Pac-12 Morning Five: 12.08.11 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on December 8th, 2011

  1. It was a busy night around the conference, with six games from coast to coast, but the obvious headliner lived up to and maybe even exceeded expectations, as a gutty, undermanned, undersized Arizona team took Florida to overtime before wearing down. Playing without suspended point guard Josiah Turner, the Wildcats turned to freshman Nick Johnson to play out of position and run the point, and we learned beyond a shadow of a doubt that keeping Johnson at the point is not a long term solution. However, upperclassmen Jesse Perry, Kyle Fogg and Solomon Hill kept the team within striking distance, with Hill knocking down three straight clutch free throws in the waning moments of regulation to force the extra period before the ‘Cats ran out of gas. Florida’s Patric Young exposed the Arizona big men, going for a career-high 25 points paired with ten rebounds in a blatant mismatch up front.
  2. If that was the highlight, the obvious lowlight took place in Salt Lake City, as Utah lost by 31 to Cal State Fullerton, a middling (at best) Big West school that has already lost to Houston Baptist – a team ranked #333 out of 345 teams by Ken Pomeroy. Not that losing by 31 in the worst loss in the 42-year history of the Huntsman Center isn’t indication enough of how bad things were, but the rebounding margins in this game were obscene, as CSUF grabbed 91.9% of their defensive rebound opportunities and 43.5% on the offensive end. That’s a Big West team dominating a Pac-12 opponent, folks. I know Utah has had a ton of turnover in the past couple of years, but come on now. With the basketball edition of the Holy War due up on Saturday, the natives are already getting restless.
  3. A quick run around the rest of the games starts with Deonte Burton getting over on a Pac-12 team for the second time in six days, this time going for 28 points in a win at Arizona State. At Colorado, Andre Roberson double-doubled and scored a career-high 21, Spencer Dinwiddie continued his hot streak, and the Buffaloes made 15 of their last 16 free throws over the last eight minutes in a win over Fresno State. Washington State got a jumper from Reggie Moore in the final second to pull out a two-point win in the Battle of the Palouse. And California took out its frustrations on San Jose State, holding the Spartans to a 21.7% eFG.
  4. A key element to Oregon State’s more successful start this year has been the team’s ability to play man-to-man defense for long stretches. In the past, the Beavers had primarily been a 1-3-1 zone team, but with the significant upgrade in athleticism that Craig Robinson has brought to Corvallis, the coach knew that the time was right to let players like Jared Cunningham and Devon Collier, among others, play to their strengths. Coupled with the athleticism of his players, Robinson also has found a starting five that has gelled as a unit and become much more consistent than last year’s bipolar team.
  5. Down the road apiece from OSU, Dana Altman’s Oregon team gets a much-needed infusion of backcourt talent this weekend as Devoe Joseph gains eligibility Saturday against Fresno State. A transfer from Minnesota who will only have the remainder of this season left in his college career, Joseph steps into a program in dire need of help, following the losses of freshmen guards Jabari Brown and Bruce Barron, both of whom have left the program already this season. Joseph averaged 11.3 points and 3.5 assists per game in 25 minutes during the eight games he played for the Golden Gophers last season, and came to Altman’s program on the recommendation of former head coach Tubby Smith, who accepted at least some of the responsibility for the clash of personalities between he and Joseph.
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