Takeaways From the Pac-12′s Weekend Games

Posted by Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on January 7th, 2014

It was a busy Pac-12 weekend around the conference. Here are some thoughts on each of the weekend’s five games.

Colorado 100, Oregon 91

  • It was a game that largely lived up to the hype, with both teams looking good for long stretches. But over the last 10 minutes of the game, it was – get this – Colorado’s guard play that was the deciding factor in the game. It was supposed to be the undefeated Ducks with the bevy of play-making guards that had the advantage on the perimeter, while the Buffaloes were going to need to take advantage of a weak Oregon frontcourt in order to win this game at home. Instead, over the final quarter of the game, Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie combined for 25 of Colorado’s 39 points, sophomore guard Xavier Talton chipped in six more, and Jaron Hopkins was the guy to get everything started with a three off a Dinwiddie dime. All told, the five Colorado guards outscored Oregon’s by a total of 66-52.

    Askia Booker, Colorado

    Big Game Askia? Who Knew? (Patrick Ghidossi, BuffaloSportsNews)

  • Meanwhile up front the Ducks were just okay against that tough Colorado frontcourt. On the offensive end, they were great, grabbing better than 41 percent of their own misses and getting a terrific 24-point performance out of Mike Moser. But the bigger concern is their ability to defend on the interior, and here they were exposed a bit, allowing Colorado to grab better than 46 percent of their misses, leading to lots of easy putbacks for the Buffs. Oregon’s guards are going to keep them in a lot of games, but they need to clean up their frontcourt issues in order to reach their potential.
  • For some of the surprises in this game, the most expected angle proved completely true: Colorado is going to be really, really tough at home. With a strong seven-man rotation plus a couple other guys ready to provide spot minutes, the Buffs are deep, athletic, big, strong and – most importantly – good. And the Coors Events Center is a great homecourt advatange. KenPom.com has the Buffs expected to win their next six games at home by an average of just under 10 points per game, but that only takes us to February 22 when they’ll host Arizona in their last home game of the season. Right now that KenPom projection is Arizona, 68-65, but in what could be Dinwiddie’s final home game, the early inclination is to lean Buffs. Not that trying to project a game seven weeks out is good practice.

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Pac-12 M5: 02.12.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on February 12th, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. The rumors were out there. The transfer guard out of Wake Forest by way of community college had a nice stroke, and along with the return of Jio Fontan from injury, would be the spark to ignite the long-dormant USC offense. And for the first eight games of the 2012-13 season, J.T. Terrell was that guy. But when Terrell began to slump, head coach Kevin O’Neill finally had cause to bench the player who didn’t completely fit with his team-first mentality. Terrell averaged just 3.3 points over the next seven games, but found new life when O’Neill was relieved of his duties and Bob Cantu took the reins. Now, Terrell is again shining for the resurgent Trojans, who have played themselves into some postseason whispers over the past two weeks. Even more important than the recent three-game winning streak and Terrell’s increased scoring output is the fact that he’s earned the team’s respect and has become the go-to guy in late-game situations. That bodes well for the future, as the 2013-14 version of the Men of Troy will need a vocal and respected leader once Fontan graduates.
  2. Some other news out of Corvallis, as Oregon Live revealed that Oregon State forward Daniel Gomis has had everything cleaned from his left leg and is feeling the best he has felt in two years. Gomis won’t return this season as he still needs to return to full strength before participating in basketball activities, but barring any setbacks, he will play his first organized basketball for the Beavers next October. As John Hunt notes, the Beavers will have quite an imposing front line in 2013-14, consisting of freshman Cheikh N’Diaye, the sophomore Gomis, junior Eric Moreland, and senior Angus Brandt.
  3. The Monday news day of course means the release of the weekly rankings, and the Pac-12 was represented by Arizona and Oregon in the AP Top 25. UCLA was the only other team to receive votes, coming in at #38 overall. In the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll, Arizona fell to ninth, while Oregon dropped out completely to #27. And as we enter the part of the season where “good wins” are critical to a team’s NCAA Tournament chances, the Pac-12 has posted three victories against Top 25 teams — Arizona against Miami (FL) and Florida and Colorado against Colorado State.
  4. After dropping six of its last seven games, Washington has not only free fallen from the NCAA bubble, but is now on very thin ice for the NIT as well. Poor defense and the inability to get key players going at the same time has Husky players and coaches claiming that a sense of urgency is needed for the final month of the season. It wouldn’t be impossible for LoRo and company to make the NCAAs via the league’s automatic bid, but for that to happen they will need to cut back on turning the ball over and manufacture some momentum heading into the Pac-12 Tourney. Also of help would be a top four finish in the regular season standings, giving the Huskies a first-round bye in Las Vegas. That looks unlikely at this point, but if the Dawgs win out at home and pull off a split in the desert, it’s a reasonable possibility.
  5. Teams that rebound well out of zones have given Arizona fits all season long, and the same proved true on Sunday night when California went into the McKale Center and upset the Wildcats. A big key for the Golden Bears was the off night of senior wing Kevin Parrom, who was turnover prone and cold from outside. The team’s self-proclaimed zone-buster only managed seven points despite numerous open looks in his 21 minutes of action. Colorado will look to copy the blueprint left by the likes of Oregon, UCLA, and California on Thursday when the Wildcats come calling in Boulder.
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Pac-12 M5: 11.15.12 Edition

Posted by KDanna on November 15th, 2012

  1. Wednesday marked the beginning of the early signing period for basketball recruits to sign a national letter of intent, and “officially” officially, Oregon State, Colorado, Utah and Washington State have announced whom they have signed thus far. None of the guys from these schools are going to be McDonald’s All-Americans or anything close to it, but not surprisingly, each coach is thrilled about the guys he has brought in. A couple of players to keep an eye on out of this group are soon-to-be Beaver Cheikh N’Diaye and future Ute Delon Wright. N’Diaye is a 7’0’’ center from Senegal who shows off a decent back to the basket game with the ability to hit a fadeaway (though why he’d ever need to shoot a fadeaway in high school, I’ll never know). Wright has had a solid stint at City College of San Francisco and is also the younger brother of current Philadelphia 76er Dorell Wright. At the very least, the JuCo transfer has a good pedigree.
  2. As expected earlier but now confirmed by his mother, Jabari Parker isn’t going to sign during the November period. It may just be empty words, but Parker’s mother says he hasn’t ruled out any of the five remaining schools on his list, which includes Stanford, BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Duke. Having already made visits to those last three schools, Parker will visit BYU over Thanksgiving weekend and Stanford sometime in December, so Johnny Dawkins will have the chance to make a final impression on the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2013. While many don’t consider Stanford to be a frontrunner, the Cardinal have their advantages: a player-friendly coach, top-notch academics and a Mormon assistant coach who happened to go to a Final Four at Stanford and won a couple of NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.
  3. A bit of sour news on the recruiting front for Washington, as five-star shooting guard Isaac Hamilton has left the Huskies off his final list of three, which is comprised of Baylor, UNLV and UTEP. While the Huskies expect to get their first early signing period recruits since 2010 with four-star guys Darin Johnson and Nigel Williams-Goss, Hamilton would have been a huge get for Washington, which is still in the running for top 10 overall recruit Aaron Gordon out of San Jose. The Huskies have a lot of competition for the services of Gordon, and missing out on Hamilton just compounds on what has been a disappointing week for Washington after losing a heartbreaker to Albany at home.
  4. Speaking of which, the Huskies’ loss to the Great Danes didn’t go unnoticed by the national media, as Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports writes in his column that the Pac-12’s first loss wasn’t a good one. Adam Butler has discussed the situation already for the Pac-12 microsite, but it bears repeating that these are the types of losses that harm the conference’s national reputation, even if Scott Suggs went out with a concussion after two minutes. If the Huskies can make up for the defeat with a win over Ohio State on the back end of the Tip-Off Hall of Fame Classic, or a win nearing that caliber, the Albany game will be written off as early-season cobwebs. If not, the Huskies better hope the rest of the conference steps up to provide Washington with a multitude of quality win opportunities in Pac-12 play. Otherwise, it might be another trip to the NIT, which was what many probably expected in the first place.
  5. We’ll end today with an update on the Shabazz Muhammad epic: UCLA has officially filed an appeal to the NCAA regarding Muhammad’s ineligibility and hopes to get a response shortly after Friday, the day on which the appeal will be heard. If the NCAA doesn’t side with UCLA on the appeal, then UCLA would have to request reinstatement for Muhammad. As this case has drawn on, Muhammad has received a lot of support, especially from his fellow UCLA freshmen Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Tony Parker, each of whom wore “Free Shabazz” t-shirts during warm-ups before UCLA’s nail-biting overtime victory over UC Irvine Tuesday night. Though it is merely conjecture, I have a feeling Muhammad will be suiting up for the Bruins this year, and sooner rather than later (remember that the LA Times reported earlier this week that requesting reinstatement could mean Muhammad would miss about 10 games). In any case, the Bruins could surely use his presence on the floor if the UC Irvine game result is any indication.
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