Marching To Vegas: Time to Check the Monitors as the Regular Season Expires

Posted by AMurawa on March 8th, 2013

From the moment it was first rumored, the relocation of the conference tournament to Las Vegas has created quite a buzz among Pac-12 basketball fans. Adam Butler (@pachoopsAB) of PacHoops will be here every week as he offers his unique perspective along our March to Vegas.

We set out on this march to get to Vegas to determine a champion. From our armchairs or the stands, we’ve watched and discussed and texted and blogged and done it all over again trying to determine the ins and outs of what’s proven to be quite the march. And if you’ll recall, it all began with Sabatino Chen’s shot. The one where he was frantically trying to not dribble out the clock of a tie game, the ball with him despite having connected on just a handful of career shots, let alone threes. He heaved the ball, right over Kevin Parrom’s outstretched arm – our eyes collectively following its trajectory, our breaths collectively held. Glass. Nylon. The officials would then see something on their monitor replays that perhaps the rest of us did not.

A Season That Started With This Suspense Has Seen Many Surprising Stories

A Season That Started With This Suspense Has Seen Many Surprising Stories.

Which is not unlike the fact that none of us saw Oregon making a run through Pac-12 play as the wire-to-wire conference leader. Projected to finish seventh, the Ducks have spent all of, what, one day not in first place? They’ve received POY-worthy efforts from Arsalan Kazemi and COY-worthy leadership from Dana Altman. Again, if we’re looking into our own monitors, we probably wouldn’t have seen this or even E.J. Singler hitting a season-long shooting slump or Dominic Artis’ MVP value. We also would have missed Arizona’s late season implosion – perhaps a bit steep of a word – but this is a team that was once 14-0 and ranked third among more than 340 D-I teams. Today they’re not third in their own 12-team conference. Never saw that coming. Or that the Wildcats’ own vaunted class of bigs would average just 6.4 PPG and 4.9 RPG.

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Award Tour: Burke vs. Porter, McLemore vs. Smart and Larranaga vs. JTIII

Posted by DCassilo on March 8th, 2013


David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

With just one regular season game to go, nothing is decided. It’s another example of how unpredictable this season has been. For Player of the Year, it’s down to Trey Burke and Otto Porter Jr. Both players have carried their teams and made everyone around them better. Then there’s Freshman of the Year, which is down to Ben McLemore and Marcus Smart. They are a couple of players who have been impacts guys from the opening game. And Coach of the Year? It’s Jim Larranaga’s to lose, but lately, it looks like he’s trying to lose it.

The final update of this will run on Tuesday of next week, so make sure to look out for it.


10. Marcus Smart – Oklahoma State (Last week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 14.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 3 SPG

I’ve written about Smart so many times this season that I need to give myself a moment to step back and admire how well-rounded he is as a player. His 3.0 SPG are third best in the country. He’s a guy I’ll always want on my team.  This week: March 9 vs. Kansas State

9. Deshaun Thomas – Ohio State (Last week – 9)
2012-13 stats: 19.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG

A rematch of this 2012 Final Four matchup highlights the best of the remaining Big Ten non-conference games.

Thomas and Withey are in the top-10.

Oddly enough, the Buckeyes have played their best basketball when Thomas has played his worst. Still, he’s scored at least 14 points in each game of this four-game winning streak. In most other conferences, he would be the Player of the Year. This week: March 10 vs. Illinois

8. Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (Last week – 8)
2012-13 stats: 17.7 PPG, 7 RPG

You would be hard-pressed to find many players that are more efficient than Olynyk. The junior shot 68.8 percent from the field while attempting over 10 shots per game. It will be fun when the rest of the country figures out who he is this March. This week: Regular season over.

7. Cody Zeller – Indiana (Last Week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 16.5 PPG, 8. RPG

It will go down as a disappointing year because of the expectations, but Zeller still improved his scoring and rebounding averages in his sophomore season. The most surprising thing, though, is that there is a Hoosier ahead of him on this list. This week: March 10 at Michigan

6. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last week – 6)
2012-13 stats: 23.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG

McDermott closed the regular season out in style with 41 points against Wichita State. Although he will probably get a few first-place votes, what ultimately held him back was the struggles of his teammates. This week: Regular season over.

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Pac-12 M5: 03.06.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on March 6th, 2013


  1. So, yeah, quickly, the top candidates for the head basketball coach at USC: something like Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon, Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins, interim head coach Bob Cantu and, um, former USC head coach Tim Floyd? Wait, run that last one by me again. Floyd is currently the head man at UTEP, a position he’s held for a few years after resigning from the USC gig (something about how he didn’t feel supported by then-USC athletic director Mike Garrett in the wake of allegations that guard O.J. Mayo accepted impermissible benefits from an agent). Floyd has long maintained a complete lack of involvement in the issue and plenty of investigations (both by USC and by the NCAA) have failed to turn up any evidence of wrongdoing on his part. Still, let’s not consider Floyd a leading candidate just yet. The meeting between Floyd and now-athletic director Pat Haden may have just been a way for the new AD to build a bridge over the bad blood in the wake of the parting, and Floyd, for his part, is using the surprising news as a way to get the word out publicly that “hey, I didn’t have anything to do with that.” Still, for a stretch there, Floyd put together four straight winning seasons including three in a row with 20-plus wins and NCAA Tournament invitations, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
  2. Across town, UCLA head coach Ben Howland let it slip, rather innocently and honestly, that Shabazz Muhammad was in all likelihood headed for the NBA Draft. And that’s not the only opinion he has on the state of the NBA, as he mentioned on Monday that he would prefer changes to the NBA’s eligibility rules that would end the one-and-done era. Howland’s plan would be similar to the rules presently used by Major League Baseball, whereby players would have the option to go straight from high school to the pros, but that once they wind up in college, they have to stay for a few years before being eligible again. Howland also knows that there’s not a chance that change gets made, at least anytime soon.
  3. Speaking of the NBA Draft, we posted our opinions here yesterday on the draft prospects of potential early entrants around the Pac-12, including Arizona State freshman guard Jahii Carson (we’re hoping he stays and develops a jumper). But Sun Devil head coach Herb Sendek claims that he hasn’t given the idea much thought, preferring instead to focus on this season. Still, we’re not buying the idea that it hasn’t even crossed his mind. Cal’s head coach, Mike Montgomery, however, was right to the point when asked about Carson’s pro prospects: “Doesn’t shoot it well enough yet.” The key there may be the word “yet.”
  4. If Carson does stick around for another season in the desert, he’ll have a new competitor in the state at point guard, as Arizona will unveil Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell as their new lead guard. The Daily Wildcat sees a parallel between McConnell’s skill set and the skills of UCLA point guard Larry Drew II. Compared to present UA point Mark Lyons, McConnell is more of the traditional pass-first, shoot-second floor general (of course, compared to Lyons, Allen Iverson is more of a traditional point guard). As Wildcat fans begin to grow weary of Lyons’ all-or-nothing style, the future is starting to look real good, even if that envisioned future is based on little more than partial information.
  5. Lastly, as we look ahead to this week’s games, Washington may be out of the race for the conference title but it still has a chance for some input, as the Huskies will host UCLA on Saturday night. Head coach Lorenzo Romar is hoping that his team can finish the regular season in style. They’ve put together a 13-3 record in the final four conference games of the previous four seasons, and are well on their way to a repeat of that mark with two wins last week. But with USC and UCLA both playing well, the Huskies have their work cut out for them this week.
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Morning Five: 03.05.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 5th, 2013


  1. One of the many traditions of March is the avalanche of columns on a couple dozen coaches that are probably already living legends, but Kevin Armstrong’s great article on Steve Konchalski may be one of the few that you read on one of the great underappreciated coaches in college basketball having already piled up 826 wins. If you are wondering why you have not heard of Konchalski it is because he coaches in Canada and frankly very few people in the United States are even aware of Canadian college basketball. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if you were more familiar with Steve’s brother Tom, a New York City scout who has been the subject of several articles recently. Still it a worthwhile read on Canada’s Coach K, who might be a tad bit more fiery than the American version as the finger-biting story will illustrate.
  2. Over the weekend Ben Howland created a mini-firestorm when he said that Shabazz Muhammad would be leaving for the NBA after the season. The idea that Muhammad would be turning pro was not exactly groundbreaking, but the fact that his coach would say that at the beginning of March raised more than a few eyebrows. Yesterday, Howland backed off those statements and apologized for saying that without having discussed it with Muhammad, who later said he is still deciding. We are not exactly sure what made Howland come out with those statements (or play beer pong over the weekend with UCLA students), but while it was a questionable decision we are glad to hear a coach open up every once in a while even if he is only stating the obvious.
  3. We have seen plenty of straw men arguments over the years, but this column by David Woods on whether Butler could miss the NCAA Tournament is pretty high up there. We are willing to acknowledge the fact that Butler’s play as of late would be considered spotty at best and the possibility that a program of Butler’s caliber might miss the NCAA Tournament is not exactly unique (see last year), but we doubt that a team that has knocked off the #1 and #2 teams in the polls (like Butler did with Gonzaga and Indiana earlier this year) would ever miss the NCAA Tournament. Although Woods acknowledges that the possibility is far-fetched we think he is underselling just how unlikely it is.
  4. One of the best parts of March is watching an unheralded team shock a powerhouse program and make themselves known to the nation. We would be hard-pressed to include Lehigh in that category this year after their stunning upset of Duke last March, but they had the potential to play the role of Cinderella this March if they were able to get C.J. McCollum back from injury. Unfortunately it appears that McCollum may not be back in time for the Patriot League Tournament, which would most likely mean the end of his college career. Lehigh fans can hold out hope for a surprise run to the Patriot League title without McCollum (they are still tied for 2nd without him), but if this is the last we have seen of McCollum it was a pleasure watching him play in a Lehigh uniform.
  5. We don’t appreciate the competition, but we do appreciate the thought behind’s new basketball blog “One and One” spearheaded by Andy Glockner. Although it is early in the blog’s life we are interested to see what writers who have traditionally focused on writing magazine-style pieces will produce in the more modern blog format. We aren’t sure how many of Sports Illustrated‘s other writers will join in (Luke Winn has produced his own blog in the past), but if Glockner’s “68 Reasons We Love College Hoops in March” is any indication we are hopeful that they can create insightful/humorous pieces.
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So Shabazz Is Leaving, But Who Else?

Posted by AMurawa on March 4th, 2013

Saturday night following UCLA’s win over Arizona, Ben Howland admitted that, yes, Shabazz Muhammad had, barring some strange unforeseen circumstances, played his last game at Pauley Pavilion, thus sharing a secret that everybody already knew. One of the nation’s top recruits, Muhammad will be a lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft and his time in Westwood will be limited to just this one season. It’s no surprise, and certainly not worth spilling many pixels on. But, it is a good jumping off point to look around the rest of the Pac-12 and project the collegiate futures of other talented underclassmen and ask a couple different questions: First, will they declare for the NBA Draft after this season and, more subjectively, should they? Certainly every player’s own personal situation will have a say in the decision, and far be it from me to tell kids what they should and should not do with their potentially multi-million dollar futures, but it is that time of year when we start thinking about what some of these teams are going to look like next season. So, here’s a look at the players around the conference most likely to be weighing their options when the season ends, with Draft Express’ opinion on where these guys would be slated to go.

  • Allen Crabbe, Junior, California – Crabbe’s gone. The 6’6” wing has taken on a slightly bigger role each season in Berkeley and is one of the purest shooters in the draft. A solid defender as well, he’s got an NBA-ready game and could be a late first-round pick, although Draft Express currently projects him as the #11 pick in the second round. It is doubtful that another year in college would improve his draft stock substantially as Crabbe is mostly a completed player.
Allen Crabbe, California

Allen Crabbe’s Long Frame and Golden Jumper Have A Spot Waiting For Him In The NBA

  • Andre Roberson, Junior, Colorado – Odds are probably good that Roberson will leave after this season, but while he uses his long frame to great effect defensively and on the glass, he’s still a work in progress offensively. He’s a decent enough three-point shooter (35% for his career on limited attempts), but he is a poor free throw shooter, has a questionable handle, and has an unpolished offensive game anywhere inside of the three-point line. Draft Express has him as the seventh pick in the second round of this year’s draft, but I have a hard time projecting this guy’s game to the NBA when he sees players with more size and length and just as much athleticism competing with him for rebounds.

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Pac-12 M5: 03.04.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 4th, 2013


  1. UCLA head coach Ben Howland confirmed the obvious Sunday, saying that freshman Shabazz Muhammad had played his final game in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday when the Bruins defeated Arizona, 74-69. “That was his last game in Pauley. I knew going into this, this deal was a one-year deal.” Barring a huge reverse in plans or a major injury, Muhammad will be a lottery pick in June’s NBA Draft. Freshman guard Kyle Anderson didn’t want to discuss his future plans, saying that he is too caught up in the season to think about that. Muhammad went for 18 points against the Wildcats, with Anderson finishing right behind him at 17.
  2. Even more important than freshman Dominic Artis‘ physical return to the Oregon team on Thursday was the swagger and mental boost he provided to the Duck team. Even if he is not fully functional or playing a full compliment of minutes yet, getting the player back that led you to a 17-2 start is huge. Also big is the effect his return can have on the selection committee, who will take into account the injury for Oregon’s seeding if the Ducks play like they were in the first two and a half months of the season.
  3. On January 14, Bob Cantu took over a 7-10 USC team that was looking dysfunctional and heading nowhere. Since then the Trojans have gone 7-5 and have recorded wins over the likes of UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State. SC is on the NIT bubble, and could very well make the field of 32 with a split in Washington and a win in the Pac-12 Tournament. At the very least, Cantu has at least earned the honor of being considered for the full-time stint in Los Angeles, but some are questioning if he was out of line by not playing senior Renaldo Woolridge during Saturday’s “Senior Night” game against Arizona State. As the piece points out, this was a big, Division I basketball game, and it’s not a time to play people just for the hell of it. But on the other hand, it wouldn’t exactly have hurt either to get Woolridge in for a minute or two. Regardless, Cantu is doing a great job with the SC program and this shouldn’t overshadow its terrific sweep of the Arizona schools this week.
  4. Oregon State will unveil the results of its re-branding efforts across all sports tonight at 6:30 Pacific. New logos, fonts, and uniforms will be revealed at the event that is more than two years in the making. Last month, one of the new logos was leaked, and the reviews were mixed. Whatever the final result is, it has to be better than what Arizona State rolled out earlier this week, right? You can view the festivities at or follow along on Twitter at #ReBeaved.
  5. It’s Monday morning, which means John Templon’s NIT bracket projections are hot off the presses. Arizona State leads off the four Pac-12 schools that make the list as the top seed in the field, with a first round matchup projected against Northwestern. Stanford is right behind them as a two seed (making both part of the “last eight out of the NCAA”), also with an interesting game against Georgia Tech. Washington got a boost thanks to its Apple Cup win on Sunday, but the Huskies are still on the dangerous seven line, and they’ve got work to do to make sure their spot isn’t taken by an automatic bid. USC finishes off the Pac-12 list as an eight seed, with a projected first round game at Arkansas. The Trojans will need to win at least two of their final games to have a shot at making the field.
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Marching to Vegas: This Is Our Game of the Year?

Posted by AMurawa on March 2nd, 2013

From the moment it was first rumored, the relocation of the conference tournament to Las Vegas has created quite a buzz among Pac-12 basketball fans. Adam Butler (@pachoopsAB) of PacHoops will be here every week as he offers his unique perspective along our March to Vegas.

Early on we dubbed this thing the Game of the Year. It was the conference’s two most storied programs set to square off on ESPN in the season’s waning moments with what was presumed to be title implications and a possible top NCAA seed on the line. It was UCLA. It was Arizona. Muhammad. Lyons. Anderson. Hill. With all the perspective of zero games played, this had “Game Of” written all over it; after all it was the necessary return to glory for the Conference of Champions perhaps still reeling from last season’s abomination. Well now it’s here and it sure doesn’t seem that sexy. One team will host with an underwhelming albeit sound 21-7 record wearing a home loss to Cal Poly amidst ambiguous rumblings surrounding the future of their head man. The other enters Pauley with lauded victories from what seems a season past but with just one win over a top-five Pac-12 team while looking the part of effortless softies. No, the aforementioned would not suggest this is anyone’s Game of the Year and certainly not as the producers of the game have hyper-hyped their prime-er time game featuring Duke and Miami.

When Arizona and UCLA Meet On The Hardwood, Pac-12 Basketball Fans Watch

When Arizona and UCLA Meet On The Hardwood, Pac-12 Basketball Fans Watch

This is an improved year by way of Pac-12 product but hasn’t quite lived up to its moderate hype. The conference held its first game featuring ranked opponents (#21 Oregon @ #24 UCLA, 1/19) since March 2009; but that cannot be the barometer by which we measure the conference’s success. It’s in fact a touch embarrassing and we should probably not mention it again, like walking into the women’s restroom. The collective RPI has hovered in the #6 range throughout the year which isn’t great but it’s certainly an improvement. Last year the conference sat in ninth, easily last amongst the power conferences. I mean, the conference champion wasn’t invited to the NCAA Tournament, do I really need to demonstrate that last year was bad again?

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Award Tour: Huge Week Carries Otto Porter to the Top of the NPOY List

Posted by DCassilo on March 1st, 2013


David Cassilo is an RTC columnist who also writes about college basketball for SLAM magazine. You can follow him at @dcassilo.

As we hit March, the NPOY race looks like it’s down to four players: Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee and Otto Porter Jr. While it’s almost certain that one of those four will take home the hardware, it’s almost impossible to decide on a clear front-runner. Look around the Internet, and you’ll see each of those players No. 1 somewhere. In a season with no clear-cut best team, a race like this for Player of the Year is fitting. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out over the next 17 days.


10. Jack Cooley – Notre Dame (Last week – NR)
2012-13 stats: 14.4 PPG, 11 RPG

Cooley & Martin Will Likely Be Overlooked Again (AP Photo/J. Raymond)

Cooley has had a lot to celebrate this season. (AP Photo/J. Raymond)

One of the few players from a major conference to average a double-double, Cooley has been a quiet force on an overlooked Notre Dame team. He’s not going to make any top 10 highlight reels, but he is going to be the reason the Irish win games. This week: March 2 at Marquette, March 5 vs. St. John’s

9. Deshaun Thomas – Ohio State (Last week – 8)
2012-13 stats: 19.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG

The Ohio State junior is what he is — a scorer who can do some rebounding. He does both every single night, regardless of defense. Thomas is a really good college player that is close to being a great one. This week: March 5 at Ohio State

8. Cody Zeller – Indiana (Last Week – 5)
2012-13 stats: 16.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG

Zeller has shown a knack for disappearing in big games, and Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota was no different. He went just 2-of-9 from the floor before fouling out with nine points. He can’t do that in March. This week: March 2 vs. Iowa, March 5 vs. Ohio State

7. Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (Last week – 9)
2012-13 stats: 17.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG

As Gonzaga appears poised to grab the No. 1 ranking, Olynyk is on a tear. The junior has made at least 70 percent of his shots in his last four games. Regardless of competition, that’s pretty impressive. This week: March 2 vs. Portland

6. Doug McDermott – Creighton (Last week – 7)
2012-13 stats: 22.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG

At a time when his team desperately needed it, McDermott had one of his best games of the season on Wednesday for Creighton. The junior finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds against Bradley. He will need to do that routinely for this team to go anywhere. This week: March 2 vs. Wichita State

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Pac-12 M5: 03.01.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on March 1st, 2013


  1. Abdul Gaddy has failed to meet expectations at Washington. Gaddy came out of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma after averaging more than 25 points per game there. He had a subpar freshman year but was improving in his sophomore campaign and appeared as if he was about to turn a corner when he tore his ACL midway through the season. In Gaddy’s first three seasons as a Husky, he averaged no more than eight points a game, but the senior has averaged 11 points and three rebounds per game, both career highs, this year. Ultimately, unless Gaddy can lead the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament by capturing a Pac-12 Tournament title, it’s likely his career at Washington will be viewed largely as a disappointment.
  2. Despite not having any previous head coaching experience, Bob Cantu might be in good position to stay at USC full time as the head coach after his interim year. Although athletic director Pat Haden has interviewed some other candidates, Cantu has certainly done a great job thus far for USC after taking over for Kevin O’Neill. A Pac-12 Tournament title would likely solidify Cantu as the guy at USC and that’s not entirely out of the question. Cantu has coached the Trojans to a one-point loss to Oregon, a win on the road against UCLA, and most recently to a home win against Arizona, showing that USC can play with the best in the conference. As Colorado proved last year, winning four games in four days isn’t impossible and USC might just be the team to accomplish that feat this year.
  3. UCLA beat Arizona State on Wednesday night, but Shabazz Muhammad suffered a sprained ankle in the victory. Muhammad said it was minor and that he should be fine, but the talented freshman is also dealing with pink eye. Neither problem is expected to keep Muhammad out of UCLA’s game against Arizona on Saturday. The Bruins are also dealing with an injury to Travis Wear as he missed his second straight game Wednesday because of a sprained foot. Head coach Ben Howland hopes to have Wear back for the Arizona game too, but he is still listed as day-to-day.
  4. After Arizona’s loss to USC on Wednesday, Oregon is now in prime position to win the Pac-12. With the Ducks’ win over Oregon State last night, they now just have to win their last two games to claim the crown because Oregon has already beaten UCLA to own the tiebreaker. Barring a loss next weekend at Colorado or Utah, Oregon could be heading to Vegas as the #1 seed and will continue to improve with Dominic Artis returning to full health.
  5. Sean Miller said Wednesday night’s defensive play against USC was the Wildcats’ worst performance of the year. Arizona allowed USC to shoot 58 percent in the first half and an even better 65 percent in the second half. The Trojans had five players who scored double figures and at one point the defense was so poor that Miller switched to a zone defense halfway through the second half. The claims at midseason that Arizona was overrated look on point right now. The Wildcats are just 3-5 against the top seven teams in the Pac-12 and are struggling on defense at a very the worst possible time of the year.
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Pac-12 Report Card, Volume VIII: The Honor Roll

Posted by AMurawa on February 26th, 2013

This week, Professor Pac is a proud papa, as some of his most prized pupils have turned in a solid week of work. Of the four teams that earned As this week, three of them are within a game of the top of the conference and all four expect to be invited to the Big Dance.

California – A

At the end of the fourth week of conference play, the Golden Bears sat at 3-4 and four games off the pace set by then 7-0 Oregon Ducks. Since then, behind surprisingly balanced production, Cal has gone 7-1 and eked to within one game of the lead. This week they took a road trip to the Oregon schools and didn’t play particularly well, yet still managed to sneak out a pair of wins by a total of three points. And believe me, those two games were even closer than the tight scores could indicate. But, it’s two more wins to add onto the pile. And with a favorable schedule down the stretch, Mike Montgomery and crew are very much in the title hunt, no matter how improbable that may have seemed.

Tyrone Wallace's Shots Haven't Been Falling Lately, But Luckily He Is Capable Of Making Contributions Elsewhere (Lance Iversen, The San Francisco Chronicle)

Tyrone Wallace’s Shots Haven’t Been Falling Lately, But Luckily He Is Capable Of Making Contributions Elsewhere (Lance Iversen/San Francisco Chronicle)

Focus on: Tyrone Wallace. Way back in November and December, if you had told me that the Golden Bears would wind up challenging for a Pac-12 title, I would have figured that the freshman out of Bakersfield had made a quantum leap somewhere around the turn of the calendar. But while Wallace has certainly had his moments this season, over the span of the current Cal five-game winning streak, his only game in double figures came on Saturday against Oregon State with 11. In fact, over the course of conference play, Wallace has shot just 33.8% from the field. While his jumper definitely lags behind other areas of his game, if that gets tightened up, he’s got a promising future.

Looking ahead: The closing stretch for the Bears is fairly manageable. This week they host Utah and Colorado at Haas Pavilion, with the latter of those games obviously being the more perilous, then they wrap up the season next Wednesday by hosting Stanford. We can totally see the Bears earning a sweep this week, then heading into their final game of the regular season looking for a win to keep up with a couple other Pac-12 teams, only to be tripped up by their Bay Area rival.

Arizona – A

The Wildcats hosted the Washington schools and came away with a pair of wins by an average of 17.5 points per game. Now that’s the type of week we’re looking for from a team that wants to be ranked in the top 10 and earn a spot on the one or two seed line next month. And still, there is work to be done, as head coach Sean Miller sees room for more consistent effort on the defensive end. The Wildcats certainly have the talent for a run deep into March, and maybe even April, but we want to continue to see them put away lesser opponents rather than flirt with disaster in the end game.

Focus on: Solomon Hill. We haven’t talked a whole lot about Hill here this season, if only because he’s done the types of things that we’ve come to expect from him – you know, everything. Put it this way – he’s second on his team in scoring, third in assists and rebounds, second in steals and three-pointers made and he leads the team in minutes played. And he’s steady, regularly ready to be penciled in for double-figure points, five boards, three assists and a couple threes over the course of minutes in the mid-30s. Which makes his five-point, two-rebound performance against Washington State confusing. His minutes were somewhat limited by foul trouble, but still in 29 minutes of action, Hill was often invisible.

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