Awhile back we examined how the relevant (read: not ASU, USC, or Utah) Pac-12 teams paralleled the Oscar Nominees for Best Picture. Last night, The Artist, won the award.
This was the film that I felt most closely paralleled the Oregon State Beavers and so we can now conclude that A) these analogies were not based on odds of winning, and B) in revisiting that post, Brad’s rant on War Horse was nothing short of remarkable. However, with things still highly questionable regarding the POY race, could The Artist’s Jean Dujardin’s claiming of the Best Actor award be foreboding for Jared Cunningham?
The weekend of yawnable must-wins turned into something of an edge-of-your-seater as teams began realizing that this thing is really coming down to the wire. That, or the teams out of the race were pissed off enough to finally do something about their abysmal seasons. Your pick, there were some doozies.
Leader in the Clubhouse: Washington stands alone in first place so this one’s undebatable. They overcame a 13-point defect in the second half of their road Apple Cup victory and some questionable coach from Ken Bone, but – and this has been a theme of late – they won. That’s all that matters this time of year, just ask Cal. The Huskies have themselves poised to win the school’s twentieth regular season crown – their second since 1985 – but not without some work to do. The leaders head to Los Angeles to tackle a UCLA team that – while closing a mess of a season – had the Huskies all but beat until Terrence Ross took over the final few minutes. And this time it’ll be on the ever challenging road, a place Romar etc. have historically struggled to win the big ones.
Game of the Weekend: There were some tight ball games this weekend. Saturday and Sunday’s games had an average margin of victory of four points. Tightballgamesindeed. Good stuff for a whole bunch of games with little surface intrigue but heavy tournament and title implications. In our Preview, we said the GotW would be Colorado and California in a title tilt; a huge game for the Buffs in which they could “catapult themselves into contention for a conference title.” Well, that game was indeed huge for the Buffs and they came out guns blazing and won big. But, as they say, “when you assume you make and ass out of ‘u’ and ‘me'” so we must also revisit the fact that I wrote, “Assuming Colorado beats Stanford tonight.” An ass I am. Getting back to what was arguably the best game of the weekend from an entertainment standpoint, I’m giving that nod to the oldest rivalry in college sports: The Civil War. In a must wins for the Ducks, Garret Sim scored a career high 25 points as Oregon won on the road by just one. Oregon State used a late rally to cut the Duck lead to three when they had the ball and 9 ticks remaining. They got a good look at a three that resulted in a tip-dunk and subsequent one-point loss. My favorite for POY, DeVoe Joseph, added sixteen points and is averaging 17.1 points per conference game (Jorge: 13.3 ppCg, Ross: 15.3 ppCg, Wroten: 16.7 ppCg).
The Big Loser: Easy. The Stanford Cardinal lost to the Utah Utes of 260 RPI, 301 KenPom, and 296 Sagarin-lore. The worst team amongst the BCS conferences beat Stanford. Doesn’t matter to me that they handled Colorado. You don’t lose to teams that are that bad. You just cannot. I’m struggling with words, to make an analogy so I give you this:
What We Learned: The teams with a chance to dance are getting drum tight. As I said previously, UW needed to overcome a 13-point defect, Cal got straight up beat, Arizona and Oregon won despite doing everything they could to do otherwise, and Colorado was rolled at home. Loosen up fellas! You’ll play better. So let’s take a look at what’s left to go for each of the “contenders,” or teams with a fighting chance of finishing in the top-4.
- Washington, 13-3: The Huskies will travel to LA and have already guaranteed themselves a top-4 finish. Assuming (yeah, I said it again!) they beat USC, they’re guaranteed a top-2 finish. In short, UW is sitting pretty with a great opportunity to be champs. Right??
- California, 13-4: What happened in Boulder? Anyhow, it happened and Cal likely cost themselves a conference title. Now they’ll head south to close in The Big Game at Stanford. And who knows what’s going on in with that Dawkins squad? But this is about Monty’s veteran-ish squad with dwindling careers in a rivalry game. I like Cal’s chances, but at this point it’s to finish in second. They do hold the tie-breaker over Washington, however.
- Arizona, 12-5: One to play and it’s in Tempe against the lowly Sun Devils. A win and the Wildcats are guaranteed a fourth-place-or-better finish and, in all likelihood, are dancing. If that doesn’t scream “trap game” I don’t know what does.
- Oregon/Colorado, 11-5: I’ve lumped these two together because they’ll have the opportunity to control their respective fates head-to-head Thursday night (SPOILER: I will be calling this the Week 10 GotW). Last time these two faced off, it came down to the wire as Nate Tomlinson won it with a free throw in the final seconds. Will Oregon get sweet revenge? Or will the Buffs get that coveted first (big) road victory in the nick of time? Then of course there’s still the Saturday games. No asses here.
Early Week YouTuber: As the season is quickly coming to a close, we always wonder what it would be like if just a few things were different. What if just one more shot had fallen for Arizona against Colorado, Oregon, or Washington? What if Cal doesn’t drop the ball against OSU and WSU? Or Colorado closes out Cal in Berkeley? These events didn’t happen and this isn’t what a bar scene usually looks like. But what if?