#23 Cal 73, McNeese St 57: The Bears struggled to start the game, needing a buzzer beating three from Allen Crabbe to take a 28-26 halftime lead, and Monty felt his team was “not mentally prepared to compete,” but after the break the Bears handled their business. Ultimately, this was a trap game for the Bears and they treated it as such early. Crabbe and Gutierrez combined to score 46 points and Justin Cobbs dished 7 assists as the Bears’ offensive core continued to click. This team’s bread and butter will be their defense (unless they’re playing Mizzou) and they’ll need Crabbe and Gutierrez taking the bulk of the shots. Crabbe is still easing into his role as the main scoring option and will likely struggle against more athletic defenders (again, Mizzou). He’ll need to prove he can score against quickness for this team to be taken seriously again.
Colorado 70, Georgia 68: Yes! The Pac scored a win versus a BCS school. While Georgia may not be an SEC contender, they will play SEC schools and so kudos to you Colorado. Now, on to the important stuff, like Andre Roberson. He is really good. The sophomore went for 15 and 15 last night, his third double-double in five games. He’s beginning to get some national buzz which is great for the down conference. I’m intrigued that he’s getting being widely referenced as a guard. It may ultimately be his position courtesy some outlandish athleticism, but he would certainly appear to play a forward spot on this team. His skill set is still within the three point line but he’s demonstrated an improved shot in the early season. However you slice it, as his offensive game improves, so too will his draft stock.
Stanford 79, Pacific 37: Is Stanford the best team in the Pac-12? Hey, I know UOP is awful and Stanford simply did what they were supposed to do against an inferior team, but they’re the only team playing like they expect to be good right now. Dawkins is handling his three point guards tremendously and has defined roles well. The Cardinal locked down last night and have been a model of consistency in this young season. They run nine-ish deep and, based on their OOC schedule, could head into Pac-12 play as a one-loss squad – only NC State and Butler appear to be challenging games before conference play. Keep an eye on Chasson Randle, he’s the equalizer on this team, and has played terrific to date. Josh Owens has simply been Josh Owens.
UCLA 62, Pepperdine 39: Is UCLA back? No. The Waves are terrible – but beat a terrible-er ASU team in Tempe – but the Bruins finally notched a D-1 win. That’s a start. Beyond that, all the red flags previously raised on this team – attitude, offensive flow, effort – appear to remain and it doesn’t help that they had little to no fan support. Thirty-four (34, treinta y cuatro, 三十四) students came to the game last night. I know it’s far from campus and the Athletic Department appears to be falling apart and the team doesn’t seem to care much but, well, I guess things are pretty bad right now. That said, the Bruins did play improved defense which is the key to Howland’s teams’ success. The Bruins’ presumed strengths – malcontents Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith – played a combined 22 minutes, scoring 6 total points and grabbing 8 rebounds. While guard play is vital to this teams success, Lazeric Jones and Jerime Anderson can only max out at serviceable. If Nelson and Smith can’t figure it, the already long preseason will turn in to a miserably long season.