Pac-12 Roundup: Week 15Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) & Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on February 26th, 2014
Out of the country? Living under a rock? Here’s what you missed in the 15th week of Pac-12 basketball.
Power Rankings (as voted upon by Connor Pelton, Andrew Murawa, and Adam Butler)
Arizona is once again the unanimous number one in our weekly power rankings, but no team except the Wildcats and last place USC were completely agreed upon. Check the results below to see the jumbled mess that is the Pac-12.
- Arizona (25-2, 3 Points)
- UCLA (21-6, 7 Points)
- Stanford (18-8, 8 Points)
- California (18-9, 15 Points)
- Colorado (20-8, 18 Points)
- Arizona State (19-8, 19 Points)
- Utah (18-9, 21 Points)
- Oregon (18-8, 22 Points)
- Washington (15-13, 26 Points)
- Oregon State (14-12, 27 Points)
- Washington State (9-18, 33 Points)
- USC (10-17, 36 Points)
Best Game – Arizona at Utah: This baby ended up being much better than the more-hyped game between Arizona and Colorado that was played three days later in Boulder. Desperate for a resume-boosting win, Utah fought the Wildcats for 45 minutes as hard as anyone has all season. The visitors led by as many as 12 in the second half before the Utes came storming back. Sophomore forward Jordan Loveridge split a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 56, and the two teams went to overtime when Wildcat guard T.J. McConnell missed a jumper at the buzzer. Fourth-ranked Arizona would survive in the extra period, making five free throws in the final 20 seconds to win, 67-63. Sean Miller‘s team all but locked up a one seed in the NCAA Tournament with the sweep of Utah and Colorado. The Utes kept their slim at-large hopes alive by blowing out Arizona State on Sunday, but they likely still need to win their final three regular season games thanks to a low RPI.
Team of the Week: Arizona – The Wildcats reestablished their dominance in the conference by heading to the Rocky Mountains and coming back home with two good road wins. Coupled with UCLA’s loss to Stanford, Arizona now has a hammerlock on the conference lead and will be the #1 seed in Las Vegas barring an epic collapse. But most importantly, Sean Miller’s club appears to have rebuilt itself in the absence of sophomore power forward Brandon Ashley and are ready to move forward with confidence.
Player of the Week: Josh Huestis, Senior, Stanford – While the Cardinal got contributions from up and down their roster in sweeping the Los Angeles schools this week, Huestis was the most spectacular, recording weekly averages of 16.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and four blocks per game, while showing off his versatile inside/outside skill set on both ends of the court. On a team where Chasson Randle, Dwight Powell and, to a lesser extent, Anthony Brown, get the most publicity, the senior from Great Falls, Montana, is just as important to his team’s success.
Newcomer of the Week: Mike Moser, Senior, Oregon – He’s been an enigma for much of the season, and let’s face it, for much of his career. But this week Moser was a bundle of highly athletic and efficient energy for the Ducks. The 20.5 points and six rebounds per game were one thing, but that eFG rate of 76 percent is through the roof. And even more importantly, his presence on the defensive end is the prescription for what has ailed the Ducks in conference play. He challenged shots at the rim, pressured ball-handlers and used his length and athleticism to disrupt opponents.
Freshman of the Week: Aaron Gordon, Freshman, Arizona – Let’s be clear: Gordon is not winning this award for his largely invisible performance against Utah but rather for his brilliant performance against Colorado on Saturday. In just 27 minutes of action, Gordon scored 23 points on just 13 field goal attempts, knocked in both threes he attempted, grabbed eight boards and, well, he did this too.
Upcoming Game of the Week: Colorado at Utah – Look, I understand that the Pac-12 microsite here on Rush the Court hasn’t exactly been overwhelmed with excitement at the addition of the Utes and Buffaloes to the league. I also don’t like how the conference has forced the teams into a rivalry, and it irks me that the basketball version of this game is seemingly always played on a Saturday morning. It’s nothing personal against the two programs; the series just hasn’t felt natural. That will matter little on the first day of March in Salt Lake City later this week as Colorado looks to lock up an NCAA Tournament bid, and Utah looks to do the same for the NIT. The Huntsman Center rocks for big games and this one will be no different.