Pac-12 Roundup: Week 12Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) and Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on February 5th, 2014
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the 12th week of Pac-12 basketball.
Power Rankings (as voted upon by Connor Pelton, Andrew Murawa, and Adam Butler)
For the first time in more than a month, Arizona is no longer the unanimous number one team in our Power Rankings. Check the results below to see which team placed first, and the rest of the jumbled mess that is the Pac-12.
- Arizona (21-1, 4 Points)
- California (15-7, 5 Points)
- Stanford (14-7, 13 Points)
- Arizona State (16-6, 14 Points)
- UCLA (17-5, 15 Points)
- Colorado (16-6, 16 Points)
- Oregon State (13-8, 19 Points)
- Oregon (15-6, 25 Points)
- Utah (14-7, 26 Points)
- Washington State (9-12, 30 Points)
- Washington (13-9, 31 Points)
- USC (10-12, 35 Points)
Best Game – Arizona @ California: This was undoubtedly the best week of Pac-12 basketball in the 2013-14 campaign. The number one team in the country was nearly taken to overtime last Wednesday. UCLA hit a game-winning jumper with five seconds left at Oregon after winning a jump ball, then lost at Oregon State three days later. And oh yeah, three games actually DID go to overtime. And yet, none of those games rivaled Arizona vs. Cal on Saturday night. Neither team led by more than two possessions in the final 10 minutes, and on the Golden Bears’ bench, it was Justin Cobbs time. He scored the only Cal points in that period, including the fadeaway jumper with less than a second remaining that put his team up 60-58, sending the gold-out Haas Pavilion crowd into a premature court-rushing frenzy. The upset more than made up for California’s setback at USC two weeks ago, and gets them off the bubble for the moment. The Wildcats are now ranked second in the nation behind unbeaten Syracuse, but more important than losing the top spot and their undefeated record is the loss of sophomore forward Brandon Ashley. Ashley is gone for the season after breaking his right foot in Berkeley, and it will be interesting to see how the Wildcats’ offense performs without his services.
Team of the Week: Oregon State – The Beavers swept the Los Angeles schools in Corvallis this weekend and gave us two very exciting games in the process. First, on Thursday night, they needed a late comeback in regulation and one terrible overtime period to knock off USC. Then on Sunday they gave us a super game, withstanding a late charge from UCLA to earn their fourth win in five games. And, just when we had counted them out completely, they’re one of the like 32 teams tied for fourth place in the Pac-12. The Beavers are finally beginning to play really well. Craig Robinson’s rotation is tightening up; veterans are locking into their roles; and you can start to see the faintest outline of a tough team starting to take form.
Player of the Week: D.J. Shelton, Senior, Washington State – There were a lot of candidates this week, but Shelton gets the nod in part because of his outstanding stat-sheet filling performance against intrastate rival Washington this week. He did everything. He played 38 of 40 minutes and didn’t pick up a foul, which is outstanding for a power forward. He scored 20 points on just 11 field goal attempts, a great output for a team that struggles to score, and he also handed out three assists. He got to the line eight times (making six), knocked in a couple threes, and scored on offensive putbacks. He dominated on the glass, grabbing 18 rebounds and helping an undersized Cougars team win the rebounding battle. He was terrific wreaking defensive havoc as well, accounting for four steals and a block. But most importantly for a one-win team locked in a rivalry game, he brought tremendous energy.
Newcomer of the Week: Joseph Young, Junior, Oregon – After an unreal non-conference season, Young had slipped back to reality for much of January. But last weekend in Eugene, we were reminded of all the great things he can do for the Ducks. Sure, we hadn’t forgotten about his shooting ability, and this week he knocked in five threes and shot a 58.7% eFG. But he’s also capable of getting to work off the bounce and making things happen as a slasher; this week he earned 19 free throw attempts – and made all 19 of them. And in case you forgot, he’s also a disruptive defensive force when he’s feeling it, this week racking up a grand total of 11 steals. If this mighty Joe Young continues to show up, the Ducks have a chance to turn things around.
Freshman of the Week: Hallice Cooke, Freshman, Oregon State – The numbers are nice enough: 15.5 points per game, 5-of-8 from three, 84.4% eFG in 35 minutes per night. But when all that production happened is just as important. On Wednesday night, it was a deep Cooke three with under a minute left in regulation that got the Beavers back to even after a prolonged offensive drought. On Sunday it was five straight points, including a three from the wing, to reestablish Oregon State’s control and turn what was a five-point deficit into what would become a 10-point lead. On a team where Roberto Nelson and the three veteran big guys get the most attention, Cooke’s ability to make opponents pay for their inattention has turned the Beavers into an upper-division Pac-12 team.
Upsets: There were five surprising results up and down the conference in week 12, highlighted of course by California‘s shocker of Arizona. Three nights earlier, however, it was the Golden Bears on the wrong end of an upset, as an Arizona State team desperate for a quality victory came into Berkeley and walked out with an 89-78 overtime win. As we mentioned before, UCLA tipped Oregon on Thursday, then was surprised by a rapidly-improving Oregon State squad on Sunday morning. The other upset of the week came in the hardwood version of the Apple Cup, where Washington State surprised rival Washington, 72-67.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Oregon @ Arizona – There may be a couple of rivalry games this week in the state of California, but I’m interested in seeing how the Wildcats respond to their first loss of the season. On the other side are the Ducks, a team that can afford to drop only three more games the rest of the way if they want to return to the NCAA Tournament. Also, Bill Walton will be there. So he’ll be entertaining, even if nothing else is.