerBaruh)
Best Game – Oregon @ Oregon State: I don’t know. This was a strange week out west. The two games that looked the best heading into the week — Washington-California and UCLA-Colorado — ended in blowouts, so it comes down to either Oregon State’s upset of Oregon or Utah’s shocker against the Bruins. When in doubt, tie goes to the rivalry. The Beavers jumped out to a 16-point lead on the visiting Ducks and held on for an 80-72 win despite a few key turnovers in the final three minutes. Senior guard Roberto Nelson led all scorers with 22 points for the Beavers, while Jason Calliste paced the Ducks with 17 off the bench. The win for Craig Robinson‘s club is the second one of quality in as many weeks, and a sweep of the Washington schools this coming week could solidify them as an NIT team, at least for the moment. While two wins up north would be nice for the Beavers, Oregon is desperate for a couple itself. The Ducks have now lost four straight and are sliding down NCAA Tournament seed lines at a record pace.
Team of the Week: Arizona – In a week with no clear winner (Cal, Stanford and Utah all received consideration), why not choose the team that is still atop the heap, the hottest team in the conference, and the number one team in the land? The Wildcats only played once this week, turning in a ho-hum 23-point dusting of in-state rival Arizona State. All seven players in their main rotation scored in double figures, with nobody topping 17 points in the outing. Everybody except Kaleb Tarczewski chipped in on the glass, had at least two assists and, as always, got after it on the defensive end. The Wildcats are not just the best team in the nation; they’re the best team in the nation.
Player of the Week: Jordan Loveridge, Sophomore, Utah – Like the award above, several different played earned consideration for this one, but Utah’s go-to guy gets the nod after helping his squad sweep the Los Angeles schools. And 16.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 4.0 APG are nothing to sneeze at.
Newcomer of the Week: T.J. McConnell, Junior, Arizona – Seems like we haven’t given McConnell enough attention around these parts, but he’s been instrumental in getting the Wildcats to their lofty national perch. His numbers against Arizona State this week were somewhat pedestrian (10 points, six assists, three steals, a couple threes), but he’s one of the primary reasons we’re able to praise the ‘Cats for their teamwork. He’s clearly the floor general, more interested in helping his team put up Ws than in putting up sparkly stats. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s insanely efficient; this week he made 4-of-5 field goal attempts, including those two threes.
Freshman of the Week: Que Johnson, Freshman, Washington State – In the absence of DaVonte Lacy, the freshman out of Michigan has had to take over the lead scoring role for Wazzu. He’s now scored in double figures in five straight games, and this week, he averaged 19.5 PPG while shooting a 57.7% eFG.
Upsets: There were three surprising results up and down the conference in the third week of league play, all coming on different days. Last Thursday, visiting UCLA took care of a Spencer Dinwiddie-less Colorado team with relative ease, but was then upset ifself two days later at Utah. And of course, Oregon State handed the Ducks their fourth straight loss in the Civil War game on Sunday night.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Colorado @ Arizona - This one will compete against Stanford-UCLA and the Oregon-Washington rivalry on the same night, but the always intense battle between the Buffs and Cats edges those two out. Arizona comes in at 18-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country, and has beautifully handled every test to date. It’s topped San Diego State, Michigan and UCLA on the road and Duke in New York City. An upset win for Colorado would pay huge dividends for a team that looks lost without its leader. The game will tip-off Thursday at 6:00 PM Pacific on ESPN2.