The gap between the first and last place teams in the Pac-10 standings jumped from three to four last night-- as the struggling Ducks and Beavers both lost, while Stanford won and California forged ahead atop the standings with a big win against Washington.
It's still anyone's conference for the taking, but it's looking more and more like it's either going to be Cal, Arizona, or Arizona State who finishes the conference schedule atop the pack. But who knows what will happen in the Pac-10 tournament.
Eight Pac-10 teams were in action last night, with USC and UCLA resting up for their Sunday night rivalry game.
Here's what went down:
California tops Washington behind 33 from Randle (Cal 93, UW 81)
In the repeat of a matchup that went all Washington's way in the first meeting, Jerome Randle led Cal past the Huskies in Berkeley with a 33 point performance. He out-dueled UW's Isaiah Thomas, who finished with 25 points, and that was enough for a convincing 93-81 win. Jamal Boykin added another 20 for Cal.
From our friends over at the Golden Blogs:
I don't know who's going to win the Pac-10 this year, but it ain't gonna be Washington.
Is it premature to sound the death knell for the Huskies? Perhaps. But Washington, still winless on the road this season, are now two games back of Cal with just six to play, and with likelihood of Cal dropping more than two games down the stretch while UW runs the table (they have four more games on the road, BTW) just seems slimmer and slimmer. Moreover, the best teams left on Cal's schedule are the Arizona schools, who besides a trip to Haas both have a very favorable stretch run. So even if Cal does stumble, the Huskies still need both Arizona schools to lose another game or two each. Realistically, if Washington is going to win the Pac-10, Husky fans better are going to have to do something distasteful and root hard for Oregon -- the Ducks visit ASU this Saturday, and host Cal next weekend.
Stanford Beats Washington State to get out of Last Place (Stanford 60, WSU 58)
In the Pac-10 this season, a four game losing streak means you're going to topple down the conference standings, and that's exactly what Washington State had done over the past two weeks. They had lost four straight games to the Arizona and Los Angeles schools, but are now on the way back up after a two point win at Washington State. In the game, Stanford rallied all the way back from an 18-point deficit and Jeremy Green hit the game winner with 4.6 seconds left-- he scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half. If the Cardinal really looking to make a statement, they can do it against their next opponent: Washington, who they play at home. And they haven't lost a home Pac-10 game yet.
Unsung Hero - FSN and/or the untimely death of the internet video feed, for ensuring the second half would never reach our eyes.
It was over when... The game was over.
Stat of the Game - Not a stat, but - did you know some people are getting clinically depressed that the real world isn't as visually stunning as the made-up world in Avatar? This makes me feel better about being temporarily upset/enraged over a frustrating basketball game.
Arizona tops Oregon by 13 (UA 70, UO 53)
Arizona rebounded from getting swept against the Washington schools last week by doing exactly what they needed to do: defeat the Ducks. Derrick Williams led the Wildcats with 20 points, and he was able to score 11 of those points during the first three and a half minutes of the second half. The Bears turned a 10 point halftime lead into a 17 point margin by the time those three and a half minutes had elapsed, and put it in cruise control the rest of the way. The Cats are now in a tie for second place in the standings with ASU.
Addicted to Quack weighs in:
The men's bricklaying team put forth another embarrassing shooting performance, connecting on a whopping 39% in a 70-59 loss to the Wildcats in Tucson. The game wasn't as close as the 11 point margin would have you believe. The description of events are unsurprising given how the season has gone: lots of bad shots, lots of turnovers, and horrible defense resulting in several UA dunks and layups. The Duck were so non-aggressive that they failed to attempt a free throw. I'm really at a loss for words at this point in the season. We just suck.
Oregon State misses 43 shots in loss to Arizona State (ASU 56, OSU 46)
You can read my recap from last night if you want more on this game, but the stat that keeps re-hashing in my mind is the fact that the Beavers missed 43 shots, and only lost by ten. In any given game you're going to miss a few buckets, but Oregon State missed an inordinate amount for how many they took. OSU handled the ball the best the have all year in terms of turnovers, which got them 12 more field goal attempts than their opponents. In most games, that right there is enough to win, if the law of percentages plays out. But it didn't. The Beavers shot 25 percent from the field (and the AtQ guys thought 39-percent was bad!) and lost by ten. Like I said last night, losing by ten means you were five possessions worse than your opponent. If the Beavers could have just been six possessions better, we're talking about a win this morning.
There's no doubt that this is going to be a pivotal weekend for many teams in the conference. If Cal can finish off Washington State to sweep their home stand, they will assert themselves as the top dog in conference. However, Arizona State has Oregon on Saturday, and could be knocking on Cal's door if the Bears slip up against Rochestie and the Cougars. The Wildcats, with a win on Saturday against the Beavers, are also right up there with the Bears.
Pacific-10 Conference Standings
(updated 2.11.2010 at 11:29 PM PST)
Long story short, if the Beavers want to make a move, they need to do it right this instant. But will that actually happen? Probably not. Like RVM said last night:
This team as given us that oh so close, but yet so far look all season. One of those seasons that still has some potential left and keeps me excited just enough, but at the same time I am looking forward to this roller coaster ride to be over and move on to next year.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)