There’s no way around it – 2011-12 was a down year for Pac-12 men’s and women’s hoops. However, there certainly has been a pretty big upswing thus far in 2012-13 and our friends at the Daily Camera have taken notice: Pac-12 women’s hoops is making a case nationally, while a strong start has Pac-12 men’s hoops eyeing more NCAA bids. Both leagues sent two teams to the dance last year – I got a feeling that won’t be the same this time around.
Wednesday’s game of the night, by far, took place in El Paso, where UTEP edged Oregon in triple overtime. Damyean Dotson had 20 and Carlos Emory added 18 for Dana Altman’s crew as the Ducks fell to 9-2 on the season.
The game of the night tonight will be going down at the Galen Center, where USC will entertain UC Irvine in men’s basketball action. Remember, the Russell Turner-led Anteaters nearly knocked off UCLA earlier this season. Turner, by the way, is a former Stanford assistant coach, having coached in Palo Alto when Mike Montgomery was on The Farm.
Some pretty big news on The Farm football-wise: Head coach David Shaw agreed to a long-term extension with Stanford. As Ted Miller (or Uncle Ted to some) puts it, Stanford and Shaw is a good marriage.
Also some football news across the Bay, as Sonny Dykes officially announced that Andy Buh will be Cal’s defensive coordinator next year. He also said Cal practices will be open to the media and the fans - that’s called winning the press conference.
Hey, those ‘Cats are off to a pretty good start in men’s hoops, eh? But how good can they be this year? Like, maybe Final Four good? That’s certainly a possibility, says A.J. Bramlett – he sees title contenders in the current Arizona team. He knows what he’s talking about, too; he was a part of the 1996-97 squad that gave Arizona its lone national championship.
Well usually Devon Collier brings Oregon State a jolt of energy as the team’s sixth man, but he started last night for the first time this season and scored 12 points in the Beavers’ 69-53 win over the Howard Bison.
A nice story out of Tempe yesterday – former Arizona State rebounding machine Lester Neal earned his degree from the school 20 years after he last played for the Sun Devils. Neal led the Pac-10 in rebounding in the 1992-93 season, his last collegiately. Congrats, sir.
Larry Drew II has done a heck of a job as UCLA’s point guard in his first and only season in Westwood, so much so that Ben Howland has come out and said he blames himself for Larry Drew II only being a Bruin for one year.
And back to football – Cougar fans have named Washington State buck linebacker Travis Long the Coug of the Year on CougCenter. Guess my vote for Keidane McAlpine didn’t go far, but Long is certainly deserving. (I was just merely recognizing the success of women’s soccer this year, is all!)
And back to basketball – Last year, Terrence Ross was shredding defenses for Lorenzo Romar and the Washington Huskies. This year, Terrence Ross is adjusting to life in the NBA as a rookie with the Toronto Raptors. His offense is coming along, says Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey, who also raves about his defense. Here’s a football link from Montalke – watch defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox talk about Boise State’s defense. The Las Vegas Bowl is just a tad more than 48 hours away!
Congratulations are in order for Colorado women’s soccer player Hayley Hughes, as she was selected as a National Soccer Coaches Association of American 2012 Women’s University Division I Scholar All-West Region honorable mention (say that five times fast). In order to receive the honor, a player must be a junior or above in academic standing, hold a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 and start more than half of the team’s games or be a significant contributor. Hughes, a junior forward, started all 20 of the Buffs’ games, scored two goals on 27 shots and registered three assists for seven points on the season. She also has a cumulative GPA of 3.92. Yeah, I’d say she qualifies.
Bill Riley of the Deseret News and ESPN Sports Radio in Salt Lake City has a Christmas wish list for Utah football. What do you think?