Another Pac-12 review column, another week of Arizona and Utah blowing the doors off of all comers!
Team of the week: Arizona
Home teams went 8-4 this week, as home court advantage continues to be critical in a league with few standout teams. Two of those road wins came from Arizona, who expectedly beat Cal but also handled a tough challenge from Stanford with relative ease. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Arizona's win over the Cardinal was the style of the game - fast paced and high scoring. It wasn't a typical Wildcat win, but seeing them beat good teams without playing their preferred tempo and style is perhaps even scarier than the alternative.
Game of the week: Washington 52, Colorado 50
This space doesn't usually praise either low scoring slug fests or the Washington fightin' Romars, but it's time to do both . . . kinda. Washington earned this win in part because Colorado was without Josh Scott (injured, has probably never really been healthy this year) and Xavier Johnson (1 game suspension). They needed a buzzer beater from Andrew Andrews just to avoid overtime. But they also beat Colorado at home, something that any team in this conference can be proud of.
Although I will admit that the one big positive Lorenzo Romar brings to this conference beyond recruiting is up-tempo basketball, so it pains me to see him winning games in the 50s.
Player of the week: Delon Wright
This wasn't necessarily the most eye-popping week statistically from Utah's most important player. But Wright's appeal doesn't necessarily come from any one attribute - it's his all-around game that makes him special. This week he totaled 22 points and 17 rebounds, all while playing an average of 34 minutes/game of brilliant defense. He's the guy who makes Utah go on both ends, and in a week without one standout performer I'll use that as an excuse to extol his virtues.The Wildcats continue to cement their claim atop the conference with a solid road sweep, while home teams win everywhere else.
Disappointment of the week: UCLA
Stupid me thought UCLA might have turned a corner with a three game winning streak that included a nice win over Stanford and two blowout wins over Cal and USC. That was clearly a bit of a mirage after a humbling Oregon road trip that ended with two double digit defeats. UCLA's biggest problem is simple bad shooting - 31% vs. OSU, 41% vs. Oregon - highlighted by the still very inefficient Bryce Alford. I'm so happy to be wrong.
Oregon State at Arizona State, 5:00
Oregon at Arizona, 7:00
Stanford at Washington, 8:00
Cal at Washington State, 8:00
Colorado at USC, 6:30
Utah at UCLA, 7:00
Oregon at Arizona State, 5:00
Oregon State at Arizona, 7:00
Stanford at Washington State, 5:00
Colorado at UCLA, 7:30
Cal at Washington, 12:00
Utah at USC, 11:30
Unusually, we have Friday night Pac-12 games, in this case so that Arizona/ASU home games don't overlap with Super Bowl related insanity. Which makes one wonder why Arizona is playing at home this week, but that's just a quibble I suppose
Record-wise, the biggest matchup this week is 5-2 Oregon State vs. 6-1 Arizona. Somehow it seems exceedingly unlikely that Arizona would fall to the Beavers at home, but who knows? Maybe this is the year of the Tinkle.
Beyond that, you'll be watching favorites trying to avoid upsets to stay in the race. Will Stanford drop a game on their Washington road trip? Will Utah be in any danger playing at Pauley?