Player of the Week
Johnny Juzang (UCLA)
Juzang has managed to pick up right where he left off last year, showing strong outing after strong outing to open up the season. He has led the Bruins in scoring three out of their first four games and currently leads the Pac-12 in points per game, averaging 21.5. Some of the notable performances Juzang has put on have been a 25-point, 8 rebound game versus a tough Villanova squad and a 25-point, 4 rebound game against Long Beach State. Both games resulted in Ws for the Bruins and Juzang has helped lead them to an early 4-0 start. If he can keep playing like this, the skies the limit for this UCLA team.
Keeshawn Barthelemy (Colorado)
Getting a bit overlooked to start the season, Barthelemy has been nothing less than a bucket. He has managed to lead Colorado to a 3-0 start while being the top scorer for the Buffaloes in every game. Most recently he helped lead his squad to a 90-46 win against the Maine Black Bears, where he dropped a clean 22 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. What’s impressive about this sophomore’s start isn’t necessarily how he’s scoring, it’s the efficiency he’s doing it with. Through the first three games, Barthelemy is shooting 60.6% from the field and 70% from deep. Though his competition hasn’t been the toughest and it’s a small sample size, Barthelemy has been unarguably great for this young Colorado squad.
Terrell Brown Jr. (Washington)
The senior guard from Washington has managed to put together an all-around solid stat line to open up this year’s college basketball season. With splits of 17.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists, Brown Jr. has been doing it all for the Huskies this season. In Washington’s most recent win against the Texas Southern Tigers, Brown Jr. dropped 20 points to go along with 9 assists, just missing that double-double mark. With the Huskies looking miles better than they did last year, Brown Jr. will look to help them in any way he can.
UCLA Bruins (4-0)
To no one’s surprise, the Bruins have come out and looked pretty stellar to open up the season. Aside from their 4-0 start, they are one of the only undefeated teams in the Pac-12 to play an insanely tough opponent and win, with UCLA beating out the Villanova Wildcats for their second win of the season. Several players have stepped up to help the Bruins strike fear in the rest of the teams in college basketball. Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Jules Bernard have all looked amazing thus far. If you’re sleeping on the Bruins, a rude awakening might be coming your way.
Arizona Wildcats (3-0)
After a year filled with controversy and hardship for the Wildcats last season, they seemed to have bounced back nicely under coach Tommy Lloyd. Not only are they 3-0 to start the year, they’re beating teams in dominant fashion. Christian Koloko has been a bright spot for the Wildcats to open up the season, averaging 14 points and 6.7 rebounds to go along with a whopping 4 blocks per game. It’s not a secret that Arizona hasn’t played a great group of teams so far, but it’s nice to see the program bounce back after what conspired last season.
Oregon State (1-2)
To say the start of the year for the Beavers has been disappointing would be an understatement. Considered by many to be amongst the top teams in the Pac-12, Oregon State has found themselves under .500 throughout the first three games of the season. With losses to Tulsa and Iowa State, there may have been something overlooked when examining this roster before the beginning of the season. As the Beavers attempt to find their footing, a season like last year’s becomes more and more less likely.
Although it may be a bit of an overreaction, Oregon just suffered a loss that many would’ve chalked up as an automatic win for the Ducks. Not only did BYU manage to beat Oregon, they did so in dominant fashion, boasting a final score of 81-49. As stated earlier, this could be a total overreaction and the Ducks could be fine, but ignoring a loss like this is simply impossible. It’ll be interesting to see how they rally from a loss of this caliber,
Top 5 Coaches Currently in the Pac-12 (no order):
Dana Altman (Oregon)
Since taking over as head coach of the Ducks in 2010, Altman has been able to find success. His win to loss ratio since joining Oregon has been .718, a fairly high number. With numerous Pac-12 championships under his belt and some deep March Madness runs, he seems to have found a home in the Pac-12.
Tad Boyle (Colorado)
Joining the Buffaloes around the same time as Altman did, Boyle has also been able to find success in the Pac-12. Although they have never won a regular season championship during his tenure and only have one tournament championship, they’ve managed to make the March Madness Tournament a total of five times.
Mick Cronin (UCLA)
Cronin has only been the head coach for UCLA since 2019 but in his time there, he has achieved enough to land on this list. Though his regular seasons haven’t looked the greatest, he managed to lead the Bruins to the final four last year, nearly the National Championship before an unreal buzzer beater loss. After a stellar season last year, Cronin most likely isn’t leaving California anytime soon.
Bobby Hurley (Arizona State)
Hurley is a bit of a toss-up when it comes to coaches in the Pac-12. He hasn’t had some of the success that others have had regarding the Pac-12, having won zero regular season or tournament championships, but he has led Arizona State to the NCAA tournament a couple times during his tenure.
Tommy Lloyd (Arizona)
This pick is a risky one, but one that could make sense in a couple of months. Though Lloyd has never been the head coach of a program, he has been able to learn under Mark Few, one of the most successful college basketball coaches in recent years. As Lloyd takes on a disgruntled Arizona program, it isn’t crazy to think he could possibly turn them around and bring them back to how they were a couple seasons ago.