Conference of Huskies

Pac 12 Player of the Week

Matisse Thybulle, Washington State

Matisse ThybulleMatisse ThybulleThe 6’6 senior had two dominant defensive performances in each of the Huskies last two games. Thybulle had an exceptional all-around game in a winning effort against Utah Wednesday. He had 10 points shooting 2-3 from deep range to go with his seven boards and a ridiculous six steals as well as four blocked shots. Thybulle simply had his way guarding anyone on Utah and set the tone for his team on both ends of the floor, especially with the defensive intensity.

Somehow, in Washington State’s next matchup, Thybulle topped his defensive performance he had against Utah. This time it was in a home win against Colorado Saturday. In just 25 minutes of play, the athletic senior had 17 points on 7-13 shooting and 2-4 from downtown. He absolutely shut down the offense of the Buffaloes recording six steals and five blocked shots. Those numbers speak for themselves. McKinley Wright IV, who is usually the catalyst for Colorado was held to just four points in 35 minutes of play. The way this young man can produce on both ends of the floor should definitely attract the attention of NBA scouts in needs of a “3 and D” player.

Who’s Hot


Arizona State

After defeating Kansas earlier in the season but suffering a few bad losses along the way, this Sun Devil team finds itself second place in the Pac-12 conference with a week left in February. Arizona State has won its last two matchups and although back on February 16th, the first of those two consecutive wins was a pivotal one against Utah. Zylan Cheatham and Rob Edwards were the main catalysts for the Sun Devils combing for 52 points. The Sun Devils also were able to hold the Utes to just 34 percent from beyond the arc.

Arizona State’s most recent win came Wednesday over Stanford 80-62. Again, the Sun Devils were incredibly disciplined on defense by Coach Bobby Hurley and the result was the Cardinals shooting a poor 2-21 from 3-point range in the game. If this Arizona State team can continue clicking heading into March, especially on the defensive end, maybe it can still make a tournament run.

Who’s Not


Cal

The Golden Bears are now up to 15 consecutive losses and are 0-14 in the Pac-12. Any type of win for this team whatsoever moving forward would be a huge turnaround but it still has not happened for this team in conference play. While having some talented players, this Cal team still lacks outside shooting as well as a consistent rebounder who has a presence down low. Justice Sueing is a strong player on both ends of the floor for the Golden Bears but it hasn’t been enough to award this team a victory in conference play. Does that mean this team can’t upset someone in the Pac-12 tournament? The answer is anything can happen come March and this team can easily upset just about any team in the Pac-12 as six of the 14 conference losses were decided by single digits, one of them being by only three points to a stronger Stanford team. Perhaps Friday’s matchup could see Cal upsetting Arizona State.

Top 5 Questions in the Pac-12 Heading Into March


1. Will the Washington Huskies prove they are the best team in the Pac-12 tournament?

The Huskies have proved they can beat anybody in the entire Pac-12 and have been particularly impressive throughout February. The Utah Utes visited Washington Wednesday and were handled by the Husky defense and held to only 45 points. The Huskies played really strong as a team and took very good care of the basketball turning the ball over only nine times to Utah’s 18. Washington also had five players score in double figures. The trend was similar as the Huskies made it very hard for Colorado to run its offense Saturday and McKinley Wright IV was held to only four points. If this team continues to lock up om defense and multiple players can score in double figures when their number is called, they can beat anybody in the conference.

2. Which of the teams with a weaker record could surprise the rest of the Pac-12?

USC

The Trojans may have endured a few tough losses in conference play as of late but that doesn’t mean this team plays tough and smart. Big man Nick Rakocevic has shown out this season and has shown he is capable of leading a team to a big win with numbers in the neighborhood of 25 and 10. When he is clicking with the shooters on the rest of the team, the Trojans can be dangerous. This season, USC has beaten Arizona State, Cal twice, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, WSU, and Oregon. None of those teams as well as the rest of them in the Pac-12 should take this team lightly.

3. Will UCLA put its experience together with its young talent and impress?

The Bruins had a huge 68-67 win against an Oregon State team that has some talented, versatile scorers in its lineup. This UCLA team depends on the production of sophomore guard Kris Wilkes as well as its freshman big man Moses Brown who has been a great protector of the rim this season. Jaylen Hands is also huge for this team averaging 13 points per contest as well as six assists. UCLA defeated Oregon Saturday 90-83 with electrifying performances from both Hands and Wilkes. Wilkes scored 20 points on 50 percent shooting and Hands scored 27 points to go with nine assists on 8-15 shooting. The Bruins have the firepower on both offense and defense to make some noise this March.

4. Can Tres Tinkle lead the Oregon State Beavers to the tournament?

Currently tied for second in the Pac-12, the Beavers have a chance to be the best team in the Pac-12 this year. A huge amount of the credit should go to forward Tres Tinkle who is averaging just under 20 points per game along with eight rebounds and four assists. In Saturday’s win over USC, Tinkle did not have the best shooting night going just 4-15 from the floor but helped his team in multiple other ways. The 6’8 junior still pulled down 13 rebounds as well as record seven assists and two steals. The supporting cast stepped up as well in the win including Kylor Kelley, Ethan Thompson, and Stephen Thompson Jr.

5. Are the Utah Utes for real?

Washington is out in first place in the Pac-12 and then it is Oregon State tied with Arizona State. After that the Utah Utes find themselves in an interesting spot as this team has shown it can win big games but it has also slipped some games that perhaps should have been wins. With a 9-6 conference record, this team does warrant some attention. One thing that is true is that players of all walks do not like to go play in Utah. Another thing is that the Utes are solid on the road compared to some teams and three out of its last four wins have came on the road. Most recently, the Utes won a big game Saturday on the road against a talented Washington State team 92-79. Sedrick Barefield scored 33 points in the win, showing he’s capable of a scoring explosion that can stop a team dead in its tracks. Sophomore Donnie Tillman also had an exceptional game recording a double double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks on 4-7 shooting from downtown.