Friday, February 16, 2007

PAC 10 is overrated

There I said it. I have been coming to terms with this for some time now. My preseason pick to win it all was Arizona. I am huge sucker for this team. They always have a great point guard, a prolithic shooter, and an NBA-ready forward. They might even have that now on their current team. But they don’t play defense. I am officially off the Arizona band wagon. To take it a step further, I am off the PAC 10 podium as well.

There have been a number of experts saying how good this conference is. I tended to agree with them, but have since changed my mind. The RPI standing for conferences are as follows:

PAC 10
Big Ten
Big East

I guess the key here is understanding the expectations. The RPI ratings are measuring wins, strength of schedule, and opponent’s strength of schedule, so in other words, how good are you now. What most fans want to know is who will make the final four, and ultimately cut down the nets. If this is the standard, then I will say the PAC 10 is in trouble. Are they going to have a team in the final four? I doubt it. Some will say UCLA has the best chance, but I don’t buy it. They made it to the finals last year, so they will have a big target on their back. Their defense will carry them a long way, but their frontcourt and poor free throw shooting will be their downfall. I say they have a cakewalk path to the sweet 16 but their journey ends there.

The next rung of teams, Washington State and USC, are very similar to UCLA, great defensive, good offense, not real big, but they have less pressure on them. Nobody is expecting them to make it to the sweet 16, much less the Final Four. For this reason, I like them, but getting to the sweet 16 would be a major accomplishment for both programs, and is likely the farthest either would go.

Then there is Stanford. I went to the game last night against Oregon State. The game was horrific. Nick Johnson, who is now a coach at Stanford, would have easily been the best player on the court if he simply took off his suit and put on a uniform. If OSU could shoot the ball, they would have won, easily. The Lopez twins are such dirty players. They are constantly scowling and throwing elbows in the air. Brook is very good. Robin did not score. Both are punks. Without Goods, they are left with one shooter and zero ball handlers. I will reserve judgment on them until Goods gets back, but wining one game in the tournament will be considered a very good year.

Oregon is fading fast. They have great guard play and may cause problems for some teams in the tournament, but a first round exit would not surprise me. In fact, I expect it. The same could be said for Arizona too, although I give them a slightly better chance to get out of the first round because their offense is so potent.

Washington is NIT bound, where they will host a first round game and lose badly.

Does this sound like a good conference? I don’t think so. A good conference will have two teams in the final four. The PAC 10 may not get two teams to the sweet 16.

Saturday games

MEMPHIS -4 @ Gonzaga
What a week for the Zags. Their leading scorer has been kicked off the team for shrooming and their home court winning streak was snapped by Santa Clara at 50. Local sources have confirmed that the entire team had to go through a drug test. This cute little program is now under a huge microscope. They now have to prove to the NCAA committee they can win without Heytvelt, which makes then desperate and dangerous. But, I still like the much bigger, athletic and more talented Memphis team to roll over the Zags.

UCLA +1.5 @ Arizona
Now that I turn on Arizona, they will prove me wrong? It is possible, but I doubt it.

OREGON +3 @ Stanford
Oregon will beat Stanford. As I stated above, Stanford is a horrible team without Goods at point. Mitch Johnson can not dribble the ball past the half court line without turning it over. Oregon has the guards to pressure Stanford and force a number of turnovers, as well as the people to hit the open outside shots. Lopez will score 20, Hill 25, Washington 5. That’s 50. Who else? Let’s give Taj Finger a point for his goofy effort.

MARQUETTE -3 vs. Louisville
This is the last time I take these guys, unless they cruise!


Blogger B. Anthony said...

good post.

4:46 PM  

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