Pac-10 Weekly Notebook

    
December 19th, 2006

Player of the Week

Bryce Taylor of the Oregon Ducks was named Player of the week after strong performances in leading the Ducks to wins over Bethune-Cookman, Eastern Washington and Idaho St. The junior guard averaged 19.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists through the three wins.

Power Rankings

#1 UCLA BRUINS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (9-0)

As players prepared for final exams this week the Bruins soundly defeated Oakland in their only game of the week. The Bruins shot over 50 percent from the field and used an 18-0 run to gain a sizable lead before putting the pedal off the gas and cruise to the easy win. Josh Shipp, Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo all finished in double-digit scoring while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute finished with 12 rebounds. The Bruins sit atop the AP Poll for the third straight week.

With conference games looming, the Bruins look to finish strong against Sam Houston St. and 12-1 Michigan this coming week.

Game results this week:
Sat, Dec 16 Oakland W 74-53

#2 ARIZONA WILDCATS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (8-1)

The defensively improved Wildcats displayed their prowess by routing former rival Houston earlier this week. In the last six games, the Wildcats have allowed an average of just 63.3 points. All five starters finished in double-digits in points with Mustafa Shakur leading the way with 17 adding eight assists and six rebounds. The Wildcats have now won eight straight since dropping the season opener and move up one spot to number nine in the latest AP Poll.

The lone game on the schedule for the Wildcats this week is against John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers who are currently ranked nineteenth.

Game results this week:
Sun, Dec 17 Houston W 87-62

#3 WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (8-1)

After a 20-point drubbing at the hands of Gonzaga last week, the Huskies responded with a dominating performance against Portland St. this week. The Huskies forced the Vikings to shoot a dismal 36 percent from the field while forcing 19 turnovers in the win. The surprise of the season so far for the Huskies is the outstanding play of freshman Quincy Pondexter who turned in yet another great performance with 16 points and is currently the team’s leading scorer. Justin Dentmon led the Huskies on the night with 18 points. The Huskies remain seventeenth in the latest AP Poll.

The Huskies prepare for twelfth-ranked LSU on Wednesday before facing 6-5 Weber St. later in the week.

Game results this week:
Sat, Dec 16 Portland St. W 105-73

#4 OREGON DUCKS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (10-0)

After a tune-up win over Bethune-Cookman early in the week, the Ducks faced the much heralded Rodney Stuckey of Eastern Washington. As it turns out they didn’t need much defense as Stuckey left the game early in the first half with back spasms and never re-entered the game. The Ducks took advantage scoring at will and topping the 100 point plateau for the second time this season. To top off the week, the Ducks made quick work of Idaho St. in their most lopsided win of the season. Bryce Taylor led the Ducks in two of the wins to give the team its best start in over a decade. The Ducks dropped one spot to twenty-three in the latest AP Poll.

The Ducks face 5-4 Mercer of the Atlantic Sun Conference this coming Saturday.

Game results this week:
Mon, Dec 11 Bethune-Cookman W 92-64
Fri, Dec 15 Eastern Wash. W 100-74
Sun, Dec 17 Idaho St. W 84-55

#5 WASHINGTON ST COUGARS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (10-1)

A light schedule for the Cougars saw them edge Cal State Northridge to reach double-digit wins this season. Derrick Low was the high scorer at 17 while Ivory Clark chipped in 14 off the bench. The Cougars limited one of the higher scoring teams in the NCAA to just 50 points while committing a season low 13 turnovers. The Cougars are off to their best start since the 1991-1992 season when they won their first 12 games.

The next big test of the season comes against 10-2 San Diego St. later in the week.

Game results this week:
Sat, Dec 16 CSU Northridge W 69-50

#6 STANFORD CARDINAL
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (6-2)

The Cardinal started their game against Santa Clara shooting an abysmal 1-for-13 and went nearly seven minutes between their first two scores. They could not recover and ended up losing the game by 16. The Lopez twins managed to keep the score respectable in the second half.

Early this week, the Cardinal face Fresno State.

Game results this week:
Sat, Dec 16 Santa Clara L 46-62

#7 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (7-3)

The Bears were idle this week and face Furman early this coming week as they prepare for conference play starting the week of Christmas.

Game results this week:
None

#8 USC TROJANS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (8-2)

The Trojans completely dominated the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in their most lopsided win since 1955. Four Trojans finished in double-figures in points. Their next game against Charleston Southern proved to be much more of a fight but the Trojans prevailed. Freshman Taj Gibson finished with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds in the win. After missing the first nine games to due academic ineligibility, All-Pac-10 guard Gabe Pruitt is expected to play against Kansas St. on Dec 22.

The Trojans face host Longwood and Bob Huggins’ Kansas St. team this coming week.

Games this week:
Thu, Dec 14 Bethune-Cookman W 88-36
Sun, Dec 17 Charleston S. W 70-58

#9 ARIZONA ST SUN DEVILS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (4-4)

The Sun Devils dropped their only game of the week against Xavier. The Sun Devils nearly matched the Musketeers basket for basket but their youth caught up with them late in the game as the Musketeers opened the game up and pulled away for good. Freshman guard Christian Polk, the Sun Devils' leading scorer with 17.7 points per game, was held to a season-low four points on 1-of-10 shooting.

The Sun Devils host Colgate and NC A&T later this coming week.

Game results this week:
Sat, Dec 16 at Xavier L 58-76

#10 OREGON ST BEAVERS
Record: Conference (0-0) Overall (6-5)

The Beavers beat Div II opponent Western Oregon but could never quite put them away. The pesky Wolves stayed in the game until late in the second half. Then later, twelfth-ranked LSU came to Corvalis looking for a rout but found a tough Beavers team that gave the Tigers all they could handle before bowing out late in the game. Josh Tarver was the Trojans high scorer with 13 in the loss.

The Beavers host Howard and Mercer this week.

Game results this week:
Mon, Dec 11 Western Oregon W 71-58
Sun, Dec 17 (12) LSU L 60-53

Big Games Next Week

Wed, Dec 20 (19) Memphis at (9) Arizona

The Wildcats get another big test before conference play begins next week when they host nineteenth-ranked Memphis. Key will be how the Wildcats will handle the pressure defense of the Tigers, a Calipari staple. Meanwhile, Arizona looks to keep its string of outstanding defensive performances alive.

Wed, Dec 20 (12) LSU at (17) Washington

The LSU Tigers may have underestimated the Oregon St. Beavers last week, but expect “Big Baby” Glen Davis and Co. to come out hard against Washington this week. The Huskies bounced back nicely against Portland St. last week and matchup well inside against the Tigers. The experience factor will be key as the Huskies have not played well against ranked opponents so far this season.

Thu, Dec 21 San Diego St at Washington St

A couple of unranked but rapidly rising teams face each other later this week. After a very good three win week, the Washington St. Cougars host 10-2 San Diego St. Both teams look to advance their cause come March and a key win here could give either team a much needed boost when it matters the most.

Sat, Dec 23 Michigan at (1) UCLA

The Michigan Wolverines have started the season red hot going 10-1 in non-conference play so far this season. Although most will point out that none of those ten wins have come against ranked opponents and the one loss was to unranked NC State. That said, the Bruins are heavily favored to win this home game as they prepare for conference play starting the following week.