The Seattle Times. Winner of Eight Pulitzer Prizes.


Fri, Apr 18, 2014

WEATHER | TRAFFIC

VIEW SECTIONS

Home


Updated Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 11:31 PM

Pac-12 men's basketball scouting reports

By Bud Withers
Seattle Times staff reporter

Teams listed in predicted order of finish:

1. Arizona (12-0)

Coach: Sean Miller (fourth year at Arizona), 81-35.

Top scorer: G Mark Lyons (13.4).

Resume: Includes two one-point wins over ranked teams in Florida (13th) and San Diego State (19th).

Telling stat: With an infusion of freshman talent up front, Wildcats have a 10.1 rebound margin.

Revelation: Xavier transfer Lyons hardly a surprise, but his toughness and don't-back-down demeanor have added a dimension.

Shortfall: Lyons isn't a true point guard, and UA's perimeter defense is a lingering concern.

Bottom line: The youthful frontcourt should keep getting better, and the league looks like the Wildcats' to win.

2. UCLA (10-3)

Coach: Ben Howland (10th year), 218-100.

Top scorer: G Shabazz Muhammad (19.6).

Resume: Bruins have a head-scratching loss to Cal Poly, but last week, a big victory over Missouri.

Telling stat: North Carolina transfer G Larry Drew II has a shockingly good 5.09-1 assist-turnover ratio.

Revelation: Muhammad and fellow frosh Jordan Adams combine to average 37.3 points a game.

Shortfall: Bruins were thinned by departures of big man Josh Smith and guard Tyler Lamb.

Bottom line: Ceiling looks high for the Bruins, if they improve a field-goal defensive percentage of .419, 11th in the Pac-12.

3. Oregon (11-2)

Coach: Dana Altman (third year), 56-30.

Top scorer: G Damyean Dotson (11.1).

Resume: Win at UNLV has cachet; only losses are to 14th-ranked Cincinnati and in 3 OTs at UTEP.

Telling stat: Led by Iranian Arsalan Kazemi, a transfer from Rice averaging 10 rebounds, Ducks have a 10.6 margin on the boards.

Revelation: Dotson and point guard Dominic Artis, both freshmen, are both averaging double-figures points.

Shortfall: Oregon commits 16.4 turnovers a game, worst in the league.

Bottom line: With solid work early, and Altman's coaching, Ducks look pointed for the NCAA tournament.

4. Colorado (10-2)

Coach: Tad Boyle (third year), 58-28.

Top scorer: G Askia Booker (14.8)

Resume: Creditable body of work includes wins over Dayton, Baylor and Colorado State, giving CU stunning No. 5 RPI ranking.

Telling stat: Springy F Andre Roberson averages 12.1 in both points and rebounds.

Revelation: Freshman C Josh Scott (6-10) is the third-leading scorer (13.2).

Shortfall: Buffs have a perplexing 0.71 team assist-turnover ratio.

Bottom line: Boyle's team, which stormed through the Pac-12 tournament last March, looks capable of return trip to the NCAAs.

5. California (8-4)

Coach: Mike Montgomery (96-51).

Top scorer: G Allen Crabbe (16.9).

Resume: 6-0 start has melted with four losses in six games. Near-miss against UNLV and gut-shot loss to Harvard are big.

Telling stat: Bears have 30 turnovers more than opponents.

Revelation: 6-3 frosh G Tyrone Wallace, a recent starter, has brought energy, defense and rebounding.

Shortfall: Post offense is a problem, as bigs Richard Solomon and David Kravish combine to shoot only .452.

Bottom line: Bears have serious limitations, starting inside. Unless they get more down low, the NIT may be the upside.

6. Stanford (9-4)

Coach: Johnny Dawkins (fifth year), 84-63.

Top scorer: F Dwight Powell (14.5).

Resume: Losses are to high-quality foes and sneaky-good Belmont. But the 2012 NIT champions have no notable wins.

Telling stat: Gs Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright, who combined to shoot .436 overall and .381 on threes last year, are a combined .361 and .228 by comparison.

Revelation: F Josh Huestis averages 9.3 points and 8.9 rebounds, four more of each than last season.

Shortfall: Swingman Anthony Brown, a 27-game starter last year, is out for the year with a hip injury.

Bottom line: Given last year's late rush, the start is a disappointment. A program that went to 13 of the previous 14 NCAAs has yet to make it under Dawkins.

7. Washington (8-5)

Coach: Lorenzo Romar (11th year), 227-118.

Top scorer: G C.J. Wilcox (18.5).

Resume: Defeat of Saint Louis looking better all the time, but home losses to Albany, Colorado State and Nevada are damaging.

Telling stat: Huskies allow a Pac-12-worst .423 FG shooting.

Revelation: F Desmond Simmons has five double-figures rebounding games.

Shortfall: Normally a strong rebounding team, UW has only a plus-2.8 margin, 10th in the league.

Bottom line: Still appreciable talent, but the season looks like a challenge, given spotty point-guard play and lack of inside punch.

8. USC (5-8)

Coach: Kevin O'Neill (fifth year), 46-63.

Top scorer: F Eric Wise (11.4).

Resume: Trojans have struggled against the most ambitious schedule in the league, but just beat solid Dayton team.

Telling stat: USC shoots only .416, 11th in Pac-12.

Revelation: Omar Oraby, 7-2 Egyptian center who transferred from Rice, averages 8 ppg and 4.2 rebounds in 15 minutes.

Shortfall: G J.T. Terrell, who played at Peninsula JC last season, is in a huge slump, shooting .292 with only eight assists in 324 minutes.

Bottom line: Battle-tested Trojans should improve as new parts meld with players returning from injury-devastated 2011-12 season.

9. Oregon State (10-3)

Coach: Craig Robinson (fifth year), 74-74.

Top scorer: G Roberto Nelson (15.8).

Resume: Losses are to Alabama, Kansas and a home killer to Towson State, with nothing impressive on the other side.

Telling stat: In the early reckoning, Beavers have a sickly 205 RPI.

Revelation: F Eric Moreland averages 11.2 rebounds.

Shortfall: Big man Angus Brandt tore up a knee in November and will miss the season.

Bottom line: A certain stasis seems to envelop Robinson's Beavers, who haven't been to the NCAA tournament since 1990. A first-division finish would be an upset.

10. Washington State (9-4)

Coach: Ken Bone (fourth year), 66-50.

Top scorer: F Brock Motum (19.7).

Resume: No wins of real consequence, but losses to Pepperdine, Texas A&M and Gonzaga are by a combined five points.

Telling stat: WSU has concealed some shortcomings with .373 FG defense, second-best in the league.

Revelation: Freshman F Junior Longrus (6-7) is a hustling banger with rebounding and shot-blocking capability.

Shortfall: When Bone booted senior G Reggie Moore, it left a depth-shy team and caused senior G Mike Ladd to assume primary ball-handling chores.

Bottom line: Motum is one of the league's premier players, but WSU must develop complements. Cougars loom tough at home, but road wins may be sparse.

11. Arizona State (12-2)

Coach: Herb Sendek (seventh year), 110-98.

Top scorer: G Jahii Carson (17.7).

Resume: Sun Devils beat a decent Arkansas team by 15 but lost in double digits to DePaul and 16th-ranked Creighton.

Telling stat: Carson would be the first NCAA freshman to average 17 ppg and five assists since 1997.

Revelation: Sun Devils have transitioned from mostly zone team to entirely man-to-man and are playing faster.

Shortfall: Bo Barnes, local product who transferred from Hawaii, where he set a freshman mark for threes made, has played little.

Bottom line: Carson has been a difference-maker for a team whose roster is still shy of Pac-12 talent.

12. Utah (8-6)

Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (second year), 14-30.

Top scorer: G Jarred DuBois (13.5).

Resume: Utes have beaten mostly cream puffs, but trounced a good Boise State team and lost a one-possession game to BYU.

Telling stat: FG defense of .352 tops the conference.

Revelation: Local product Jordan Loveridge, 6-6 freshman, adds 13 ppg and team-leading 7.6 rebounds.

Shortfall: Utes haven't forced more than 14 turnovers by any opponent.

Bottom line: Utes will be much better than 6-25 outfit of last year, but it could be hard to make significant push upward in standings.

Note: The Sun Devils opened league play Wednesday night with an OT win over Utah.



Arizona guard Mark Lyons has toughness.





Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA is force on offense.




SECTIONS

Top News arrow

Latest News arrow

Local arrow

Nation & World arrow

Business & Technology arrow

Editorial & Opinion arrow

Sports arrow

Entertainment arrow

Living arrow

Travel & Outdoors arrow

Obituaries arrow


CLASSIFIEDS

Jobs arrow

Autos arrow

Homes & Rentals arrow

More Classifieds arrow