Well, what a difference a week makes. Deja vu? The same sentence we led off with last week we use again today and it carries a noticeably negative sentiment for the Cal Bears. Cal underwhelmed on their road trip and have looked utterly awful on the road all year long. The Bears are not alone in their road struggles, many Pac-12 teams have lost their way when leaving their respective friendly confines. At the end of January, the Ducks are leading the Pac-12 and Colorado, USC, Utah as well as Washington are hot on their tail. Let's take a look at the conference standings, declare our selection for the Pac-12 game of the week and highlight a few standout performances.
Pac-12 Standings (2/1/2016):
Pac-12 Game of the Week: Oregon at Arizona
In perhaps the biggest game of the week in the Pac-12, Oregon visited Arizona in hopes of ending the nation's best home winning streak. Arizona started the game very well, jumping out to an early double digit lead but eventually they would get in their own way. Oregon forced 19 turnovers leading to 21 points, and Dillon Brooks paced the Ducks with 24 on the night. Arizona shot fairly well on the evening (61% from the field) but they ultimately couldn't recover from the opportunities the Ducks created on turnovers. With most teams in the Pac-12 struggling on the road, the Ducks had perhaps the biggest statement win of the year and did something that a NCAA team hasn't done in the last 49 contests against Arizona at home. The Ducks have cemented themselves as the team to beat in the Pac-12 this year.
Best Conference Victories:
USC over Washington-
Perhaps the theme of Pac-12 Men's basketball this year should be "home dominance". Between the Trojans and Golden Bears this year, they have a grand total of 0 losses at home. It was a tough matchup for USC as Andrew Andrews and the previous conference leading Huskies visited Los Angeles. Washington looked a bit flat and had a fair amount of mistakes that plagued them the entire game. They didn't ever find an answer for Nikola Jovanovic who led the Trojans with 28 points and five boards. USC hasn't played consistently great all year round, yet they have built a strong conference record with more than a few quality wins along the way. They face the same question as many other teams in the conference, which is can they find success on the road.
Colorado over Cal-
Ah to be a Cal fan. One week of elation almost always signals a week of depression. Hey, we signed up for this when we committed to Berkeley right? I highly doubt Cuonzo Martin uses any of those lines to recruit players to his program, just the same way I doubt he thought the Bears would come up empty this road trip. To his teams credit, they played well against Colorado and even had a decent lead to start the game. In fact, both games this week the Bears mounted comebacks after finding themselves in a hole. The middle half of this basketball game completely fell apart for Cal, which sadly has become familiar this season. The Bears found themselves with yet another deficit to make up and on the road that is a tough feat to pull off. Colorado played the Bears well and dominated in the paint. Josh Scott led the Buff's with 18 points and Cal has yet to win a road game this year. The Bears have to recover from their road trip (again) and win against Stanfurd this week if they expect to stay in the hunt for a tournament invitation.