Pac-12 Roundup: Week 14Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) and Drew Murawa (@AMurawa) on February 18th, 2014
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the 14th week of Pac-12 basketball.
Power Rankings (as voted upon by Connor Pelton and Andrew Murawa)
T1. Arizona State (19-6, 4 Points). Comment: “Is Arizona State even an accredited university? Or is it like DeVry?” – Jordan Majewski (@jorcubsdan)
T1. UCLA (20-5, 4 Points). Comment: “UCLA student section chanting “one more year” to Zach LaVine. I’m guessing NBA scouts want in on that chant too.” – Drew Murawa (@AMurawa)
4. Colorado (19-7, 5 Points). Comment: “Someone is SKIing in Los Angeles right now.” – Adam Butler (@pachoopsab)
5. California (17-8, 8 Points). Comment: “California escapes for an 80-76 overtime win in Pullman and avoids losing to the two worst teams in the conference.” – Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28)
T6. Oregon (16-8, 14 Points). Comment: “You want to know how well Oregon is playing? I don’t even have anything bad to say about Waverly Austin.” – Matt Daddy (@mattdaddysblog)
T6. Stanford (16-8, 14 Points). Comment: “You know, with your tourney life on the line, you just have to win that game. Have to. Period. But this is Dawkins ball, friends.” – Scott Allen (@RuleofTree)
8. Washington (14-12, 15 Points). Comment: “Focus shifts now to the NIT and whether or not the Huskies can pull together a resume that is good enough to get into that tournament. This team is so fundamentally outmanned that I’m not sure they can really even do that.” – Chris Landon (@chrislandon)
9. Utah (17-8, 16 Points). Comment: “Utah could very well be a NIT team, and, if things break their way, potentially build the resume of a NCAA one. I don’t think the latter happens without overcoming some daunting challenges, but the road to the NIT still exists and hopefully, at least for this season, the Utes will be able to gain the traction needed to proceed down it.” – @BlockU
10. Oregon State (13-11, 19 Points). Comment: “Final score won’t be indicative of how winnable this game was. That’s three of OSU’s last four road games that have felt winnable. All losses.” – Grady Garrett (@gradygarett)
T11. Washington State (9-16, 23 Points). Comment: “I’ll say this: Whatever you think of the late-game strategy, the Cougs gave up 1.25 points per possession to California. Pin frustrations there.” – Jeff Nusser (@NussCoug)
T11. USC (10-15, 23 Points). Comment: “A change ta da lineup be a mina tweak an’ da Trojanz aquia a massive rosta overhaul fo’next season. N’ da meantime, da quesshun will be whetha USC can win anotha Pacific-12 Conferince game?” – Dat LA Gangsta (@LADailyNewz)
Best Game – Arizona @ Arizona State: While California and Washington State went to overtime in Pullman on Wednesday, nothing could match the excitement in the desert for the Territorial Cup on Friday night. The eyes of the country were on Tempe, and boy did everyone get a treat. Second-ranked Arizona led by as many as six points in the first half, but a quick start to the second half for Arizona State gave the Sun Devils a small lead. Herb Sendek‘s team led 47-41 with seven and a half minutes remaining, but the Wildcats, as they seemingly have done all season, closed regulation on a 10-4 run to force overtime. After center Jordan Bachynski split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 57 in that first extra period, both teams went ice cold and were held scoreless for the final two minutes. Trailing 63-59 with just over 90 seconds left in the second overtime, senior guard Jermaine Marshall took over. The Penn State transfer scored the Sun Devils’ next eight points, the last of which came on a layup to go ahead 67-66 with 15 seconds to play. Bachynski swatted away T.J. McConnell‘s game-winner attempt at the other end of the floor into the hands of point guard Jahii Carson, who put an exclamation point on the upset with a slam dunk. Nick Johnson actually got a clean look to force a third overtime since Carson chose not to dribble the clock out, but the shot fell short, resulting in an excellent court rush by The Inferno.
Team of the Week: California – Any time you go on the road in conference play and come back with consecutive wins, you’re doing something right. It doesn’t matter if it is against the worst set of traveling partners in the league or if it took overtime to knock off Washington State; two roads wins are two road wins. Richard Solomon led the way with 16.5 PPG and 9.0 RPG and now looks completely recovered from his mini-swoon over the past three weeks, while Tyrone “Smoochie” Wallace continued his strong play of late. Now the Golden Bears sit in fourth place in the conference, just two games out of Arizona’s lead. With the Wildcats staggering a little bit lately, the door to the conference title may still be slightly ajar.
Player of the Week: Kyle Anderson, Sophomore, UCLA – It seems like Slo-Mo just doesn’t get the pub he deserves, so we’re gonna try to right that by giving him the nod over an equally deserving Jermaine Marshall of Arizona State. Anderson this week? All he did was average 19.0 points, 8.5 boards and 8.0 assists per game, knock in both of the three-point shots he took en route to a weekly 68.2% eFG, and calmly lead his Bruins past a pair of solid visitors from the Rocky Mountains.
Newcomer of the Week: Jermaine Marshall, Senior, Arizona State – The graduate transfer from Penn State gets this consolation prize for his performance in helping the Sun Devils knock off intrastate rival Arizona. He scored 29 of his team’s 69 points for the game, and even more importantly, eight of its 12 points in the second and final overtime period to help the Sun Devils squeak one out.
Freshman of the Week: Aaron Gordon, Freshman, Arizona – Even in a losing effort where once again his struggles at the free throw line shone in a bad light, Gordon still regularly proved his worth to the Wildcats. He double-doubled in ho-hum fashion (13 points and 10 boards), but repeatedly made big plays on the defensive end, whether against 7’2” Jordan Bachynski or 5’10” (cough, cough) Jahii Carson. His ability to positively affect the action on both ends of the court is one of the most important factors in keeping the Wildcats atop this league.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Arizona at Colorado – Arizona dominated Colorado when the two met in Tucson earlier this season, but the dynamics of this game have changed big-time without Brandon Ashley available. The Wildcats need to prove they can win on the road without their third-leading scorer if they want to stay on the top seed line in the NCAA Tournament, and depending on what happens a few nights earlier in Salt Lake City, this game could be ginormous for Sean Miller‘s team. On the other side are the Buffaloes, which have won four of their last five but are left with a bad taste in their mouth after an 18-point loss at the hands of UCLA last week. They haven’t gotten a quality win since upsetting Kansas back in December, and welcoming a top five Arizona team to Boulder is the perfect chance to change that.