This is the first half of my weekly update on the Pac-10. The second can be read here at RushtheCourt.
The Pac-10 still is searching for the first defining win of the year. The out of conference schedules have not helped any teams come tournament time.
Sure Stanford is 4-0, but the toughest team they have played is a 4-3 Colorado team who lost to Montana State. Arizona State is 7-1, but their best win is over a 6-1 Nebraska team, who had yet to play a team from a big conference when they came into Tempe.
One thing is for sure, the Pac-10 does not want to go back into Texas where Arizona lost 67-66 at Texas A&M and UCLA lost 68-64 at Texas. In fact, the only win against a Texas team this week was Washington’s victory over winless Texas Southern University.
The Pac-10/Big 12 series is not what Tom Hansen envisioned, the Pac-10 is 3-6 so far. Worth noting, Arizona is two baskets away from being 8-0.
Player of the week- James Harden
James Harden is on a tear. In both wins this week he averaged 21 points and 9.5 rebounds. Harden started off the first four games shooting two for 14 from downtown, but in the last four he is shooting an unbelievable 16-22 from three-point range.
He is not the only star in the Pac-10. Harden is one of three players averaging 20 points a game, shooting over 50 percent from the field and the three point line, and shooting over 80 percent from the foul line. The other two are Jerome Randle of California, and Chase Budinger of Arizona.
Randle with 20 points and four assists a game in a 2-1 week for California. He also hit the game winning three in their win over Utah.
Jordan Hill of Arizona, who averaged 22.5 points per game and 10.5 rebounds this week for the Wildcats in a split.
Freshman Garrett Sim of Oregon, who averaged 22 points and 4.5 rebounds in two games last week, including a season high 28 in a loss to Utah.
Team of the week- Arizona State
Arizona State has rebounded nicely from the Baylor loss. Arizona State was one of two from the Pac-10 who finished 2-0, with the other being Washington. Arizona State handled both Jackson State and Nebraska with ease at home. Harden and Rihards Kuksiks both had a good week for the Sun Devils.
Game of the week
Either of the games in Texas could be picked as game of the week. Both went down to the wire with great individual performances on both sides of the ball. I would have to pick the UCLA vs. Texas matchup just because of the skill on the court. Watching A.J Abrams and Darren Collison warranted the game of the week pick.
Best game of the upcoming week:
12/14 Gonzaga at Arizona – Can Arizona pull the huge upset here? Will Gonzaga win big in their second of back to back games against Pac-10 opponents? Budinger, Hill, Pargo, and Heytvelt promise to makes this an interesting game.