Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Posts Tagged ‘Washington Huskies’

Pac-10 Week in Review (Nov. 17- Nov.25)

Posted by Patrick on November 26, 2008

http://obscuresportsquarterly.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/pac103.jpg

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

Posted in Conference Reports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

November 25: The Day After

Posted by Zach on November 25, 2008

Kansas Washington Basketball

Recap of Monday night action in the world of college hoops…

Syracuse 89, #18 Florida 83: Early in the season, the Big East is doing nothing to dispell notions of their conference possibly being considered the strongest in the history of college basketball. The first of two in Kansas City certainly wasn’t a tape you’d send to a clinic instructing defense. Both Syracuse and Florida split the opposing zone defense with relative ease for 40 minutes, and other than a few first half Andy Rautins or Nick Calathes threes, most of the baskets were layups and dunks. This was especially the case for Gators big man Alex Tyus, a sophomore with a frame most big men can only dream about. I watched this game intensively primarily because I wanted to become more familiar with Florida and some of their young talent. Suffice to say Tyus athleticism, explosivness near the basket, and ability to find seams in the Cuse defense stood out dramatically. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how impressive Nick Calathes is as a complete basketball player. 19 points, 7 assists and 4/8 from deep doesn’t tell half the story of how much this super sophomore provides as a floor leader, instinctive and sneaky passer and smooth jump shooter. I also came away impressed with Erving Walker as a speed demon driving to the basket with surprising range on his jumper. If Florida shapes up their defense, they could be a force in a weak SEC.

On the other side, this is a tremendous win for Syracuse to tout on Selection Sunday in case they slide in conference play because Florida will likely pad their record and ranking in the SEC. I took a couple things away from their high-scoring effort tonight: 1) Jonny Flynn doesn’t force anything. He lets the game come to him, finds open teammates, yet can seemingly score at any time when Syracuse desperately needs a hoop. 2) Andy Rautins really carried the Orange in the first half shooting threes. Rautins and Devendorf can give this team a whole new dimension if they develop consistency from outside. 3) Onuaku is a ferocious rebounder (12 in the game, seemed like 22). He snatches anything in his vicinity and grabbed numerous key boards down the stretch. 4) Keep an eye out for Cuse freshman Kris Joseph, a developing forward with a nice mid-range game that has served coach Boeheim well off the bench in their wins over Oakland and now Florida. If Syracuse can shore up the defense, they’ll be a force.

#23 Kansas 73, Washington 54: If anyone had lingering doubts, watching Washington throw up brick after brick tonight in the Sprint Center should have confirmed what a loss to Portland seemed to show: Lorenzo Romar’s squad is not very good. At all. Admittedly, Kansas displayed spirited and aggressive defense all night long with their 2-3 zone completely disrupting impressive freshman Isaiah Thomas and slashing forward Quincy Pondexter, but the jump shooting (29.2%) is hideous for the Huskies. Losing their primary outside shooter in Ryan Appelby certainly looks like a devestating subtraction at this point. When Cole Aldrich shut down Jon Brockman offensively, this team was completely lost. Dentmon, Overton and Gant look more and more like disappointments for Romar, and with expected contender Southern Cal also exposed over the weekend, you might find Tony Bennett’s Washington State Cougars finishing third in the Pac-10 this season behind UCLA and Arizona State.

Kansas played a decent game. Nothing spectacular that leads me to believe they’re a top-15 team, but they certainly showed enormous potential and reason for Jayhawk fans to be extremely excited. Cole Aldrich played a phenomenal game both offensively showing a variety of post moves and a mid-range jumper that somehow finds the bottom of the net even with a funky release, and defensively confusing the usually steady Jon Brockman and providing constant help defense, blocking shots and starting the Kansas break. Aldrich and Marcus Morris forms a great front line for Self to work with. It also appears Sherron Collins has his attitude/work ethic straightened out and he’s ready to lead a young Kansas squad. Tyshawn Taylor is an athletic guard who will compliment Collins nicely in the backcourt. The only concerns should be offensive rebounding (Washington dominated here) and three-point shooting (just 2 of 8).

#2 Connecticut 76, #19 Wisconsin 57: The Badgers love to slow the game down, limit possessions and force their opposition to change their gameplan to fit their ideal tempo. Usually Bo Ryan has no trouble doing so, but this year’s Connecticut Huskies are a totally different animal. Their roster is an endless assembly line of playmakers that forced the Badgers into more of a high-energy contest and even managed to drop 76 points on one of the most stout defenses in the nation. Who would have thought Jerome Dyson, not Price, Thabeet or Adrien, would be the Huskies leading scorer thus far in the 08-09 season? Dyson, along with Adrien down low and the emergence of the soaring freshman Kemba Walker, have been phenomenal thus far. I’d feel confident about my Connecticut pick to win the national title if Hasheem Thabeet wasn’t such an enigma. The only competition for the 7’3 center tonight came from the 6’8 Keaton Nankivil and 6’7 Joe Krabbenhoft, yet Thabeet never demanded the rock on offense and finished with nine points on 2/6 from the field. There’s absolutely no reason for Thabeet to not score 20 points in this matchup, and it shows a lack of aggressiveness that’s concerning if I’m a Connecticut fan. We’ve seen this the last two years with Hasheem, and the developing excuse seems to be wearing off.

Other Top 25 Action

  • #1 North Carolina made mince meat of poor Chaminade 115-70, scoring 67 in the second half behind 26 points from Danny Green
  • #7 Texas pulled away late in Maui and defeated St. Joe’s 68-50 with A.J. Abrams scoring 17 and playing a great point guard
  • #8 Notre Dame earned a second round date with Texas after trouncing Indiana 88-50; Tory Jackson with 21/6/5 on 10/17 FG
  • #21 Miami demolished San Diego in a good win 80-45 even though Jack McClinton only scored nine points and went 1/6 from three
  • #24 Wake Forest’s last two scores: 120-88, 62-31. Think Coach Gaudio worked on defense? Jeff Teague led the way with 14 points
  • #25 Davidson beat Florida Atlantic 76-60. Curry: 39/4/4, 13/21, 5/9, 8/9. Another day at the office.

Other Notes- Cleveland State beats St. Leo by 10 points, Loyola (IL) is demolished by Cornell, Wright State manages 37 points at home and Butler losing everyone leads me to believe this could be a down year in the Horizon League; Massachusetts with the most despicable loss of the night, going down at home to Jacksonville State 75-74. That’ll get the fans riled up for some Minutemen hoops, coach Kellogg! Patrick Patterson scored 28 points and snatched 12 rebounds in a Kentucky rout of Longwood; bad loss for Bradley at home by 12 to UMKC; Georgia has been awful so far this year, winning tonight 54-48 over Santa Clara and trying to cement themselves as the Oregon State of the SEC this season; Ohio State escapes 61-57 over Bowling Green with B.J. Mullens held to two points, lending credence to my earlier article about freshmen struggles early in this campaign; UNLV with a tremendous road win at Conference USA contender UTEP 80-67 with Wink Adams going for 20 points; we thought Oregon State might be on the upswing after contending with Nevada on the road, but they lost by one to Yale tonight at home.

NW Wins Horse Trailer Player of the Day- Stephen Curry, Davidson (again): 39 points, 13/21 FG, 5/9 3pt, 4 assists, 2 turnovers

On The Tube Today

  • Saint Joseph’s vs. Indiana, 130pm (ESPNU)
  • Chaminade vs. Alabama, 4pm (ESPN2)
  • Texas vs. Notre Dame, 7pm (ESPN)
  • Gardner Webb @ South Carolina, 7pm (ESPN FC)
  • Florida vs. Washington, 745pm (ESPNUHD)
  • Oakland at Kansas State, 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • Saint Louis at Nebraska, 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • Texas Southern at Marquette, 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • SE Louisiana at Texas Tech, 8pm (ESPN FC)
  • North Carolina vs. Oregon, 930pm (ESPN)
  • Syracuse vs. Kansas, 10pm (ESPN2HD)

Posted in The Day After | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pac-10 Preview Roundup

Posted by Patrick on November 9, 2008

Links to my other posts: 1.UCLA, 2.Arizona State, 3.Washington, 4.USC, 5.Arizona, 6.Washington State, 7.Cal, 8.Stanford, 9.Oregon, 10.Oregon State

First Team:

James Harden (G-Arizona State)

Darren Collison (G-UCLA)

Jon Brockman (F-Washington)

DeMar DeRozan (G-USC)

Chase Budinger (F-Arizona)

Second Team:

Jrue Holiday (G-UCLA)

Taj Gibson (F-USC)

Jeff Pendergraph (F-Arizona State)

Aron Baynes (C-Washington State)

Patrick Christopher (F-Cal)

Third Team:

Quincy Pondexter (F-Washington)

Mitch Johnson (G-Stanford)

Derek Glasser (G-Arizona State)

J’Mison Morgan (C-UCLA)

Daniel Hackett (G-USC)

Player of the Year:

1) James Harden, Arizona State

2) Jon Brockman, Washington

3) Darren Collison, UCLA

Defensive Player of the Year: Darren Collison, UCLA

Breakthrough Player of the Year: Derek Glasser, Arizona State

Freshman of the Year: DeMar DeRozan, USC

Coach of the Year: Herb Sendek, Arizona State

Dark Horse Player: Tajuan Porter, Oregon

Dark Horse Team: Washington State

NCAA Teams: 5

NIT Teams: 3

CBI Teams: 1

Top Five Games:

1. Arizona State at UCLA (1/17)

2. UCLA at USC (1/11)

3. Arizona State at Washington (2/26)

4. USC at Arizona State (2/15)

5. USC at UCLA (2/4)

The SEC Preview will be up at some point this week. Oh yeah, and there is a college basketball game tomorrow night, in case your wondering.

Posted in Conference Previews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pac-10 Preview: #3 Washington Huskies

Posted by Patrick on November 5, 2008

https://i2.wp.com/graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/wash/galleries/031806_wash_ill_ncaa/wash10-lg.jpg

#3 Washington Huskies– Coach: Lorenzo Romar (7th year)

PG- Justin Dentmon: Dentmon is an experienced senior that has been getting major time at point guard ever since his freshman year. He has the ability to score in large amounts, but saw a major decline in his stats last season. His free throw percentage fell almost 10 percent, and he averaged one less assist per game than in his first two seasons as a Huskie. However, he did cut down on his turnovers which, if he continues to play smart basketball, will help tremendously. Dentmon is also a solid defender and has advanced court vision. His primary job will be finding an open Jon Brockman and getting him the basketball.

PG- Venoy Overton: Overton is just a sophomore, but he got plenty of game experience last season even as a freshman. This year, he could receive just as much time running the point, especially if Dentmon is struggling. The problem with Overton is his tendency for turnovers and his outside shot is nothing more than mediocre, but if he knows his role on the team and can play good defense then he should make a solid contribution to the Huskies.

SG-Elston Turner: Turner is one of three incoming freshman that look to make a major impact for Washington this season. He has a big frame at 6’4” and 190 lbs, and has great scoring ability when given the chance. The only problem is that he is an easy player for a good defender to shut down, and he will be seeing a lot of quality defenders in this conference.

SG-Scott Suggs: In my opinion, Suggs is the best of the three incoming freshman guards. He has the ability to take the ball to the basket, and he has a great outside shot. Suggs is also a very athletic player that loves to get the ball in transition, and can kill other teams when he’s on the fast break. Defending isn’t his strong suit but he is still an adequate defender that can shut down some average players. I’d look for Scott Suggs to make a major impact at Washington this season.

SF-Quincy Pondexter: Washington’s frontcourt is anchored by two players: Pondexter and Jon Brockman. While Pondexter is no Brockman, he is still a very solid basketball player that can score points in the paint and grab rebounds down low. His free throw shooting was average last season, but if he improves on that he will be a very tough player to stop in the Pac-10. Pondexter often feeds off of Brockman’s success, so if Brockman is having a great game look for Pondexter to do the same.

PF-Jon Brockman: Brockman could play on any team in the nation in any conference, and still be a first team all-conference caliber player. He is a lot like Luke Harangody of Notre Dame: tremendously strong, athletic, and loves to score. Brockman is also a great defender that pulls down lots of rebounds; he will be the lifeblood of this Huskie team and could lead them to a possible Sweet 16 appearance in March.

Bench: Depending on which point guard is coming off the bench, they will play a major impact for this team. Also big men like senior Artem Wallace and freshman Tyreese Breshers will play big roles in the frontcourt. Washington has a great starting five, but they lose a lot in terms of depth; however, if Romar can find a solid eight man rotation (barring foul trouble with Brockman) they should have no trouble living up to their expectations in the Pac-10 this season.

Backcourt: B

Frontcourt: A

Bench: B-

Coach: B+

Bottom Line: As I said before this team will revolve around Brockman, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t need other players to step up. If Dentmon and Pondexter can do more than will be asked of them it will not only make Brockman’s job easier but it will also help the freshmen settle into their roles on the team. Like many Pac-10 teams, Washington is young and they will have their growing pains. However, having a player as good as Brockman will help come tourney time and in those close conference matchups. I expect nothing less than a tournament appearance and a first round victory.

Key Non-Conference Games: CBE Classic (11/20-11/25), Oklahoma State (12/4)

Key Conference Games: USC (1/22), UCLA (1/24), at Arizona State (1/31), at USC (2/21), Arizona State (2/26)

Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA (Second Round)

Posted in Conference Previews | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Abdul Gaddy Commits To Washington

Posted by Zach on October 29, 2008

Following Lute Olson’s abrupt resignation as Arizona head coach last week, point guard Abdul Gaddy has found a new home- the University of Washington.

The highly touted 6’3 guard out of Tacoma will stay in his home state and play for Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies. The decision came late Tuesday night and was originally reported by Scout.com, with multiple sources confirming the commitment this afternoon. To have Gaddy rescind his LOI to Arizona and opt for a rival Pac-10 school must be devastating for Wildcat fans. It may also save Washington coach Lorenzo Romar’s job following a few years of mediocrity. Landing the second best high school point guard in the nation should help.

Olson’s stroke in this past year ultimately led to his resignation just a week into practice and caused three top-100 recruits- Gaddy, Solomon Hill and Mike Moser- to all de-commit and search for new schools. There is a strong rumor that Hill, a Los Angeles native, will commit to Southern California, adding another former Arizona signee opting for a Pac-10 school. Olson’s resignation should have major lingering effects. As if losing Brandon Jennings to Europe wasn’t bad enough.

Gaddy should be Washington’s best player the moment he arrives at campus. He has tremendous point guard instincts similiar to Derrick Rose. His feel for the position is off the charts and can anchor a Washington program in need of a backcourt leader since the departure of Brandon Roy. Most expected Gaddy to head to UCLA when he de-committed from Arizona, but Washington ended up landing the ultra-talented guard.

Posted in Quick Posts, Recruiting | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Summer Pac-10 Report

Posted by Tommy on August 15, 2008

While my colleagues are out east in DC, I’m going to go out west and preview the Pac-10 from my computer at home. The Pac-10 lost a lot of talented players to this year’s NBA Draft such as Kevin Love, Brook and Robin Lopez, Ryan Anderson, Jerryd Bayless, OJ Mayo, Russel Westbrook, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Kyle Weaver, Malik Hairston, DeVon Hardin and Maarty Leunen. Despite the loss of talent, the Pac-10 is still going to be a great conference to watch especially because there is such a level playing field. UCLA will in all likelyhood be at the top of the Pac-10 once again but after the Bruins there is a pack of 6 or 7 teams that will beat up on each other, and that is why I give this year’s version of the conference the nickname the “Pack-10”.

Arizona: After a dissapointing 7th place finish in the Pac-10 last season, the Wildcats will try and return to the top of the Pac-10, a familiar place for Zona. Unfortunately, the Cats have a void at the point guard position due to the departure of Jerryd Bayless and the decision of Brandon Jennings to play professionaly in Europe instead of coming to Tucson. Nic Wise, along with other role players from last year’s team, will have to shoulder much more of the scoring load if the Cats are to succeed. Jeff Withey and the incoming freshmen are going to have to help Jordan Hill and Chase Budinger out on the offensive end, otherwise Hill and Budinger will have to do a majority of the scoring. I don’t think Arizona is going to improve too much on their 8-10 record in the Pac-10 this season and will likely ride the bubble all year long. Right now I’d have to say they’re bubble-out but maybe they could ride their SOS to another tournament bid.

Arizona State coach Herb Sendek pleading to a ref

Arizona State: Last year Herb Sendek and the Sun Devils burst onto the scene by beating their in-state rivals Arizona twice and by upsetting Stanford, but only to get their bubble bursted at the last minute. Stars James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph return to Tempe along with guards Ty Abbot and Derek Glasser to show the nation what they’re capable of. The Devils will be much improved this year and will avenge last year’s snub with a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

California: Cal is going to see their fair share of struggles this season with the departure of leading scorer Ryan Anderson to the NBA. The scoring is going to have to come from the guards Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle who are the only two double digit scorers returning to this year’s team. Cal will be near the bottom of the Pac-10 once again and will most likely end up participating in the CBI.

Oregon: After signing coach Ernie Kent to and extention through the 2012-13 season, they obviously see Kent as the right guy to lead Oregon back to the top tier of the Pac-10. Unlike Arizona State, the Ducks made it into the field of 65 with a 9-9 record in the Pac 10 but lost in the first round to Mississippi State.  The Ducks don’t have the talent to make it back into the tournament again this year because of the departure of leading scorers Malik Hairston and Maarty Leunen as well as Bryce Taylor. Tajuan Porter is the only returning double digit scorer and will have to use his 5’5″ frame to carry this Oregon squad. Joevan Catron, who averaged 8.8 PPG and 5.7 RPG last year, will be the go-to guy in the frontcourt. These young Ducks don’t have the firepower to compete in the Pac-10 and it will take a couple of years until they return to the NCAA tournamnet.

Oregon State: Coming off a 6-win season, the Beavers don’t have too high of expectations for the 08-09 season. They were winless in the Pac-10 last year and will likely be the bottom team in the Pac-10 once again. The versatile guard/forward Seth Tarver will be the go-to guy for OSU, while his brother Josh will play a supporting role along with Lather Wallace and OmariJohnson. The Beavers will be relatively young and will experience plenty of growing pains with the stiff Pac-10 competition, but could improve in the coming years. As of right now they won’t get a sniff of any postseason, not even the CBI.

Stanford: This year’s Stanford squad is going to look much different after the departures of the Lopez twins along with frontcourt-mates Taj Finger and Fred Washington. They’re presence in the paint is going to be missed throughout next year. New coach Johnny Dawkins is going to have a rough first year with his 9-man roster which has nobody over 6’9″. However, they do have two senior leaders in the backcourt in Mitch Johnson and Anthony Goods as well as senior wing man Lawrence Hill. Dawkins has shown he can coach under-sized teams as the right-hand man to Coach K at Duke, but will have a lot to prove in his first job as a head coach. The Cards are going to have to play terrific defense if they want to near the top of the Pac-10 again this season. It’s hard to say what the Cards will do as far as postseason goes but I think Stanford will make the tournament as a 8 or 9 seed.

UCLA: After losing Kevin Love and Russel Westbrook to the #4 and #5 picks as well as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Lorenzo Mata-Real, one would think that Ben Howland and the Bruins would have lowered expectations for this season. Think again. Howland brings in the best recruiting class in the nation for 2008 which includes Jrue Holiday, J’Mison Morgan, Malcolm Lee, Drew Gordon and Jerime Anderson, all 4 or 5 star recruits. In addition, Darren Collison and Josh Shipp return for their senior seasons in hopes to make another deep run into the NCAA Tournament. Once these freshmen mature, the Bruins have a good chance of making yet another Final Four run.

USC:Tim Floyd has done a great job with the Trojans thus far especially in the recruiting aspect. Last year Floyd brought in superstar freshman OJ Mayo but was a one-and-done as he went third in this year’s NBA Draft. Now Floyd has brought in the McDonald’s All-American Dunk Contest winner and another likely one-and-done player in Demar DeRozan. DeRozan will be the main offensive threat for the Tojans and will be supported by Daniel Hackett, Taj Gibson and Dwight Lewis. The Trojans have another good lineup for the 08-09 campaign and could be one of those teams to battle in the pack of the Pac-10.

Washington: The Huskies, who went 7-11 in Pac-10 play last year, return some of the same faces to this years team and hope to improve on their record from last year. The main man for the Huskies will be big man Jon Brockman who can put up 19 PPG and grab 12 RPG over the course of next season. Quincy Pondexter, Justin Dentmon and Matthew Bryan-Amaning are the returning players that will play supporting roles for Lorenzo Romar. The Huskies also have a pretty impressive incoming freshman class with names such as Elston Turner Jr, Scott Suggs, and Isaiah Thomas (no, he isn’t Zeke’s son but has drawn some comparisons with his explosiveness). I really like the play of Brockman and if he gets strong support, the Huskies could be a tournament team but like some other teams in the Pac-10 they’ll be riding the bubble.

Washington State: Two years ago, coach Tony Bennet brought WSU from the depths of the Pac-10 and made them a nationally recognized team. Now, with the graduation of Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver and Robbie Cowgill the Cougars will struggle a bit. Having low pre-season expectations from the media hasn’t stopped coach Bennet from doing well before, so I expect the Cougs to be competing in the pack of the “Pack-10”. Aron Baynes, Daven Harmeling, and Taylor Rochestie will be the veteran leaders for WSU and will uphold coach Bennet’s style of hardnosed defense and offense that uses plenty shot clock. Tony Bennet brings in a top-10 small forward in freshman Klay Thompson as well as a couple of other freshmen that can contribute right away. Even though they aren’t the best team on paper, the Cougersare going to frustrate opponents with their great defense and I think could win a game or two in the NCAA tournament.

Predicted Pac-10 Standings w/ Postseason

  1. UCLA – NCAA
  2. Arizona State – NCAA
  3. Stanford – NCAA
  4. USC – NCAA
  5. Washington – NCAA (bubble)
  6. Washington State – NCAA (bubble)
  7. Arizona – NIT (bubble)
  8. Oregon – NIT
  9. California – CBI
  10. Oregon State – none

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »