Big thanks to Todd Milles, who stepped in and wrote an excellent preview of the Pac-12 basketball season which begins tonight.
His story addresses all of what has gone wrong with the Pac-12 in the non-conference season, while pointing out that the lack of any true "star" level players is a factor in the early season troubles.
The numbers are not pretty. Consider:
• Pac-12 teams are 0-12 against ranked opponents.
• Although nine of the 12 conference teams posted winning marks, 31 of the collective 57 losses have been by double-digit margins.
• Pac-12 schools have one win against a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) top-50 team – Oregon State’s 100-95 overtime victory over Texas in November.
• Heading into the start of league play tonight, the Pac-12 sits ninth in conference RPI – just behind the Missouri Valley Conference.
• The conference’s highest scorer, Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham at 16.8 points per game, isn’t ranked in the top 100 nationally.
Embarrassing for a high-profile conference with a proud heritage? A sign of things to come? Proof of how it has been in the past few seasons? Whatever the answer, one thing is certain – the Pac-12 has been a flop.
“I was the coach a year ago who felt we were underappreciated as a conference, and I really believe I was right when you look at the NBA draft and how we performed in the NCAA tournament as a conference,” Arizona’s Sean Miller said. “This year, there is no excuse. As a conference, we don’t have those marquee wins. That doesn’t mean our conference, our players and teams won’t keep getting better.”For tonight's game UW-Oregon State game .
Around the Pac-12
Diane Pucin of the LA Times has a look at the Pac-12. She also has this preview of UCLA's big weekend with a trip to the Bay Area. Here's another preview from ESPN LA
Kevin O'Neill says the key to USC having more success is to play harder.