Pac-12 Weekly Honors: Week Two

Posted by Andrew Murawa on November 30th, 2015

Pac-12 teams this week played in tournaments from Maui to the Bahamas, from Brooklyn to Orange County. And, well… let’s just get to the carnage.

Team of the Week: Oregon

Dwayne Benjamin and The Ducks Have Been The Best Conference Team This Year

Dwayne Benjamin and the Ducks have been the best team in the Pac-12 this year

It was difficult to come up with a selection here. I polled many knowledgeable people. Adam Butler suggested that it had to be either UCLA or Washington, because at least they had nice vacations in Maui and the Bahamas, respectively. Jeff Eisenberg was sure it had to be California and its three future first-round NBA Draft picks for sticking within 14 points of San Diego State and within four points of mighty Richmond. Still, I kept searching. Four teams got through last week without losing a game – Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington State. But these are the combined opponents that those four teams defeated: Arkansas State, Air Force, Northern Colorado, Idaho State, Cal State-Los Angeles and Texas Southern. So, we’re going to fudge things a little and acknowledge Oregon here. Last week we gave the nod to Washington for its surprising start to the season, but without a doubt, the conference team with the most impressive start after two weeks has been the Ducks. Not only do they have perhaps the two best wins among Pac-12 teams (over Baylor and Valparaiso), but they’ve done so without the benefit of two starters: senior point guard Dylan Ennis and sophomore center Jordan Bell. The Ducks will have a couple more tests this week with a visit from Fresno State tonight and their first road game of the season – at UNLV on Friday – but for now, Dana Altman’s squad remains the conference’s best hope for national glory.

Player of the Week: Josh Scott, Sr, Colorado

The competition wasn’t great – just Air Force and Northern Colorado — but anytime you play 56 minutes of Division I basketball in one week and average 19.5 points per game while missing just three field goals, you’re doing something right. Scott also added 15 boards and seven blocks in those two games. And now, after an uncharacteristically shaky opener against Iowa State, the senior has posted a KenPom offensive rating of at least 148.0 in every game since.

Freshman of the Week: Bennie Boatwright, USC

Bennie Boatwright's Inside-Outside Game Make Him One Of The Conference's Most Promising Freshmen (USC Athletics)

Bennie Boatwright’s Inside-Outside Game Make Him One Of The Conference’s Most Promising Freshmen (USC Athletics)

All the 6’10” freshman did for the week was average 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and a couple of threes per night. He helped the Trojans knock off a shorthanded Wichita State team before getting bested by two of the hotter teams in the nation (Xavier and Monmouth). And, for the record, USC is still up by a point over the Hawks in the season series. Game three in the First Four in Dayton?

Newcomer of the Week: Ryan Anderson, Sr, Arizona

The Boston College transfer was snubbed when he was left off the Wooden Legacy all-tournament team after averaging a double-double in Anaheim. No, he didn’t make regular pilgrimages to In-N-Out; he just averaged 18.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game against Santa Clara, Providence, and Boise State while providing toughness and senior leadership for a team searching for its identity. And sure, there may have been a flop or two along the way. But while Anderson is going to earn his fair share of boos around Pac-12 arenas this winter, he’s sure to be a fan favorite at the McKale Center.

Power Rankings

  1. Oregon – My fellow voters have come around to the idea of the Ducks as the best team in the conference. Thus far, there really isn’t a doubt.
  2. Utah – The Utes’ getting exposed by Miami (FL) still lingers in the back of the mind, but there’s just so much talent in Salt Lake.
  3. Arizona – This is not the type of Arizona team we’re used to seeing, but they’ll get plenty of wins on culture and coaching alone.
  4. California – For the first time all season, there is some debate about the core four at the top of the conference. The Golden Bears looked bad in their first two big tests. But all that talent!
  5. Oregon State – The middle of this conference is pretty tightly packed, but for now Wayne Tinkle’s Beavers have our voters’ trust despite a home loss to a good Valparaiso team.
  6. USC – The win over Wichita State was big for this program. Sure, the Shockers were undermanned, but the Trojans played tough. Losing to Xavier in the semifinals is also no shame. And Sunday? Losing to Monmouth? Let’s go ahead and make some excuses: Those undercard games on the final days of the various holiday tourneys can get weird. And Monmouth is no joke.
  7. Colorado – The Buffaloes haven’t beaten anybody yet, but at least they’ve avoided bad losses.
  8. UCLA – The Bruins rank eighth in the conference? That may be an overreaction, but their 1-2 showing in Maui was uninspiring. And maybe we’re just getting ahead of the bandwagon prior to the coming Kentucky-pocalypse.
  9. Arizona State – If there is hope for the conference, maybe we can pin it on the fact that the Sun Devils are pretty damn good for a ninth-ranked team despite a demoralizing late-game collapse against Marquette.
  10. Washington – The young pups in Seattle regressed in the Bahamas, playing as recklessly as you would expect a group of unpolished freshmen to play.
  11. Washington State – Again, these guys haven’t played anybody yet. We’ll have a better idea about them come Wednesday night when they host Gonzaga. Gulp.
  12. Stanford – The Cardinal didn’t have a terrible week, knocking off Arkansas and avoiding a complete embarrassment against Villanova. But they just don’t have the horses this season.
AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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