So Shabazz Is Leaving, But Who Else?

Posted by AMurawa on March 4th, 2013

Saturday night following UCLA’s win over Arizona, Ben Howland admitted that, yes, Shabazz Muhammad had, barring some strange unforeseen circumstances, played his last game at Pauley Pavilion, thus sharing a secret that everybody already knew. One of the nation’s top recruits, Muhammad will be a lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft and his time in Westwood will be limited to just this one season. It’s no surprise, and certainly not worth spilling many pixels on. But, it is a good jumping off point to look around the rest of the Pac-12 and project the collegiate futures of other talented underclassmen and ask a couple different questions: First, will they declare for the NBA Draft after this season and, more subjectively, should they? Certainly every player’s own personal situation will have a say in the decision, and far be it from me to tell kids what they should and should not do with their potentially multi-million dollar futures, but it is that time of year when we start thinking about what some of these teams are going to look like next season. So, here’s a look at the players around the conference most likely to be weighing their options when the season ends, with Draft Express’ opinion on where these guys would be slated to go.

  • Allen Crabbe, Junior, California – Crabbe’s gone. The 6’6” wing has taken on a slightly bigger role each season in Berkeley and is one of the purest shooters in the draft. A solid defender as well, he’s got an NBA-ready game and could be a late first-round pick, although Draft Express currently projects him as the #11 pick in the second round. It is doubtful that another year in college would improve his draft stock substantially as Crabbe is mostly a completed player.
Allen Crabbe, California

Allen Crabbe’s Long Frame and Golden Jumper Have A Spot Waiting For Him In The NBA

  • Andre Roberson, Junior, Colorado – Odds are probably good that Roberson will leave after this season, but while he uses his long frame to great effect defensively and on the glass, he’s still a work in progress offensively. He’s a decent enough three-point shooter (35% for his career on limited attempts), but he is a poor free throw shooter, has a questionable handle, and has an unpolished offensive game anywhere inside of the three-point line. Draft Express has him as the seventh pick in the second round of this year’s draft, but I have a hard time projecting this guy’s game to the NBA when he sees players with more size and length and just as much athleticism competing with him for rebounds.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

It’s a Love/Hate Relationship: Volume XI

Posted by jbaumgartner on February 25th, 2013

Jesse Baumgartner is an RTC columnist. His Love/Hate column will publish each week throughout the season. In this piece he’ll review the five things he loved and hated about the previous seven days of college basketball.

Five Things I Loved This Week

I LOVED…. Ohio State’s Sam Thompson getting so high on this alley-oop against Michigan State on Sunday that he was literally staring at the rim when he got the ball. That would have been enough, but then he chose to hammer home right on a poor Michigan State defender – just for kicks. Definitely one of the more impressive athletic plays I’ve seen this year.

Sam Thompson is not shy about attacking the rim

I LOVED…. the hilariousness that is Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery on set. In this week’s gift from above, Raftery comically asks Bilas if he’s “ever been ridden” before. Take a look – it’s just too much.

I LOVED…. everyone realizing that Miami can be very, very average – or in this case, downright bad in a loss to a Wake Forest team that was 4-9 in the ACC going into Saturday. If Miami and Gonzaga somehow play their way into #1-seeds, I don’t think it’s overkill to say that they could be two of the more susceptible #1-seeds ever for a first-round upset. And Miami could even be the likelier of the two because of how much they love the three-ball.

I LOVED…. glancing at the Georgetown schedule and having my jaw slowly drop lower and lower as I looked at their defensive efficiency during this very impressive nine-game winning streak. Check it out – since losing to South Florida on January 19, the Hoyas have allowed 47, 51, 52, 56, 63, 55, 55, 66 and 46 points. That’s pretty stingy, and it bodes well for a Tournament run if they can continue mustering enough offense. Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Pac-12 M5: 02.25.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 25th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. Last week saw Washington State lose a dramatic game when an underclassman made a poor decision in the waning moments of the game. This week, Oregon State lost a tight one in part due to a poor decision made by an underclassmen in pregame warm-ups. You see, there’s this fairly ridiculous rule that makes dunking in the layup line prior to the game worthy of earning a technical foul against your team. Beavers freshman Olaf Schaftenaar, a guy well-known for his wide variety of aerial acrobatics (note to editors: please use the sarcasm font for that phrase), just couldn’t help himself and threw one down prior to the game. The refs caught the egregious act, penalized OSU with a technical foul, Allen Crabbe knocked down one of two free throws prior to the game, and the Beavers went on to, you know, lose by one. For a Beavers team that Ken Pomeroy currently has ranked as the third-least lucky team in the nation, Saturday’s bad luck reached ridiculous new lows.
  2. Arizona scored a couple of wins this weekend. First, on Saturday they coasted to victory over Washington State behind terrific shooting from senior Kevin Parrom, although head coach Sean Miller wasn’t entirely thrilled with his team’s effort. Then, on Sunday, Miller got a commitment from five-star recruit in the 2014 class, 5’7” point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. The recruiting coup is not only a big score for what it brings to Tucson, it is also big because the Wildcats beat out Pac-12 rival UCLA for the Los Angeles-area product. Jackson-Cartwright will first play in the 2014-15 season at the same time that Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell plays his senior season in Tucson.
  3. Speaking of UCLA, junior forward Travis Wear missed Sunday afternoon’s battle with USC after spraining his right foot at the start of practice on Saturday. His brother David Wear got the start in place of him, while freshman Tony Parker saw a big increase in minutes and production as a result as well. Travis wore a walking boot on the foot during the game but was ambulatory without crutches and Ben Howland said after the game that he is considered day-to-day. Unfortunately, if the Bruins are going to get him back for their next game, he’ll have to be a quick healer, as they’ll host Arizona State in Westwood on Wednesday night.
  4. For some time now Arizona State has been right on the anticipated border between NCAA Tournament team and NIT participant, but the consensus was that the Sun Devils needed to finish strong in order to maintain that positioning. While they’ve still got cracks on the road at UCLA and Arizona, Saturday’s home loss to Washington may leave Herb Sendek’s team needing to win the Pac-12 Tournament in order to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. Freshman point guard Jahii Carson turned in one of his worst games of his young career, senior Carrick Felix was largely – and surprisingly – ineffective in his senior night, and once again, the poor free throw shooting from the Sun Devils helped conspire to leave them on the wrong side of the ledger at the final horn.
  5. The race for the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award is well under way, with Arizona State’s Carrick Felix and Colorado’s Andre Roberson near the top of the list of contenders. Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle has begun making the case for his guy, by not only listing him as the top defender in the conference, but calling him the best defender in the nation. With guys like Aaron Craft, Victor Oladipo, Russ Smith and Jeff Withey already established and well-recognized as great defenders, there is little doubt that Roberson would fail to medal on the national stage, but in the Pac-12, his rebounding and his ability to guard multiple positions and make insanely athletic plays certainly has him on the short list for the conference award.
Share this story

Marching to Vegas: Cal Wins Ugly, But At Least Cal Wins

Posted by AMurawa on February 22nd, 2013

From the moment it was first rumored, the relocation of the conference tournament to Las Vegas has created quite a buzz among Pac-12 basketball fans. Adam Butler (@pachoopsAB) of PacHoops will be here every week as he offers his unique perspective along our March to Vegas.

I got a text from my Cal buddy last night, “You’re welcome for Cal again… But 48 points…” This of course set off a chain of text exchanges that culminated in a conversation about whether or not I’d be joining him at Bonnaroo in June – a welcome digression, albeit extremely tangential. But my dear friend had a point. Those 48 points are a less-than-exciting, underwhelming, slow score. It’s for this very count that many of us declare Bo Ryan an eye-ripping excitement-suck for whose style we’d wish the NCAA death penalty upon our own program before enduring a season. The funny thing about that is Bo Ryan wins. Not one of my friends who attended Wisconsin or cheer for the Badgers has seemed to have a problem with his .725 winning percentage. Wisky wins and so too did the Cal Bears on Thursday night. And this is the only stat that matters this time of year.

 It Hasn't Always Been Pretty, But Mike Montgomery Has His Golden Bears Playing The Best Ball In The Pac-12 (credit: Mark J. Terrill)


It Hasn’t Always Been Pretty, But Mike Montgomery Has His Golden Bears Playing The Best Ball In The Pac-12 (credit: Mark J. Terrill)

We are on the cusp of March and by most accounts (check this aggregation out) the Golden Bears are shoving (get it?) their way into the madness. And they most certainly will not be dancing with a statistically intriguing loss. That’s to say, had they shot 48%, outrebounded the Ducks, and committed just 10 turnovers en route to disappointing loss, 74-71, the committee would’ve seen just another loss on a team that’s already wearing nine of them (including a home loss to Harvard). Statistically speaking, Cal had a 27% chance of winning that game. The projected final was 71-64, which is to say that based on the standard game for these two, Oregon was going to win relatively handily. Something different had to happen. So Cal forced a deviation from the norm, limited the game’s possessions, and adjusted the dynamic of the game’s pace.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Pac-12 M5: 02.22.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 22nd, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. Thursday night the Pac-12 race got even tighter as California’s Justin Cobbs took advantage of Oregon’s 5’8” point guard Jonathan Loyd in the waning moments of their meeting, knocking down a game-winning jumper over the smaller man’s outstretched arms. As we head into the weekend, we’ve got three teams atop the conference with four losses while a pair of teams, including those Golden Bears, lurk just one game back in the loss column. The game itself wasn’t pretty, as Cobbs turned the ball over eight times, the teams combined to shoot 3-of-21 from deep and nobody on Oregon shot better than 50% from the field, but Cal continues to be the hottest team in the conference with six victories in its last seven games. As for Oregon, this current group of Ducks still remains winless in their careers against California.
  2. In the wake of Washington State’s seventh straight conference loss on Wednesday night, the talk about whether head coach Ken Bone is the man for the job in Pullman for the long term has reached a fever pitch. The talk has been slowly bubbling up since way back before the season began as Reggie Moore got booted from the team and incoming transfer Brett Kingma ran afoul of the law, highlighting some off-the-court issues that have troubled Bone’s program for some time. But, as CougCenter pointed out a couple weeks back, if the university hopes to go a different way, they’ve got to figure out a way around Bone’s hefty contract, which promises the coach $2.55 million over the remaining three years. Given the amount of money the WSU athletic department already has tied up in paying current and former football coaches, that amount of money may be too much to bear at this point. And, as I pointed out back before the season, expectations in Pullman have to be realistic. The fact of the matter is that prior to this season, Bone had the second-highest winning percentage of any coach in school history who had coached at least 20 games. Unfortunately for him, however, the one guy ahead of him was his predecessor.
  3. USC will take a crack at earning a season sweep of crosstown rival UCLA at the Galen Center on Sunday afternoon. And if they’re going to get it done, they’ll need to lean heavily on senior point guard Jio Fontan who, after dealing with ACL surgery last year and the heavy-handed offensive structure of former head coach Kevin O’Neill, is now thriving with more freedom under interim coach Bob Cantu and more confidence in a knee that gets stronger by the game.
  4. One thing we haven’t talked a lot about here this season is the Player of the Year race in the Pac-12. No worries though, as Pachoops has got you covered on that mark. Adam Butler scouts the candidates out and narrows the race down to two guys: Arizona State’s Jahii Carson and Cal’s Allen Crabbe. I wanted to quibble (Carrick Felix anyone?) but in the end decided that yes, those are the two guys atop the leaderboard right now and somebody from the next pack back (some combination of Solomon Hill, Shabazz Muhammad, Spencer Dinwiddie and Felix) would have to go absolutely nuts for that to change. In my mind, however, Carson is the favorite, as he has been for at least a month; but as Cal has heated up, Crabbe has made a big time charge to the point where it is just about even money right now.
  5. Lastly, in case you forgot, DirecTV has still not come to an agreement with the Pac-12 conference to carry the Pac-12 Networks. I’m sure all of you have done the right thing and dropped DirecTV like a hot potato, but apparently there are people out there sticking with the satellite television behemoth instead of watching tons of Pac-12 action this season. And, if you’re somehow still among that crowd, you’ve missed the 20 out of Arizona State’s 27 games this season that have aired on the Pac-12 Networks. Don’t hold your breath on a deal getting done any time soon as both sides appear entrenched in their positions.
Share this story

Night Line: Cal Pushes Distractions Aside to Become Unlikely Pac-12 Title Contenders

Posted by BHayes on February 21st, 2013

nightline2

Bennet Hayes is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @HoopsTraveler on Twitter. Night Line runs on weeknights during the season, highlighting a major storyline development from that day’s games.

If you are a college basketball fan and don’t reside under a rock, you know all about Mike Montgomery and Allen Crabbe’s testy exchange on Sunday. An unfortunate incident worthy of at least most of the debate and discussion that followed, but it’s officially time to move on, folks. Don’t despair if you still want to talk Cal basketball, however, as the Golden Bears are providing plenty of reasons on the court to keep the buzz going. A 48-46 win at Oregon tonight now has them winners of four in a row and six out of seven, with wins over Arizona, UCLA, and now a season sweep of Oregon included in the surge. For those keeping track at home, that’s a win over each of the top three teams in the Pac-12 standings, with a respectable loss at Arizona State standing as the only February blemish. Winning hasn’t always been pretty or easy for the Bears, but they are suddenly as likely a candidate as any to steal the Pac-12 regular season title. Yes, you read that right – California, once 3-4 in league play, could wind up as your Pac-12 champs.

Allen Crabbe Was Relatively Quiet On Thursday Night, But His Pac-12 Player Of The Year Profile Grows With Every Golden Bear Victory

Allen Crabbe Was Relatively Quiet On Thursday Night, But His Pac-12 Player Of The Year Profile Grows With Every Golden Bear Victory

Give credit to the collective resourcefulness of the Bears, the coaching of Montgomery, and the proficiency of Crabbe (his Pac-12 POY stock soaring right now), but the reason the recent push has the Bears sitting with realistic championship dreams has far more to do with every other team in the conference. After spending the 2011-12 season facing constant derision (and deservedly so), the Pac-12 conference has bounced back in a big way this year. Recent bracket projections have included as many as six conference teams in the NCAA Tournament field, a development that would be a veritable windfall for a league that sent just one at-large team to the Dance a year ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Pac-12 M5: 02.21.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 21st, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. Shove-gate, day four. With California getting back into action tomorrow night, thankfully this overreaction to Mike Montgomery’s regrettable decision to physically contact his star player, Allen Crabbe, is ready to come to a close. The final words on the incident from both sides: First, Montgomery regrets his action, if for no other reason than the fact that all the focus this past week has been on that incident rather than on the fact that his team has risen from mediocrity to, well, more mediocrity, but at least mediocrity that is in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid. Meanwhile, on the other side, Allen Crabbe has brushed off the incident with the brand of typical Crabbe-esque nonchalance that got Montgomery so riled up to begin with. His parents, however, were not so quick to put it behind them. While both his mom and dad have handled the situation with class, each has indicated that Montgomery’s action didn’t sit entirely well with them. Nevertheless, Montgomery’s apology coupled with Crabbe’s mature response to the incident make this story completely ready to be put to bed.
  2. Last night was perhaps the biggest snoozer on the Pac-12 conference schedule thus far, as both Arizona schools handled their opponents from Washington with relative ease, so in lieu of wasting pixels on games that we already spent time watching, I’ll instead refer you to a Dana O’Neil piece about how Mark Lyons wound up back with Sean Miller in the desert after blowing off Miller’s final meeting at Xavier three years earlier and ignoring his former coach’s texts out of anger with him for leaving the Cincinnati school. But now they’re reunited at Arizona and have a chance to accomplish something special together in Lyons’ last go-round in college.
  3. Looking ahead to tonight, Dana Altman and Oregon host California in what will be Altman’s first crack at attempting to reach the 600-win mark for his career. Just 66 of those have come in Eugene, and only 476 were chalked up at the Division I level, but with the 54-year-old Altman seemingly having a lot of basketball left in him, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him top the mark in Division I victories alone in the relatively near future. Unfortunately, Duck fans, we also wouldn’t be all that surprised to see him eventually top that 600 mark somewhere back close to his Midwestern roots. As for tonight’s game, if the Ducks can pull off the win, it will mark the first time that anybody on this current roster, including Altman and his 599 career wins, has ever beaten Cal. And if that’s going to happen, it’ll likely have to happen without the services of point guard Dominic Artis, who appears to be on the verge of missing another week of basketball. Unlike Duke’s Ryan Kelly, however, Artis is making visible progress, as his crutches are at least a thing of the past and he is reported to be doing some minimal basketball-related drills.
  4. Oregon State, meanwhile, will host Stanford tonight, and in doing so Joe Burton will play his second-to-last game in front of the home crowd in his career. Yep, believe it or not, we’re to that point in the season where senior days (or nights, I suppose, depending on when the game is played) begin to crop up. As for Burton, he’s a special kid. The first Native American to earn a scholarship to a Pac-10/Pac-12 school for men’s basketball, Burton has made a name for himself as a below-the-rim space-eater and a phenomenal passer. The first recruit signed by Craig Robinson, Burton is on track to become the first OSU player to ever amass 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists in his career. It’s always bittersweet this time of year, knowing that we’re seeing some of these guys that we’ve gotten to know and love over recent years play their last basketball games for us (even though many, likely including Burton, who aren’t destined for NBA futures have the chance for a pro career somewhere else should they so choose), but it is also a great time to be thankful for the moments we’ve been able to experience.
  5. Lastly, Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register writes that with Ben Howland having drastically simplified his offense, UCLA is experiencing smooth sailing on the offensive end. Now, apparently, Mr. Kartje skipped the recent Arizona State, USC, Washington and Cal games in favor of simply watching the Stanford game, but his note that Howland has thrown away 36 of the 45 sets he had set up for teams in years past in order to focus on executing a simplified game plan is an interesting one.
Share this story

Pac-12 M5: 02.20.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 20th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. One side effect of the parity in the conference this season has been a lot of intensity as we head into the stretch run. We saw this most glaringly on Sunday night with Mike Montgomery’s now infamous “shove” of Allen Crabbe, but elsewhere around the conference there were more incidents. In Pullman, Oregon center Tony Woods was ejected for throwing an elbow to the head of Washington State’s Brock Motum. The Pac-12 reviewed the play and decided Woods would face no further suspension. Another pair of bigs got tangled up in Boulder on Saturday when Jordan Bachynski and Josh Scott fell to the floor in pursuit of a rebound. Scott wound up banging his head against the hardwood and sustaining a concussion from which he is still recovering. Colorado head coach Tad Boyle called that game the most physical game he has ever been involved in.
  2. It’s been a tumultuous season for UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad, with an NCAA investigation delaying his debut and the flu catching up with him prior to the USC game back in January. Now, and again in advance of a USC game, Muhammad is dealing with pinkeye, which kept him out of practice on Tuesday. However, this issue isn’t expected to have any impact on Muhammad’s availability for Sunday’s game.
  3. Arizona State has compiled an 8-5 conference record largely on the strength of its starting five. Senior Carrick Felix leads the conference in minutes (38.3 minutes per night), while Jahii Carson and Jonathan Gilling both top out at over 36 minutes per game and are among the top five players in the conference in minutes. While head coach Herb Sendek admits that his heavy reliance on a small number of players is “a concern,” he doesn’t expect much to change for the rest of the year.
  4. Meanwhile, down south a little, Arizona head coach Sean Miller has been increasingly relying on a smaller number of players as well. And with his confidence in Jordin Mayes dwindling, Mark Lyons and Nick Johnson are becoming the only options in the backcourt for the Wildcats. However, unlike Sendek up the road, Miller may be ready for a change and could turn to freshman guard Gabe York for some spot minutes on the perimeter. York earned 16 minutes over the course of three games back at the turn of the month into February, but since then York has never left the bench in the last four games.
  5. Continuing the theme, Lorenzo Romar returned to freshman Jernard Jarreau this past weekend as an option off the bench. Jarreau won the starting power forward spot in preseason practice, but was ineffective while starting the first seven games of the season. Since then his role almost completely evaporated to the point where he played just 17 minutes over the course of six games prior to his emergence against Oregon State on Saturday. And Romar says Jarreau has earned a right to continue getting minutes in the hopes of building up his game to the point where he can be a contributor for the next three seasons.
Share this story

Ten Tuesday Scribbles: On the Big East Race, Duke, Michigan and More…

Posted by Brian Otskey on February 19th, 2013

tuesdayscribbles

Brian Otskey is an RTC columnist. Every Tuesday during the regular season he’ll be giving his 10 thoughts on the previous week’s action. You can find him on Twitter @botskey

  1. As we hit the stretch run of the college basketball season, tight conference races begin to captivate the nation. There are terrific regular season title races going on in a bunch of conferences, including the Atlantic 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten but the best race is happening in the Big East. In the conference’s final season as we have come to know it, three teams are tied atop the league standings at 9-3 heading into Tuesday’s action with three more nipping at their heels. It’s only fitting that two of the Big East’s heavyweight rivals, Syracuse and Georgetown, are among the group at 9-3. Joining them is an upstart Marquette team, picked seventh in the 15-team conference. Right behind the leaders is a team some seem to have forgotten about at 9-4, the Louisville Cardinals. Notre Dame at 9-5 after an important win at Pittsburgh last night and 7-5 Connecticut round out the teams within two games in the loss column. The great thing about this race is the best games are still to come. Syracuse and Georgetown hook up twice down the stretch, including on the final day of the regular season. The Orange have the toughest schedule with the aforementioned games against the Hoyas plus a trip to Marquette and a visit to the Carrier Dome from Louisville still on tap. Marquette plays four of its final six games on the road beginning this evening but gets Syracuse and Notre Dame at home where the Golden Eagles have won 23-straight games since a loss to Vanderbilt last season. Luckily for Marquette, its four road games are against a hit-and-miss Villanova team, St. John’s and two of the teams near the bottom of the league standings. It’s never easy to win on the road but Marquette has a somewhat favorable schedule. In the end, my money would be on a 13-5 logjam between Syracuse, Georgetown and Louisville with tiebreakers determining the team that gets the top seed at Madison Square Garden next month.

    Otto Porter and Georgetown will have a say in the Big East title race (M. Sullivan/Reuters)

    Otto Porter and Georgetown will have a say in the Big East title race (M. Sullivan/Reuters)

  2. For the final time this Saturday, ESPN’s BracketBusters event will pit non-power league teams against one another, some in major need of a resume-building win as the regular season begins to wind down. Denver against Northern Iowa and Ohio at Belmont are solid matchups but the best game by far is Creighton visiting St. Mary’s on Saturday.The Bluejays have lost five of their past nine games heading into tonight’s game with Southern Illinois, one they should win, after a 17-1 start to the season. Quality non-conference wins against Wisconsin, Arizona State and California (all away from Omaha), plus a good home win over a solid Akron club, have Creighton in a pretty good spot for a bid relative to other teams in the mix. The problem for Greg McDermott’s squad is that it hasn’t done much of anything in calendar year 2013. The good news for Creighton is the NCAA Selection Committee says wins in November and December mean just as much as February and March. As long as Creighton splits its upcoming games with St. Mary’s and Wichita State, I feel that should be good enough to merit an NCAA berth no matter what happens in the Missouri Valley Tournament. As for St. Mary’s, it is even more desperate. The only semblance of a quality win on the Gaels’ resume are wins at BYU and Santa Clara, the former coming thanks to Matthew Dellavedova’s miracle buzzer beater in Provo. To have a chance at the NCAA’s I feel St. Mary’s has to beat Creighton and run the West Coast table while making the finals of the conference tournament. There just isn’t enough meat on its resume to justify a bid despite having one of the nation’s strongest offensive attacks. Read the rest of this entry »
Share this story

Pac-12 M5: 02.19.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 19th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. The big item for the discussion around the Pac-12 is this: Early in the second half of a game against USC on Sunday night, Mike Montgomery greeted Allen Crabbe at the start of a timeout by getting in his face and shoving him in the chest in an effort to wake up his talented junior. As Montgomery said after the game, it worked, eventually. After continuing to float along for several minutes following the incident, Crabbe eventually caught fire at the end of the game and brought his Bears back from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat the Trojans. The Pac-12 officially reprimanded Montgomery for the incident, but the head coach will not face a suspension from the league or his employer. In the wake of the incident, everybody’s got an opinion about it ranging from the hyperbolic “it’s an outrage!” to the “no big deal.” Me? I think it is a big deal, but not necessarily because Montgomery’s behavior was shameful. The problem is, more than once this season now, Montgomery’s emotions have gotten the best of him as he has dealt with mercurial personalities such as Crabbe, Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon. If you’ve watched these guys float through games and underachieve as regularly as they have, you’ve probably wanted to shove them in the chest a time or two as well, even if you’ve got no rooting interest one way or the other. But for now, the hope is that this incident doesn’t overshadow the fact that all of a sudden, Montgomery is beginning to get production out of his group of kids, even if he’s using some unconventional and controversial methods to do so.
  2. In Salt Lake City Sunday, Arizona head coach Sean Miller unveiled a new starting lineup, featuring Kevin Parrom at the three, Solomon Hill at the four and Brandon Ashley moving to a reserve role. While nothing is set in stone, Miller says that he’ll probably stick with that starting lineup going forward. Miller notes that the move wasn’t made out of disappointment with Ashley’s production but rather out of a desire to get Parrom’s veteran leadership more actively involved in the lineup.
  3. Colorado’s Josh Scott suffered a concussion early in the second half of Saturday night’s loss to Arizona State when he and ASU center Jordan Bachynski got tangled up and fell to the floor. Scott took an inadvertent elbow to the head, left the floor and did not return to the game. Head coach Tad Boyle addressed the situation involving his talented freshman on Monday, saying that Scott will be fine but is currently considered day-to-day. Colorado next plays on Thursday night when it hosts Utah in a must-win game in Boulder.
  4. In a week that featured plenty of great basketball games, Saturday’s Washington State/Oregon tussle may have been the most entertaining. For 44 minutes and most of a 45th, the Cougars played the Ducks to a draw. Despite giving up an 18-point first half lead, the Cougs were still right there battling with the conference-leaders, as sophomore guard Royce Woolridge was going off in a career-day kind of way, including his sixth three-pointer that knotted the score up at 77 with just a handful of seconds remaining. As Oregon rushed up the court to attempt a last second potential game-winning shot, WSU sophomore Dexter Kernich-Drew intentionally (but inexplicably) fouled E.J. Singler, sending him to the line with under four seconds remaining. Singler made both giving the Ducks the win and Washington State players and fans are left wondering what exactly happened there.
  5. Lastly, just how good has Jahii Carson been this season for Arizona State? Well, compared will all the freshmen in the history of the Pac-12, he’s currently on pace to produce the 10th highest scoring average in the history of the conference. His 17.7 points per game comes in just shy of James Harden’s totals in his first season in the desert in 2007-08. Interestingly enough, UCLA freshman Shabazz Muhammad is currently seventh on the all-time list at 18.5 PPG. Carson is also now just 22 assists shy of becoming just the 12th freshman in conference history to register 150 assists in a season.
Share this story

Who Won The Week? Allen Crabbe, Kevin Ollie and a Marist Transfer

Posted by CNguon on February 15th, 2013

wonweekWho Won the Week? is a regular column that will outline and discuss three winners and losers from the previous week. The author of this column is Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker), an Oregon-based sportswriter best known for his willingness to drive (or bike!) anywhere to watch a basketball game.

WINNER: California

The Golden Bears stormed Tucson on Sunday and came out on the better half of a 77-67 game, with special thanks to the Pac-12′s leading scorer, Allen Crabbe, who poured in 31 points. With 15 points in the first half, Crabbe came up strong again Thursday night as Cal dismantled UCLA in Berkeley to keep its undefeated record at home in Pac-12 play. Despite a four-loss non-conference schedule, the Bears have managed to play themselves back into the discussion for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. Not bad considering that they were 3-4 fewer than three weeks ago.

Allen Crabbe had a week to remember. (Icon SMI)

Allen Crabbe had a week to remember. (Icon SMI)

(Related winners: Crabbe, who combined for 57 points in the two games; Oregon, which regained the conference lead it lost after a three-game losing streak including a loss to Cal. Related losers: Arizona – see below.)

LOSER: Arizona

After a foot injury to Oregon point guard Dominic Artis derailed the Ducks and led to a three-game losing streak and a gift of the Pac-12 lead to the Wildcats, they decided to give it right back with a pair of bad losses, stumbling at home to Cal before losing the return game against Colorado a month after a controversial buzzer-beater was disallowed and Arizona rolled in overtime to stay undefeated at the time. This time, the Buffaloes left no doubt about who would win, cruising to a 71-58 win. The Wildcats shot at an even 40 percent clip over the week, while Cal shot 59 percent and Colorado 50 percent. So much for having control over the conference.

(Related winners: Oregon. Related losers: None.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

Pac-12 Burning Question: Who Can Drop 53?

Posted by AMurawa on February 15th, 2013

Our Pac-12 commentators are back with their answers to the biggest questions around the conference. This week:

“Last week Nate Wolters of South Dakota State went for 53 points in a game. If you had to put your money on one Pac-12 player breaking out for 53 points, who would it be?”

Reader’s Take

 

Adam Butler: There’s a team in Seattle that struggles with their identity some. They’d been built on run-and-gun, a throwback to the Pac-12 of old and the sweet spot for Lorenzo Romar. This year, however, they’ve run into some growing pains as they work to implement a new high post offense; a response to the oft criticized Husky half-court scoring ability. Through those pains they’ve learned to lock things down and play some defense. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get out and run it some and if you force them into it – as Arizona State did two weeks back – they can score with the best of them. As such, when pushed into such a pace, I think their top scorer and certainly one of the conference’s best, C.J. Wilcox, is the man to reach 52. There’s a dedicated effort to get that man the ball and, more often than not, he’s a tremendously capable scorer. Already he’s put up games of 28, 27, 27, and 25 and shoots at a 45% clip. The silky smooth shooter runs in an offense that needs him to succeed. That combination – skill and necessity – makes Wilcox my vote for Most Likely to Drop 53.

With Limited Scoring Options On The Husky Team, Maybe C.J. Wilcox Is The Guy Who Could Go For 53 (Pac-12)

With Limited Scoring Options On The Husky Team, Maybe C.J. Wilcox Is The Guy Who Could Go For 53 (Pac-12)

Parker Baruh: If I have to pick one player to drop 53 this season, I’d have to go with Allen Crabbe. Yes, it’s not a bold choice considering he leads the league in scoring at 19.8 points per game, but Crabbe has the best chance because of his efficiency and his ability to hurt opponents from all parts of the floor. He’s shooting a career high 48 percent from the field this year and his true shooting percentage is also at a career high at 59 percent. Although he’s shooting a career low 35 percent from three, he’s still proved many times this year he’s the best scorer in the conference. Earlier in the season, he had 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting against USC and had 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting against Utah. Recently, in arguably his best performance in a Cal uniform, he was instrumental in the Bears’ upset win over Arizona shooting a ridiculous 12-of-15 from the field while tallying 31 points. Ultimately, no one in the Pac-12 is capable of scoring 53, but if I had to choose one, I’m going with someone who can single-handedly win games for his team when he has the hot hand, and that’s Crabbe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story