PEEK-A-BOO! - Steve Dykes
Oregon and Arizona both surprisingly drop games at home, opening up the race for the regular season title even wider.
And so, with four weeks left in the regular season, we have a three way tie atop the Pac-12 and nary a clue as to what to expect next. Let's dive right in:
This Week In the Pac-12
Player of the Week
Allen Crabbe, take a bow. I haven't made an exhaustive search, but I suspect your 31 points is the highest total for any individual in a conference game this season . . . and you only attempted 15 shots to get those points. It's rare that a player averages more than 2 points per shot in a game where he actually takes a meaningful number of attempts. It's rarer still to do that against a top ten opponent on the road. I suspect that it might end up being the individual performance of the year and it gives Crabbe an outside shot at a Pac-12 Player of the Year title.
Team of the Week
Colorado, UCLA and USC all went 2-0, but only Colorado did it on the road. As a result, the award and congratulations go to the Buffs for their first ever road sweep as a member of the Pac-12. Sure, the Ducks were still without Dominic Artis. But any road win over a conference title contender is one to savor, particularly for road starved Colorado. We'll ignore the circumstances, in which the winning team had 48 points and Oregon went scoreless over the final 4:29 of the game. Yikes.
Game of the Week
Should UCLA have needed a buzzer beater to beat Washington at home? Probably not. But after losing to USC I don't think they'll look down on any win these days. And a Larry Drew fade-away probably wasn't exactly what UCLA fans wanted to see, but it still somehow worked.
Meanwhile, you should go here and watch ESPN's recap, which spends a solid 25 seconds of their 1:10 analyzing Shabazz Muhammad's hypothetical petulance. Just another week in the life of an illegal benefits receiving, Gucci purse enjoying super star.
What's that? Cal plays UCLA on Thursday? No, that has nothing to do with my desire to get in as many cheap shots as I can.
Next Week In The Pac-12
Arizona State at Utah
Oregon State at Washington State
Oregon at Washington
UCLA at California
Arizona at Colorado
USC at Stanford
UCLA at Stanford
Oregon at Washington State
Arizona State at Colorado
Oregon State at Washington
Arizona at Utah
USC at California
Last week, Oregon and Arizona had a chance to separate themselves from the pack at home, but both wasted the opportunity with splits. This week all three teams atop the conference will face some serious road threats. It starts on Thursday night when Oregon heads to Seattle to face a Husky team desperate to right the ship with a win over their rivals. It continues Thursday when UCLA faces a rejuvenated California while Arizona tries to get that rare win over Colorado at altitude. Then UCLA has to come back and try to knock off Stanford. And considering how things have been going, perhaps we can't assume that Oregon will beat Wazzu or that Arizona will beat Utah.
I suspect that the California schools will beat each other up and that one of Oregon or Arizona will manage to earn a sweep. But then again I've been expecting Arizona and Oregon to pull away all year and instead they have been pulled back to the pack. So who knows?