Player of the Week
Benedict Mathurin (Arizona)
Mathurin has been tearing it up this entire season and this week was no different, leading the Wildcats to three inner conference wins by double digits. Monday’s game saw Arizona beat the Sun Devils 91-79, where Azuolas Tubelis and Mathurin both lit up the stat sheet. While playing the most minutes on the team, Mathurin scored 18 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. He followed this up with a 20 point, 5 rebound and 4 assist game against Washington State on Thursday. He once again led the Wildcats in minutes with 34. He capped off this wonderful week with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in a 24-point win against Terrell Brown Jr. and the Washington Huskies. Arizona is solidifying themselves as a force to be reckoned with and Mathurin is starting to look like he will be the first Pac-12 player to be taken in this upcoming NBA draft. Top 10 is the likely draft position for this highflying sophomore.
Azuolas Tubelis (Arizona)
Benedict Mathurin wasn’t the only productive Wildcat this week. Tubelis played his role perfectly to help Arizona in their slate of games. Against Arizona State, Tubelis had a double-double, dropping 19 points and 11 rebounds. His paint presence was felt by the Sun Devils, as he led both teams in rebounding and kept any other player on Arizona State from grabbing more than 4. He then continued with a solid game against the Huskies, where he scored 15 points and hauled in 5 rebounds. Players Christian Koloko and Dalen Terry took over the rebounding for this game, giving Tubelis a little break. In the final game of the week for Arizona, Tubelis tore it up. He dropped another double-double, this time scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to go along with 4 assists. Tubelis has been a perfect Robin to Mathurin so far this season and will certainly be an x factor come March.
Drew Peterson (USC)
With Isaiah Mobley out this week for the Trojans, many were skeptical about how they would perform. Surprisingly, they went 2-0 and beat conference rival UCLA. These wins can mainly be attributed to Drew Peterson. In a win against the Pacific Tigers, Peterson scored 12 points but passed the ball beautifully, accumulating 8 dimes and grabbing 3 rebounds. He was the second leading scorer for USC and put in the most minutes, playing 34 on the night. Peterson would go on to explode in a 3-point victory over UCLA, scoring 27 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and passing for 4 assists. In addition, he played 38 minutes in this game, 5 more than the next closest on the team. Peterson really stepped up this week and showed that when needed, the Trojans can depend on him.
When evaluating the Bruins games over the past couple weeks, it’s hard to find optimism in anything they’ve done. Not only have they lost and barely beat inferior competition, they haven’t been able to win any big games. A 1-1 week for UCLA has many people labeling them as “frauds” for when tournament time comes. Tuesday saw the Bruins beat Stanford by a score of 79-70. This game saw all of their star players play fairly well, which is kind of scary considering they only beat Stanford by nine points with all of their stars showing out. They followed this win up with a loss to a USC squad without their breadwinner in Isaiah Mobley. It’s clear to many that their iso-heavy style of play simply isn’t getting it done like last year and some massive changes will have to come soon if they want any chance at a national championship.
Jacob Young (Oregon)
The Ducks currently sit at 16-8 on the season which isn’t awful considering how they started. As of late, Oregon has looked to scrape up any wins they can to salvage what has, overall, been a disappointing season for the team. This was a 1-1 week for the Ducks, beating Stanford and losing to California by double digits. Jacob Young, who has been solid for them all year, failed to produce this week and didn’t help the team as much as he would’ve liked to. Against Stanford, the senior guard played 33 minutes and had a stat line of 9 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound. Though they won, these stats are all certainly under his averages for the year thus far. In the following loss to California, Young played another 33 minutes and only scored 2 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and had 4 assists. This loss was quite embarrassing, snapping a four-game losing streak and diminishing any confidence the Ducks had in themselves as they progressed through the season. Young will certainly look to bounce back after what can only be deemed a disappointing week for the senior.
Top 5 Most Disappointing Teams in the Pac-12
1. Oregon State Beavers
After what was a Cinderella year for the Beavers in 2020-2021, they have been nothing but abysmal this season. They currently sit at 3-19 and show absolutely no signs of improvement for the upcoming weeks. Though they have a top 10 scorer in Jarod Lucas for the Pac-12, they rank in the bottom half of nearly every team statistic amongst the conference. They have no doubt been the most disappointing team in the Pac-12 this year.
2. Utah Utes
The expectations for Utah weren’t that high coming into the season but they were certainly expected to do better than they currently are. The Utes are 9-16 on the year and 2-13 in conference play. What’s so disappointing about this team is the start they had. They were 8-4 before loss after loss and since have only won one game. It’s tough to watch a team crumble after a pretty good start to the season.
3. Arizona State Sun Devils
In complete honesty, the Sun Devils were projected to be where they are at now. They’re 8-15 with not a lot of promising things to come for the program for the remainder of the season. One thing that makes them so disappointing has to be their home record and conference record. They are currently 4-9 in conference play and 5-6 at home this season. When a team loses more than it wins at their home arena, that’s when the red flags really start popping up.
4. Washington Huskies
The main disappointing thing about the Huskies is their inability to help Terrell Brown Jr.. The senior guard has put the team on his back, leading the Pac-12 in points per game and overall having a monster season. Washington is 13-10 and pretty much every win is because of Brown Jr.. If the Huskies gave him any sort of help, people would certainly be inclined to think they’d be a much better team.
5. Oregon Ducks
The Ducks haven’t had a terrible season by any stretch of the imagination. They’re 16-8 overall and are 9-4 in conference play, solid records in both categories. The reason they’re on this list is because they were projected to be much better. Coming into this season, they were projected to be a NCAA tournament lock and make a run in March but from the looks of it, they’re fighting for a spot to even be in the tournament. So, while their season hasn’t been awful, there certainly is some disappointment there.