There's so much wrong from this past week, basketball is the secondary sport in this topic.
USC: Wait, who's their head coach again?
Let's start with Lane Kiffin, shall we? Although these sources are admittedly biased, you wouldn't be surprised if they were true.
Report: Kiffin commits secondary violation: Lane Kiffin has only been the USC head football coach for 10 days and has already committed his first secondary violation.
Kris Budden of WBIR adds Volquest.com is reporting that the former Vols football coach picked up a recruit from the airport in a limo.
Pete Carroll also says USC has nothing to worry about concerning the NCAA investigation, which should give Trojan fans approximately 2% more confidence than they originally had. Although I've always maintained that it's more likely that USC will face a slap on the wrist than anything heavy, to say that USC will come off scot-free from Carroll's lassiez-faire reign seems a little...optimistic.
Oregon: Someone somewhere robbed something. As long as it wasn't Jeremiah Masoli.
Hard to figure out exactly what's going on. It started with a rumor from the ever-reliable UO Sports Dude (that's sarcasm to the humorless out there) that Masoli and Garrett Embry stole laptops from a fraternity. Then came the immediate backlash from the Duck community that no reliable journalists had been cited and scoffed that it was just Twitterers twittering about tweets (scroll the comments). Then came the police report that Masoli had been placed in the police report but was NOT a suspect (huh??). Then came an official media report that stated two Duck football players participated in a theft...but they wouldn't name names because they hadn't been named as police suspects.
So just to be clear, Jeremiah Masoli, STAR QUARTERBACK for the PAC-10 CHAMPION OREGON DUCKS, did absolutely nothing wrong. There would be absolutely no reason for Oregon to cover this type of crime up, right?
(On a more serious note, Oregon kicker Rob Beard was severely beaten up this past weekend at a similar frat party. We at CGB send our best for his speedy recovery.)
After the jump, more from around the Pac-10, including hoops.
Cal: What kind of team are we?
Kodiak, aka Mr. Golden Rationality, drops by to offer his take on the state of our basketball team.
Monty is holding the team together with smoke and mirrors. We’ve got great shooters and we’re best in the open floor or looking to take the first open shot. I think this drives him a little crazy because it’s such high-risk/high-reward ball. You can blow someone out by 30, or you can end up losing a double-digit lead if your shots stop falling.
You’d think that we should have the right guys to break down a zone. Three great outside shooters + a big guy (Boykin) who can hit the free-throw line jumper. But for some reason, our ball movement and decision-making just isn’t consistently good enough. Really mind-boggling for a quartet of seniors. Like some other posters mentioned, part of the problem seems to be that Randle has trouble throwing/seeing over and around defenders. He might be more hurt than he’s let on.
I know some of that is his height, but other small guards have made it work. For instance, Brevin Knight was about the same size and never had the same type of turnover issues.
Monty is stuck between win-now and get-better. Win-now means riding the seniors and playing shoot-first ball. Get-better means letting his guys struggle but hopefully learn how to figure out half-court ball, and also giving more minutes to guys like Seeley who need experience in order to be contributors. Remember that Omoke was out of control and not-so useful at the beginning of the year…Injuries and lack of depth forced him into action and the game slowed down for him. Now, he’s playing with confidence and is our 2nd-best big.
I loved the steady and clutch play from Theo and Boykin. I liked Omoke’s effort. MSF is having a tough time. I’m not sure if it’s conditioning or his back, but he’s a few steps slow and he’s not doing a good job using his bulk. It’s pretty sad when you can’t box out a toothpick like Shaftenaer.
I’m a little surprised that we didn’t see Max for at least a few minutes. I think it might be because we need crisp ball movement to beat a zone and it comes to a screeching halt when he’s involved. Also, I think it was part of the game plan to push the tempo before they could set their defense and Max just isn’t suited for that type of game, either.
Upcoming games all depend on which Cal team shows up on D and whether our shots fall. If Randle doesn’t get healthy, we’re really going to have trouble against Az’s athleticism and ASU’s zone.
Speaking of those schools...
Arizona State: Wait, WTF just happened to us?
Pitchfork Nation points at three things in the Sun Devils collapse at home against the Wildcats: free throws, big man play, and defensive lapses.
After playing defense at such a high level for most of the season, the Sun Devils completely broke down in the 2nd half. Not only did they allow 52 points, but the Wildcats got loose for 12 layups/dunks after halftime. Arizona shot 76% for the half. The Sun Devils may want to change their terminology on free throws and just call them throws, because there was nothing free about them on Saturday night. ASU shot just 17 of 29 (58.6%) from the line, while Arizona feasted on their opportunities, sinking 24 of 28 (85.7%). Arizona State’s bigs were dominated in every phase of the game. Eric Boateng, Taylor Rohde and Ruslan Pateev combined for just 4 points and 9 rebounds in 37 minutes. They were just 1 of 5 from the field and 2 of 7 from the free throw line, while committing 3 turnovers.
I hardly expect the Devils to play like this against the Bears--usually teams that lose their rivalry games rebound fast and hard. ASU is going to give us everything we can handle on Thursday defensively; it'll be up to us to exploit them inside, somehow, and try and somehow pull the upset.
Arizona: Pleased with Sean Miller
Arizona couldn't be happier with their new head coach, as piratedan7 of AZ Desert Swarm expressed.
It was another step forward and in my humble opinion Sean Miller is showing he's worth every penny of his contract so far as the Wildcats downed the Sun Devils 77-58 in Tempe. Granted, he's not the one hitting the jumpers but it's obvious that he is having a tremendous impact on how these kids play as a unit and refuses to get down on them. The game was immensely important for quite a few reasons. One, has ASU truly established itself as having pulled ahead of U of A in hoops, were they on an even level in regards to coaching, personnel and competitive fire. Also, the winner of this game grabs momentum into the latter half of the Pac 10 season. Plus you had the history background concerning the coaching staffs and the fact that the fanbases of each school have an amplified moronic effect on each other with catcalls, flames and hyperbole being thrown around as if it was loan refinancing before the financial crash.
All of our attention might be focused on Tempe, but Tucson is not going to be an easy get either--the Wildcats are starting to coalesce as a unit, and could very well provide just as tough a struggle if the Bears get too beaten up two nights before.
OSU: Hustling to every defeat
Poor guys. Their team just isn't talented enough to win on a consistent basis. Although they are tough enough to scare the ever living crap out of me everytime we play them. Really looking forward to our rematch in Corvallis, and by looking forward I mean "bludgeon my eyes as I watch the beautiful sport of basketball be reduced to its Stone Age equivalent where everyone looks like they're dribbling a ten pound stone wheel."
Furd: No place like home.
Whoo, undefeated at home! I have nothing else to say about the Cardinal except 'fuck them', so here's what PaulThomas has to say about their team.
Their top two players (Landry Fields and Jeremy Green) are as good as Cal's top two
In fact, they might be the best two-man tandem in the league.
Unfortunately for them the next six are like a billion zillion times worse than Cal’s next six.
UCLA: Uh oh, they're back.
Just when you thought the Bruins were going to disintegrate, they roll back with two big victories over the Washington schools. Although Bruins Nation is apprehensive at jumping back on the Ben Ball Warrior train, they are definitely feeling better about their team.
That brings me to the point of developing an identity of this team. Not sure if it's still there. Mrs. N brought up the point (no pun intended here) that for the first time she is seeing a semblance of role clarification within this team with Malcolm Lee running the point and Mustafa Abdul Hamid coming in to given quality back up minutes. She mentioned starting from last year it wasn't completely clear whose team it really was.
DC was the clear cut floor general of last year's team. Yet there was a perception that Mr. Jrue Holiday should have been getting lot more mins at the point guard (something his message board shills constantly cried about throughout the season). Meanwhile, Malcolm Lee was probably wondering why he wasn't getting more minutes than Jrue considering he was always playing better defense and there was also Jerime Anderson as the point guard. So essentially, we had a glut of DC and 3 guys who thought who could play point last season.This year it Anderson came in as the heir apparent (at least he thought he would just slide into that spot without having to fight for it) and never played with a sense of urgency. Finally Lee took over and still the roles weren't totally clear. Since Anderson went down, and Mustafa took up the backup role, it seems like there is a sense of stability and calm in our rotation that hasn't existed in couple of years. Not sure how long it is going to last and it will be very interesting to see how Howland handles it.
If you're a Cal fan, you say, 'uh-oh'. This is starting to look like a mighty tough four game road trip forthcoming. Cal pulling out wins against any of these schools will be a very demanding task.
UDub: Spring Practice starts when?
A nightmare season for the Huskies continues, as they follow up a promising two game sweep of the Bay Area schools with a devastating loss to the Bruins and a beatdown from the Trojans. Although the Huskies are far from being out of it, one Washington fan comes to the defense of heavily criticized Coach Romar.
UW’s squad is severely undersized and, let’s face it, MBA and Breshers aren’t consistent enough offensively to give us any help against big grind teams. Keep in mind that we were planning on having Garcia this year which would have definitely given us a different offensive element in the middle.
I think Romar’s coaching is actually brilliant. The talent that UW can consistently get access to are undersized guards and "hustle" wings. Instead of trying to mold them into something they are not, he takes what they are good at and teaches them to commit to and amplify a style that makes their size and quickness an advantage on many nights. Its good enough to win many games … but this is not a team or a style that can or should be expected to compete for championships. To do that, you need dominant D presence in the middle, a Post who can score, a sharpshooter who can break zones and outstanding guard play (offense initiation, perimeter D, and ball control). We just don’t have all of that right now … but, man, we were looking good when Garcia was going to be part of that mix.
The Cougars seem to go from good to bad on a weekly basis. They earned another split this week by beating a good USC team while falling to a slowly emerging UCLA squad. CougCenter elaborated on these inconsistencies.
I'll reiterate that bashing on our players gets us nowhere. No one new is coming on board this roster; we can't pull a big man out of thin air. The Cougs' hand is forced by a lack of size and experience, and have to do the best they can right now with what they have. While we can debate the moves Ken Bone makes at the 4 and the 5, we can't debate the fact this team falters when Klay and Casto aren't firing on all cylinders. Great teams can overcome off nights from their stars; the Cougs cannot.