Had the President addressed the State of the Pac-12 (SOTP) I think he would have had a difficult time explaining it. Particularly to a democratic nation. After all, the Pac-12 right now resembles an oligarchy. Anyhow, that’ll do for the politics speak unless you want to watch COTUS react to FOTUS and LeBron. Anyhow, this is the last weekend of the first half and we’ll finish it in February which is four weeks away from March and :). Yeah, an emoji. Gameday is following me to Boulder and, to my Colorado readers and my Washington readers, good luck.
GotW: There are some good ones on the slate. I think Arizona has one of its toughest tests at Cal on Saturday (#ImGoing) and I think the Rocky Mountain Riot – or the Snow Fight, or the Ski Skirmish, or the Mountain Melee, or the Rocky Rumble – is huge (Saturday 11am PST)! Utah hasn’t won on the road and really needs to pick one up because the “awww! they played really tough” dialogue is fulfilling for only so long. At a certain point they’re going to have to fill the win column before they’re forced to think they suck (they don’t). Meanwhile, the Buffs need a win to convince themselves they’re capable of doing such without Spencer Dinwiddie. But that’s not even the GotW! I’m picking UCLA @ Oregon (Thursday 6pm PST) as the GotW because UCLA is the real deal and Oregon used to be. This is a great opportunity for the Ducks to get their mojo back – I mean their real mojo – because Illinois is now just slightly worse than Georgetown who’s just slightly worse than Mississippi. Let’s call it “How Dana got his grove back?”
Game to Avoid: I understand the expansion of the schedule to Wednesday-Sunday; but maybe, just maybe, we avoid Superbowl Sunday? This year, tipping off pre-noon and right about the time we’re exploring prop bets about seeing Bruno Mars’ exposed-yet-not nipple, UCLA will be tipping off against Oregon State. The interesting thing, however, is this is probably a very watchable game. UCLA on the road is anything but a sure thing and Oregon State is enigmatic and a possible Sunday spoiler. Furthermore, I know you’re going to be in front of a TV. Therefore, this game very well may be un-avoidable. Instead I’m going to say that you should avoid USC at Oregon State because it’s at the same time on Thursday (6pm PST) as UCLA at Oregon and that’s some must watch right thurrrrr (aforementioned GotW).
Something to Prove: Last week the Oregon Ducks had something to prove and split their trip to Washington. I don’t entirely know if that’s necessarily proving anything but it did end the losing streak. They remain in the conversation of dancing teams with a top-50 KenPom and RPI. But now’s their chance to actually prove something. The UCLA Bruins – in the aforementioned PacHoops GotW – will pay a visit to The Matt as the highest rated team (21st in KP) the Ducks will have played since last March. Whoa! Things aren’t dead for the Ducks – not by any means – but at 2-5 with no wins at home Dana’s boys are going to have start taking care of business at some point. How Dana got his grove back!
Something to Lose: I’m split here. On the one hand we have the Arizona State Sun Devils. This is a team that dropped their first conference game to UW at home then seemed to fall off the radar. Since then they’ve dropped games – on the road! – to Arizona and UCLA, aka the conference elite. In some regard, that’s excusable. But the Herbivores are in the Bay Area this weekend and that can be one of the toughest road trips going. They get swept and we’re looking at a sub-.500 conference team. It might be split-or-go-home time. Then there’s my other team with something to lose. The Arizona schools are tough and pose a great threat to most any squad. Thus, the California Golden Bears are faced with tough home task. The expectation is obviously to win – or at least a split since they’re playing #1 – but the formula that USC used to whoop Cal is a familiar one to ASU. Pe’Shon Howard (12/6/10) at the point and Nikola Jovanovic (23/2) as a scoring big could resemble something of a Carson/Bachynski combo. Precedent set.
The YouTuber: I hope this is happening right now as you read this: