Pac-12 M5: 11.28.12 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 28th, 2012

  1. We are two and a half weeks into the 2012-13 season and coach Kevin O’Neill’s USC squad is still searching for an identity. We heard all offseason long about how this Trojan team had more than enough depth, and how this was the year they got back on track and competed for another NCAA Tournament berth. However, as Evan Budrovich points out, the influx of available bodies has actually hurt SC early on, leaving it far short of its true potential. Budrovich lays out a plan that appears to be foolproof at the end of the article, stating that the Trojans should go big and implement little used freshman forward Strahinja Gavrilovic into the starting lineup instead of Byron Wesley. Gavrilovic’s ability to score consistently from any spot in the paint would help SC when it goes into one of its typical shooting slumps. Wesley would come off the bench and play in his most comfortable shooting guard role, and Renaldo Wooldridge would see increased minutes as a defensive stopper. Whatever O’Neill decides on, he needs to figure it out quickly before SC faces Nebraska, New Mexico, and Minnesota the next three times it takes the floor.
  2. Staying in Los Angeles, Bruins Nation delves into some theories as to what is wrong with UCLA. As DCBruins points out, Ben Howland got his dream recruiting class, and team, this season – so the players are definitely not at fault. And even in the day and age where players transfer one game into the season, it’s not likely that the majority of the team has already “stopped playing” for Howland this quick into the year. Or maybe the quoted Bruin Report Online article is referring to fouling unnecessarily in the final 20 seconds (heyoooooo). Whether true or not, perception is reality, and the perception by most is that theory number four, stating that Howland flat-out can’t coach this group, is true right now.
  3. Something will have to give on Friday night in Kansas City, where an Oregon State team struggling with perimeter defense meets a Kansas squad that has been less than spectacular at the one through three spots on the floor so far this season. Head coach Bill Self compared his player’s ball reversal skills to be worse than that of third and fourth graders playing YMCA ball after the Jayhawks defeated San Jose State on Monday. If those struggles continue against the Beavers at the Sprint Center, Oregon State has a chance to get a marquee win Friday evening.
  4. I had been calling for it all throughout the offseason, and finally the media and opposing teams are catching on – California guard Justin Cobbs is legit. Cobbs has found his role with the Golden Bears and has settled into it perfectly, playing inside himself for a tidy average of 20 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.7 APG so far this season. Without a doubt, the mixture of Cobbs and junior Allen Crabbe combines to make the league’s top backcourt duo so far in 2012-13. Also included in Doug Haller’s column is his weekly power rankings, which are pretty close to the ones we released yesterday. Haller, however, has Arizona and Colorado flipped at the top, as he does with Oregon and California just after those two.
  5. Washington received more bad news on Tuesday when it learned that senior guard Scott Suggs would miss Wednesday’s game against Saint Louis due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The Huskies were without Suggs’ services against Colorado State on Saturday, and as we all know, that didn’t turn out very well. This already offensively challenged Dawg squad will get all it can handle, and then some, against the Billikens tonight. SLU has gotten off to a slow, 3-2 start, but anyone that tuned in to see them dominate Texas A&M last week for a 21-point victory knows that they are for real.
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Pac-12 Weekly Five: 05.04.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on May 4th, 2012

  1. About a month into the offseason now, the incoming recruiting classes are just about set, while the comings and goings of Division I transfers are beginning to sharpen in focus. In the past week, we’ve learned that Washington State would be welcoming in former Iowa State center Jordan Railey, who saw limited time in his two seasons in Ames, but could be a factor up front for the Cougars in 2013-14. Utah will be the landing spot for Loyola Marymount graduate transfer Jared DuBois, who was a double-figure scorer in all of his previous seasons in Los Angeles (he redshirted his junior year after playing 175 minutes early prior to a season-ending injury). While DuBois can be a little wild at times, he should give head coach Larry Krystkowiak a sorely-needed offensive punch. Then there is former Tennessee forward Renaldo Woolridge (aka Swiperboy), who will spend his final season of eligibility at USC after graduating from the Knoxville school this spring. Reign of Troy expects Woolridge to step right into the starting lineup for Kevin O’Neill, but given his lack of accomplishments with the Volunteers and the influx of new talent for the Trojans, that may be overly optimistic. He should earn a significant spot in the rotation though.
  2. Meanwhile, a couple of outgoing transfers announced their landing spots, as Curtis Washington, formerly of USC, will head to Georgia State, while Arizona State refugee Kyle Cain will matriculate at UNC Greensboro, both becoming eligible in 2013-14. But the biggest name among outgoing Pac-12 transfers is Josiah Turner, heavily rumored to be heading to SMU and their new head coach Larry Brown, but who has not made any official announcement yet. Perhaps the decision was delayed some by the latest in a long line of bad decisions made by the talented youngster, as Turner was busted by university police last Thursday morning for a DUI, along with driving without a license, registration and insurance. After wasting a season in Tucson, it could be up to Brown to revive a once promising basketball career, but he’ll have to convince Turner to take his off-court life more seriously before any progress can be made. Percy Allen has a complete rundown of all the conference transfers.
  3. A couple conference schools landed more recruits this week, as Utah scored a commitment from swingman Dakarai Tucker this week, wrapping up an eight-man recruiting class (including DuBois) for the Utes. With four incoming freshmen to go with redshirt freshman Jeremy Olsen (back from a Mormon mission) and a pair of junior college transfers, hopefully Krystkowiak can begin to stem the tide of wild roster turnover every offseason in Salt Lake City. Likewise, in Eugene, Dana Altman scored a commitment from three-star wing Fred Richardson, a smart shooter who was considering a handful of other major conference schools. However, all is not done for Altman this year, as he continues to pursue top-ten recruit Anthony Bennett and four-star center Chris Obekpa, both of whom are still in the process of deciding where they will attend school.
  4. Last stop in terms of player movement: Mark Lyons, formerly of Xavier, is on the market and strongly considering Arizona as a landing spot for his final season of play next year. Lyons is also considering Kansas and Kentucky, but he will visit Sean Miller’s program this weekend. Lyons already knows Miller well, having been recruited to the Cincinnati school by him and having spent a redshirt season under the former head coach. Also, Lyons hosted current Wildcat wing Kevin Parrom when he took a recruiting visit to Xavier in 2009. Miller could sure use Lyons next season, as the Wildcats lack a clear answer at the point guard slot. While Lyons is a combo guard (at best), he is certainly a more obvious answer at the point than anyone else currently on the Wildcat roster.
  5. And lastly, speaking of Parrom, the Wildcat junior was named one of the winners of the 2012 Wilma Rudolph Award, an honor given to student-athletes who “have overcome great personal, academic and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.” Parrom was shot in the leg in September while visiting his mother at her home in New York City as she was trying in vain to fight off cancer. Parrom’s mother’s death just weeks later came on the heels of his grandmother’s death earlier last summer. And, as just the icing on Parrom’s difficult season, his year ended early when he broke his foot in late January and missed the rest of the team’s games. This is a deserving honor for the player who has had to deal with so much in the past calendar year.
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Ten Tuesday Scribbles…

Posted by zhayes9 on January 12th, 2010

RTC contributor and bracketologist Zach Hayes will deliver ten permeating thoughts every Tuesday as the season progresses.

1. Other than Kansas students, graduates, former players and all former or current residents of Lawrence, was there anyone in this fine country of ours rooting for the #1 Jayhawks to beat a depleted Tennessee team, a group of kids and a stunned head coach that just dealt with the suspension and/or dismissal of four of its regular rotation players? All of the events that occurred in that two-hour window in Knoxville Sunday was a release of pent-up frustration and anxiety from a tumultuous week in which Tennessee was considered a prime threat to upend favorite Kentucky in the SEC one day and counted out as a SEC contender that must scratch and claw the final two months for an NCAA berth the next. Renaldo Woolridge banking in a three, the Vols maintaining their lead with Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince on the bench with four fouls, the coach’s son Steven taking a critical charge, a miracle Skyler McBee (one of three walk-ons playing substantial minutes) leaning trey that iced the game, and coach Bruce Pearl aiding the Volunteer mascot in waving the orange Tennessee flag while the sounds of Rocky Top reverberated throughout Thompson-Boling Arena summed up what college basketball should be about. Bill Self pointed this out after the game, but there are some moments during a season when a team officially becomes a team instead of a group of individuals. Even though Pearl would gladly reset the timer to New Year’s Eve and prevent four scholarship players from getting in that car, sometimes it takes a catastrophic occurrence that truly tests the mettle of a unit for them to band together and accomplish lofty goals. I think it’s fair to say Tennessee became a team Sunday night.

2. As long as Mike Anderson is employing his Forty Minutes of Hell hellacious press on demoralized opponents, especially on a home floor where his team has won 30 consecutive games, Missouri should never be totally counted out of the Big 12 race. Losing DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons and Matt Lawrence from an Elite 8 squad isn’t easy to overcome, and certainly the ceiling for the Tigers isn’t nearly as high, but the ultra-talented and quick Mizzou backcourt should have enough firepower to carry them to an NCAA berth. Missouri carried an impressive 12-3 record into their Big 12 opener with #10 Kansas State Saturday, yet their overall resume wasn’t incredibly awe-inspiring with their best wins over Old Dominion, Illinois, Georgia and Oregon and opportunities lost in defeats at the hands of Richmond, Vanderbilt and Oral Roberts. The win Saturday was clearly a statement that Missouri will be a contending force in the Big 12 for that #3 spot behind Texas and Kansas. Anderson looks to have a workable combination with experienced seniors J.T. Tiller and Zaire Taylor (evident by Taylor’s tie-breaking 3 with under a minute to play) making plays in late-game situations, a promising sophomore backcourt duo of Kim English and Marcus Denmon carrying most of the scoring load, and a defensive unit that ranks seventh overall in D efficiency, first in turnovers forced and gives Missouri a fighting chance on any night.

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