Here is how the Pac-10 teams have fared thus far:
Arizona: 3-1 (3-1 this week)- I feel terrible for any Wildcats fan after that disaster against UAB. I don’t understand how a team as talented as Arizona and with some very experienced players can let that happen to themselves. So, they don’t take the trip to Madison Square Garden, but Arizona still showed a solid effort in a close win against Santa Clara, and if things go their way should be 5-1 heading into the game away at Texas A&M next week.
Wildcats Player of the Week: Chase Budinger- 23.5 points 5.3 rebounds 2.8 assists
This Week’s Slate: 11/30 vs. Northern Arizona, 12/2 vs. Loyola Marymount
Arizona State: 3-0 (2-0 this week)- James Harden is proving why is one of the best players in the nation, putting up 33 points against Pepperdine on Monday night. Arizona State also had a signature win on the road against San Diego State earlier in the week. The Sun Devils will continue to benefit from a pretty easy schedule, except the Anaheim Classic this week which features Wake Forest as another top team in the field.
Sun Devils Player of the Week: James Harden- 25.5 points 8.5 rebounds 2.5 assists
This Week’s Slate: 11/27-11/29 Anaheim Classic (First game vs. Charlotte)
California: 4-0 (3-0 this week)- California has four players that are starting to emerge as leaders on the roster: Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, Theo Robertson, and Jamal Boykin. The Golden Bears have taken advantage of an easy schedule so far, but now they have six games in a row against formidable opponents.
Golden Bears Player of the Week: Jerome Randle- 18.3 points 5.3 assists
This Week’s Slate: 11/28 at UNLV, 12/3 vs. DePaul
Oregon: 3-2 (2-2 this week)- Oregon lost to Oakland (Mich.) for the second straight year, but rebounded nicely with a convincing win over Alabama in the first round of the Maui Invitational. The Ducks still have problems with ill-advised shots, but they are young and freshman center Michael Dunigan is showing that in a few seasons he may be the best big man in the Pac-10.
Ducks Player of the Week: Michael Dunigan- 15.5 points 8.5 rebounds
This Week’s Slate: 11/26 vs. Texas, 12/3 at Utah
Oregon State: 0-3 (0-2 this week)- Oregon State continues to prove that they are the worst team in the Pac-10 by far with losses to Yale and Howard. To the Beavers credit, they played a very tough game against Nevada. It should be expected that with a new coach, players that are not as talented will have trouble adjusting to the different situation.
Beavers Player of the Week: Josh Tarver- 17 points 4 assists
This Week’s Slate: 11/26 Montana State, 11/30 at Fresno State
Stanford: 2-0 (1-0 this week)- I still don’t know what we should expect from the Cardinal this season because they haven’t played good competition. Anthony Goods put on a show against Cal State Northridge, and Lawrence Hill and Mitch Johnson are following suit, playing great basketball. However, before they play a tough team it will be hard to know how they’ll fare in conference play.
Cardinal Player of the Week: Anthony Goods- 25 points 5 rebounds
This Week’s Slate: 11/26 vs. Air Force, 11/29 vs. Colorado
UCLA: 3-1 (1-1 this week)- The Bruins were exposed by Michigan in New York. UCLA has no dominant inside presence and it will be tough for them to adjust because in the past three seasons they have always had a powerful big man. They play at Texas next Thursday and it will be interesting to see if they have recovered from the Michigan loss.
Bruins Player of the Week: Darren Collison- 14.5 points 5 assists
This Week’s Slate: 11/29 Florida International
USC: 3-2 (2-2 this week)- Wow, what happened to Southern California in Puerto Rico? Two losses to teams that were not picked to finish high in their conferences, and giving up big leads at halftime. I was skeptical about this team at the beginning of the season because I didn’t think they played team basketball, and they don’t. The Trojans need to play together if they want to make it back to the NCAA tournament.
Trojans Player of the Week: Taj Gibson- 17.2 points 12.7 rebounds
This Week’s Slate: 11/28 vs. UT-Martin, 12/1 vs. San Francisco
Washington: 2-3 (2-2 this week)- The Huskies have really proved me wrong. I thought that Jon Brockman could lead this team back to the NCAA tournament, but it looks almost as if Washington is worse than last season. Quincy Pondexter is doing nothing on the offensive end, and the defensive play of the entire team is lacking tremendously.
Huskies Player of the Week: Isaiah Thomas- 15.2 points 4.2 assists
This Week’s Slate: 11/29 vs. Pacific
Washington State: 4-0 (3-0 this week)- The Cougars are blowing out teams with their tremendous defensive play, and I think that Wazzu is the sleeper in this conference. Aron Baynes is one of the best defensive big men in the country, and freshman Klay Thompson is fitting in very nicely to the system. Though they have played some bad competition, I think they will continue to win their non-conference games leading up to the conference season.
Cougars Player of the Week: Klay Thompson- 13.6 points
This Week’s Slate: 11/28 vs. Mississippi State, 12/2 vs. Idaho State
Pac-10 Team of the Week: California Golden Bears
Pac-10 Player of the Week: James Harden, Arizona State