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PAC-10 Weekly Preview

Posted by naterb on January 14, 2009

PAC-10 conference play rolls on this week as the Arizona schools travel to visit the LA schools, the Oregon Schools host their neighboring Washington schools, and Cal travels to Stanford for this week’s rivalry match-up. After the week is through we should start seeing a clearer picture of how the conference shakes up with two of the top three teams facing off, a pair of middle-of-the-pack teams going head-to-head, and some of the bottom of the barrel teams matching up.

Arizona 11-5 (2-2) W2

Chase Budinger looks to continue to pull out of his shooting slump when the ‘Cats face UCLA and USC on the road this week. The ‘Cats will have to notch up their playing level as they’ve been inconsistent at best the past four or five games.

Arizona State 14-2 (3-1) W2

Arizona State’s claim to contend for the Conference Title is put on the line this week as they face off with UCLA, the pre-season favorite, at Pauley Pavilion. James Harden will keep them in the game, but they’ll need solid minutes from Pendergraph and at least one other player if they hope to pull off the tough road win.

USC 10-5 (1-2) L2

USC hopes to get back to their winning ways when Arizona State and Arizona pull into town this week. DeMar Derozan has started to step up, but even at home the Trojans will need more than a good freshman to propel them towards a sweep.

UCLA 13-2 (3-0) W9

The Bruins are looking to build on a nine-game win streak, and hope to protect their home court against the Arizona schools. Collison has been an absolute stud this season, and it should be interesting to see how they hold up in their toughest conference challenges yet this year.

Washington State 9-6 (1-2) W1

Washington State is looking to build upon their slight victory over the Cardinal last week. Fortunately they face off against an inexperienced Oregon team. But the interesting match-up will be when they face off against Oregon State who play a similar slow-down offense as the Cougars.

Washington 11-4 (2-1) L1

A tough triple-overtime loss to Cal hurts, but Washington should be ready to take it to the Ducks and the Beavers this week. Brockman could be in for a huge week as he faces off against the Ducks with an inexperienced big-man, and Oregon State with no true inside presence to speak of.

Oregon State 6-8 (1-3) L 2

The Beavers aren’t any more talented than they were last year – but they’re playing an offense more suited to their strengths. They’re organized and experienced. Playing at home might even give them an edge towards their second conference victory this week.

Oregon 6-10 (0-4) L4

The biggest question for the Ducks right now has to be when the veteran players are going to step up and lead this team. They’ve collapsed in big games thus far, and too much has been left on a great freshman in Michael Dunigan – who ironically is almost an after thought in the Ducks offense.

Rivalry Match-Up: CAL & Stanford

CAL 15-2 (4-0) W9

The Golden Bears are on a 9 game winning streak with solid conference wins over ASU, Arizona, and Washington. Now they travel across the Bay to play their rivals. It should be interesting to see Mike Montgomery back in Maples for the first time as an opposing coach this weekend.

Stanford 11-3 (1-3) L2

Stanford’s front court has been the marquis headliner for the Cardinal so far this year. They’ll get a huge test when they have to stop on Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle. This should be an interesting guard match-up with Stanford fighting an uphill battle – even at home.

Thursday’s Games:

Washington State @ Oregon State
Washington @ Oregon
Arizona State @ Southern Cal.
Arizona @ UCLA

Saturday’s Games:

Washington State @ Oregon
Arizona State @ UCLA
CAL @ Stanford
Arizona @ USC
Washington @ Oregon State

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Post-Game: OSU @ UA

Posted by naterb on January 11, 2009

Highlight Video

The Good:

  • Chase Budinger gets his second 20+ point game this week, and has signs that his confidence is returning along with his 3-point shot.
  • The Wildcats nearly out-rebounded themselves offensively (16)versus defensively (17). I love to see that because it means the ‘Cats aren’t giving up when they’re having an off-shooting night. They’re playing hard on each possession, and exploiting their athleticism and height.
  • Coming off the bench, Zane Johnson provided a big boost for the ‘Cats in his second consecutive game. Against the Oregon schools Johnson averaged 8 points, 2.5 assists, and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes. As the season wears on, and the starters get worn out, the ‘Cats will need their bench to keep stepping up and Johnson’s performance is showing vast improvement and usefulness.
  • Putting up 64 points in a game that was essentially cut by 25% thanks to the slow-down Beavers’ offense. The ‘Cats could’ve controlled the tempo a lot more, but they didn’t need to. I believe they could’ve scored more, but to score only 10% less than your average when your opportunities are limited by a slowed-down game, I’ll take it.

The Bad:

  • Kyle Fogg continues to falter during the games. He continually passes up open looks at the basket, and we’ve seen an increase in the mental lapses which reveal him for the freshman that he is. At this rate, despite being one of the better defenders on the team, he’s going to find himself coming off the bench before another week is out.
  • Jamelle Horne was enough to make you pace because of his offensive decisions tonight. Horne took a lot of ill-advised shots tonight, and his 3-9 performance reflects it perfectly. Horne avoids the “ugly” section thanks to his hustle on the glass. Horned had 4 offensive rebounds and 3 defensive to go along with several other plays that forced dead-ball rebounds for Arizona. His efforts gave Arizona second and sometimes third opportunities, and essentially made up for his poor shot selection tonight.

The Ugly:

  • Nic Wise found it hard to score tonight, hitting only one shot in nine attempts. Largely because he lacked a lot of aggressiveness on the offensive end and was settling for jump shots all night long. I’m glad Wise was making an effort not to over-penetrate, but this isn’t what the ‘Cats need either. Wise needs to find that middle ground between over-aggressive and settling for the jumper.
  • The entire second half – Failed to score in the first five minutes. Shot 2-14 in the first 11 minutes of the second half. Shot 8-26 in the entire second half. Gave up 12 points in the paint to the Beavers… I think you get the point. Whether it’s lack of focus or exhaustion does make a difference, but that was still awful.

Jordan Hill

Jordan Hill

Player of the Game:

Jordan Hill – Yes, I know Budinger had more points and was everywhere tonight. But Hill carried the team as his 8 offensive rebounds helped direct the team to 17 second-chance points. His efforts kept the possessions alive and in turn the lead over the Beavers.

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Cop-Out Coach

Posted by naterb on January 11, 2009

 

Oregon State Coach Craig Robinson is tossed with a little over two minutes remaining in an eight-point game. With a game that close, I can’t help but ask myself, “Why on earth did he do that? What was he thinking?!” The Beavers were out-shooting the Wildcats on the night. In fact, the Wildcats were so bad during the second half that during the final 6 minutes of the game they had more points from the free throw line (eight) than from the field (six). So with the Beavers down 8, controlling the tempo of the game, and the Wildcats having a horrible half shooting, why did Robinson get himelf thrown out of the game by complaining about a loose-ball foul? 

What set me off?” said Robinson, repeating a post-game question.

“When my two guys fell down and there was no call, that’s what set me off. … and I think the fouls were 15-4 (OSU had 15) when I left.

“That was the point at which I wanted our guys to know that I wasn’t allowing them to get pushed around any longer. I wanted to sort of stand up for them.”

Okay Coach, I can respect that, especially since the Wildcats had 5 fouls on the night compared to the Beavers’ 16. But it just doesn’t sit right with me. Why? Because when a team has 16 team fouls it means that they aren’t moving their feet, establishing position, and tend to be reaching. In short, they aren’t hustling and are getting beat to loose balls, rebounds, and facing a team that is playing hard.

My suspicion was further confirmed when I read what Daniel Deane had to say about the technicals.

“They (the refs) didn’t call anything, so it wasn’t a push,” he said. “We were playing hard. They were playing hard. It was an intense game. Emotions were flying around. … me and (Johnson) both went hard for the rebound, and a couple of their players went hard, too. That’s about it.”

Bottom line, Robinson’s actions got him kicked out of a close game, and cost the Beavers any chance they had left. Sometimes a coach finding themselves watching the rest of the game from the locker room can ignite a team. If that was his intent, it backfired. The Beavers would not score again after Robinson’s ejection. Next time coach, instead of getting on the refs, try getting on your players a little more about moving their feet and boxing out instead.

All Quotes taken from: Oregon Live - Coach Rob pulls a Rasheed 

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