Ucla, PAC 12 champs!
Ucla takes the PAC 12 championship. Not a pretty game today and Washington struggled on offense which allowed the bruins to just outscrap their way to a win. Bazz was in full selfish mode, but considering how the rest the team looked, it's probably good he had that mindset as he finished with 21 on 8/17 shooting.
Bring on the march madness, ucla gonna cut down the nets!
Props to Larry Drew III. He was huge coming down the stretch. I thought he would have a minimal impact with the Bruins this season, but instead has been a pretty solid floor general this season. I don't know if he does enough besides ball handling and distribution to stick in the league, but he's had a very good season.
If I saw correctly, it looked like he broke UCLA's single season assist record today and with a history like the Bruins have, that's an amazing accomplishment. His A/TO ratio is over 3, as well. Not bad for a guy who was viewed as disposable after Kendall Marshall had a few good games.
UCLA is the best team in a weak Pac-12. Oregon was the other team people were talking about being the best and they got smoked by a 13-17 Utah team. Arizona looked like the best earlier in the season and has fallen apart since. Colorado and Cal have some talent but they are far from a complete team.
UCLA's only quality out of conference win was at home against then #7 Mizzou who we now know isn't anything special either. They lost on neutral courts to G-town and SD State earlier this year. UCLA has talent but they are soft inside. They are probably at their best with Drew, Adams and Bazz on the perimeter and playing Anderson at the 4.
I expect UCLA to exit the tourney on the first weekend for sure. They will likely win their first game based on talent alone but once they face some stiff competition I see them wilting.
It's entirely possible ucla losses early, but who knows, that what makes the tournament fun and unpredictable. I wouldn't put too much into the nonconference slate at this point. Just like you point out how zona is no longer the team that went 12-0 out of conference and beat teams like Florida, Miami and SD state, ucla ain't the same team now either. Also while the PAC 12 doesn't have any dominant teams, it's solid top to bottom. All 5 teams that get in(ucla, Arizona, Oregon, cal, Colorado) can hang with anyone and make it interesting. Arizona state, USC and Stanford are all solid teams as well.
You had me until you said ASU and USC were solid teams. USC got beat by Illinois by 30 at a neutral site. Minnesota and UC Irvine beat them at USC. You can say about how long ago these games were but playing on a neutral site is the closest thing to playing in the NCAA tournament until you play the conference tourney.
ASU play absolutely nobody in the non-conference outside of Creighton who crushed them. Depaul who went 2-16 in the Big East even went to ASU and put a whooping on them. They might be solid teams compared to the junk that is in the Pac-12 but they wouldn't even smell .500 in the Mountain West.
As for USC, they were terrible out of conference. But they fired their head coach in January and the new coach came in and changed everything. Switched the starting lineup and went from a 6 man rotation that played halfcourt grind it out to a 9 man get up down full court team. You have to truly watch them play to see the difference between now and then. Asu didn't play anybody which is why they won't make the tourney despite 20 wins. But they have 3 potential NBA players and have been competitive all year. Besides, I said they were decent not top 25 caliber or tourney caliber. PAC 12 is solid this year. Arizona didn't just fall apart once conference play started, they have lost because other teams are outplaying them.
-5 for stating facts. I think this forum has some West Coast bias.
Not sure why you receive -6. The Pac-12 is a bad conference and ASU and USC are bad. It's nothing personal.
As I stated before, there is ONLY ONE top 25 team in the entire conference (going off of objective margin-based rankings i.e. KenPom, Sagarin, and BPI), Arizona, a team with no point guard.
@Joewolf, Agreed, drew has been the unsung hero all season. He's such a crafty ball handler it really helps against any team trying to trap or press. He's also the only guy who truly doesn't care how many shots he gets. The only game where I truly thought he stunk was the Oregon loss. Other then that game, he has been very solid.
You were still hella wrong about Oregon, but congratulations as you were right about them taking Zona. I did not get a chance to watch the Ducks today (don't get Pac-12), though after seeing the Colorado game, we are struggling big time. Oregon is a team full of role guys and honestly, ever since Artis' injury we have not been the same. He is not back to normal, do not know if he will be. Just know the Ducks have done enough to make the tournament and hope we can make it a round.
UCLA, on the other hand, has done pretty well all things considered. The freshman have been solid, with at least Jordan Adams (who I think most knew was vastly underranked in HS) completely exceeding expectations. Shabazz and Kyle Anderson may not have had the success some expected, yet they were both generally awesome in their own right. Shabazz can really score on anybody and it helps to have a guy like that, while Kyle can do so many things well on the court.
Drew II definitely did well, just it is getting to the point where he is all but an unsung hero. Yes, his assist to turnover ratio is excellent, he is a good defender and he may very well be an All Pac-12 (10 man team) type guy with his season. That being said, he is a terribly inconsistent shooter that lacked confidence for most of the season, which I believe made UCLA incredibly predictable. He had the ball in his hands constantly and I actually believe this limited the team at times. Plus, Jay Bilas naming him his "Pac-12 Player of the Year" is complete, utter, madness. Bilas was sucking up to him the entire Zona game, only missing on the fact that the things I mentioned, like his lack of confidence in his shooting, caused some major turnovers down the stretch that almost cost him the game. Drew II may have helped out the freshman of UCLA, just think having those guys helped him just as much if not more so.
As far as UCLA going far in the tournament, will largely depend on who they go up against. Will say, having the Wear twins is a gift and a curse. They can both stretch the floor and shoot, the issue is their defense and mediocre rebounding. Plus, their team defense is incredibly questionable. Congratulations to them winning this title amid transfers, injuries and a lot of media srutiny. Just once again ll, your Bruins superfandom may be blinding you to some issues, lol.
I was wrong about Oregon, but the truth is half the PAC 12 is neck and neck including ucla. Oregon got off to a great start in conference play, but they came back to earth. I don't think there is any clear cut order of teams at all.
LLPerez, my friend, that is the best you have to offer in breakdown of the Pac-12? You had U of O #9. I feel they are, at worst, #4. That is where I had them and they are a 3 seed in the Pac-12. I think the order is definitely there, at least at the top. I mean, the conference tournament is up for grabs, but I think the Pac-12 has 5 NCAA worthy teams this year. This conference was not amazing, but definitely respectable and 5 teams is solid.
Think that those 5 teams, barring a Stanford or ASU resurgence, are UCLA, Cal, Oregon, Arizona and Colorado. Their is not a lot of separation between them and Oregon, even with the shaky last two games (on the road, mind you) is most definitely in the top half as opposed to the bottom half, which is all I was saying earlier in the year. I thought your choices were solid, just was a tad surprised you had UW, OSU and USC in front of us. Cal was a team I was not sure of, even with their best in the league backcourt, they made an incredible turn around later on.
Man, not having Artis killed us. He meant just as much to us as Larry Drew II means to UCLA. Especially seeing that as shotty of a PG Kyle Anderson may be at the college level, would LOVE to have that issue when Jon Loyd is your best option. Losing Josh Smith was almost like an albatross off your back, the team played much better once the smoke cleared. Dom Artis getting hurt destroyed our momentum. Damyean Dotson has hit a wall and Artis has had trouble getting back to his pre-injury level. Regardless, our only "bad loss" in the Pac-12 was to Utah today. Hey, we beat UNLV in Las Vegas, so anything is possible in the tournament. All I will say is, if we can somehow get Artis back to starting and Loyd back to his 15 mpg role, we will be at a level close to beating anyone in the Pac-12.
The top 6 teams are all really close. I don't see anything clear cut about the top half the league. I don't have anything personal against Oregon. I was wrong and you were right, I'm not weaseling out of owning up to being wrong about them. But after a 6-0 start, they finished 6-6 in their last 12 games. I know losing artis hurt, but I just don't think there is anything about them that suggests they Are clearly better then cal or Colorado. I also stated in my blog I would move them up a few spots if Kazemi was eligible. I got the top 2 right and the bottom right with Utah and wazzu. My predictions were pretty close.
Dude, we were always cool, just thought the "everyone is close" thing was a bit of a low blow due to you leaving out "at the top of the conference". I think that everyone is really close and obviously Cal/Colorado beat us both times. Think we were WILDLY better with Artis, but I understand we did not finish very strong. Remember, we lost to both of those teams at home on last second shots, so it is not like we can't hang with them. I give you full credit for your predictions being close and like your Pac-12 breakdown for the most part. UCLA is very beatable, though and I think you should be very worried about the Wears and Drew in these upcoming tournaments.
I think we both know you went overboard by saying they will win it all, because quite frankly I'd be shocked if they made the Sweet 16. However, despite starting out pretty bad they were still able to rally for a very good season and they earned the conference title.
I was joking about "cutting down the nets!" just having fun being a fan. Not everything has to be serious. In reality they are a dangerous team that could make a run or get bounced in rd 1. Hopefully they get a decent seed.
Before the win today Lunardi had them as a 7-seed, but I could see them being closer to a 5.
No disrespect to LLP, but the Pac-12 is still a bad conference, and UCLA has played some very suspect basketball against some really bad teams this year.
If you go off of the objective margin-based rankings (BPI, Sagarin, and KenPom), Arizona is the ONLY top 25 team in the entire conference, and we're talking about a team that has NO point guard.
Again, no disrespect, but the Pac-12 is a terrible conference.
Well if Arizona is the only top 25 team, and ucla swept Arizona easily this year, then ucla might be top 25 caliber? I mean baylor dominates Kansas yesterday but couldn't beat Colorado. Gonzaga is 1 in the nation but had to hit a last second shot to beat wazzu by 2 in a game the zags should have lost. Arizona defeated the hurricanes by half time and coasted the rest the way. I would say rhe conference is solid, certainly better then the sec. I'm not too high on colorado's and oregon's tournament chances, but ucla, Arizona and cal could all go on a run.
But I do agree nobody should be handing out negatives for criticizing the PAC 12, not sure why people would hit negs for disagreeing.
The Pac-12 may have performed well in those games you listed but you have to look at the entire body of work.
UCLA also lost to USC, Wazzu, Cal Poly, and needed overtime to beat UC Irvine.
And before anyone thinks I'm a "hater," I actually think the Pac-12 could be great next year, assuming Crabbe returns to Cal and Powell returns to Stanford.
Arizona will be a legit Final Four contender next year (and I think they will get there), with a true PG the transfer TJ McConnell from Duquesne, Nick Johnson on the wing, and Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski (sp?) becoming greater forces down low.
They lose Marky Ly and Solomon Hill which hurts, but they become MUCH stronger at the point and in the post.
Like I've said all along, the PAC is solid. I'm not saying it's great. I think top to bottom it's on par with the mountain west and acc and better then the sec. All 5 tourney teams could potentially lose in the first weekend, but could also surprise some people similar to 2 years ago when it was 2 bid league and cal destroyed Louisville and gave duke a fight while Washington took out Marquette and new Mexico before losing to 1 seed unc by 1 point in the sweet 16 where the refs stuck it in the huskies late. Don't sleep on what's going down out west.
Arizona also will still have Gabe York and Grant Jerrett.
You can cross Colorado out, Robertson has a bout with Mono
I can finally say GO UTES! It's been a dreadful last few years, but hey I still go to every home game. I will be in Vegas next week for the tourney It will be awesome. The parity in this conference should produce some very close competitive ball games. I am so happy the pac 12 will be playing in Vegas. My best week of the year is always in Vegas while watching the MWC tourney in Vegas. I hope the Pac 12 keep it annually in Vegas.