November 14, 2011 by awbutler
Arizona: This team continues to make no secret of the fact that they’re learning, have yet to develop a PG (Josiah Turner was benched) and have little-to-no interior presence. That said, they’re 3-0, played their best half of basketball Sunday (44-25 in the 2nd half), and have the heart-and-soul of their program back. Yes, Kevin Parrom made his emotional return to the McKale Center and provided not only a spark but quality play. In 18 minutes he went for 6 points, 4 boards, and 2 assists. With Parrom back, Arizona should begin to look a lot less shaky.
Arizona State: Like others, ASU looked like a team that was learning, committing 22 turnovers en route to a sloppy win over Montana State. Trent Lockett played well (17 & 10) which is a good sign for the Sun Devils because they simply don’t have much by way of talent. They’re going to need him to keep that up. Good sign: ASU outrebounded the Bobcats, a critical stat that the Sun Devils failed at all last season.
Colorado: They beat the linkless wonders (no link on ESPN.com) and had a very encouraging performance from Andre Roberson. The motor of all motors, Roberson is going to need to score for this team to win more than expected. That said, there will be no questions about his rebounding. In 28 minutes he grabbed 15 boards and added a clean 13 points – 4-of-9 shooting including one three-pointer. Next step: put up numbers against a team that gets ESPN-love.
Utah: DNP but tipoff tonight against USD. Prediction: lots and lots of learning. Brand new for Utah this season is the coach, thirteen players, and the conference. Not a recipe for success (disaster rather).
USC: The Trojans received solid performances from their two key players – Maurice Jones and Aaron Fuller – in skating past Cal State Northridge.Here’s a problem though: USC missed every single three point shot they took. As in zero-for-fifteen. Dewayne Dedmon contributed 16 points as well. This Trojans team is going to be very interesting if for no other reason than Kevin O’Neil. The dude manages to keep teams above water if nothing else.
UCLA: Without getting too prescriptive one game into the season, Ben Howland needs to figure this stuff out. Josh Smith has made no improvements to his conditioning, Lazeric Jones is taking eleven shots and missing ten, the vaunted front-court grabs just four more boards than LMU, and the Bruins score just 58 points at home against an LMU team missing their best player. This doesn’t bode well for the season outlook but like I said, it’s just game one, UCLA should just get the panic button out of the drawer.
Stanford: The Cardinal played better than their football counterparts and handily beat Central Arkansas. With injured potential breakout star, Dwight Powell, in street clothes five Cardinal(s) scored in double figures, led by Aaron Bright. Prized freshman, Chasson Randle, debuted with 15-6-4. Additionally, he went to the free-throw line nine times, a sign the Cardinal may have found a scoring threat to replace the departed Jeremy Green.
California: The most impressive team to-date. Cal quickly improved to 2-0 and the most impressive part, and what has everyone calling Cal a legitimate squad, each player knows and fills their role (thus far). Allen Crabbe is taking (and making) the bulk of the shots, Jorge Gutierrez is distributing and leading, Harper Kamp is solidifying a developing interior, and the role players are being role players. Not too much. Not too little. A relatively standard Monty team. The early and building hoopla is likely deserved.
Oregon: A lot has been said about this team being a possible upset machine. They had a good showing against a highly touted Vanderbilt team; who promptly turned around and lost to Cleveland State at home. This doesn’t reflect too poorly upon the Ducks but it doesn’t help them. The good news: they shot the ball well, Tony Woods debuted strong (Jabari Brown did OK), and the two-headed point guard of Sim and Loyd played solid (combined: 7-11-12). The Ducks have a lot of new faces and it may take some time for that sleeper label to become reality.
Washington: Like Arizona, let’s just say that the Huskies are 2-0. They haven’t looked good doing it but wins are wins, right? Terrence Ross has struggled some (33% shooting) and the turnover bug may haunt them some, too (29 through two games). But, there are some bright spots: Aziz N’Diaye is rebounding and blocking shots (20 boards, 8 blocks through two games) and Abdul Gaddy is playing well. CJ Wilcox has also been a solid contributor. It appears Romar may be running a short bench with only seven players reaching double figures in minutes in either game. This team will improve when Scott Suggs returns.
Washington State: Tonight is their big night, taking on Gonzaga, in Spokane. They’ll be kicking off ESPN’s Marathon of college hoops coverage. Watch for an improved Reggie Moore. He and Faisal Aden are vital to the Cougars’ success and each is a gametime decision for this game (groin, concussion).