Friday, January 26, 2007

West Coast Bias

If you're going to have a coming-out party, ya might as well make it a block party. Stanford freshman Brook Lopez set a school record by blocking 12 shots en route to his first career triple double (18 points, 11 rebounds). USC kept driving into the paint, and Stanford defenders kept swatting it away. When the final seconds had ticked off the clock in the Stanford 65-52 victory, the Cardinal had amassed a grand total of 19 blocked shots. The Trojans had 67 field goal attempts in all, so that translates into nearly 30% of SC's shots not ever making it to the rim. You'd think at some point, the Trojans would have learned that trying to score from the low block was a bad idea. But this is Southern Cal we're talking about, and learning isn't really that high on the priority list over there.

The depth of young players in the Pac-10 is astounding. One week, it looks like Spencer Hawes is the best freshman in the league. Then it's Chase Budinger who starts to dominate with his play. A few weeks later, Ryan Anderson puts a few good games together, and his name starts to get mentioned as a Freshman of the Year candidate. Now, the Lopez twins have announced their presence in the conference. You could put together a team of just the best freshmen in the Pac-10, and they would be a top 10 team in the country. I just hope they decide to stick around for a couple years.

The headline at Yahoo Sports reads, "Torrid Huskies Upset Ducks." Obviously, the headline writer doesn't also read the Yahoo odds page, or he would have known that by tipoff, Washington was a 4.5 point favorite in the game. (By the way, if you ever do encounter a torrid husky...well, you don't want him around if you're wearing short pants- if you know what I mean. A word of warning though: If he does lay into you, it's best to just let him finish.) Still it was a much-needed win for the Huskies, as any hopes they had for making the Big Dance (save for winning the Pac-10 tournament) would have been pretty much eliminated with a loss Thursday. As it is, Washington is 2-6 in the Pac-10 with 10 conference games remaining. They probably need to go 7-3 in those games to have a shot at an invitation. One of those games will be a visit to Eugene, Oregon for a rematch against the Ducks, where I'm sure the team will remember the "overrated" chant that came from the Huskies faithful tonight. That may have been a miscalculation on the part of HuskyFan.

UCLA now stands alone atop the Pac-10 after overcoming a slow start (boy, does that sound familiar) to beat Cal 62-46. Once Arron Afflalo began to heat up and the UCLA defense tightened up, Cal lost any hope they had for an upset bid. The Bruins now go to Palo Alto, which over the last decade, has been a nightmare game for UCLA. The Bruins will have to play 40 minutes of energetic basketball if they hope to escape Maples Pavilion with a win. I'm not so sure that they'll win, but I do feel pretty confidant that they won't get swatted 19 times. That's just the type of preparation you can expect from Ben Howland. Well that, and the Bruins don't have a single reliable scorer in the low block. Thank heaven for small favors.

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At Fri Jan 26, 11:29:00 PM PST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the future is just as bright for the Pac-10, with guys like Kevin Love and OJ Mayo entering the League... good coaches, good players, and this year the best conference in college basketball. The future is bright for the Pac-10.

At Wed Mar 12, 11:03:00 PM PDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats kinda weird that the girl wearing that hat is me and I have no clue how you got that photo!?!?! creepster

At Wed Mar 12, 11:14:00 PM PDT , Blogger insomniac said...

If I didn't take the picture (which, I didn't), then it's very likely that I found the pic on either Flickr or Photobucket.

If it really is you, send me an email at insomniacslounge [at] gmail [dot] com and I will gladly remove the photo.


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