Pac-10: What We Know

For the most part the non-conference slate is over and the Pac-10 season looms. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, but after a month and a half of hoops we are getting a pretty good idea of just how the league is shaping up.

ARIZONA 7-3
WHAT WE KNOW: The team is deep, but can't shoot, especially from the outside. There are questions at the point and the inside. Early season struggles have come against big time teams. Will be better two months from now than they are right now, but could take some lumps between now and then.
BEST PLAYER: Hassan Adams (19.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
RISING STAR: Marcus Williams, true frosh has made two starts, plays three positions and is averaging 8.1 ppg.
GOOD WINS: Kansas
GOOD LOSSES: UConn, Michigan State
BAD LOSSES: None

ARIZONA STATE 6-3
WHAT WE KNOW: ASU stormed out to four wins against mediocre competition and then had a respectable loss to a decent Minnesota team. All that was for naught after the Sun Devils inexplicably lost to a Utah Valley State team that has lost to Colgate, Maryland Eastern Shore and Idaho State. Despite a winning record, they still miss Ike Diogu and could have a long year.
BEST PLAYER: Bryson Kruger (15.0 ppg, .457 3PT%)
RISING STAR: Freshman Jeff Pendegraph is third on the team is scoring (9.1 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding and blocked shots.
GOOD WINS:none
GOOD LOSSES: at Iowa
BAD LOSSES: Utah Valley State

CALIFORNIA 6-3
WHAT WE KNOW: Cal is still a bit of a mystery. They have beaten up on lesser teams but were clobbered by an average Kansas squad and were upended in the season opener by Eastern Michigan. They are deep on the front line and Ayinde Ubaka has been a pleasant surprise. Not great at the wing after Dominic McGuire and Marquis Kately left the program. Let's be honest, Cal is as good as Leon Powe is. They have a lot of room to grow, but Powe is the key.
BEST PLAYER:Leon Powe (20.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg)
RISING STAR: Theo Robertson. Most figured that Kansas transfer Omar Wilkes would play dividends, but the freshman Robertson has done a nice job. The two have bolstered the wing spot, though neither is a star.
GOOD WINS: None
GOOD LOSSES: at Kansas, DePaul
BAD LOSSES: at Eastern Michigan

OREGON 6-5
WHAT WE KNOW: The Ducks are not bad, they just aren't real good. They beat the teams they need to beat but lost three straight to quality programs. A 12 point win over Pacific is a nice win, but they lost to Georgetown and Illinois by double figures, the Illini winning by 30. This is a team that could be good come March, but may have to make a run in the NIT because of early losses.
BEST PLAYER:Malik Hairston (15.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
RISING STAR: Ivan Johnson bolted from Cincy after Bob Huggins was fired and has been a key player inside for the Ducks. He's actually fourth on the team in scoring and one of their better rebounders.
GOOD WINS: None
GOOD LOSSES: at Vanderbilt, at New Mexico
BAD LOSSES: at Portland

OREGON STATE 6-4
WHAT WE KNOW: It's been a disappointing start for the Beavers. They lost a close game to Fresno State and upended UNLV but had inexplicable losses to Tennessee Tech and Portland (no not the Trailblazers). Nick DeWitz has been okay, but not put up the numbers he did last year. So far this is not a very good rebounding team and that will have to improve if they are to have any shot at righting the ship.
BEST PLAYER:Despite the slow star, Nick Dewitz is still the best player on the team. (11.0 ppg 5.4 rpg)
RISING STAR: We all thought Sasha Cuic had the potential to be pretty good and now he is leading the team in scoring and is third in rebounding.
GOOD WINS: Georgia
GOOD LOSSES: at Fresno State
BAD LOSSES: at Tennessee Tech, at Portland, Northwestern State

STANFORD 4-4
WHAT WE KNOW: Stanford has not lived up to preseason expectations. With Chris Hernandez and two other starters back, things looked bright, but so far the Cardinal have been mediocre. Other than Matt Haryasz, the inside game has been iffy and they've really missed Matt Lottich on the outside. They have some talent in place, but right now look like a middle of the road Pac-10 team at best.
BEST PLAYER:Matt Haryasz (19.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg)
RISING STAR: Taj Finger finally get some playing time and is making the most of it.
GOOD WINS: None
GOOD LOSSES: None
BAD LOSSES:UC Irvine, at Montana, at UC Davis

UCLA 10-1
WHAT WE KNOW: The Bruins are pretty good. Farmar is serving notice as not only one of the Conference's best PG's, but one of the nation's. The Bruins only loss is to a very talented Memphis team. They are better on the perimeter than they are inside, but they get enough quality minutes from the post to make them dangerous. They appear to be a clear top-three team in the Pac-10.
BEST PLAYER:Jordan Farmar (16.2 ppg, 6.6 apg)
RISING STAR: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Other young players may wind up being better in the end, but for now Moute is averaging 8.9 rebounds a game.
GOOD WINS: Temple, Nevada, at Michigan
GOOD LOSSES: Memphis
BAD LOSSES:None

USC 9-2
WHAT WE KNOW: The Trojans are one of the few Pac-10 teams to exceed expectations. They are 9-2, all while breaking in a new coach and a number of new players. They should come back down to earth once Conference play begins, but they appear to be heading the right direction under Tim Floyd.
BEST PLAYER:Gabriel Pruitt (15.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.4 apg)
RISING STAR: Nick Young was good last year, but this year he has become the team's best scorer. Ryan Francis has also been impressive in his first year.
GOOD WINS: North Carolina,
GOOD LOSSES: None
BAD LOSSES: Cal State Northridge, at Oral Roberts

Washington 10-0
WHAT WE KNOW: The road to the Pac-10 crown goes through Seattle. Heading into conference play the Huskies are the Pac-10's best team, but won't play a game away from Washington until mid-January. It will be interesting to see how they fare in a tough environment.
BEST PLAYER:Brandon Roy (16.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.0 apg)
RISING STAR: Jon Brockman has been as good as advertised. He's a double figure scorer and leads the team in rebounding.
GOOD WINS: Gonzaga
GOOD LOSSES: None
BAD LOSSES: None

Washington State 7-2
WHAT WE KNOW: The Cougars are faring well playing their slow down style. They haven't played a murderous schedule, but they have not loaded the schedule with patsies either.
BEST PLAYER:Derrick Low(10.1 ppg, 4.0 apg)
RISING STAR: Last year Josh Akognon and Kyle Weaver were decent contributors, this season they are third and fourth on the team in scoring.
GOOD WINS: Utah
GOOD LOSSES: Gonzaga
BAD LOSSES: None


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