- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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|