Pac-10 Weekly Notebook

    
December 27th, 2006

Player of the Week

Nick Young of the USC Trojans had the performance of the week leading the Trojans to an upset win over Wichita State in the consolation match of the Las Vegas Classic. Young scored a season-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Young also led the Trojans with 17 points in a win over Longwood earlier in the week.

Power Rankings

#1 UCLA BRUINS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (11-0)

Another slow start plagued the Bruins early in what was suppose to be a roll-over win against Sam Houston St. However, the Bruins overcame the bad start and the slow-tempo style of the Bearkats to pull away late in the second half. In their second game of the week, the Bruins completely dominated the Michigan Wolverines from start to finish in what was probably their best game of the season so far. The Bruins used their superior speed and quickness to create turnovers and get out and run. Josh Shipp had 18 points in both wins. The Bruins maintain their number-one ranking in the AP Poll.

The Bruins open conference play with a couple of tough games starting with upstart Washington St. then fourteenth ranked Washington.

Game results this week:
Tue, Dec 19 Sam Houston St. W 75-61
Sat, Dec 23 Michigan W 92-55

#2 ARIZONA WILDCATS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (9-1)

Heading into conference play, the Wildcats got their biggest test of the season so far hosting the Memphis Tigers last Wednesday. The Tigers came out aggressive in the first half and the Wildcats struggled to find their shooting stroke. However, the Wildcats would use a 22-8 run to open the second half and break the game open. After a highly inconsistent start to the season, senior point-guard Mustafa Shakur put together his best performance of the season so far finishing with 23 points, six rebounds, and 5 assists en route to being named the Chase Fiesta Bowl MVP. In other news, sophomore point-guard J.P. Prince announced he is leaving Arizona and will transfer to another school. Prince had stopped practicing with the team for weeks since losing the backup job to freshman Nic Wise. The Wildcats move to seventh in the latest AP Poll heading into this week.

The Wildcats host California and Stanford this week for their first conference games of the season.

Game results this week:
Wed, Dec 20 (18) Memphis W 79-71

#3 WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (10-1)

In a breakout performance that left LSU star forward Glen Davis shaking his head, freshman Spencer Hawes showed the nation what he could do giving the Huskies their biggest win of the season to date. Even better than the offensive exploits was the lockdown defense by the Huskies collapsing on the All-American Glen Davis every time he touched the ball. Later in the week, Head Coach Lorenzo Romar’s worst nightmare came true as the Huskies struggled out of the gate against Weber St. following their dominant win over LSU. Romar ripped into team after a timeout in the first half and the Huskies responded with a 14-0 run to get themselves back in the game and the eventual win. Hawes had a season-high 23 points in both wins. The Huskies move up to fourteenth in the latest AP Poll.

The Huskies open conference play against USC before a Sunday showdown against number-one ranked UCLA.

Game results this week:
Wed, Dec 20 (12) LSU W 88-72
Fri, Dec 22 Weber St. W 80-51

#4 OREGON DUCKS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (11-0)

Despite losing three starters to injury, the Ducks continued their stretch of wins to eleven to stay perfect with their latest win over Mercer earlier in the week. Aaron Brooks finished with a game-high 27 points while Bryce Taylor added 21. The Ducks were never threatened and led by as many as eleven in the first half. The Ducks are off to their best start in 60 years when they went 14-0 and are one of only four teams left in Division I that are unbeaten. The Ducks move up two spots and sit at twenty in the latest AP Poll.

The Ducks finish off their non-conference schedule hosting Portland before heading to Corvalis to face state rival Oregon St.

Thu, Dec 28 Portland 10:00 pm Buy Tickets * Audio
Sat, Dec 30 at Oregon St. 4:00 pm

Game results this week:
Sat, Dec 23 Mercer W 84-64

#5 WASHINGTON ST COUGARS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (11-1)

The Cougars used a second-half charge to surge past San Diego St. in their only game of the week. Kyle Weaver scored all 16 of his points in the decisive second half. The Cougars clamped down on defense in the second half forcing bad shots and turnovers including a stretch of ten minutes where the Aztecs did not score. Aztecs star guard Brandon Heath finished with 20 points but went 17 minutes without scoring in the second half.

The Cougars get their biggest test of the season as they head on the road to face number-one ranked UCLA and USC later in the week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Dec 21 San Diego St. W 64-54

#6 USC TROJANS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (10-3)

The Trojans used their shutdown defense to easily defeat Longwood early in the week. Later in the week they headed on the road to participate in the four-team Las Vegas Classic tournament. The Trojans faced Kansas St. in the first round. Although they managed to hold the Wildcats to under 40 percent shooting, untimely turnovers in the second half proved to be the Trojans undoing. In the consolation match, the Trojans bounced back to upset the previously eighth-ranked Wichita St. Shockers again using a suffocating defense. Nick Young had a season-high 26 points in the win over the Shockers. The Trojans currently lead the nation in field-goal percentage defense.

A tough week ahead awaits the Trojans as they host fourteenth-ranked Washington and Washington St. later this coming week.

Games this week:
Tue, Dec 19 Longwood W 83-53
Fri, Dec 22 Kansas St. L 55-68
Sat, Dec 23 (8) Wichita St. W 60-56

#7 STANFORD CARDINAL
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (7-2)

The Cardinal held a narrow lead through most of the game against Fresno St. until the final few minutes where it came down to two decisive free-throws made by Lawrence Hill to seal the win, Hill finished with 17 points in leading the Cardinal. The freshman Lopez twins finished with 10 points apiece in their Fresno homecoming and the Cardinal win.

The Cardinal can look forward to a tough road swing through Arizona facing the Sun Devils then the Wildcats this week.

Game results this week:
Tue, Dec 19 at Fresno St. W 69-67

#8 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (8-4)

After a ten day layoff, the Bears were understandably sluggish to start but found their groove late in the first half and pulled away with an easy win against Furman early in the week. Freshman Ryan Anderson continues to shine finishing with 23 points and seven rebounds. Later in the week, the Bears came out hard against Depaul to open the game, but could not stop the Blue Demons in the second half. The Bears allowed the Blue Demons to shoot a blistering 70 percent in the second half while the Bears could themselves only manage 26 percent shooting. Anderson led the Bears again with 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Like the Cardinal, the Bears head on the road through Arizona facing the Wildcats then the Sun Devils this week.

Game results this week:
Tue, Dec 19 Furman W 84-50
Sat, Dec 23 at DePaul L 62-90

#9 OREGON ST BEAVERS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (8-5)

The Beavers got a couple of wins heading into conference play over Howard and Mercer earlier last week. The Beavers never trailed in a rout over Howard and topped 90 points in the win over Mercer, their highest offensive output in two seasons. Sasa Cuic and Marcel Jones had good games while freshman Josh Tarver looked solid as well.

The Beavers are host to state rival and twentieth-ranked Oregon this coming Saturday.

Game results this week:
Tue, Dec 19 Howard W 84-67
Thu, Dec 21 Mercer W 93-62

#10 ARIZONA ST SUN DEVILS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (6-5)

The Sun Devils got back on the winning side following a two-game losing streak from last week with a defensively dominant performance over Colgate to start the week. The Sun Devils served as hosts for the Arizona State Classic later in the week where the Sun Devils won their first round matchup against N.C. A&T before dropping a close one to Davidson in the championship game. Jeff Pendergraph averaged a double-double in points and rebounds through the week.

Conference play begins with the Stanford Cardinal then the Cal Bears on Saturday night.

Game results this week:
Tue, Dec 19 Colgate W 52-36
Thu, Dec 21 N.C. A&T W 71-66
Fri, Dec 22 Davidson L 70-75

Big Games Next Week

Thu, Dec 28 Washington St. at (1) UCLA 10:30 pm

One of the top defenses in the nation heads to face one of the top offenses in the nation. The Cougars need to use up clock on offense and force a slow half-court tempo if they want to have any chance to win this one. The Bruins will look to run, but if the tempo is a slow grind it out half-court game, they will use an inside-outside by dominating on the low-block then kicking it out for open looks on the perimeter when the defense collapses.

Sat, Dec 30 Washington St. at USC 6:00 pm

With the top four teams in the PAC-10 pretty well set, the battle for the fifth best in the conference and a possible tourney bid in March could come down to these two PAC-10 teams. Both the Cougars and Trojans are defensively focused which leaves the execution on offense as the key to victory. The X-factor is Nick Young of USC who is the best player on either team and is a legitimate take-over threat.

Sun, Dec 31 (14) Washington at (1) UCLA 5:00 pm

A huge PAC-10 matchup that could determine the top team in the conference sees top-ranked UCLA hosting fourteenth-ranked Washington. The Huskies have a ton of young talent in Pontdexter and Hawes but their youth and inexperience can get them in trouble at times, especially when the pressure is on. The Bruins have the edge in big game experience and will try to take advantage of their speed by forcing turnovers and bad shots and turning them into easy baskets.