The Washington Huskies head into this week alone at the top of the Pac-12 standings. With Cal looking sloppy offensively and awful defensively, the Colorado Buffaloes rolled to a big win. It means Washington has a half game lead on Cal. The Bears have just one game this weekend at Stanford, while the Huskies head to LA.
Here's the bracket ...
Here's how it would set up ...
Wednesday, March 7
- No. 8 WSU vs. No. 9 OSU -- Noon (Game 1)
- No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 12 USC -- 2:30 p.m. (Game 2)
- No. 7 Stanford vs. No. 10 ASU -- 6 p.m. (Game 3)
- No. 6 UCLA vs. No. 11 Utah -- 8:30 p.m. (Game 4)
- No. 1 Washington vs. WSU/OSU winner -- Noon (Game 5)
- No. 4 Colorado vs. Oregon/USC winner -- 2:30 p.m. (Game 6)
- No. 2 Cal vs. Stanford/ASU winner -- 6 p.m. (Game 7)
- No. 3 Arizona vs. UCLA/Utah winner -- 8:30 p.m. (Game 8 )
- Game 5 vs. Game 6 winner -- 6 p.m.
- Game 7 vs. Game 8 winner -- 8:30 p.m.
- Pac 12 Championship Game -- 3 p.m. CBS
If they follow last year's rules, Colorado holds the tiebreaker over Oregon if they finish with even records for the fourth place spot. The two teams would likely be 1-1 against each other, but Colorado is 1-0 against Washington, while Oregon is 1-1 against Washington
I watched the second half of this game and I was stunned at how out of sorts Cal looked on both ends of the court. Jorge Gutierrez seemed to lack energy. So much so that my buddy and Cal grad Mike Curto wondered if he wasn't sick. Gutierrez finished 0-7 from the field. What was stunning was the dribble penetration that the Bears allowed, and the number of times they failed to get back in transition.
Colorado is good. Yes, the Buffaloes looked awful against Stanford. Yes, they struggle away from home (which team doesn't). But they defend. I don't know if you'd want to play them in the semifinals.
From the quote sheet ...
Colorado coach Tad Boyle: "To me that's what Senior Day's supposed to be about, the energy and the effort, we made plays on offense and defense and (that's what it's about) to me. Colorado basketball (has been) undefeated when we get our opponents to shoot 41 percent from the field. We put "41%" on the front of our board. Every time we've held the defense to that, we haven't lost a game. We rebounded, defended and we did it. Our seniors weren't going to let us lose it; I have to give them a lot of credit and also their families for coming out.
Cal coach Mike Montgomery: "We didn't defend very well. They [Colorado] really took advantage of their offensive possessions. They shot it well-we didn't. They took away some things and it frustrated us a little bit. I think more than anything else though, that our point of attack defense was not very good. We attack time after time, but they were able to get it to another guy who was able to score; that caused us all sorts of problems."
Technically, the Wildcats still have hope to win a share of the league title. They did so by surviving against UCLA.
Here's the game story from Bruce Pascoe, and the "Seen and Heard" ... Patrick Finley writes about UCLA's attempt for a game-tying shot, which consisted of Jerime Anderson dribbling down, passing to no one and shooting a fadeaway 17 footer. Pascoe also has this follow-up story.
From the UCLA perspective ... Scott Reid of the OC Register writes about Kyle Fogg fittingly being the one to beat the Bruins. ... and here's Jon Gold's game story from the LA Daily News.
From the Oregonian -- Here's Lindsay Schnell's story from the Duck perspective. And here's John Hunt's story from the OSU perspective. Here's Kevin Hampton's game story from the Gazette Times. And here's Adam Jude's game story from the Register Guard.
Here's OSU head coach Craig Robinson's postgame press conference video ... the best part is that he calls it a poorly officiated game.
“That was big, and you guys know I never blame the refs for our game, but that was a poorly officiated game,’’ Robinson said. “When is Jared Cunningham going to get treated like one of the best guys in the conference? I’m just waiting for that. I’m probably getting myself in trouble here, but Jared does not get treated like one of the best players. People are allowed to bait him constantly and to bump him constantly.’’
I don't know if I agree with his assessment about Jared Cunningham. I think Cunnigham plays a little passive at times and falls at the first sign of contact. He did that against UW a few times.
From the OSU quote sheet ...
Robinson: "That was a classic rivalry battler and we came out on the losing end. I don't think it was because of effort. I was really pleased with our intensity, our effort and our hard work. We finally came out matching the other team's effort. The crowd was terrific. I think what it came down to was intangibles. It was the loose balls and the rebounds that you have to get. Not making a foul on that last one when you get a guy to miss a shot and you get the rebound, but we fouled the guy. I would like to blame it on youth, but I can't. We have to start executing. We are not young anymore. We have been through a lot of wars. If you want to be good, you have to win games like this, especially when you have a sold out crowd and are playing against a team that is fighting to get to the NCAA tournament."
The Utes got a win! The Utes got a win! My buddy Bill Oram got to write about a win. Here's his game story. Columnist Gordon Monson writes that the Utes won't stay down under head coach Larry Krystkowiak.
Still, there are no new conclusions to draw about Utah basketball based on what happened here. The Utes are not a particularly talented team, a fact that is not their fault. They are what they are. They are playing for Krystkowiak and his down program because he or a former Utah coach recruited them. More often than not, they aren’t as good as the other guys, even in the Pac-12, a league not filled with strong teams.
But they have progressed this season, a time when everybody knew they would struggle after Jim Boylen was shown the door and a few of his better players on a bad team followed him through it.
Krystkowiak is simply trying to drill the foundation of a new attitude into the bedrock beneath his program. It’s not even a matter of developing the players he has into stars. Some of the guys here won’t be on future Ute teams. They’ll have to go.
The coach already has signed five newcomers, and his assistants are still actively recruiting. Past Washburn, a 6-10 junior who played the best game of his life against Stanford — 17 points and six blocks — and Hines, who had 19 points and seven boards, as well as injured center David Foster, there aren’t any difference-makers in the fold.Here's John Crumpacker's game story from the SF Chronicle
From the quote sheet ...
Krystkowiak: "I think everybody makes improvements over the course of the year. That is one of those things that comes with the level of playing harder. Early in the year, a team would hit a three or two threes and you would see that we were pretty deflated and we didn't realize that it was over yet, that we could keep battling back. I think we have learned that lesson here enough that we just can't quit regardless of what you are doing. We just keep fighting to the end and it was really a great ending."
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins: "It is difficult to explain. I think it has to do with some inconsistency from younger players. It starts in the backcourt, to have a freshman and sophomore. They are going to have nights that are up and down. Our experience on the perimeter isn't there and at times it shows."
I didn't think either team would score over 60 points, and I was right. Can't imagine what the TV rating was for this game.