Pac-10 Basketball: Weak

Jaime IrvineCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2009

After I get done writing this piece and hit the publish button, I will be heading for the out of town, maybe Vegas? Ok, you are right Mom, I come up with any excuse to go to Vegas.

Not only do I live in the heart of Pac-10 country (Los Angeles), but most of my brothers went to Pac-10 schools and my Dad and Uncle both played at Pac-10 schools (to be accurate, since they are so old, Pac-8 schools or was it Pac-6…). 90% of the time I defend the Pac-10, but I have to admit the conference stinks this year.

So how weak is the Pac-10?

Their RPI conference ranking is fifth behind all of the other major powerhouse conferences except the SEC (ACC, Big 10, Big East, Big 12). Yes, not too disgraceful as they are ahead of the SEC, but nothing to cheer about.

Plus, I do not like the RPI rankings, and with all the troubles of BCS rankings for college football, I do not put too much authority on these statistics. Therefore, let’s look at how the Pac-10 has played out against the other conferences this year—paltry at best.

Any big wins?

Checking out their triumphs for the year against non-conference opponents, I could only come up with five wins, and I would not necessarily classify them as “big wins.” Pac-10 schools have beaten the following: Oklahoma St., UNLV, Georgia Tech, Gonzaga, Kansas.

If you take a look at the current top 25 poll, only Gonzaga cracks the polls. What is interesting  is that the school who beat Gonzaga and Kansas, the Pac-10’s two best wins, was the University of Arizona, who so far has stunk it up in conference play–except for a nice win last evening.

Now, let’s take a look at the some of the bigger Pac-10’s losses: Portland, Baylor, Missouri, Florida State, Michigan, Seton Hall, Howard, Nevada, Yale, Montana State, and Oakland.  Granted, one team, Oregon State, lost to Nevada, Yale, Montana State and Howard. I would throw them out of this equation but they have gone on to win three games in the Pac-10 this year.

A team who lost to Yale and Howard is actually somewhat competing in the Pac-10!?!? What about these other losses? Oakland? They aren’t even in California but Michigan!

The leaders of the Pac-10 are none other than the Huskies of Washington and UCLA. Technically, UW should be solely in first if it was not for the zebras, yet if you compare them  to some Huskie teams of the past (let’s say Nate Rob and Roy’s teams), is there a comparison? How about recent UCLA teams? Arizona? Oregon? WSU? Stanford? Not even close.

In defense of the Pac-10, they did lose Russell Westbrook, the Lopez twins, Ryan Anderson, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, and others to the NBA this year. The conference was due for a down year, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. What is probably the most disappointing aspect of the conference, is the weak non-conference schedule everybody put together.

Not counting the Big-12/Pac-10 challenge, most Pac-10 teams went out and scheduled nobody. Trust me, check the schedules.

Ok, time to fire up the private learjet and head out to Vegas. Craps or Black Jack?