Home court advantage? It hasn’t meant all that much through the first two weekends of Pac-12 Conference play.
Although Stanford took advantage of a favorable early schedule to post the only 3-0 mark within the Pac-12, and Oregon and even Cal held serve by winning its first two conference home games over the weekend, the jumbled results that have marked the league so far haven’t necessarily favored the home court.
Colorado lost at home last week to Oregon State, which in turn lost at home to Arizona State. A week earlier, Washington lost at home against UCLA, only to turn around and rout USC, which had just posted a road win at Washington State. And then the Trojans traveled across town to post their first win at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in four years.
“You better be ready every time you step out,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I know that’s a cliché in league play, but it’s the truth. I think it’s playing out to be the truth. Stanford is playing extremely well. I watched some of the Cal-Washington State game. Both those teams were playing hard. I know they weren’t picked at the top, but they’re going to be well-coached, hard-playing teams. Arizona State handled Oregon State on their home floor. Home court advantage obviously doesn’t mean a whole lot up to this point.”
In this week’s AP Top 25, the CU Buffs and Oregon are the league’s only ranked teams, with the Ducks moving up one spot to No. 8 and CU jumping five spots to No. 20. Arizona, which had been ranked No. 24, dropped out after losing Sunday night at Oregon State.
With none of the one-game rivalry matchups on the docket this week, the third week of Pac-12 play will be the busiest yet. While Utah and CU visit the Arizona schools, the northern California schools visit the southern California schools and the Oregon teams visit the Washington teams.
Washington already was suspect in the back court but grew even more so last week, when Kentucky transfer Quade Green was ruled academically ineligible for the remainder of the regular season.
Green possibly could return for the postseason, but the Huskies’ postseason fortunes will take a big hit in Green’s absence, even with potential one-and-done NBA prospects Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels manning the front court. Green was averaging 11.6 points and a team-leading 4.6 assists, but without him UW lacks a true point guard.
While sophomore Jamal Bey, the cousin of CU’s Tyler Bey, spent some time at the point during the Huskies’ losses at Stanford and Cal, the onus will be on juniors Naz Carter (22 assists, 42 turnovers) and Hameir Wright (33 assists, 35 turnovers) to keep the postseason hopes alive for the Pac-12’s defending regular season champs.
Washington owned a 12-point lead at Stanford before going scoreless over the game’s final 3 minutes, 12 seconds. In the losses at Stanford and Cal, UW recorded just 15 assists against 34 turnovers.
After leading wins against the Washington schools to help Cal improve to 2-1 in the Pac-12, Golden Bears sophomore guard Matt Bradley was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Bradley scored a career-high 26 points in a win against Washington State, going 10-for-14 from the field while also adding 10 rebounds. Bradley posted 17 points in the win against UW and provided the winning points with a banked 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining in overtime.
Stanford’s Tyrell Terry broke Stewart’s three-week reign as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week. Terry recorded 11 points, nine rebounds, and six assists in the win against Washington and played a key role in the Cardinal’s game-ending 14-1 run, knocking down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:37 to play. Terry added 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists in a rout of Washington State.
It was a forgettable day for his team, but not for Utah senior forward Marc Reininger. A Monument native who played at Regis Jesuit High School, Reininger recorded four points and four rebounds during the Utes’ 39-point loss at CU Sunday. Reininger had never previously seen action for Utah at the CU Events Center…Oregon guard Payton Pritchard matched a career-high with 29 points during the Ducks’ overtime win against Arizona State…The Pac-12’s NET rankings at the beginning of the week: Stanford (11), Oregon (13), Arizona (18), CU (21), Oregon State (45), Washington (51), Arizona State (59), Utah (60), USC (68), Washington State (126), UCLA (149), and Cal (155).