Pac-10 “Co-Players of the Week”
Joevan Catron led the Oregon Ducks to an impressive home sweep of the Washington schools. Catron also led the Ducks in scoring and rebounding in each contest and finished the week averaging, 18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He also shot 15 of 26 (57.7%) from the floor and 2 of 5 (40.0%) from the three point line. Catron appears to be healthy again after missing two and a half games with injury. Catron has recorded two double-doubles this season and he’s scored 20 or more points in seven games. His play as a senior has him at the top of the list for Pac-10 “Most Improved Player” honors.
Lamont Jones stepped up and hit big shot after big shot for the Wildcats in their three overtime thriller against Cal. When the dust settled Saturday night Arizona walked away with a 107-105 victory over the Bears thanks in large part to a career night by Jones. Jones tied the game with 16 seconds left in regulation with a three and did the same thing with five seconds on the clock in the second overtime. He finally put the game away with a go-ahead bucket in the third overtime with 1:03 left to play. Jones finished the week averaging, 21 points, one assist and a steal and a half per game, while shooting 13 of 25 from the floor and 14 of 16 from the free throw line.
What’s “Hot” in the Pac-10?
The Cal Bears are trending upward. Winners of four of their last five, the Bears have found their offensive rhythm and appear more confident as a team with each passing day. The Bears began the season as a young inexperienced team and suffered through inconsistent play primarily on the offensive end of the court. However, through Cal’s last five games the Bears are averaging 82.2 points per contest and are receiving consistent double digit scoring performance from Harper Kamp (18.6), Jorge Gutierrez (16.0), Allen Crabbe (15.8) and Markhuri Sanders-Frison (13.2). Cal will be tested again this week with a daunting road-trip to the Pacific Northwest to face Washington and Washington State.
Like California, Oregon is playing some of their best basketball of the season. The Ducks completed a home sweep of the Washington schools and did so in convincing fashion. Oregon is 3-1 since moving into Matthew Knight Arena where head coach Dana Altman’s frenetic ¾ court defensive pressure is heightened by the raucous atmosphere. Oregon lacks height and interior depth, but they’ve made up for these deficiencies with intense on-ball pressure, hustle and solid offensive and defensive schemes. Again, like California, the Ducks have a tough test this week against UCLA and USC in Southern California.
What’s “Cold” in the Pac-10?
The Huskies picked a terrible time to allow last season’s primary weakness to rear its ugly head. Washington struggled on the road last year in conference play and after three consecutive road losses to Washington State, Oregon State and Oregon the Huskies are desperate for a win. The good news for Washington is that they are at home this week where they haven’t lost this season. When Washington is good, Isaiah Thomas is good; when Washington struggles so too does Thomas. In UW’s seven losses this season Thomas is shooting 35 percent from the floor and is turning the ball over at a rate of 4.4 times per game. In contrast, Thomas is shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and turning the ball over only 2.2 times a game in Washington’s wins.
The Washington State Cougars have done their share of talking over the past couple of weeks. Initially they backed up their words, handling the Huskies on their home court in front of a packed house in Pullman. But, that win apparently gave Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson even more to talk about. Moore commented, "Me and Klay have been talking about running the table since the beginning of the season" and continued to say, "We can win every game ahead of us." Similar comments were made by Thompson, "We're going to try to make a lot of noise the second half of the season" and like Moore, Thompson said, "I think we have a chance to run the table." Washington State followed these comments with a blow out loss to the Oregon Ducks, before rebounding with a win at Oregon State.
Top 5 Coaches in the Pac-10 this Season
1. Mike Montgomery-California 13-10 (6-5)
*No coach in the Pac-10 had more holes to fill heading into the season than Mike Montgomery. The Bears lost eight players off of last year’s roster, including the Pac-10 Player of the Year. Furthermore, the Bears returned just 11.7 percent of their offense from last season. Factor in the mid-season transfer of freshman point guard Gary Franklin and an extremely difficult non-conference schedule and Mike Montgomery has a strong case for Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
2. Sean Miller-Arizona 20-4 (9-2)
*If Arizona wins the Pac-10 title Miller will be the odds on favorite to earn Coach of the Year honors.
3. Dana Altman-Oregon 12-11 (5-6)
*When Altman took the position he inherited a mess, the fact that Oregon’s above .500 is impressive.
4. Ben Howland-UCLA 16-7 (7-3)
*Howland and the Bruins have bounced back after a tough 2009-10 season, UCLA could surprise in March
5. Lorenzo Romar-Washington 15-7 (7-4)
*UW was the early favorite to win the Pac-10, but the Huskies have faced a myriad of setbacks this season.
Upcoming Games of Interest
02.12.2011 California @ Washington State
02.13.2011 Arizona @ Arizona State
Results of Interest
02.02.2011 USC 50 UCLA 64
02.03.2011 Arizona 78 Stanford 69
02.05.2011 Arizona 107 California 105
02.05.2011 St. John’s 59 UCLA 66
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