Pac-12 teams this week played in tournaments from Maui to the Bahamas, from Brooklyn to Orange County. And, well… let’s just get to the carnage.
Team of the Week: Oregon
It was difficult to come up with a selection here. I polled many knowledgeable people. Adam Butler suggested that it had to be either UCLA or Washington, because at least they had nice vacations in Maui and the Bahamas, respectively. Jeff Eisenberg was sure it had to be California and its three future first-round NBA Draft picks for sticking within 14 points of San Diego State and within four points of mighty Richmond. Still, I kept searching. Four teams got through last week without losing a game – Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington State. But these are the combined opponents that those four teams defeated: Arkansas State, Air Force, Northern Colorado, Idaho State, Cal State-Los Angeles and Texas Southern. So, we’re going to fudge things a little and acknowledge Oregon here. Last week we gave the nod to Washington for its surprising start to the season, but without a doubt, the conference team with the most impressive start after two weeks has been the Ducks. Not only do they have perhaps the two best wins among Pac-12 teams (over Baylor and Valparaiso), but they’ve done so without the benefit of two starters: senior point guard Dylan Ennis and sophomore center Jordan Bell. The Ducks will have a couple more tests this week with a visit from Fresno State tonight and their first road game of the season – at UNLV on Friday – but for now, Dana Altman’s squad remains the conference’s best hope for national glory.