The second day of Pac-12 hoops was chalk. The day following the near advancement of the 12, 11, and 10 seeds we saw – pretty definitively – the 1, 2, 3, and 4 seeds move to the semis. I suppose that makes sense. The bad teams got beat by the good teams and one of the really good teams brought a whole lotta friends.
#1 Arizona vs. #8 California
You don’t have to believe me but I thought Cal played about as well as they could. They unfortunately still lost by 22. I’m not being facetious. They limited Arizona to just 5 offensive rebounds and never let things get comfortable for the Wildcats. They even tried fighting on a few occasions. But when push came to shove (pun) Arizona brought what they bring to most games: Defense, timely scoring, and fans:
A Stat: -84. That’s the result of 245 minus 161 which are the deciding numbers when finding the scoring margin of Arizona versus Cal this season.
And another stat: 2. It’s a small number and it’s the number of layups Stanley Johnson made. Overall he made 8 total baskets so 6 of them were not near the rim. When Johnson is making jump shots the Wildcats are really hard to beat. Like extremely.
Observed: A near fight! This resulted in double technicals and effectively ended Brandon Ashley’s Thursday (15 and 7). The emotions of March run high. Oh, saw this, too:
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) March 12, 2015
Up Next: The team Arizona is 1-5 against since the re-established conference tournament (that’s UCLA).
#4 UCLA vs. #12 USC
Andy Enfield had mentioned that UCLA was amongst the teams (including Arizona and Utah) that could really bully USC inside. So then Isaac Hamilton happened. This thing got out of control fast with 18 in the first half for Hamilton who rained threes to the point that he was chuckling as more and more points were credited to his name. At least the Trojans weren’t wearing those shorts. As a follow up to their big Wednesdays, Elijah Stewart and Julian Jacobs combined for just 16 points. But the real thing to note here is that Kevon Looney left the game mid-way through the first half with a “facial injury.” His prognosis for tomorrow is still unclear but he’s obviously a critical piece for matching up with Arizona.
A Stat: 36. Which isn’t the 40 that I wanted but it’s a lot of points and if Isaac Hamilton is getting buckets at that rate – well who really prepares for that?
And another stat: 96. Total points by the Bruins, their second highest total of the year (107 vs. Nicholls State was tops).
Up Next: Arizona-UCLA for the third consecutive season and there are no two ways about it: UCLA owns this tournament series. They’ve beat Arizona in each of the last two trips to Vegas and by the way, full credit to, UCLA.
#2 Oregon vs. #10 Colorado
For parts of this game – and I mean significant parts – Colorado looked the team we thought they’d be. The problem, however, was that this team doesn’t execute. Or at least they can, they had one task and that was to get the ball to Josh Scott and they did. But then they couldn’t adjust. Oregon did. They began doubling Scott and for a moment the Buffs found ways around that. Dom Collier hit a couple treys and into the half things were tight. But Joseph Young flashed is POY trophy, finished the game with 30, and Tad had this to say:
As promised, here is the full Tad Boyle quote on what went wrong in defending Pac-12 player-of-the-year, Joe Young. pic.twitter.com/dr1hLnrOqp
— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) March 13, 2015
A Stat: 81%. That was Oregon’s shooting percentage in the second half of this game.
And another stat: 1.10 ppp. That’s what Colorado’s defense was doing over its final twelve games (4-8). On this night, Oregon scored 1.25ppp
Observed: Really the thing to note here was Joseph Young’s second half. That was something to behold. The POY, COY and how Oregon would respond to expectaions was something I was keeping a close eye on.
Up Next: *See below in the final ‘up next’
#3 Utah vs. #6 Stanford
With 15 minutes remaining I tweeted that we needed to buckle in for this game. That it was going to be a tough one. The score was 45-44, Utes. Seven minutes later Johnny Dawkins called a timeout because the score was now 67-49:
A Stat: 4. Three pointers made by Delon Wright, matching his season high.
And another stat: 12. Total number of threes barraged by the Utes on what became a hapless Stanford defense. It was the second highest total of threes by the Utes this season.
Observed: I still think Delon Wright was the Pac-12’s player of the year. Sure that’s an odd thing to WRIGHT immediately after saying Joe Young carried his team in the second half on remarkable shooting and scoring 30 points. But it’s not as if Wright was any slouch during the Utes’ hard fought quarters win. He matched his season high in threes (4) and did his classic a lot bit of everything (20/7/5). Anyhow, votes happened. Both teams played hard.
Up Next: Well why don’t they play for it?! Let’s say they meet at the MGM grand at 830pm and square off in a Pac-12 semi-final. Or, better yet, let’s just call it a Pac-12 semifinal, forget the whole POY thing and play some March basketball.