Pac-12 ATB: 01.12

Posted by Connor Pelton on January 13th, 2012

The Lede.  Through two and a half weeks of Pac-12 basketball, we still don’t know much about this league and how it’s going to shake out. But one thing was confirmed on Thursday night; California is going to have a say on who wins this conference. The Golden Bears got a solid, 57-50 victory over first-place Colorado at Haas Pavilion last night, vaulting Cal into a tie for first place with rival Stanford. In a year where finishing in the top four gives you a first round bye in the pivotal Pac-12 Tournament, the Bears now have big wins over UCLA, Oregon, and the Buffs, all of which can be used as tie breakers for seeding come March.

California forward Harper Kamp led the Bears with 14 points in their win Thursday night. (credit: Tony Zhou)

With the amount of parity and inconsistency in this league, it’s tough to take a single result and make it a big deal. After all, Cal could go out tomorrow and lose to Utah, and Colorado go and win four straight. But last night’s win for Cal felt different, at least to me. First of all, they showed they can win without a huge night from Allen Crabbe. Crabbe, the favorite (or co-favorite) to win Pac-12 Player of the Year, scored in single digits for only the fourth time of the season last night. Instead, players like Harper Kamp, Justin Cobbs were able to step up in the closing minutes to close out the win.

Second, this was the second straight win over a solid opponent for Cal, something that has been and will continue to be tough to come by as conference play continues. The victory moves Cal into a tie for first place in the Pac, and with games against Utah, Washington, and Washington State coming up, the Bears could find themselves on top for a while.

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Pac-12 ATB: Weekend in Review

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 12th, 2011

The Lede. 
Picked by almost all preseason pundits as a lock to make the NCAA Tournament, Washington finds itself at .500 through eight games. There was the embarrassing double-figure loss at Saint Louis, an overtime heartbreaker at Nevada, and some questionable coaching at the end of the Jimmy V Classic against Marquette. Now the Huskies are on the wrong side of the bubble and slipping fast. In order for the Dawgs to get back into the NCAA picture, blowout victories in their final three nonconference games (UC Santa Barbara, South Dakota State, and Cal State Northridge) are vital, and 12 or 13 wins in the Pac-12 will also be necessary.

Washington's Run Against Duke Came a Bit Too Late Saturday

For the sake of comparison, and because I have a degree in Bracketology, here’s a look at Washington’s current résumé compared to the three other teams that I have on the wrong side of the bubble:


  • Record: 4-4
  • RPI: 78
  • SOS: 28
  • Quality Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: @ Nevada

Oklahoma State

  • Record: 6-3
  • RPI: 86
  • SOS: 80
  • Quality Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: N/A


  • Record: 6-3
  • RPI: 97
  • SOS: 105
  • Quality Wins: @ TCU
  • Bad Losses: Wake Forest


  • Record: 4-4
  • RPI: 170
  • SOS: 171
  • Good Wins: N/A
  • Bad Losses: South Carolina

Looking over the résumés, it appears that Washington, Oklahoma State, and Nebraska are all pretty even at this point, while Clemson is a few steps behind. I am big on strength of schedule so if I had to fill one spot with any of those three teams, I would go with Washington. The Cornhuskers do have a nice win at TCU, but a home loss against a terrible Wake Forest team cancels that out. The Cowboys boast a nice record and a mediocre RPI, but with no quality wins and an SOS that is far behind Washington’s, I don’t feel good putting them in the field.

What we have not yet mentioned was the great game that took place on Saturday between Duke and the Huskies. It took Washington 15 minutes into the second half to FINALLY make some baskets, but they grouped that with great defense and some poor Blue Devil shooting to cut a deficit that was as big as 19 in the second half all the way down to three with a minute left. Unfortunately for Washington, Duke eventually found their touch at the line in the final minute, and the only time they would get back within six was on a Terrence Ross three as time expired.
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Pac-12 ATB: Stanford Advances, Arizona Upset

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 24th, 2011

The Lede. 
They are 5-0, in a championship game of a major early season tournament, and are the only undefeated team in the Pac-12 after 2.5 weeks of play. No, it’s not California; It’s not Arizona; It’s not UCLA, Washington, or even Oregon or Oregon State. It’s Stanford. Led by senior Josh Owens and sophomore Aaron Bright, the Cardinal are off to one of the best starts in team history, capped by a 15-point beatdown of a good Oklahoma State team on Wednesday. The win not only advances them to the NIT Season Tipoff Championship tomorrow afternoon against Syracuse, but it also adds a quality win to a lackluster OOC schedule.

Hey guys, we're undefeated! (credit: Zach Sanderson)

The game was actually close for the first 15 minutes, but the Cardinal closed out the first half on a 17-6 run to lead by 11 at halftime. Coming out of the locker rooms, the Cardinal put any thoughts of an OSU comeback to rest with a 16-2 run. From then on, the closest the Cowboys would get was 15 (the final result) with eight seconds remaining. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pac-12 ATB: Cal Exposed, USC Hangs On

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 23rd, 2011

The Lede.  After winning its first four games by an average of 22 points, people expected California to not only compete with Missouri, but beat them on Tuesday night. However, that was far from the case, as the Tigers never let up in the CBE Classic championship,winning 92-53. Like California, Missouri was relatively unknown coming into this game due to their lack of quality opponents. However, a 14-5 run midway through the first half gave the Tigers some initial seperation, and they would just keep building and building that lead as the night wore on.

California guard Jorge Gutierrez led the Bears with 11 points against Missouri (credit: Ray Carlin).

Even though the final result was awful, in the end it is just one game amounting to one loss. Cal fans should be thankful that it was against a Top 25 team like Missouri instead of Loyola Marymount. The Tigers’ mix of an explosive four-guard offense and tenacious half-court trapping on the defensive side is something that the Bears won’t see in Pac-12 play, luckily. Read the rest of this entry »

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