Pac-12 Weekly Honors: Week Seven

Posted by Andrew Murawa on January 5th, 2015

Each week the Pac-12 microsite will run down our weekly superlatives, which typically will include a Team, Player and Newcomer of the Week, along with our weekly Power Rankings.

Team of the Week: Washington State

Ernie Kent's First Conference Win At Washington State Earns The Cougs Our Choice as Team of the Week (Rick Bowmer, AP)

Ernie Kent’s First Conference Win At Washington State Earns The Cougs Our Choice as Team of the Week (Rick Bowmer, AP)

We had four voters each pick a different team this week, but you know what? I’m the one tallying the votes, so tie goes to the writer. And in this case, Washington State. Why does Ernie Kent’s squad get the nod over other candidates like Utah, Stanford and Colorado – all of which will likely finish further up the rankings than the Cougars? Why pick a team that opened conference play with a 15-point loss? Here’s a couple of reasons. First, to steal a phrase, in conference play, all wins are created equally, but road wins are a little more equal than others. And in the opening week of Pac-12 play, the Cougars were the only team to go on the road and come back with a W – a surprising win over Cal on Sunday afternoon. Secondly, given that Kent’s team has been consistently polling as the worst team in our conference this season; and further given that the Cougs got off on such a bad foot against Stanford; it is fun to recognize an underdog that is still playing hard and beginning to put some things together. We don’t expect Washington State to be in the mix atop the conference standings this season, but at least for the time being they are alone among the competition in one positive accomplishment.

(Also receiving votes: Colorado; Stanford; Utah)

Player of the Week: Jordan Mathews, California

Much like our Team of the Week section, this award could have gone any number of ways, but we’ll give the nod to Mathews for his highly-efficient scoring outburst in a home split against the Washington schools. With Jabari Bird still out with an injury and with Tyrone Wallace earning a second glance from every opponent, Mathews stepped up this week and kept his team alive, shooting a 68.3% eFG on his way to a 27.5 per night scoring average, leading all scorers in conference play.

(Also receiving votes: Josh Hawkinson, Washington State; Chasson Randle, Stanford; Joseph Young, Oregon)

Newcomer of the Week: Robert Upshaw, Washington

His team may be mired in a three-game losing streak but Robert Upshaw is still on a roll, blocking just about everything that comes into the paint against the Huskies. The newly christened “Upshaq” (credit to Adam Butler) sent home another nine shots this weekend in the Bay Area, but, incredibly, his block percentage has actually dropped. He’s now only blocking 17.4 percent of his opponents two-point field goal attempts on the season, and that’s not even taking into account all the shots he alters and all the ball-handlers his presence dissuades from entering the lane. While his defense gets all of the attention, he’s turning into a viable offensive threat as well. This week he averaged 13 points per game, mostly on finishes around the rim, and seemingly every week the sophomore big man shows another flash of growth.

Power Rankings


Utah remains atop this week’s conference power rankings, with Arizona continuing to receive the first place vote of a lone holdout who has yet to completely hop on the Utes’ bandwagon. Elsewhere, Washington took a tumble down our rankings on the basis of those two road losses, with Stanford and Oregon each bumping up a spot over the Huskies. But the biggest move of the week was with Colorado, a team that had seemingly caused all of our voters to run out of patience with the Buffaloes when they were voted 11th last week. A couple nice home wins have caused some reconsideration among the group, as Colorado is now up to seventh. Their opposite is UCLA, a team that was regularly ranked in the top four during the first month of the season and which has now fallen to a (generous) ninth.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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