March Madness Mathematics, Pt. 2: Pac-10 Conference
With tonight's huge UCLA vs. Washington game hours away, today's Math will focus on four Pac-10 squads. Again, not rankings—merely team profiles that condense each squad's play thus far.
UCLA Bruins 19-6 (8-4 Pac-10)
Key Win: Notre Dame (by 26)
Key Losses: @ Texas (by 4), Arizona St. (twice)
Player to Watch: Darren Collison (15 PPG, 5 APG)
Looking over the Bruins season thus far, I was quite unimpressed. They have lost to every top 25 team they have faced yet still manage to be ranked 15 in the coaches poll.
True, Collison is an experienced leader and this team has plenty of talent (Shipp, Aboya), but I don't like their chances to advance very far in the tournament. We should learn a lot from tonight's home game (where they are 13-1) vs. a very good Huskies squad.
Washington Huskies 19-6 (10-3 Pac-10)
Key Wins: UCLA (by 11), @ Arizona St. (by 13)
Key Loss: California (twice, one of which went to triple OT)
Big Games Remaining: Tonight @ UCLA, Arizona St. (Feb 26)
Player to Watch: Isaiah Thomas (17 PPG)
The Huskies are the kind of team that could surpise people in March. With 4 players averaging 11 PPG or more, a different guy can hurt you every night.
Thomas is straight up fun to watch. The 5 foot 8 freshman will look to go over 20 points for the 7th time this season tonight against a tough defender in Darren Collison.
California Golden Bears 19-6 (8-4 Pac-10) *Is every team in the conf. 19-6 ?!
Key Wins: Washington (twice), Arizona St. (by 10)
Key Loss: @ Missouri (by 27)
Big Games Remaining: UCLA (Feb 28), @ Arizona St. (March 7)
Player to Watch: Jerome Randle (18 PPG, 5 APG)
Chicago native Randle is sensational and stays on the court 35 minutes per game. He teams with Patrick Christopher (15 PPG) to give Cal a talented backcourt.
The Bears have a tough stretch of games to close out the season which will go a long way in determining their tournament seeding. Look for Cal to pull of a big upset on their way to the sweet 16.
Arizona Wildcats 18-8 (8-5 Pac-10)
Key Wins: Gonzaga (by 5), UCLA (by 12)
Key Losses: @ Stanford (by 16), @ UCLA (by 23)
Big Games Remaining: @ Arizona St. (Feb 22), @ Washington (Feb 28)
Player to Watch: Chase Budinger (18 PPG, 7 RPG)
The Wildcats have two really good players in Budinger and 6'10" F Jordan Hill (18 PPG, 11 RPG).
A three game losing streak in mid- January really set this team back. They immediately responded with a seven-game winning streak which they ride into Arizona State this Sunday. Should be a good one.
Stay tuned for the next edition. Ghostface!
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