Pac-12 M5: 12.20.12 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 20th, 2012

pac12_morning5

  1. Larry Drew II‘s collegiate career will come to a close this season, and UCLA head coach Ben Howland regrets not having Drew for a longer amount of time in Los Angeles. While in the middle of his senior season at Woodland Hills Taft High School, Howland offered Drew a scholarship but only kept it on the table for “roughly one week.” Wanting to keep his options open, the kid that grew up a Bruins fan decided to wait out the recruitment process. He eventually landed in Chapel Hill, a place Drew “never really liked.” Five years later the point guard is back in the City of Angels, and as I pointed out a few weeks ago, has been one of the few bright spots for the Bruins in 2012.
  2. If you felt like you were dreaming while watching Arizona knock off a top 10 Florida team last Saturday, it’s probably because of this statistic: The last time a Pac-12/10 team beat a top 10 non-conference opponent was back in 2009, when USC beat #9 Tennessee. A lot of things have happened in those three years, including the slow demise of our conference’s national reputation and RPI rankings. Perhaps that’s why coaches from all around the league were excited by the Wildcats’ triumph. It had already been a disappointing November and December with losses to the likes of Albany, Cal Poly, and Sacramento State dotted throughout the league, so hopefully the rest of the Pac-12 can follow Zona’s suit and keep the quality wins coming.
  3. With Ahmad Starks slumping and Angus Brandt out for the year with a torn ACL, Oregon State has desperately needed the energy provided by Devon Collier, both on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Collier has been doing a terrific job coming off the bench so far this season, but he actually got the start last night against Howard as Craig Robinson was looking for more energy to begin the game. The plan worked, with the Beavers jumping out to a 14-2 lead, including six points from Collier. They still couldn’t escape their early lull, however, as the Bison jumped right back to pull within three at 20-17. It will be interesting to see how Robinson plays with the lineup in the future as Pac-12 play nears.
  4. Oregon State’s rival was also in action Wednesday night, but instead of playing 48 miles to the south, Oregon nearly went south of the border to face UTEP.  Remember when we were discussing how the conference was beginning to turn around? The Ducks set that back a bit, giving away opportunity after opportunity against the Miners before UTEP finally pulled out a triple-overtime victory. As David Piper mentions at the end, this is a bad loss. Sure, UTEP nearly beat UNLV on Monday, but that’s a Runnin’ Rebels team that Oregon had already posted a victory against. On the road. Also noted was UTEP’s 24-point loss to Vanderbilt, a team Oregon destroyed by 26. Bottom line, Oregon’s shooting woes were going to cost them eventually at some point, and that happened in El Paso last night. You hate to make assumptions bubble-wise this early in the season, but this makes the Ducks’ New Year’s Eve date with Nevada a near must-win to keep its at-large hopes alive.
  5. We close with our weekly Pac-12 Hoops Pick’em selections. Adam and Parker continued to cruise last week and now lead the competition with records of 31-6. I am currently a game behind, while Drew is stuck three games out. For our games of the week, we have chosen Stanford’s trip to Evanston on Friday night and the Kansas-Ohio State showdown on Saturday.
Game Connor (30-7) Drew (28-9) Parker (31-6) Adam (31-6)
Cal Poly at Washington Washington Washington Washington Washington
UC Irvine at USC USC USC USC USC
Northern Arizona at Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado
Stanford at Northwestern NW 71-69 Stan 77-59 Stan 65-58 Stan 74-61
Washington State vs Buffalo Washington State Washington State Washington State Washington State
Cal State Northridge at Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah
USC at Georgia Georgia USC Georgia USC
Arizona State at Texas Tech Texas Tech Arizona State Texas Tech Arizona State
Houston Baptist at Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
Kansas at Ohio State OSU 80-75 OSU 65-63 KU 78-73 OSU 80-77
Prairie View A&M at California California California California California
Northern Illinois at Washington Washington Washington Washington Washington
Oregon State vs San Diego Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State
Arizona vs East Tennessee State Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona
Fresno State at UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA

 

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Michigan Bombs Away Toward a Big Ten Title

Posted by rtmsf on February 22nd, 2012

Bill Hupp is an RTC correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter (@Bill_Hupp). He filed this report following No. 13 Michigan’s OT win over Northwestern on Tuesday.

For as much as Michigan and Northwestern engaged in a classic Big Ten battle on Tuesday night in a rugged, seesaw affair, it was over with breathtaking offensive efficiency.

Point Guard Trey Burke Has Been Tremendous This Season (AP)

First, Trey Burke stepped into a three from the top of the key after a Wolverines offensive rebound to start the overtime period. Then Zach Novak buried one from the right corner. Finally, Stu Douglass turned out the lights on the Wildcats with a gut-punch from three feet beyond the left wing that sent the purple-clad faithful streaming toward the exits. The win means the Wolverines (21-7, 11-4 Big Ten) kept pace with Ohio State and moved to within a half-game of Michigan State for the conference lead, a place few could have predicted after Darius Morris left for the NBA and handed the reins to a relatively unknown freshman point guard.

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Big Ten Morning Five: 02.10.12 Edition

Posted by Ryan Terpstra on February 10th, 2012

  1. For Nebraska, their first foray into Big Ten league play has been a tough one. The Huskers have a 3-9 league record after getting thumped at home by Michigan 62-46 Wednesday night. There is no doubt that the rigors of the Big Ten are much tougher than the Big 12, and Nebraska may be feeling the grind. The team will have to win 6 of their last 7 games to break even in the league, and the lack of success thus far has to be weighing on sixth year head coach Doc Sadler.
  2. It was a good way to begin the week for Northwestern freshman guard Dave Sobolewski, as he picked up co-Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. Sobolewski shared the award with Iowa forward Aaron White, and last night the two clashed on the court as the Wildcats and Hawkeyes did battle. While White had a great effort with 17 points and 12 boards, Sobolewski won the battle and the war as he scored a career-high 23 points and dished 7 assists in an 83-64 Northwestern win. The performance was no surprise for the young player who has been playing big minutes for Bill Carmody.
  3. This season has been a roller-coaster of sorts for Illinois and head coach Bruce Weber. They have upset Ohio State and Michigan State, but have also lost at home to some teams they are expected to beat. Illini fans demand a winner, and while the program can boast plenty of successes, since former guard Dee Brown graduated, Illinois is now 49-50 in Big Ten play after last night’s 84-71 loss to Indiana. While there is no simple way to fix things, there is no doubt that expectations remain high for the program.
  4. There are plenty of issues that coaches face every week in the Big Ten, but one that continues to puzzle everyone is how to matchup with Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger. He is a beast down low, so don’t try to put a smaller defender on him. But you can’t guard him with a 7-foot statue either, because Sullinger has great feet and plenty of post moves. Collapse the defense around him and he’ll beat you with his passing. Send him to the line, and he hits 76% of his free throws. You understand the dilemma.
  5. Speaking of Sullinger, he grew up with and was a high school teammate of Michigan freshman point guard Trey Burke. In fact, Burke was coached by Jared’s father Satch Sullinger. The two have a special relationship, and it has been given an interesting twist as Sullinger and Burke now are on opposite sides of the bitter Ohio State – Michigan rivalry. They still remain friends off the court, but on it, there’s no chance they will take it easy on each other.
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