This past weekend’s action around the league proved one matter regarding the Pac-12 Conference race, and another might have been revealed.
USC is for real. As for Stanford, at best the jury is still out.
Despite a split on the road in Oregon it nonetheless was an impressive weekend for USC, with the Trojans taking Oregon to double overtime before routing Oregon State in Gill Coliseum. The run moved the Trojans to 5-2 in the Pac-12, just alongside the 5-2 CU Buffs and only behind 6-2 Oregon at the top of the standings.
In Pac-12 games, USC begins the week ranked first in the league in rebounding margin (plus-6.1), second in defensive 3-point percentage (.288), and third in overall defensive field goal percentage (.384).
Stanford, meanwhile, suffered a loss Sunday at Cal to settle for a split of their home-and-home rivalry series against the Golden Bears. The Cardinal (4-2) still has the same number of league losses as Oregon, CU, and USC, but Stanford has yet to play the Ducks, the Buffs, or Arizona.
“I watched the Cal-Stanford game (Sunday) afternoon after the Oregon-UCLA game,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “To watch Cal, who is supposed to be at the bottom of our league and see them compete and play as hard as it did, and Stanford who went into that game in first place in our league. You can’t take anything for granted, at home or on the road.”
Chris Duarte’s historic performance in a double-overtime win against USC paved the way for the junior from Oregon to nab this week’s Pac-12 Player of the Week award, his second such honor of the year.
Duarte posted 30 points, 11 rebounds, and eight steals in the win against the Trojans, becoming the first NCAA player to post those particular statistical totals since Niagara’s Alvin Young in 1999. Duarte’s eight steals were the most ever at Knight Arena.
Duarte was almost equally impressive in Sunday’s win against UCLA, recording 24 points, six rebounds, five assists, and six steals. Overall he shot 17-for-34 in the two victories, going 7-for-13 on 3-pointers and 13-for-17 at the free throw line.
Utah’s Rylan Jones was named the Freshman of the Week after his solid outings in the Utes’ home sweep of the Washington schools.
Jones was huge at crunch time against Washington, scoring all 13 of his points during the final 5 minutes, 25 seconds as the Utes erased a late Huskies’ lead. That run included the go-ahead free throws with 14 seconds remaining. Overall, Jones averaged 18.5 points. 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.5 steals in the two victories.
ASU guard Remy Martin has recorded seven straight games with at least 20 points and leads the Pac-12 with an overall scoring average of 19.7 points per game (23.7 in six Pac-12 games)…The Pac-12 NET rankings to begin the week: Arizona (10), Oregon (16), CU (17), Stanford (18), USC (40), Washington (45), Arizona State (57), Utah (74), Oregon State (90), Washington State (108), UCLA (124), Cal (155)…While the Buffs moved up three spots to No. 20 in this week’s AP Top 25, Oregon inched up one spot to No. 11 as the only other Pac-12 team ranked this week. Arizona, ranked 22nd last week, dropped out after wasting a 22-point lead in a loss Saturday at Arizona State.