Pac-10 Weekly Notebook

    
January 23rd, 2007
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Player of the Week

The player of the week as announced by the Pac-10 is Nick Young of the USC Trojans. The junior combo-guard averaged 24 points and 5.5 rebounds in defeating both Arizona and Arizona St this week. Young led all scorers with 30 points in the upset win over previously eleventh-ranked Arizona, then followed that up with an 18 point performance in the Trojans’ win over Arizona St.

Power Rankings

#1 UCLA BRUINS
Record: Conference (6-1) Overall (17-1)

The Bruins hosted a pair of Arizona teams this week with the Sun Devils up first early in the week. The game reunited the Shipp brothers, Jerren Shipp a freshman guard at Arizona St. and sophomore forward Josh Shipp of the Bruins. The game was tight throughout as the defenses prevailed but after being down, the Bruins overtook the Sun Devils early in the second half and never looked back. The second game of the week pitted a traditional PAC-10 showdown between UCLA and Arizona. The Bruins used their combination of lethal speed on the perimeter to rip apart the zone defense of the Wildcats and take a double-digit lead. The Wildcats made a late run but the Bruins would hold them off just barely to preserve the win. Arron Afflalo finished with a game-high 20 points while Darren Collison had 14 points and 7 assists. The Bruins are third in the latest AP Poll.

The Bruins are on the road to face California then Stanford later this coming week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Jan 18 Arizona St. W 60-50
Sat, Jan 20 (17) Arizona W 73-69

#2 OREGON DUCKS
Record: Conference (6-1) Overall (18-1)

The Ducks looked to stay atop the standings with wins over Stanford and California this past week. In a foul-filled affair, the Ducks used a 30-of-37 free-throw shooting performance to stay a step ahead of the Cardinal and pull away with the win. Aaron Brooks finished with a game-high 19 points. Later in the week, the Ducks hosted California and found themselves in a shootout. The Bears jumped out to an early lead, but the Ducks rallied behind Aaron Brooks and his 22 points to come from behind and win the game. The Ducks move up slightly and sit at seventh in the latest AP Poll.

The Ducks travel to the state of Washington to face both Washington and Washington St. this coming week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Jan 18 Stanford W 66-59
Sat, Jan 20 California W 92-84

#3 ARIZONA WILDCATS
Record: Conference (4-4) Overall (13-5)

The Wildcats had already lost twice in conference play heading into the week, two more was almost unthinkable. But when the Wildcats played, then lost to USC earlier this week, suddenly the team’s first three-game losing streak in conference play since 1983-84 loomed large with UCLA up next. The Wildcats had no solution to USC’s Nick Young who torched them for 30 points. The Wildcats found more trouble when they went on the road again this time to face UCLA. The Bruins found the holes in the Wildcats zone defense and pulled ahead early. The Wildcats managed to make things interesting mostly due to the Bruins inability to make free-throws but came up short in the end. Ivan Radenovic finished with 21 points while Marcus Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Wildcats slipped further from the top ten and settle at seventeenth in the latest AP Poll.

The Wildcats host the Sun Devils of Arizona St before a huge Saturday primetime matchup against fourth-ranked North Carolina.

Game results this week:
Thu, Jan 18 at (25) USC L 73-80
Sat, Jan 20 at (3) UCLA L 69-73

#4 WASHINGTON ST COUGARS
Record: Conference (5-2) Overall (16-3)

In their lone game of the week, the Cougars took advantage of the Huskies who were without the services of Spencer Hawes to stay in the hunt for their first ever PAC-10 championship. The Cougars jumped out to an early lead in front of a sold-out home crowd and never looked back. The combination of the Cougars lockdown defense and a Husky team struggling to find its offensive game without one of its leading scorers led to the surprisingly easy win. The Cougars were bounced from the top 25 after losing to Stanford last week but regain a ranked position at twentieth this week in the latest AP Poll.

The Cougars host both Oregon teams, first against Oregon St. then against ninth-ranked Oregon.

Game results this week:
Sat, Jan 20 Washington W 75-47

#5 USC TROJANS
Record: Conference (5-2) Overall (15-5)

The Trojans have made a habit out of upsetting ranked teams and continued that trend this week. Earlier in the week, the Trojans hosted eleventh-ranked Arizona. The Trojans relied on their superstar Nick Young who lifted the Trojans through a dazzling display of basketball moves en route to 30 points on 13-for-19 shooting. Next up, the Trojans hosted the Arizona Sun Devils. The Trojans used their defense this time to stifle the Sun Devils holding them to just 36.5 percent shooting. Nick Young once again led all scorers with 18 points. The Trojans’ wishes to sneak into the top 25 came true debuting at 25 in the latest AP Poll.

The Trojans travel to face Stanford and California later on this week.

Games this week:
Thu, Jan 18 (17) Arizona W 80-73
Sat, Jan 20 Arizona St. W 58-49

#6 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
Record: Conference (4-3) Overall (12-7)

The Bears continued to dominate the Oregon St. Beavers with a narrow win earlier in the week. The game was closely played by both teams before the Bears broke open the game with out two minutes left in the second half. Freshman Ryan Anderson finished with 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bears in the win. In their second game of the week, the Bears faced the ninth-ranked Oregon Ducks. The Bears jumped out to a hot start but could not sustain the momentum eventually losing out. Theo Robertson led the Bears with 19 points in the loss.

A daunting matchup against third-ranked UCLA looms before facing USC later in the week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Jan 18 at Oregon St. W 77-74
Sat, Jan 20 at (7) Oregon L 84-92

#7 STANFORD CARDINAL
Record: Conference (4-3) Overall (12-5)

The Cardinal looked to topple seventh-ranked Oregon in their first game of the week in the state of Oregon. The Cardinal held the Ducks in check with their height advantage in the Lopez twins but ultimately got into foul trouble against the aggressive guard play of the Ducks. Lawrence Hill led all Cardinals with 13 points in the loss. The Cardinal went into Corvalis to face Oregon St. later in the week. This time, the Cardinal inside game was ineffective so they turned to outside shooting. Lawrence Hill finished with 24 points including five three-pointers to cruise to the win.

The Stanford host both USC and third-ranked UCLA this week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Jan 18 at (7) Oregon L 59-66
Sat, Jan 20 at Oregon St. W 67-56

#8 WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Record: Conference (1-6) Overall (11-7)

Facing a hostile crowd in Pullman, and without the services of Spencer Hawes, the Huskies felt very much the underdog in their only game of the week against state rival Washington St. The Huskies expectedly struggled on offense due to the absence of Hawes and the pressure defense of the Cougars. Quincy Pontdexter had 16 points in the loss. The Huskies slip further down the standings and have just one conference win so far and have now lost six of their last seven.

The Huskies host seventh-ranked Oregon then Oregon St later in the week.

Game results this week:
Sat, Jan 20 at (20) Washington St. L 47-75

#9 OREGON ST BEAVERS
Record: Conference (1-6) Overall (9-11)

The Beavers looked to reverse decade-long dominance by the California Bears and came oh so close. The Beavers were behind most of the game but behind several three-pointers by Marcel Jones they stayed close. Jones finished with a game-high 29 points in the loss. Jones continued his strong play into the Bears game against Stanford later in the week but once again came up short. Sasa Cuic did not play in the Stanford game after suffering a bruised elbow in the loss to the Cal Bears earlier in the week.

The Beavers head to the state of Washington to face Washington and Washington St. this upcoming week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Jan 18 California L 74-77
Sat, Jan 20 Stanford L 56-67

#10 ARIZONA ST SUN DEVILS
Record: Conference (0-8) Overall (6-13)

Still searching for their first conference win, the Sun Devils faced a daunting schedule with third-ranked UCLA up first early in the week. The Sun Devils played well early in the game taking the lead but managed only 13 points in the second and decisive half. Christian Polk finished with a team-high 16 points in the loss. Next up, the Sun Devils headed to Los Angeles to face the USC Trojans. The Sun Devils struggled to shoot the ball consistently and trailed for most of the game. Jeff Pendergraph finished with 13 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

The Sun Devils’ lone game of the week is against eleventh-ranked Arizona mid-week.

Game results this week:
Thu, Jan 18 at (3) UCLA L 50-60
Sat, Jan 20 at (25) USC L 49-58

Big Games Next Week

Sat, Jan 27 (25) USC at California 6:00 pm

The Trojans are looking to stay or move up and will need wins against California and Stanford this week to do so. The Bears meanwhile are trying to crack the top 25 with a win here. The Trojans are riding the hot play of Nick Young who has simply taken over several games this season. Surrounding Young, the Trojans are as talented as any starting five with the likes of Taj Gibson and Gabe Pruit who both can fill the basket with ease. The Bears play tough defense and will need a lot of stops if they want to slow down the Trojans attack. A slower game will favor California.

Sat, Jan 27 (4) North Carolina at (17) Arizona 1:00 pm

The Wildcats are mired in a three-game losing streak heading into the week and look for a big bounce back win to move themselves back into the Top Ten. North Carolina comes into town having put together a nice string of wins over Clemson and Georgia Tech last week. The Tar Heels started off the season relying on their offense but has reverted to a pressure defense to force turnovers and limit opponent field goal attempts in their recent wins. The Wildcats have struggled offensively in their three-game losing streak and will need to find its offensive rhythm against the Tar Heels.

Sat, Jan 27 (7) Oregon at (20) Washington St. 10:00 pm

Saturday in the PAC-10 features a matchup of two top twenty teams. The Ducks keep rising in the rankings while Washington St. has its eyes set on the Conference Championship. The Ducks are a little undersized but more than make up for their lack of size through superior perimeter shooting and aggressive guard play. The Cougars are aggressive on the ball defenders and make their opponents work every possession. The Ducks will need to get on a couple of big runs to stretch a lead to double-digits while the Cougars will look to keep the score tight and force turnovers down the stretch to steal one at home. The Cougars have an added advantage in that they’ve played extremely well at home so far. This should be a fantastic showdown.