Pac-12 Weekly Five: 04.27.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on April 27th, 2012

  1. For the second straight week, the lead story in our Weekly Five is a UCLA recruiting coup, as the Bruins added to their already impressive class by signing 6’9” center Tony Parker – the #20-ranked recruit in the 2012 class – beating out schools like Ohio State, Duke and Parker’s home-state Georgia for his services. After the bizarre 45-minute press conference to announce his choice, ESPNU bumped UCLA’s class up to the top-ranked class in the nation (at least for now, pending other decisions — such as the #7 recruit, Anthony Bennett, possibly choosing Kentucky). One of the controversial parts of Parker’s commitment to the Bruins was his ties to assistant coach Korey McCray, who was hired by head coach Ben Howland last year. That move wound up paying off, as both Parker and former teammate on the Atlanta Celtics, Jordan Adams, wound up committing to UCLA to rejoin McCray. Regardless, the Bruins now feature a deep and talented squad that will not only be on the short list of favorites in the Pac-12, but should be a Top 10 team nationally and a legitimate threat to advance to Howland’s fourth Final Four in his tenure. There are a handful of storm clouds on the horizon though, as Shabazz Muhammad’s eligibility still needs to be sorted out and Kyle Anderson may be on the verge of thumb surgery, a procedure which could keep the point forward sidelined for much of the summer before his freshman season. Elsewhere on the Bruin front, the school announced an agreement for a home-and-home series with Missouri beginning next season at Pauley Pavilion, renewing a matchup that was made famous by an NCAA Tournament classic.
  2. Washington also just announced a new series with an inter-regional rival with whom they’ve had a couple of Tournament classics, agreeing to begin a two-game series with Connecticut next year (starting the series at either Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center). The Huskies of the Big East will repay the favor to the Huskies of the Pac-12, visiting Seattle in 2013-14. Normally, this would seem to be a game to wait for, but given UConn’s ineligibility for next year’s NCAA Tournament and the mass defections that have come along with that, UW could in good position to score an early road win next season.
  3. From the northernmost end of the conference to the southernmost, Arizona had some good news pop up on their radar in their search for a stopgap solution at the point guard position, when it was announced this week that Xavier combo guard Mark Lyons would be transferring out of the program and, provided he completes his coursework in time to graduate this summer, could be eligible to play next season. Given Lyons’ ties to current Arizona head coach and former Xavier head man Sean Miller, Tucson is the early favorite to earn his services although his plans are still up in the air. While Lyons is definitely not a true point guard, he is a capable ballhandler that would give the ‘Cats plenty of scoring punch in the backcourt. There was some uglier news out of the Zona program last weekend when outgoing senior Jesse Perry was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence last weekend. Perry maintains his innocence, but this type of story is never welcome news.
  4. A couple Pac-12 schools landed some other transfers this week, as Arizona State inked Valparaiso forward Richie Edwards and Oregon got a commitment from junior college transfer Coleton Baker. Edwards will have one remaining season of eligibility with the Sun Devils beginning in 2013-14, while Baker will give the Ducks a scoring threat at guard to help replace Devoe Joseph. Meanwhile, we learned the landing spot of outgoing USC transfer Alexis Moore this week, as he announced that he would be heading east to play for Penn, with eligibility starting in 2013-14.
  5. Lastly, in Boulder at the start of the week, Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and athletic director Mike Bohn showed up at a local watering hole to mingle with and congratulate the “OG 50,” a group of 50 students who started a renaissance of the C-Unit – the CU student section – that supported the Buffs from their opening exhibition game against Fort Lewis all the way to their eventual exit against Baylor in Albuquerque in the NCAA round of 32. Bohn promised the group a seat at any Buffaloes home game in the future after the group helped the team outperform expectations all season long, including running through four games in four days in Los Angeles at the Pac-12 Tournament to capture the conference’s automatic bid.
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Pac-12 Morning Five: Turkey Hangover Edition

Posted by AMurawa on November 25th, 2011

  1. This basketball season just keeps getting better and better for the Pac-12. Thanksgiving brought three more losses in tournaments from the Bahamas to Anaheim, with Utah losing by 28 to Harvard in the Battle 4 Atlantis, Arizona State dropping an ugly one to Fairfield in the Old Spice Classic, and Washington State capping off a brutal night with a 15-point loss in the 76 Classic to an Oklahoma team that was 14-18 last year. Not only is an 0-3 record definitely not something to be thankful for, but there wasn’t even a close game or a particularly good effort mixed in there; the tightest final margin was ASU’s 11-point loss in a relatively down-tempo game (approximately 62 possessions per team). The conference is now a combined 33-23 on the year, with a 5-9 record against teams from other BCS conferences.
  2. While Oregon fans are still holding out hope that somehow Jabari Brown winds up back in Eugene, rumors began circulating Thursday that Brown would end up at San Diego State next season. Steve Fisher has been rolling out the welcome mat for talented transfers who have struck out elsewhere, and while this would be a great get for an Aztec program that should be pretty strong next season, it looks like Duck fans can extinguish that last little flame of hope that Brown would return to Dana Altman’s program.
  3. The big game around the conference tonight is Stanford’s battle with Syracuse for the NIT Season Tip-Off title, a game we’ll discuss more later this morning. But USC kicks off an intriguing couple of days at the Las Vegas Invitational, with UNLV tonight and either North Carolina or South Carolina tomorrow night. The Trojans are just 2-3 on the season, but have lost their three games by a combined total of 11 points (including one double-overtime loss). Given that USC has shot 57.1% from the line in those three games (and just 62.9% for the season), you can see why head coach Kevin O’Neill says that free throws are killing them.
  4. Across town, UCLA is in much worse shape than the Trojans. While SC has at least been competitive every night out, and even managed to post a couple of wins, UCLA is still winless on the year against Division I competition. Worse yet, they haven’t been close – four losses by an average of almost 16 points a night. The closest they’ve come is an 11-point loss to Loyola Marymount. This UCLA roster is certainly not awash in hyper-talented individuals, but as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times points out, the lack of commitment from several important members of the team is the bigger problem.
  5. Well, there’s always football. Nevermind that there is still a scenario whereby the winner of the Pac-12 South division isn’t eligible for a bowl game – it’s still better off than the basketball side of things. And given my own struggles in simply picking winners in Pac-12 games (I was 2-4 last week), I feel like I should be made an honorary member of the conference. Anyway, games kick off tonight on the football side and if everything breaks my way this weekend (including a highly improbable UCLA win over USC – I swear I’m not yet drunk as I write this), I can still catch Connor.
Game Connor (16-8) Drew (13-11)
Colorado @ Utah Utah Utah
California @ Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
Oregon State @ Oregon Oregon Oregon
Louisiana-Lafayette @ Arizona Arizona Washington
Washington State @ Washington Washington State Arizona
UCLA @ USC USC 28, UCLA 17 UCLA 21 USC 20
Notre Dame @ Stanford Stanford Notre Dame
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