Washington Post-Mortem

Posted by AMurawa on April 22nd, 2013

Now that we are officially in the offseason, it’s time to take a look back and evaluate each team’s 2012-13 performance. Here’s a look at Washington.

What Went Right

The Huskies opened Pac-12 play with three straight road wins, then backed that up by knocking off Colorado at Hec Ed and it looked like the team was on the verge of turning things around after a horrid non-conference schedule. C.J. Wilcox was leading the way in scoring, having led the team in seven of its last eight games (all wins), Aziz N’Diaye was chipping in offensively and doing his normal yeoman’s work on defense and on the glass, and things were, all of a sudden, running smoothly. And then….

C.J. Wilcox's Offensive Burst Was The Biggest Bright Spot In An Otherwise Disappointing Season

C.J. Wilcox’s Offensive Burst Was The Biggest Bright Spot In An Otherwise Disappointing Season

What Went Wrong

And then the Huskies proceeded to revert to non-conference form (you know, when they lost home games to Albany, Nevada and Colorado State, the latter by like a million points), dropping eight of their next 10 games and averaging 0.88 points per possession over the losses in that stretch. Abdul Gaddy frustrated Huskies’ fans, Scott Suggs was only occasionally involved in the offense, Wilcox struggled with an ankle injury, N’Diaye reverted to his old familiar offensively incoherent self, and the wheels fell off. Worst of all, it was awfully hard to watch at times.

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Mike Moser To Washington: Does He Have a Position in Seattle?

Posted by AMurawa on April 6th, 2013

Though it is not official yet, news came down on Friday that Mike Moser, formerly of UCLA and most recently of UNLV, may wind up at Washington for the 2013-14 season. He’s expected to graduate from UNLV this summer, making him eligible to play his final season immediately in Seattle. There remains a chance he will make himself eligible for the NBA Draft this season, according to Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports, but most likely he will spend his final season of collegiate eligibility playing for Lorenzo Romar. Aside from the fact that this would make for a wild, back-and-forth college career for the 6’8” combo forward, it gives Romar and the Huskies a much needed talent boost as they try to earn their way back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons.

After Stops At UCLA and UNLV, Mike Moser May Be Wrapping Up His College Career At Washington (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

After Stops At UCLA and UNLV, Mike Moser May Be Wrapping Up His College Career At Washington (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Huskies lose Abdul Gaddy, Aziz N’Diaye, and Scott Suggs from this year’s middle-of-the-Pac team, but with wing C.J. Wilcox expected back for his senior campaign (although he has submitted paperwork to he NBA Undergraduate Committee to gauge potential interest if he were to leave school early), and with McDonald’s All-American Nigel Williams-Goss expected to step right into the starting point guard spot, the addition of Moser could put the Huskies back into the conversation in the Pac-12. Coming on the heels of a miss on highly regarded recruit Aaron Gordon, the addition of Moser would go a long way towards patching an athleticism gap on this team. He had a nightmare of a junior season in Vegas, where a dislocated elbow conspired with his inability to play effectively alongside freshman phenom Anthony Bennett knocked Moser from preseason All-American consideration down to a guy who averaged just seven points and six rebounds per game (huge drops from his 14/10 averages as a sophomore. Still, he is a long and lanky athlete with a great nose for a rebound, the ability to knock down threes and the frame to be a terrific and disruptive defender.

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The RTC Pac-12 All-Conference Teams

Posted by AMurawa on March 11th, 2013

Earlier today we released our picks for the conference awards, handing out, among others, Player of the Year to Allen Crabbe and Freshman of the Year to Jahii Carson. Not surprisingly, those two players lead our picks for the All-Conference team as the only two players to wind up on the first teams of all four of our voters’ ballots. While the Pac-12 goes a little insane this time of year and somehow decides to put together a 10-man All-Conference First Team, we’re going to follow, you know, the rules of basketball and field a five-man team (with a second team for good measure).

First Team All-Conference

  • Jahii Carson, Freshman, Arizona State (17.7 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.2 SPG) – Our Freshman of the Year, Carson led a resurgence for the Sun Devils, helping his team double its win total from last season and likely earning it a spot in some postseason tournament somewhere. He played 91% of his team’s minutes, and was a catalyst repeatedly for all of his team’s offense.
  • Allen Crabbe, Junior, California (18.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG) – Our Pac-12 Player of the Year, Crabbe paired up with backcourt partner Justin Cobbs to turn around the season for a once-floundering Golden Bears team helping reel off 11 wins in the team’s final 13 games to put them firmly in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie, Sophomore, Colorado (15.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG) – A skillful leader for Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes, Dinwiddie earned a spot on the first team on two of our four ballots. Nearly equally adept at scoring from behind the arc or in the lane as he is at creating for teammates or getting to the line, Dinwiddie blossomed in his sophomore campaign.
Spencer Dinwiddie Took Over As The Buffaloes' Leader In His Sophomore Campaign (David Zalubowski, AP Photo)

Spencer Dinwiddie Took Over As The Buffaloes’ Leader In His Sophomore Campaign (David Zalubowski, AP Photo)

  • Shabazz Muhammad, Freshman, UCLA (18.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG) – The most-talked-about freshman in the nation, Muhammad came to Westwood with a reputation as a great scorer and he did not disappoint. The nation’s leading scorer among freshmen, Muhammad’s offensive punch was a key factor in UCLA’s run to the conference title. Muhammad was picked as a first team member by three of our four voters.
  • Dwight Powell, Junior, Stanford (15.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.1 BPG) – A 6’10” jumping jack who averaged less than 20 minutes per game last season, Powell exploded into the upper echelon of Pac-12 players this season, establishing himself as a versatile threat with a promising future on his way to winning RTC’s Most Improved Pac-12 Player award.

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Pac-12 Weekly Honors: Week 17

Posted by AMurawa on March 11th, 2013

The regular season is behind us, so today we award our final weekly honors for the Pac-12. Doing a little housecleaning before we get to this week’s honorees, for the year, Arizona won our Team of the Week more often than anybody else, earning four nods, including three straight way back in the non-conference slate. Unfortunately for Sean Miller and company, they haven’t been the best team in the conference since Week 12, back at the end of January and the start of February. As far as Player of the Week honors, we’ve had 14 different players win the award at least once, with three guys earning two nods – Justin Cobbs, Allen Crabbe and C.J. Wilcox. The Newcomer of the Week has been slightly less muddy, with only 12 different players earning that nod. But that award has definitely been dominated by one guy – no, not Shabazz Muhammad, who only won the award once – but Arizona State’s Jahii Carson, who won the award five times this year, perhaps a hint at the winner when we announce our Freshman of the Year later today.

Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs Are Two Of Just Three Guys Who Have Won Our Player Of The Week Multiple Times

Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs Are Two Of Just Three Guys Who Have Won Our Player Of The Week Multiple Times

Team of the Week – Washington State

It took all year long, but somehow the Cougars have finally started to hit their stride just as the season ends. For the first time all season, they swept a conference home stand, dispatching both of the Los Angeles schools with relative ease. Even more impressively, they won both of those games sans guard DaVonte Lacy and with senior guard Mike Ladd only returning for the final game. The Cougs remain a long shot to do much damage in the conference tourney, but they sure are hitting their stride at just the right time.

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Pac-12 M5: 03.05.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 5th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. Championship Week Fortnight begins today, and the Pac-12 Tournament is right around the corner as well. This year’s tournament promises to be one of the more crazy ones in history, as any team seeded one through nine has the talent and potential to take the conference’s automatic bid. Washington is going to need that aut0-bid in order to go dancing, and rising fifth-year senior Scott Suggs looks to be an integral part of that run. The shooting guard had a streak going in February in which he only scored four points per game for four out of five games, but starting back on February 23 against Arizona State, Suggs found his stroke and no longer appeared lost within the Husky offense. He went for 16 points against the Sun Devils and for 23 points eight days later in the hardwood Apple Cup. If he can continue this kind of output through the next two weeks, the combination of he and C.J. Wilcox will make the eighth-seeded Dawgs a tough out.
  2. As we teased yesterday, Oregon State and Nike unveiled the results of a nearly two-year long re-branding of the Beaver program. The changes to the basketball uniforms were positive but minimal, as you can see here. The Beavers now have an all-white uniform in their repertoire and have the option of having “OSU” across the front of the jersey. The shorts are simple and clean-looking, with the new logo featured on the bottom side. The back of the tops are what I think is the highlight of the whole thing, as a basketball net and “ghost beaver” logo run from top-to-bottom. Even outside of basketball, a general change for all sports uniforms is the addition of metallic bronze as an accent color. The football uniforms were the highlight of the event, and I’ll leave you with those pictures here.
  3. Even if Arizona did not find a true point guard, the addition of Mark Lyons was a good one, and the right idea at the time by Arizona head coach Sean Miller. The Wildcats are in desperate need of a true point who can break down a defense and be a “pass-first, shoot-second” type of player, but that’s just not going to work with Lyons. So, UA fans will take what they can get at this point in the season. Right now, that’s a team full of shooters, and if that’s what can take them to the Sweet Sixteen and beyond, so be it.
  4. California is 9-1 since it was thoroughly outplayed on a late January afternoon in Boulder. At that point in the season, the Golden Bears were playing with no heart or hustle, sported a middling 11-8 record, and were on the outside looking in for an NIT bid. But there has been a remarkable turnaround, one that will likely result in Cal’s second straight NCAA bid, as Mike Montgomery has done some of his finest work as a head coach to get them to this point. California closes out the regular season with a visit from rival Stanford on Wednesday night, where the Bears will go for their eighth straight victory.
  5. UCLA may not need a Pac-12 Tournament championship to make the NCAA Tournament, but like Washington, the Bruins could use a big boost from junior forward Travis Wear in the coming weeks. Wear is still plagued by a right foot injury that sidelined him for two games stretching back to February 24, and coach Ben Howland is having to make up for his absences on the floor by playing brother David Wear for nearly the whole contest, or placing rarely-used Tony Parker in the game when Wear needs rest. The return of Travis Wear in a full capacity will be crucial for the Bruins, as it would be nearly impossible to win three games in three days without his big body on the court.
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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.

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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.

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Pac-12 M5: 01.24.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on January 24th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. Arizona freshman Brandon Ashley has changed up his defensive game ever since he struggled so much against Utah early in the conference season. Sean Miller mentioned after that Utah game that there was no question Ashley was playing poorly on defense. So Miller threw Ashley into the fire at practice by making him guard Kevin Parrom and Solomon Hill, two physical, versatile players. The results of that were most evident in Arizona’s recent victory over Arizona State when Ashley helped shut down Carrick Felix, who only had five points in Saturday’s contest. Up next for Brandon Ashley is Travis Wear, which certainly won’t be easy, but Sean Miller has faith that the freshman is now up to that task.
  2. When opponents shut down Washington’s C.J. Wilcox, the Huskies cannot find any other ways to score. In Washington’s latest game against Utah, Wilcox was harassed and limited to 2-of-12 from the field and just five points. The issue continues to plague Washington as players like Abdul Gaddy and Scott Suggs are struggling to step up when Wilcox is not playing well. As a team, the Huskies are averaging 69.2 points per game this year which would put them on pace for the lowest scoring output average since Lorenzo Romar took over as the head coach in Seattle.
  3. UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad believes tonight’s game against Arizona is a must-win game. Muhammad made it a point that he is taking it on himself to win this game, and UCLA will need to pick up the slack on the glass if they want to have a chance to pull off the victory at the McKale Center. They were outrebounded 40-31 on Saturday against Oregon, who ranks sixth nationally in rebound margin while Arizona is fifth nationally so things will not be getting any easier for the Bruins. There’s only so much UCLA can do to win the battle of the boards as they don’t have the size and depth to match the Wildcats, but a star performance from Muhammad could eliminate that advantage and give the Bruins the win they need.
  4. The last time Stanford visited the Coors Event Center in Boulder the result was a blowout in Stanford’s favor. The Cardinal left the Colorado crowd in shock after an 84-64 victory late last season. Tad Boyle mentioned that this team is much different than that group and matches up better with Stanford this time around. He noted that the added size of Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott could play a big role as both players were not available to help last year. Both teams need to win to keep pace in the standings of the Pac-12, but Colorado might have the advantage in this one as they will be looking for some revenge for last year’s disappointing defeat.
  5. If Arizona State wants to make the NCAA Tournament, they will need a lot to go right for them the rest of the season. The Sun Devils are 1-2 in their last three games, but those losses were both at the hands of very good teams in Arizona and Oregon. Unlike some other Pac-12 teams, the Sun Devils had an easy non-conference schedule and their only notable win otherwise came against Colorado. A 10-3 finish to the season would make for an appealing case to the Selection Committee, but they will need continued strong play from Jahii Carson and Carrick Felix to make a run at the Dance. The Sun Devils will get another chance to pick up a notable victory this weekend when they take on UCLA.
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What We Learned This Week in the Pac-12

Posted by PBaruh on January 23rd, 2013

Here are some takeaways from the week that was in the Pac-12:

Oregon New Leader of Pac

  • After beating UCLA 76-67 on Saturday, Oregon is now the favorite to win the Pac-12. Without question, the three best teams in the league are UCLA, Arizona and Oregon, in no particular order. Oregon no longer has to play Arizona or UCLA for the rest of the season, though, and they have already won a game each against the other two. On the other hand, the Bruins and Wildcats will play each other twice with one of those games coming this Thursday at the McKale Center in Tucson. Also, Arizona still needs to travel to the Coors Event Center to play Colorado, and the Buffaloes will certainly want to get revenge on the Wildcats after their heartbreaking loss in Arizona to start off conference play. The scheduling factor is a big reason why the Ducks are the favorite now to win the Pac-12, but they also deserve to be the favorite considering their overall play.

    The play of Dominic Artis is just one of several reasons why Oregon sits atop the Pac-12 (Daily Emerald)

    The play of Dominic Artis is just one of several reasons why Oregon sits atop the Pac-12 

  • Oregon has been getting production from every spot on the floor as each starter is averaging over 10 points per game. Their bench has been superb with great play from Johnathan Loyd and Arsalan Kazemi. They have the size to match up with every team in the Pac-12 with Tony Woods and Waverly Austin inside and also have a talented enough backcourt with Damyean Dotson and Dominic Artis on the perimeter. Also, it’s impossible to forget about E.J. Singler despite his inconsistency this year. Going forward, the Ducks take on Washington and Washington State at home, but after that, they’ll have to take a road trip to the Bay Area to play Cal and Stanford. It won’t be easy for them to get a sweep there, but if they can get past that weekend unblemished, the Ducks could very well end up being the surprise Pac-12 champion.

Washington Unknown

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Pac-12 M5: 01.23.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on January 23rd, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. For the past couple of years, there hasn’t been a premier team in the Pac-12. UCLA has a history and tradition that no team can match and are usually the most dominant team in the conference, but that hasn’t been true as of late. You might argue that the play of Arizona over the past couple of years has made the Wildcats the cream of the crop in the Pac-12, but aside from their Elite Eight appearance and conference title two years ago, there hasn’t been much in the way of sustained success in Tucson. Currently, though, this seems to be Arizona’s league evident by their #6 ranking in the AP Poll and ability to consistently win this year, something UCLA hasn’t done as well. However, this could all change on Thursday when the Bruins travel to the McKale Center. If they can pick up a key road victory there, order might finally be restored for Bruins fans as this victory would signal that UCLA is back in its rightful spot in the Pac-12 and is there to stay.
  2. Sean Miller finally got his wish when Mark Lyons won Pac-12 Player of the Week after his very successful performance against Arizona State on Saturday. Prior to this week, no Arizona player had won the award despite its high national ranking and multitude of impressive wins. But after Lyons put up 24 points, three assists and three rebounds while outplaying arguably the best point guard in the Pac-12 in Jahii Carson, there was no question Lyons deserved it. Lyons scored 15 of his total points in the second half and was instrumental in a 15-5 Wildcats’ run in the second half.
  3. Does Craig Robinson deserve to be on the hot seat? This is Robinson’s worst start in Pac-12 play in his five years at Oregon State as the Beavers now sit at 0-5. They have had a very tough schedule to start out the conference season, though, and Robinson has said on the record thath this is the best team he’s had at Oregon State. Excuses can be made as OSU lost Angus Brandt to a season-ending knee injury early in the season, but the team’s overall play still has been very lackadaisical and uninspired at times. It certainly doesn’t help that Dana Altman has turned around intrastate rival Oregon in only three years and currently looks like the team to beat in the Pac-12. The bottom line for Beavers fans is that if Robinson can’t turn things around soon, he might be looking for new work after another unsuccessful year.
  4. USC interim coach Bob Cantu has the Trojans playing much better in his short tenure thus far. In Cantu’s first two games as the head coach, the Trojans played Oregon to a hard-fought two-point loss and managed to beat Oregon State by a single point. In both of these games, USC showed resiliency in terms of its competitiveness and fire. Although it’s still early in his tenure and Cantu will need to show sustained consistency the rest of the way, it’s safe to say that USC fans are happy that Kevin O’Neill is no longer in charge of their team.
  5. The last time that Washington played Oregon State it didn’t turn out well for Lorenzo Romar’s team. Washington was the too seed and the Beavers were the ninth seed in last year’s Pac-12 Tournament, yet the Beavers pulled off the upset and ended any chance that the Huskies had of making the NCAA Tournament last season. They’ll play for the first time since then on the road tonight, and C.J. Wilcox says he and the Huskies want revenge. Wilcox believes they’ll play with a chip on their shoulder and extra energy that will help them get back on track after their disappointing loss to Utah on Saturday.
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Marching to Vegas: Washington Out-Frustrating Opponents on Road to 4-0

Posted by AMurawa on January 18th, 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.

A few months ago, while watching a dog-days, locally-broadcast San Francisco Giants game with my roommate, we witnessed a four-pitch walk. As former baseball players, we both recognized the innate frustration within the competitive-less play. And seeing as this was a local and homered broadcast, our own commentary was necessary and grew into a conversation about the most frustrating plays in sport. Quickly we came up with the following list: offensive rebound, double fault, gutter ball, three-and-out, charge, catcher’s interference, missed PK, bases loaded double play, shorthanded goals, a member bounce. Sports have a manner of ripping your heart out in a moment’s notice and a manner of getting your hair out of your scalp.

Aziz N'Diaye Contests A Shot From Colorado's Xavier Johnson (Dean Rutz, Seattle Times)

Aziz N’Diaye Contests A Shot From Colorado’s Xavier Johnson (Dean Rutz, Seattle Times)

But back to the list and its first item. On Wednesday I watched the new look Washington Huskies grind their way to a fourth consecutive Pac-12 win. That game turned into a defensive battle, one that the Huskies managed to maintain a lead in largely due to the remarkable talents of C.J. Wilcox (23 PPG in conference, 25 against CU). But Tad Boyle, along with every other Buff quoted in this article, spoke extensively on the gut-wrenching, game-wrecking, momentum-sucking offensive rebounds collected by UW. On the whole, 15 were collected by the purple team who grab those annoyances at a 38% clip – best in the conference. Following that game, I got to discussing momentum and its inability to be quantified. We can understand possession-by-possession efficiencies and their effect on a game. However – and this is where it gets interesting – can we quantify that ill-advised three that drops and blows the roof off? The charge that leads to a four-point swing? The open-court dunk? These can be moments that define games and sometimes seasons (we’ll see just how that monitor discussion ultimately affects Colorado). And while a solitary offensive rebound isn’t going to define a ton, regularly collecting them could. It’s debilitating to an opponent’s game plan and just a good old ass pain. But among the top 30 offensive rebounding teams in the nation (by rate), just 13 are ranked teams. Looking deeper into, say, upsets, Oregon was outrebounded by Arizona whilst beating them. Wisconsin was doubled on the offensive boards by Indiana in Bloomington on Tuesday night; yet the Badgers still managed to win.

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What We Learned Last Week In The Pac-12

Posted by PBaruh on January 16th, 2013

Here are some key takeaways from the week that was in Pac-12 basketball.

  • Washington has been the most surprising team thus far in conference play. Did anyone have Washington 3-0 to start Pac-12 play with all those wins coming on the road? No one gave the Huskies much of a chance to contend in the league this year after their dismal non-conference performance when they lost at home to Albany and Nevada, but they have had a massive turnaround. Lorenzo Romar’s team is winning simply because of its improved defense. Washington held California to 47 points and Stanford to 60 points over the weekend, both of which were season lows for each team. Offensively, C.J. Wilcox has been leading the way for the Huskies in conference play, averaging 21.3 points per game and tallying a career-high nine rebounds in Washington’s most recent win against Stanford. If Lorenzo Romar can continue to get his team to play this type of aggressive physical defense, and create match-up problems like he did against the Cardinal when he used Desmond Simmons to guard Dwight Powell and Aziz N’ Diaye to guard Josh Huestis, that sixth place prediction that the Pac-12 media had for the Huskies might not look so farfetched.
Travis Wear was key in UCLA's win over Colorado this week and continues to play well for the Bruins.

Travis Wear was key in UCLA’s win over Colorado this week and continues to play well for the Bruins.

  • The UCLA Bruins are finally playing like most expected them to this season. After a home loss to Cal Poly and the continuous struggles on defense in the non-conference season, it seemed like we were getting the UCLA Bruins of last year. However, after their victory against Colorado in Boulder, UCLA is sporting a nine-game winning streak and looks like a much different team than we saw in November. They had previously beaten Stanford and Cal in conference play, but hadn’t been tested by a team as talented as Colorado, especially in a difficult environment. The win has earned the Bruins some of the respect that they had lost as they came in ranked at #24 in the AP poll this week. Ben Howland is relying on his talented freshmen class for scoring, most notably Shabazz Muhammad and Jordan Adams, but he has also needed the experience of former transfers Travis Wear and Larry Drew II as well. Wear was a major factor particularly in the Bruins’ win at the Coors Event Center over Colorado last weekend. The Buffaloes could not stop Wear, as he answered every time CU got near in the second half, finishing with 23 points on 11-of-17 shooting. UCLA has also been on its tear because of the complementary play of Kyle Anderson at his new power forward position, where he is averaging 10.5 rebounds per game in conference play. Ultimately it’s safe to say that UCLA is no longer a conflict-filled team unable to meet expectations. They are now a team that has fixed its early season defensive issues by going small, relying on freshmen for scoring and transfers for leadership. It’s not the typical recipe that Ben Howland has used in the past to win, but it’s working right now and things look better than they have for a long time in Westwood.
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