Steve Alford To UCLA: More Of The Same?

Posted by AMurawa on March 31st, 2013

Less than a week after he removed Ben Howland from his job as the UCLA head coach and after taking on a couple of strikes with his top two candidates, athletic director Dan Guerrero dug in and roped a solid line-drive single in hiring former New Mexico head coach Steve Alford. It is in no way a home run hire, but it is a workmanlike chance at bat. Maybe it turns into a forgettable event if there are strikeouts and pop-ups down the road, but if Alford and UCLA play their cards right, maybe this single is the start of a big inning.

The Hiring Of Steve Alford May Not Be The Home Run UCLA Fans Hoped For, But It Could Be The Start Of Big Things (AP)

The Hiring Of Steve Alford May Not Be The Home Run UCLA Fans Hoped For, But It Could Be The Start Of Big Things (AP)

To begin with, let’s put this idea of “UCLA should have just kept Howland” to bed. That was not an option, a change had to be made; it was a matter of finding the best possible new coach for the program, not a matter of finding a better coach than Howland. But, there are plenty of areas in which Alford compares negatively with Howland. For instance, it is true that Howland had more success in his brief pre-UCLA career (four years at Pitt, five at Northern Arizona) than Alford has had in his 18 years at his three previous stops. Despite getting to the NCAA Tournament three times at both Iowa and New Mexico, the only time Alford has made the Sweet Sixteen was in his final season at then Southwest Missouri State (now just Missouri State). Even more disturbing, that record comes despite some regular season success that four times earned him a five-seed or higher. So yeah, for a UCLA program that prizes success in March far more than success in the regular season, Guerrero just hired a guy with a shakier postseason record than Howland or his predecessor, Steve Lavin, who was fired after reaching five Sweet Sixteens in seven seasons.

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Pac-12 M5: 03.05.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on March 5th, 2013


  1. Championship Week Fortnight begins today, and the Pac-12 Tournament is right around the corner as well. This year’s tournament promises to be one of the more crazy ones in history, as any team seeded one through nine has the talent and potential to take the conference’s automatic bid. Washington is going to need that aut0-bid in order to go dancing, and rising fifth-year senior Scott Suggs looks to be an integral part of that run. The shooting guard had a streak going in February in which he only scored four points per game for four out of five games, but starting back on February 23 against Arizona State, Suggs found his stroke and no longer appeared lost within the Husky offense. He went for 16 points against the Sun Devils and for 23 points eight days later in the hardwood Apple Cup. If he can continue this kind of output through the next two weeks, the combination of he and C.J. Wilcox will make the eighth-seeded Dawgs a tough out.
  2. As we teased yesterday, Oregon State and Nike unveiled the results of a nearly two-year long re-branding of the Beaver program. The changes to the basketball uniforms were positive but minimal, as you can see here. The Beavers now have an all-white uniform in their repertoire and have the option of having “OSU” across the front of the jersey. The shorts are simple and clean-looking, with the new logo featured on the bottom side. The back of the tops are what I think is the highlight of the whole thing, as a basketball net and “ghost beaver” logo run from top-to-bottom. Even outside of basketball, a general change for all sports uniforms is the addition of metallic bronze as an accent color. The football uniforms were the highlight of the event, and I’ll leave you with those pictures here.
  3. Even if Arizona did not find a true point guard, the addition of Mark Lyons was a good one, and the right idea at the time by Arizona head coach Sean Miller. The Wildcats are in desperate need of a true point who can break down a defense and be a “pass-first, shoot-second” type of player, but that’s just not going to work with Lyons. So, UA fans will take what they can get at this point in the season. Right now, that’s a team full of shooters, and if that’s what can take them to the Sweet Sixteen and beyond, so be it.
  4. California is 9-1 since it was thoroughly outplayed on a late January afternoon in Boulder. At that point in the season, the Golden Bears were playing with no heart or hustle, sported a middling 11-8 record, and were on the outside looking in for an NIT bid. But there has been a remarkable turnaround, one that will likely result in Cal’s second straight NCAA bid, as Mike Montgomery has done some of his finest work as a head coach to get them to this point. California closes out the regular season with a visit from rival Stanford on Wednesday night, where the Bears will go for their eighth straight victory.
  5. UCLA may not need a Pac-12 Tournament championship to make the NCAA Tournament, but like Washington, the Bruins could use a big boost from junior forward Travis Wear in the coming weeks. Wear is still plagued by a right foot injury that sidelined him for two games stretching back to February 24, and coach Ben Howland is having to make up for his absences on the floor by playing brother David Wear for nearly the whole contest, or placing rarely-used Tony Parker in the game when Wear needs rest. The return of Travis Wear in a full capacity will be crucial for the Bruins, as it would be nearly impossible to win three games in three days without his big body on the court.
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UCLA Gets Production From Reserve Bigs in Absence of Travis Wear

Posted by AMurawa on February 25th, 2013

On Saturday night, news leaked out of Los Angeles that junior forward Travis Wear, UCLA’s most-used and most-capable post player, had injured a foot and would likely miss Sunday’s game with USC. When he walked out onto the court in street clothes and a walking boot just prior to the game, Bruins’ fans worst fears were confirmed, leaving a squad that was already significantly short-handed in the frontcourt having to rely on just two players – Travis’ twin David Wear and little-used freshman center Tony Parker – to man the post against a Trojan team that features two seven-footers earning regular time.

In The Wake Of Travis Wear's Foot Injury, Tony Parker Played A Big Role On Sunday (Mark J. Terrill, AP Photo)

In The Wake Of Travis Wear’s Foot Injury, Tony Parker Played A Big Role On Sunday (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

But the duo of the other Wear and Parker quickly put those concerns to rest with good production right out of the gates. In the first four minutes of play, David Wear scored four points, grabbed three boards and dished out an inside-out assist while playing with great energy on both ends of the floor. When Tony Parker made his debut, he went straight to work as well, scoring four points in his first four minutes as UCLA point guards Larry Drew II and Kyle Anderson repeatedly looked for him on screen-and-roll opportunities. All told, the duo combined for 18 points and 14 rebounds in a combined 50 minutes of action as the Bruins rolled over their cross-town rival. With Travis Wear currently considered day-to-day and with a couple of very big games coming up this week against the Arizona schools, the Bruins may have to face time with Parker and Wear as the sole bigs. But their performances in the game on Sunday had to have given head coach Ben Howland and UCLA fans confidence that their thinner frontcourt could hold up under pressure.

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Pac-12 M5: 02.25.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 25th, 2013


  1. Last week saw Washington State lose a dramatic game when an underclassman made a poor decision in the waning moments of the game. This week, Oregon State lost a tight one in part due to a poor decision made by an underclassmen in pregame warm-ups. You see, there’s this fairly ridiculous rule that makes dunking in the layup line prior to the game worthy of earning a technical foul against your team. Beavers freshman Olaf Schaftenaar, a guy well-known for his wide variety of aerial acrobatics (note to editors: please use the sarcasm font for that phrase), just couldn’t help himself and threw one down prior to the game. The refs caught the egregious act, penalized OSU with a technical foul, Allen Crabbe knocked down one of two free throws prior to the game, and the Beavers went on to, you know, lose by one. For a Beavers team that Ken Pomeroy currently has ranked as the third-least lucky team in the nation, Saturday’s bad luck reached ridiculous new lows.
  2. Arizona scored a couple of wins this weekend. First, on Saturday they coasted to victory over Washington State behind terrific shooting from senior Kevin Parrom, although head coach Sean Miller wasn’t entirely thrilled with his team’s effort. Then, on Sunday, Miller got a commitment from five-star recruit in the 2014 class, 5’7” point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. The recruiting coup is not only a big score for what it brings to Tucson, it is also big because the Wildcats beat out Pac-12 rival UCLA for the Los Angeles-area product. Jackson-Cartwright will first play in the 2014-15 season at the same time that Duquesne transfer T.J. McConnell plays his senior season in Tucson.
  3. Speaking of UCLA, junior forward Travis Wear missed Sunday afternoon’s battle with USC after spraining his right foot at the start of practice on Saturday. His brother David Wear got the start in place of him, while freshman Tony Parker saw a big increase in minutes and production as a result as well. Travis wore a walking boot on the foot during the game but was ambulatory without crutches and Ben Howland said after the game that he is considered day-to-day. Unfortunately, if the Bruins are going to get him back for their next game, he’ll have to be a quick healer, as they’ll host Arizona State in Westwood on Wednesday night.
  4. For some time now Arizona State has been right on the anticipated border between NCAA Tournament team and NIT participant, but the consensus was that the Sun Devils needed to finish strong in order to maintain that positioning. While they’ve still got cracks on the road at UCLA and Arizona, Saturday’s home loss to Washington may leave Herb Sendek’s team needing to win the Pac-12 Tournament in order to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. Freshman point guard Jahii Carson turned in one of his worst games of his young career, senior Carrick Felix was largely – and surprisingly – ineffective in his senior night, and once again, the poor free throw shooting from the Sun Devils helped conspire to leave them on the wrong side of the ledger at the final horn.
  5. The race for the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award is well under way, with Arizona State’s Carrick Felix and Colorado’s Andre Roberson near the top of the list of contenders. Buffaloes head coach Tad Boyle has begun making the case for his guy, by not only listing him as the top defender in the conference, but calling him the best defender in the nation. With guys like Aaron Craft, Victor Oladipo, Russ Smith and Jeff Withey already established and well-recognized as great defenders, there is little doubt that Roberson would fail to medal on the national stage, but in the Pac-12, his rebounding and his ability to guard multiple positions and make insanely athletic plays certainly has him on the short list for the conference award.
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Three Thoughts on the UCLA-Arizona Game From Last Night

Posted by AMurawa on January 25th, 2013

UCLA showed a resolve in Tucson last night that not many could have foreseen from this squad a month ago. Here are three thoughts about the outcome, with the Bruins beating Arizona going away to take over sole possession of second place in the Pac-12.

  1. Thirty-three minutes, five turnovers, zero assists and a 41.2% eFG. There’s your point guard, Arizona fans. I’m not for a minute going to suggest that Mark Lyons was solely responsible for the Wildcats’ 11-point loss at home against UCLA – there’s more than enough blame to go around, beginning with the coaching staff and heading on down the line – but the events of Thursday night showcase in a microcosm the concerns that people have had about Lyons as the lead guard of a team with national championship hopes. Sure, he’s been nails down the stretch in more than a couple games this year (games where, perhaps not coincidentally, he again had more turnovers than assists), but time and again down the court last night, the Arizona offense was unfocused and undisciplined. They’ve got enough playmakers to keep things interesting against quality teams even in the absence of coherent point guard play, but for this team to max out its potential, Lyons either needs to improve his ability to create offense for the Wildcats, or Sean Miller needs to explore using either Solomon Hill or Nick Johnson to more regularly initiate the sets.

    While Mark Lyons Has Been Huge In Late-Game Scenarios For Arizona This Year, He Was A Liability Last Night (Jerry Pillarelli)

    While Mark Lyons Has Been Huge In Late-Game Scenarios For Arizona This Year, He Was A Liability Last Night (Jerry Pillarelli)

  2. Repeatedly this season, when Ben Howland has been asked such things as “Why did Tony Parker only get three minutes tonight?” or “Are there any plans to get Parker more minutes?”, he has responded by saying that, to paraphrase, “there will come a game or two this season when, whether due to injury or to foul trouble, we’ll need Parker to give us some quality minutes off the bench.” Exhibit A came last night when, due to concussion-like symptoms exhibited by Travis Wear after taking an unintentional hit to the head in the first half, Parker earned the most minutes he’s had since the Prairie View A&M game in mid-December. He responded as Howland hoped he would, providing 10 rock-solid minutes, scoring six points, grabbing three boards, blocking a shot, playing good post defense and even knocking down some clutch free throws and an interesting fall-away jumper. While saying that UCLA would not have won without Parker is taking it too far, that game would certainly have been much tighter down the stretch in his absence. The freshman has most certainly earned enough trust from his coach to see a bit of a bump in minutes going forward. While on the topic, give credit to David Wear for stepping in for his fallen brother and scrapping his way to his best game of the year. Read the rest of this entry »
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Pac-12 M5: 01.25.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on January 25th, 2013


  1. UCLA had been waiting on Tony Parker to make an impact this season. Fellow freshmen Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams, and Kyle Anderson have all done their part to help the Bruins this season, but Parker had largely struggled mightily to this point. At one point this year, Parker tweeted that he was ready to return to his home state of Georgia and intimated that everyone who told him UCLA was a bad fit was correct. Recently, things have been a little different for Parker as he says he’s fine in Westwood, but the Bruins have only just begun to take advantage of his physicality and presence inside, highlighted by a few decent minutes against Arizona last night. After the departures of Josh Smith and Anthony Stover earlier this season, UCLA has had to work with the Wear twins and Kyle Anderson to bolster its rebounding. Anderson has boarded surprisingly well for the Bruins, but the Wear twins have not improved their rebounding woes. Going forward, if the Bruins want to compete with the bigger teams around the country, they’ll need to have Parker provide the type of presence inside that he did against Arizona.
  2. Despite having the best record in the Pac-12, Matthew Knight Arena hasn’t had the same home court advantage that the Ducks hoped for this year. Oregon’s home court holds 12,346 people and the building had a good showing when the Ducks upset Arizona with 9,554 in attendance. On the other hand, on Wednesday a disappointing 6,946 showed up for the win over Washington State. It could be that the new arena doesn’t have the same feel as the venerable Mac Court; it could be that the fan base is spoiled because of the football team; or, it could be that the fans don’t know all the new faces on this Oregon team. Whatever the case, a team that has the record and talent of Oregon should be hauling in a lot more fans than they are now and eventually that could come back to hurt them.
  3. For the second straight game, Washington allowed its opponent to pick up its first conference win this season. The Huskies lost to Utah on Saturday and followed that up with a defeat on Oregon State Wednesday. The Huskies remain an unknown team in the Pac-12 — they responded to wins over Cal, Stanford, and Colorado with two terrible losses. Washington had extra motivation this week and had said they were out to get revenge on the Beavers for their loss in the Pac-12 Tournament last year, but that wasn’t the case at all; instead, UW allowed Oregon State to jump out to a 10-point lead only four minutes into the game. Ultimately, Lorenzo Romar’s team looks like the most inconsistent team in the Pac-12 and might be wildly up and down all season long.
  4. Oregon State‘s starters have been underperforming all season long and Craig Robinson is letting them know it. In practice, the bench, also known as the “White Team,” was beating the starters. Robinson responded with a simple message to his five: Prove that you deserve to start And that they did. In the second half of the Washington game, Roberto Nelson and Eric Moreland played so well that Robinson sat them for fewer than two minutes combined. Ahmad Starks and Joe Burton each showed they deserved to playing as they sat for less than three minutes. Ultimately, Robinson’s direct message proved to be a big factor in Oregon State’s big win and could have signaled a turning point in the season.
  5. A player at the size of 6’10” is not usually known for his sharp-shooting, but that’s not the case with Stanford’s John Gage. Gage doesn’t score much as he’s only averaging 5.o points per game this season, but he leads the Cardinal in shooting 44 percent from three and has excited his teammates according to Johnny Dawkins. Recently, Gage had a career high 14 points against Cal and continues to provide the Cardinal with some much needed three-point shooting off the bench. If Stanford purports to put a run together at the NCAA Tournament in what has so far been a disappointing campaign, the Cardinal will need Gage’s shooting off the bench.
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Pac-12 M5: 01.09.13 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on January 9th, 2013


  1. The NCAA released its first offical RPI rankings of the season late Monday, and of course, Arizona headlines the Pac-12 list at #4. Colorado came in as a bit of a surprise at #6, and then there is a big drop-off before UCLA is spotted at #39. Utah, USC, Oregon State, and Washington State were the teams that landed outside the Top 100. Obviously, things will shift around considerably as we get deeper into conference play in the coming weeks, both in the Pac-12 and on a national scale.
  2. UCLA freshman Tony Parker has seen limited action in the 2012-13 season for a multitude of reasons. There have been back spasms, sprained ankles, and migraine headaches, and when Parker has seen minutes, he has looked lost on both ends of the court and has been extremely foul-prone. All in all, those things aren’t uncommon to see early in one’s first year on campus. Bruins Nation thinks there’s more too it, however, criticizing Ben Howland for not playing Parker in important situations and concluding from a “no comment” that Parker is nearly a certainty to transfer at season’s end. The point is, the majority of college freshmen, whether they are Division 1 athletes or not, get homesick at one point or another. And as I stated above, not every young, hot recruit is going to see immediate action. And while transferring after or during one’s first season seems to be the big thing in college hoops these days, it is still a pretty big jump to assume one will leave because of a couple vague tweets and quotes.
  3. After last year’s debacle, I think I speak for most Pac-12 fans that I’m thrilled to have Arizona in the Top 25, let alone, the top three. But could we be on the brink of having another Top 25 team in the Pac-12? Why that’s madness you say, what is this, the ACC? What’s next, more than one at-large team in the Big Dance? But it’s true, and if Oregon can sweep the Arizona schools at home this week, the hypothetically 14-2 Ducks would surely crack Monday’s rankings. For the sake of our national reputation, we can only hope.
  4. Fresh off a 27-point performance against what is largely considered the Pac-12’s best defensive mind, the Pac-12’s leading scorer now sets his eyes on beating Washington, a game that will be played tonight in Berkeley on ESPN2. Washington has proven that they can at least contain the best of scorers out west on Saturday against Washington State’s Brock Motum, but Allen Crabbe will be a different beast entirely. The junior guard can not only get to the rack off a dribble drive from the perimeter, but he is now even more of a threat to get the ball on a pass in the lane and get an easy bucket with his new-found strength and speed he has been showing off this season. Crabbe is also more than capable of knocking down the mid-range or three-point jumper, but collecting most of his buckets right at the bucket ensures better efficiency.
  5. We close with our weekly Pac-12 Hoops Pick’em selections. Adam continued to cruise last week and now leads the competition by a pair of games over the next closest prognosticator. I am doing a stellar job, showing off my vast college basketball knowledge by sitting all alone in the basement. For our games of the week, we have chosen Minnesota’s trip to Bloomington on Saturday morning and the UCLA-Colorado showdown that will be played immediately after.
Game Connor (53-21) Drew (54-20) Parker (56-18) Adam (58-16)
Washington State at Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
Washington at California California California California California
Arizona at Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
USC at Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado Colorado
Arizona State at Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State Oregon State
Minnesota at Indiana IU 85-75 IU 73-70 IU 68-65 IU 81-73
UCLA at Colorado CU 77-74 CU 79-65 CU 75-69 CU 66-62
Washington State at California California California California California
USC at  Utah Utah Utah Utah Utah
Arizona at Oregon State Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona
Washington at Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
Arizona State at Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
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College Basketball By The Tweets: Kentucky/Louisville, Nick Johnson and Two Freshman Phenoms…

Posted by Nick Fasulo on January 2nd, 2013


Nick Fasulo is an RTC correspondent who writes the column College Basketball By the Tweets, a look at the world of college hoops through the prism of everyone’s favorite social media platform. You can find him on Twitter @nickfasuloSBN.

Full disclosure: I grew up a grossly obnoxious Duke basketball fan. UNC was evil, but a necessary evil, making up one half of what I believed to be the greatest rivalry in all of sports. But as of late,  I can confidently say that the happiness felt from the hate of that lighter shade of blue has been usurped by another in-state rivalry. The build-up to Kentucky and Louisville’s annual late December battle was popcorn-making worthy. Twitter was abuzz all week, with profanity laced rants 140 characters at a time being hurled back and forth between the 80-mile stretch of I-64.

Never stop this hatred ever, guys. We’re all better for it.

More on Kentucky – Louisville

Per the usual, the build up was full of jabs that make this rivalry great.

Louisville fans secured home court for their team, as there was no Sea of Blue present at the Yum! Center.

Kentucky was down early, clueless against Louisville’s full court press, but foul trouble for the Cardinals and the emergence of Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein in the second half kept the game interesting.

But in the end, the experience of Rick Pitino’s club prevailed. A freakishly fast-paced game left everyone involved exhausted.

Nick Johnson To The Rescue

Perhaps the most exciting game of the holiday break was the finals of the Diamond Head Classic, where Arizona slipped past San Diego State, due in large part to a game-saving block by the Wildcats’ Nick Johnson. A 6’3″ guard, these are the types of plays a taller frontcourt player is supposed to make, meaning Sean Miller has a special athlete in his rotation.

Johnson’s block drew such oohs and aahs that fans started drawing comparisons with that play and another game saving swat by a former Wildcat, Derrick Williams.

My pick? Gotta go with Johnson. He’s no imposing big man, but a perimeter player who used his incredible hops to turn and make a play without even thinking.

Ben McLemore & Anthony Bennett:Two Stars In The Making

If you’ve seen Kansas and UNLV play this season, then you’ve probably noticed two freshman who have established themselves as clear-cut pros. Over the last 10 days, if you saw Ben McLemore drop 22 with ease on Ohio State, and Anthony Bennett show his versatility against North Carolina, you told yourself multiple times that these may be two of the best young basketball players in the country, regardless of level.

As part of a freshman class that few were psyched about following the litany of spring All-American games, the Jayhawks and Rebels seem to have the two most obvious one-and-done players as we enter the new year. McLemore, who is drawing comparisons to Dwayne Wade, seems to get less attention on Twitter because he makes it look so easy. He scores from anywhre on the floor, but doesn’t necessarily incite hashtag-inducing plays.

Conversely, Bennett has established himself as a must-see-TV player. He blows people away with his ability to create his own shot despite his girth, and his game compels people watching to immediately turn to social media…

Tony Parker Wanted To Be Home For Christmas

The curse of the overweight, overhyped Bruins big man continues. Just a few weeks after sophomore Josh Smith left the UCLA school and program, freshman Tony Parker aired, albeit cryptically, some grievances about his feelings about his first year in Westwood.

Parker soon defended his tweets, saying he was just a homesick college kid unable to be back in his native Atlanta for the holidays… which, let’s be honest, is completely understandable. Parker has not had an impact this season, getting only eight minutes of run a game. He finished with two points in just three minutes played Friday night in UCLA’s thrilling overtime victory over Missouri, meaning on the court he’s still got a ways to go to meet his potential and expectations.

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Morning Five: 12.28.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on December 28th, 2012


  1. We are usually disappointed when a basketball game is not played, but when that game/event is the previously mentioned four games at one time concept championed by Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis we have to applaud. As we have stated before we appreciate the work that Hollis has done to make early season college basketball more visible, but in this case that proved to be his undoing. According to reports the primary road block to putting on the event was the lack of a television network or more specifically group of networks willing to broadcast the four games at the same time. At some level we are disappointed that college basketball could not generate enough interest to get this to happen, but in the end we are glad that the sport was not made in to a circus.
  2. After a rough start, UCLA has started to show signs of becoming a solid team, but just as you would expect with any good Hollywood drama the Bruins cannot have a dull moment. With a big home game against Missouri looming tonight, the team now has to deal with rumors that yet another player–this time it is freshman Tony Parker–is considering transferring based on a series of tweets he posted (and then deleted) about how unhappy he was at UCLA. To be fair, the rumors that Parker might be the third Bruin in a little over a month to leave the school are based on some pretty extreme conjecture, but it does not reflect well on the program and Ben Howland that another player is even reported to be considering transferring even if those close to Parker deny the rumors.
  3. Providence may not turn out to be the threat in the Big East that they were expected to be before they were hit by injury and eligibility issues, but they will get a little help when Vincent Council returns to action tonight. Council, who was sidelined just four minutes into the season after injuring his hamstring, will give the Friars a veteran presence at point guard. Council may look “very, very rusty” as Ed Cooley reported, but when paired with Kriss Dunn they could form a very formidable backcourt by the end of the season.
  4. At this time, you could make a strong argument that Kansas coach Bill Self is the best in the business with his incredible run of conference championships and his ability to regularly produce national title contenders. Yesterday, Self turned 50 yesterday and dismissed a recent column from that stated that he was the coach most likely to challenge Mike Krzyzewski and his all-time wins record he said this of his chances: “Zero. Whoever [Ed. Note: That would be this guy.] wrote that, doesn’t know me very well. I don’t think that I’ll want to coach near that long.” To be fair to Glockner, he said that Self was the most likely to do it although it was more likely that none of the current crop of coaches would do it. Although Self’s ten-year, $52 million contract would be finished well before he approaches whatever total Krzyzewski ends up at it we have a hard time believing he would not chase it if he were close particularly with the amount of money that Kansas would probably put up for him to chase it.
  5. Earlier this week we linked to some of the first 2012 retrospective posts that we had seen and now we have the first 2013 prospective post courtesy of Luke Winn, who tries to provide us with ten predictions for 2013. This may not be the type of column you are used to seeing from Winn (or at least not the kind that we usually link to here), but Winn does cover many of the big topics that we expect to be addressed in the next calendar year. Some of them are nothing more than pure speculation, but there are a couple of interesting educated guesses including one potential job opening that could lead to a huge swing of the coaching carousel.
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Pac-12 M5: 12.26.12 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on December 26th, 2012


  1. Saint Nick came through in a big way on Christmas night for Arizona, as sophomore guard Nick Johnson swatted away a potentially game-winning layup attempt by San Diego State’s Chase Tapley to preserve the Wildcats’ perfect season and earn the Diamond Head Classic title. While the first half was stodgy and slow, the two teams lived up to expectations in the second half and delivered a terrific performance. Once again, it was seniors who led UA, this time Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom doing the job as Mark Lyons never really got into a groove, hampered by foul trouble, turnovers and erratic shooting. And then there was, of course, Johnson, who struggled shooting the ball but was terrific defensively, and helped out initiating the offense and made the athletic play in the waning moments to seal the game.
  2. Former Arizona star Miles Simon, who won the Most Outstanding Player in the Wildcats\’ 1997 run to Lute Olson’s sole NCAA Championship, worked the Diamond Head Classic as the color man for ESPN. And, despite the fact that UA’s backcourt may not match up with the traditional ideal of true point and scoring off-guard, Simon is impressed with the duo of Lyons and Johnson. He sees the duo as complementary parts with Johnson capable of helping Lyons out with some areas (initiating offense and getting other players involved) that he is weaker in. I would add that their ability to have Hill also share some of the ball-handling load means that, even without the proverbial “traditional” point, Arizona’s guard play is not a significant concern.
  3. UCLA’s Tony Parker has been a little-used piece for Ben Howland, averaging under nine minutes a game despite his team’s lack of depth along the frontcourt. Following another eight-minute appearance against Fresno State, he tweeted out “A lot of told me this wasn’t for me I wish I would’ve listened.\” Given Howland’s recent issues with players transferring out of his program, this tweet and other recent tweets from Parker referencing homesickness indicate that he may not be long for the Bruin program as well. And, of course, Bruins Nation took this as a chance to rip Howland again. The other side of the coin is that Parker missed time early due to injury and has been inconsistent in the minutes he has received, playing ineffectively on the boards, fouling at far too high of a rate and getting lost defensively, and this type of complaining public message probably does nothing to help him earn more playing time. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, as Howland likely should have found some more minutes against UCLA’s weaker competition, but the fact of the matter is, Parker hasn’t done a whole lot to earn those minutes yet.
  4. Tying up one loose end, Oregon State’s Eric Moreland earned the official Pac-12 Player of the Week honor for his pair of double-doubles and 17-point and 11.5-rebound average last week. We opted for Jordan Adams as our pick (and oddly enough, neither Adams nor any other Bruin was even nominated by the school for the award), but Moreland was certainly a worthy recipient as well. Always known for his defensive ability, Moreland has shown a significantly improved offensive game this season. Where last year he was little more than a garbage man on offense, he’s added the ability to beat his man off the bounce, his jumper is significantly improved and he’s converting shots around the lane at a high rate, all while continuing to defend and rebound like a madman.
  5. And lastly, back to UCLA. As some Bruin fans continue to root for Ben Howland’s ouster as head coach, Bruins Nation put together a post with some of the great moments in his time in Westwood. Worth a look for hoops fans, but sure makes you remember just how good UCLA was going just a few years back. Could you have imagined after Howland’s third straight trip to the Final Four that he would be on the chopping block inside of five years, minus any type of serious NCAA investigation into improprieties in his program? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
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Rushed Reactions: UCLA 89, Long Beach State 70

Posted by AMurawa on December 19th, 2012


Andrew Murawa is an RTC correspondent and a Pac-12 Microsite writer. He filed this report after tonight’s UCLA-Long Beach State game in Westwood.

Three Key Takeaways.

Ben Howland Called Larry Drew II's Performance Tuesday Night The Best Of the Season (Alexa Smahl, Daily Bruin)

Ben Howland Called Larry Drew II’s Performance Tuesday Night The Best Of the Season (Alexa Smahl, Daily Bruin)

  1. Defensive Woes. Offensively, UCLA had a lot to be happy with. Defensively, not so much. While there were stretches of defensive intensity (mostly midway through the second half), the effort wasn’t sustained throughout the game. There were the typical things like not fighting through screens, failing to box out and being late on rotations at times, but the perimeter defense was by and large solid. The most glaring issue was along the front line. Where UCLA’s frontcourt was once considered a possible strength, tonight the Wear twins were owned by Dan Jennings on the block time and again, rarely putting up much of a fight against his power moves. The only possible hope for reinforcements up front would be if Tony Parker were to earn some minutes, but tonight, after playing 18 minutes on Saturday, he only played two minutes with the game in doubt before three minutes worth of mop-up duty.
  2. Dropping Dimes. Larry Drew II continued his excellent play at the point for the Bruins, as his redemption tour continues. Aside from a pretty brutal game against Texas, Drew has been excellent running the offense this year. With another nine assists tonight, he’s leading the Pac-12 with 8.4 assists per game. But Drew’s game tonight was complete: He knocked down open jumpers (6-of-7 from the field with a couple threes), he grabbed four defensive boards, he only turned the ball over once, and he earned the praise of his coach for his defensive effort.
  3. Comparing UCLA to LBSU’s Other Opponents. Long Beach State has played four other big time opponents this year: North Carolina, Arizona, Syracuse and Ohio State – all currently ranked in Ken Pomeroy’s top 20. Against those teams, LBSU has not been a good team offensively, averaging just 0.83 points per possession; against UCLA, however, the 49ers scored 1.09 PPP. The good news for UCLA is that those elite teams scored an average of 1.18 points per possession themselves, but UCLA scored 1.39 PPP. Take those numbers for what they’re worth – which probably is not much given the small sample size.

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Pac-12 M5: 11.29.12 Edition

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 29th, 2012

  1. UCLA lost its second player in just four days on Wednesday when it was announced that junior center Joshua Smith had left the team. After not practicing on Tuesday due to weight issues and to mull over his future with the program, it was revealed mid-day Wednesday that Smith was gone for good. As we mentioned above, Tyler Lamb left the program on Sunday, just another example of players leaving in droves, something that has become all too familiar the past few seasons in Westwood. Smith said he was departing Ben Howland’s team for “personal reasons.” So, what does UCLA lose in the big man? Smith was a decent rebounder for his size, averaging 4.2 RPG so far in 2012-13; however, his inability to stay on the court for long periods of time resulted in dwindling minutes, and when he was on the floor he wasn’t exactly Mr. Productive for the Bruins’ offensive game. Freshman forward/center Tony Parker will see an increase of about five minutes per game in the coming weeks with Smith’s departure.
  2. Oregon State received bad news as well when it was revealed that freshman center Daniel Gomis would need season-ending surgery on his left leg. Gomis is the second Beaver center to be lost in just over two weeks, as senior Angus Brandt tore his ACL against Purdue on November 16. This is actually Gomis’ second year in Corvallis, but he was lost for all of the 2011-12 season with a broken leg. Expect to see a continued increase in freshman Jarmal Reid’s minutes without Gomis.
  3. In yet more depressing big man news, junior wing Anthony Brown will miss the rest of Stanford’s season with a hip injury. Brown will have surgery in mid-December according to head coach Johnny Dawkins. The guard/forward averaged 3.0 PPG in Stanford’s first four outings before sitting out the next three.
  4. Former Oregon head coach Ernie Kent will call nine Duck games for the Pac-12 Networks in 2012-13, six of which to be played in the arena he helped build. And when Oregon meets Texas-San Antonio tonight at Matthew Knight Arena, it will be only the second time Kent’s been inside Oregon’s posh new palace. His return home will hopefully be marked by many chants from the Pit Crew and a long standing ovation; after all, while the ending of his time in Eugene may have been ugly, this is the coach that led the resurgence of Oregon basketball. Kent, who doesn’t know whether he’ll ever coach again, was a finalist for the Colorado State job last spring before it went to Larry Eustachy. What we do know is that he looks pretty comfortable, and is also very good at his new job as a commentator and studio analyst with the Pac-12.
  5. We close with something new for our Pac-12 microsite as we introduce a Pac-12 Hoops Pick’em that will run from now up until Championship Week. Between Adam, Parker, Drew, and I, the four of us will post our picks for the weekend basketball games and keep track of our records as we go along. Also included will be a national and conference game of the week, where we will include our score prediction. For the opener, we have selected Thursday’s Kentucky-Notre Dame match-up and Saturday’s UCLA-San Diego State showdown in Anaheim for those respective games.
Game Connor (0-0) Drew (0-0) Parker (0-0) Adam (0-0)
Texas-San Antonio at Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
Kentucky at Notre Dame UK 85-75 UK 70-63 UK 75-62 UK 81-67
Utah at Texas State Texas State Utah Utah Utah
Oregon State vs Kansas Kansas Kansas Kansas Kansas
Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
Arizona at Texas Tech Arizona Arizona Arizona Arizona
Sacramento State at Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State
UCLA vs San Diego State SDSU 73-71 UCLA 70-63 SDSU 63-61 UCLA 67-61
Colorado at Wyoming Wyoming Colorado Colorado Colorado
Portland at Washington State WSU WSU WSU WSU
California at Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin
Denver at Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
Cal State Fullerton at Washington Washington Washington Washington Washington


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