Welcome to this week’s trip around the conference, with news and notes from blog colleagues and others.
1 .Jon Wilner handed out midseason basketball awards for Pac-12 men’s basketball. Many of his selections immediately took a sideways turn when UCLA lost its second game in a row over the weekend. Moreover, many of the conference’s middle-class- Utah, Colorado, Oregon, ASU- have cannibalized each other and might struggle to make the NCAA tournament in March.
2. On the football field, one of the Pac-12’s biggest challenges in 2023 will be figuring out how to defend Oregon State with a highly-talented QB. Likewise, the Pac-12 blogging community will face the challenge of learning how to spell Uiagalelei without checking the source material a dozen times. Building the Dam looks into what DJU could bring to this year’s Beavers and concludes that even his often criticized performance at Clemson would be a net positive in Corvallis. Over the last three years, I have always felt that DJU was too erratic and inconsistent with the level of talent he had around him. In an offense where he is more of the focal point, his big play ability might overshadow the occasional errant throw to an open receiver.
3. One of my favorite oddities involving a Pac-12 school is the Arizona State hockey program. In the middle of a literal desert, the Sun (Ice?) Devils have to travel to places like Bemidji, MN, Anchorage, AK, and Portsmouth, NH to fill out their schedule. ASU got a rare win over a Minnesota school over the weekend, beating St. Thomas (where my mom went to grad school!) 4-0.
4. UCLA basketball had high hopes coming into the year and looked like a national title contender at times. More recently, the offense has stagnated to a troubling degree. The Bruins lost their second straight with a 77-64 defeat to cross-town rival USC over the weekend. Veterans Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez should be the foundation of a potent attack, but they will need to right the ship very quickly to get anywhere near their own goals for the season.
5. The headlines in Boulder involve Coach Prime, but they already have a big turnaround on campus with the women’s basketball team. The Buffaloes beat #6 UCLA 73-70 in overtime on Saturday, which was the team’s second win over a top-10 opponent this year. Colorado is now 16-4 (7-2) and ranked in the top 25.
6. I don’t like Oregon, but I respect that they care about and cover track and field as a major sport. Addicted to Quack has updates on a multitude of personal records that the Ducks have set in recent meets. Speaking of track, I wonder if anyone in Eugene has noticed who is ranked number one in the nation.