Pac-12 M5: 11.20.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on November 20th, 2013

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  1. Less than a day after Oregon State got one of its biggest non-conference victories in recent memory, current Salt Lake Community College guard Gary Payton II signed with the Beavers. Payton is, of course, the son of former Beavers legend, Gary Payton, and like his dad, “The Glove,” he is nicknamed “The Mitten.” He is a capable rebounder who is averaging 7.4 RPG this season with the Bruins, in addition to scoring at an 11.0 PPG clip. On the other end of the floor, Payton is a harassing defender who will fill all the “hustle” categories on the stat sheet. The Beavers return to the floor after their upset win at Maryland in six days, when they’ll face Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in Corvallis. With the aforementioned win and this notable signing, head coach Craig Robinson is enjoying a spurt of momentum that his program hasn’t seen in a while.
  2. Down the road in Eugene, Oregon remained undefeated on the young season last night with a 69-54 win against Utah Valley. The Ducks were once again led by Houston transfer Joseph Young, who scored 20 points in 31 minutes of action. Oregon improved to 3-0 on the year, but the Wolverines provided a stiff challenge for 30 minutes before the Ducks pulled away.
  3. Arizona head coach Sean Miller recorded his 100th win at Arizona on Monday night with its beatdown of Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The creative hashtag commemorating the achievement, #100Pointsfor100Wins, popped up on Twitter after the 100-50 victory, and athletic director Greg Byrne honored the moment by presenting Miller with the game ball afterwards. “Only 489 more wins and a national title to go to catch Lute,” says the Tucson Citizen. Miller notched his 101st win last night when the Wildcats rolled over Rhode Island, 87-59. The Wildcats move on the NIT semifinals in New York City next Wednesday.
  4. In other on-court action, USC dominated and overmatched regional rival Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday, taking an early 24-8 lead and never looking back. The Trojans’ attack was balanced as guard Byron Wesley had 22 points and center Omar Oraby added 15, but once again, coach Andy Enfield saw little production from his bench. That will have to change when the competition improves, starting eight days from now against Villanova.
  5. After an opening three games against the likes of UMBC, Miami (OH) and Idaho State, it was tough to see just how much Arizona State had improved over the offseason. One thing was for sure which was that the shot selection and passing game had definitely gotten better, and that this was definitely a team with more threats than all-everything point guard Jahii Carson. The Sun Devils showed all of that in Tuesday’s six-point road win against UNLV. Their offensive efficiency continued in Vegas, scoring 52 points in the second half and putting away the game at the free throw line. They won’t sneak up on anybody after this win, but Herb Sendek has a fun team to watch, no doubt about it.
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Pac-12 M5: 04.05.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on April 5th, 2013

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  1. Pac-12 coordinator of officials Ed Rush resigned on Thursday after it was revealed he put a bounty on Arizona head coach Sean Miller during last month’s Pac-12 Tournament. Multiple officials said that Rush offered $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if any official gave a technical to Miller during the tourney. The Wildcat coach ended up receiving his first T of the season in UA’s semifinal against UCLA, a game the Wildcats lost by two points. Conference commissioner Larry Scott announced earlier in the week that Rush’s comments were made “in jest” and that he wouldn’t be fired because of them. But after much national scrutiny and heat, Rush took care of things himself and avoided what would have likely been a mutiny among Pac-12 referees.
  2. Although an official announcement will not come until Monday, former Oregon State point guard Gary Payton will be elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. While in Corvallis, Payton was named the Sports Illustrated college basketball player of the year in the 1989-90 season. He also holds the Seattle SuperSonics’ franchise records in points, assists, and steals, and finished his career as a nine-time NBA all-star.
  3. Coming as a bit of a surprise yesterday was news coming out of Los Angeles that  UCLA has extended athletic director Dan Guerrero‘s contract through 2019. The extension comes on the heels of Guerrero’s hiring of new basketball coach Steve Alford, who comes from New Mexico fresh off a 29-6 record. He will receive $734,774 in base pay, with a 5% raise each year of the contract. Bonuses tied to academic and athletic achievements will also be available.
  4. Speaking of Alford, he’s got until April 29 to pay a $1 million buyout to New Mexico. Alford had just agreed to a new 10-year deal with the Lobos that would have been worth around $2 million a year. Under the new agreement, if Alford took another job prior to April 1, 2015, he or his new employer would owe the school $1 million. As the article states, UCLA officials said that Alford is responsible for the buyout, but that UCLA would help him work out the details.
  5. Jeff Goodman and CBS Sports released its initial list of postseason transfers from around the nation yesterday, and four of the 100 who were revealed will be leaving a Pac-12 institution. Junior shooting guard Jeremy Adams will be leaving Tad Boyle and Colorado, while Washington sophomore Martin Bruenig, who would have been in line for an increase in minutes in 2013-14, will also be departing. The other pair of transfers are freshmen; Kaileb Rodriguez of California and Justin Seymour of Utah.
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Pac-12 Basketball Fantasy League: Recapping Round One

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 2nd, 2012

In an attempt to pass time throughout the long summer months without basketball, eight Pac-12 writers will be attempting something different this offseason. Beginning this week, the following Pac-12 writers (in first round drafting order) will participate in a fantasy style snake draft of the all-time Pac-12 players and coaches:

1. Andy Wooldridge (Building the Dam)
2. Jack Follman (Pacific Takes)
3. Ben Knibbe (UW Dawg Pound)
4. Connor Pelton (Rush the Court)
5. Drew Murawa (Rush the Court)
6. Mark Sandritter and Jeff Nusser (CougCenter)
7. Adam Butler (Pachoops)
8. David Piper (Addicted to Quack)

The purposes of the fantasy league are: (1) to determine the top 80 players and eight coaches to have ever played/coached for a current Pac-12 school, and (2) to have fun and pass time throughout the long summer months without anything but MLB and soccer. The only guidelines for the draft are that a coach must have been a HEAD COACH at a current Pac-12 school to be eligible, while players have had to PLAYED at a current school to be eligible. After the draft, all eight teams will be placed into a bracket and will advance based on a vote by you, the readers. So far, one round of the draft is complete. We recap it below.

Round One

#1 (Andy Wooldridge) – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar/Lew Alcindor, Center, UCLA

No question on this one. Two-time Player of the Year, three-time First Team All-American, three National Championships, and three NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player awards make Abdul-Jabbar/Alcindor an easy choice at number one.

Lew Alcindor is Our Overall #1 Pick

#2 (Jack Follman) – Bill Walton, Center, UCLA

Walton’s accomplishments are very similar to that of Abdul-Jabbar’s. Walton was named Player of the Year twice, was a three-time First Team All-American, and won a pair of National Championships. While Jabbar was a no-doubter at number one, Walton was the easy second choice.

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Four Thoughts: Pac-12 Tournament 1st Round

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 8th, 2012

Day one of the Pac-12 Tournament is complete, and we received two good games out of four from the basketball gods. Of course, the term “good” is being tossed around here; I just consider a good game is a game that is close. Here are four things that stood out on day one of the Pac-12 Tournament.

Attendance on day one was pathetic, especially considering the all-Los Angeles matchup of USC-UCLA was played. With games like Oregon State-Washington, UCLA-Arizona, and Oregon-Colorado, attendance should be better for the quarterfinals. (credit: Brendon Mulvhill)

1. Oregon State’s resiliency — After leading by 16 early on, Washington State went on a 15-2 run to pull within three points of the Beavers. The Cougars would enter the locker rooms with a 39-38 lead, and despite the one point game, the Beavers looked done. All-conference player Jared Cunningham had just two points at halftime, perhaps playing tight due to one of his mentors, former Beaver star guard Gary Payton, was sitting courtside at Staples Center. The Beavers looked slow and fat and perhaps ready to call it a season, but that didn’t happen. Instead of forcing up shots in the second half, Cunningham fed tbe ball to Devon Collier and Joe Burton in the paint and got the job done on defense. Collier and Burton finished with 19 and 15 points, respectively, and it’s safe to say that the Beavers don’t advance without those two.

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Pac-12 Morning Five: 02.14.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 14th, 2012

  1. Jeremy Lin’s emergence as the point guard of the NBA’s New York Knicks has been, arguably, the biggest sports story since the Super Bowl. He went undrafted out of Harvard, then bounced around the league a few years before landing in New York, and even then, only getting a chance when other guards before him struggled. But, did Pac-12 schools also miss an opportunity with Lin? After all, Lin played high school ball in the shadow of Stanford at Palo Alto High School, but was never offered more than an opportunity to walk on there or UCLA. Still, with all the recruiting misses that Pac-12 schools could bemoan right now, it seems something of a reach to say the Cardinal or the Bruins should have seen something in Lin that nobody else did.
  2. Speaking of Lin, former Oregon State superstar Gary Payton wants to take just a little bit of credit for the all the Linsanity, noting that he spent time working with Lin during the past summer, honing his ballhandling and pick-and-roll skills. Good news for Beaver fans, as Payton plans to spend time with current OSU guard Jared Cunningham over the summer, going through some similar drills. Even if Payton isn’t exactly solely responsible for the strides that Lin has made in his game this season, the presence of such an accomplished tutor should be a significant positive for Cunningham’s development.
  3. With Washington in a dog fight with California and three other teams for the Pac-12 regular season title, Steve Kelley of The Seattle Times thinks it is time that sophomore wing Terrence Ross takes the next big step for the Huskies and becomes the team’s leader, filling the role that previous Washington greats like Brandon Roy, Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter have played. He certainly has the game to be the Huskies’ best player, and he’s shown his ability to take over games down the stretch, both in the win over UCLA and the win over Washington State, but does he have the force of personality to take over this team from precocious freshman Tony Wroten?
  4. It’s been a while since we talked about the status of Ben Howland at UCLA, but there is a small segment of the fanbase that thinks it is time for a change of direction in the program. With UCLA’s second subpar season in three years and an invitation to a second-tier post-season tournament a best-case scenario, could UCLA possibly be looking elsewhere? From my perspective, odds are that he gets another year especially with a solid recruiting class on its way to Westwood, with the potential to land Shabazz Muhammad, once the top recruit in the 2012 class (he may have dropped to the #2 recruit since Nerlens Noel reclassified up a year).
  5. Lastly, we named E.J. Singler our Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday, and conference voters agreed, giving Singler his first ever such honor. Singler averaged 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists this week, while shooting 61.1% from the field and 62.5% from deep. He earned the award over other nominees such as Nick Johnson of Arizona, Harper Kamp of California, Jared Cunningham of Oregon State, Chasson Randle of Stanford, Terrence Ross of Washington and Reggie Moore from Washington State. Surprising that WSU’s Brock Motum (20.5 PPG, 7 RPG, 2.5 APG) and Cal’s Justin Cobbs (14 PPG, 5 APG, 2.5 RPG) were not even nominated.
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Pac-12 Morning Five: Conference Tip-Off Edition

Posted by AMurawa on December 29th, 2011

  1. Picking up where we left off yesterday, we’re continuing to look ahead to tonight and the start of conference play (completely ignoring Colorado’s 92-34 demolition of New Orleans last night). We’ve got CBS’ Matt Norlander picking California and Stanford as the teams to beat (and give him credit for not putting the entire league under his “Still Unproven” category), while Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News also throws his support behind Mike Montgomery’s team. After browsing through all the Pac-12 picks coming from elsewhere and devising our own (which you’ll see later today), it is clear Cal, despite all its flaws, is the clear favorite in the conference.
  2. It’s the first year of unbalanced scheduling in the conference, as the beautiful home-and-away round robin of years’ past is no longer. And, taking into account that California is the favorite in the conference while Stanford and Oregon State are popular choices to challenge for the title, Arizona seems to be sitting in the (wild) catbird seat with regard to scheduling, skipping a trip to the Oregon schools while missing a visit from the Bay Area schools. The Washington schools also seem to be a little fortunate, as they get to skip the trip to the Bay Area, but miss out on a second chance at Utah and Colorado at home.
  3. USC has struggled to a 5-8 start to the season, they’ve got the 248th ranked offense in Division I (according to Ken Pomeroy) and their top five players have played 73.8% of their total minutes. But not to worry, Trojan fans, your intrepid head coach has a plan: try harder! Brilliant! Rather than install any type of coherent offense, Kevin O’Neill says “let’s just do a few more wind sprints.” Certainly USC’s got some incredibly raw parts offensively, but if I were to make a list of the Trojans top five problems in their first 13 games of the season, I’m quite sure effort would not be among them. For instance, tonight when USC travels to California to face the Human Floor Burn, Jorge Gutierrez, it’s a good bet that even he won’t outwork USC. Expect the conference opener between these two teams to be low-scoring, ugly and, well, won by the Golden Bears.
  4. Looking around the rest of the conference, let’s get a quick injury update in advance of opening night. Oregon senior forward Tyrone Nared is not quite ready to return to play after tearing an MCL a little more than two weeks ago, leaving the Ducks with just nine scholarship players for their trip to the Washington schools this weekend. Aziz N’Diaye is back for Washington, having played in their last game against Cal State Northridge, but his return to the starting lineup remains questionable. Richard Solomon still has not practiced for Cal following a stress fracture in his foot two weeks ago, and as a result, is unlikely tonight.  And UCLA’s Lazeric Jones and Norman Powell are expected to play tonight at Stanford after each sprained their ankles during Monday’s practice. Both have been able to practice the last two days and should be good to go.
  5. When Oregon State kicks off conference play tonight with a trip to Washington, they will do so with the most optimism surrounding their program since the days of Gary Payton a couple of decades ago. Their 10-2 record in non-conference play is their best start to a season since 1989-90, Payton’s senior season, and what’s more, this team is fun to watch: They lead the conference in scoring, assists, steals and shooting. The Beavers have never led the conference in scoring (with statistics going back more than 50 years), but with some highly efficient offensive play and a defensive game plan built around forcing turnovers through pressure, this could be their year to do so.
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News & Notes: April 7, 2008

Posted by nvr1983 on April 7th, 2008

Since there is a rather important game tonight and I need to get something done today before that, I will keep this relatively short. As you may or may not be aware, there are other things going on in the college basketball universe today and we’re here to keep you informed.

- Oklahoma State preparing to offer Self a job: Somehow Bill Self has managed to keep this brewing media storm to a minimum leading up to tonight’s game. That certainly wasn’t the case the last time a Kansas team was in the Final 4 and its coach was a potential candidate for another position. I don’t think it will play a factor in the game, but it is something to watch for in the early minutes of the game to see if it is affecting the Jayhawks. If you happen to forget, don’t worry because the CBS guys will probably remember you about a hundred times before, during, and after the game tonight.

- Oregon State to name Craig Robinson as its new coach: This normally wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy as Corvallis hasn’t exactly been a college basketball hotbed lately although it has some history with two Final 4 appearances (most recently in 1963) and two well-known NBA players (Gary Payton and A.C. Green). However, since this is an election year and because Robinson is the brother of Michelle Obama (wife of probable Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama), we figure this will get a decent amount of ink. Robinson had a mediocre record (30-28) during his 2 seasons at Brown. We think Barack’s brother-in-law is in for a very rude awakening as the Pac-10 is a little different from the Ivy League. Robinson certainly has his work cut out for him as the Beavers went 6-25 last year including earning the distinction of being the first team since 1978 to go winless in Pac-10 competition. Maybe I’m a little weird, but my first thought when I heard the news was if it would be a recruiting violation to use Barack to recruit players.

- Xavier’s Lavender arrested: Ok. Let me get this straight. You’re a good college player, who might have a prayer at making a NBA roster if you play well at the Chicago pre-draft camp and things fall right. Getting caught with pot while being “drunk and disorderly” is pretty low on the list, right? Have fun in Europe, Drew. We suspect that his agent will probably try to get him on a team based out of Amsterdam.

- Gordon to declare for NBA Draft: This would have been higher up on the list except everybody knew it from the moment the Hoosiers went out in the first round. We enjoyed seeing Eric in Bloomington for the first two-thirds of the season before he went in the tank much like the rest of his team.

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