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Husky Men's Basketball Blog

Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta provides a running commentary on the Huskies.

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March 3, 2008 10:15 AM

Ranking the Pac

Posted by Bob Condotta

A week to go, and only one position is set in stone --- Oregon State at the bottom.

Everything else could still change in a season when more Pac--10 teams (nine) will win seven or more conference games for the first time since 1991 (a bizarre year when five teams went 8-10).

On with the rankings:

1, UCLA --- Kevin Love took a big step toward Player of the Year honors with his dominating performance at Arizona Sunday (25 points, 14 rebounds). If he does something similar against Brook Lopez and Stanford Thursday, the award should be his.

2, Stanford --- Trent Johnson may have locked up Coach of the Year honors by keeping the Cardinal in contention for league title until the final week.

3, USC --- Don't seem to play as well when O.J. Mayo scores big --- or maybe he just scores really big when the rest of the team isn't playing well. Can sew up NCAA bid with a win at home against Cal Thursday.

4, Washington State --- Now 0-6 against UCLA, Stanford and Arizona, 10-1 against rest of the conference. Will Cougar fans really be unhappy with an 11-7 Pac-10 finish? That would still be the second-best for WSU since 1983.

5, Arizona State --- Game at Oregon Thursday could be for an NCAA Tourney berth, though Sun Devils also have the hole card of a game at Oregon State Saturday. But Sun Devils might not want to risk being 9-9 in conference play.

6, Arizona --- It's getting a little strange in Tucson, where Lute Olson showed up for Senior Day ceremonies and there appears to be a rift brewing between Olson and Kevin O'Neill. Arizona still has a No., 25 RPI this week so getting to 9-9 in Pac-10 play will probably be good enough.

7, Washington --- 4-3 in conference since that 3-7 start. ASU loss remains a hard one to figure in that stretch, but otherwise, that's been Washington's most consistent stretch of basketball since Brandon Roy left.

8, Oregon --- Ducks avoided embarrassment in Corvallis, but even most of the Oregon players were disappointed in their play. Sweep of the Arizona schools this week a necessity to keep NCAA tourney hopes alive. Ducks are 4-8 in last 12 games, two wins coming against Oregon State.

9, Cal --- Was UW loss Ben Braun's Berkeley swansong? May depend on if Ryan Anderson decides to come back (and there are some indications he will). If so, Bears can still sell hope for next season.

10, Oregon State --- Two chances to avoid infamy, and little reason to think they will. In case you missed it, even more strange personnel goings-on in Corvallis with Sean Carter suspended and heralded transfer Daniel Deane (sitting out the year) leaving indefinitely for personal reasons. You can read about it here.


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Posted by Not a Big Zona Fan

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Bob-Looking at Joe Lunardi's latest Bracketology (as of today) he has Arizona as a #9 seed, which comfortably puts them into the tournament. I see them splitting their trip to the Oregon schools, that being said are they really going to make it in with an 8-10 record? Assuming UW loses to WSU this weekend (which is probable) that only makes them 1 game record better than the Huskies in conference and yet they look to be assured a spot? I know their RPI and SOS is way up there but come on 8-10 in conference gets you in? I know "Meatball" will be chiming in to defend his squad and say "look at their non-conference schedule" buy why does it matter when you are LOSING all these tough games to Memphis, Kansas, etc.? I think this is where RPI and SOS can flaw the selection process. Thoughts?

Posted by Splash

2:00 PM, Mar 03, 2008

I think the NCAA selection committee has a responsibility to choose the best 65 teams in the country; most people would have to agree on that. The challenging part of this process is defining what "best" really means. To some, it means the teams with the highest win percentage for the season. To me, it means the 65 teams who are most likely to win a game against the other 64 teams in the field.

I don't care how many games a team has won or lost, what matters is how those results can be used to determine their likelihood of winning a game in the tournament. While statistical tools such as RPI and SOS aren't perfect, I think they can be helpful in determining how good a team might be. A great example of this is Ken Pomeroy's computer rankings. From about November, his algorithm has predicted that the Huskies would finish with a record of 16-15. I hoped all season this was wrong, but it looks like he's going to be right on the money.

Now does Ken Pomeroy's method of season W/L prediction transfer over to the NCAA tournament, I don't know. The problem with these tools is that they measure past achievements, while it is the NCAA selection committee's job to choose the teams that will most likely win games they haven't already played. These tools don't take into account things like a team's momentum or recent injuries. It's an incredibly subjective job these committee members have. I think it's a mistake to rely on statistical tools alone in evaluating a team because they just don't tell the whole story, but they are definitely valuable.

Posted by dda

3:11 PM, Mar 03, 2008

I realize you're a Husky lover but USC at #3 over WSU? LOL, we destroyed USC twice and are performing better in our own conference. Can you pass what you are smoking?

Posted by Bob Condotta

3:50 PM, Mar 03, 2008

On Arizona ---- The Wildcats do have quality wins over Texas A&M and Houston, each of which has 20 or more wins, as well as a couple of good Pac-10 wins, and a close loss at Kansas. Also, the committee is sure to look at the fact that Bayless missed four games and that Nic Wise has been out a while. General feeling is that when those guys are healthy, Arizona is definitely one of the best 65 teams out there. That said, being 8-10 will mean the committee will have to buck tradition to give Arizona an invite. And you'd think that at 8-10, Arizona would need to at least win a game in the Pac-10 tournament to get in.

To dda --- I love a note that calls me a "Husky lover.'' I'm going to clip and save it to present to all the people who wonder why I hate the Huskies so much. As to your question, WSU could easily be rated ahead of USC, and I have for almost all of the season. I could point out that USC wasn't at full strength for either game against WSU, however, and that until Saturday, there was little doubt that the Trojans were trending better than the Cougars. USC ranks higher in many key statistical categories, mainly both shooting and FG percentage defense, maybe the two most important. I had USC ahead last week, both went 1-1 on the road this week, each losing Saturday, so I kept the rankings as they were.

Posted by JD

3:54 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Bob,

Your my favorite! Thanks for all you do!

Posted by junkman

4:00 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Looks right to me Bob. Hasn't AZ faded the last several years down the stretch because of lack of depth (I might be wrong on this). They just don't look very good right now.

I read a quote from Hawes at the Cal game that said he thinks he made the right decision because NBA scouts can really nitpick if you stick around. That's a pretty revealing comment. Sound like he knows he probably didn't get as much scrutiny as he should have and that he found a sucker in Sacramento. Considering his frailty I think he probably did make the right move for him - at Sacremento's expense.

Posted by Not a Zona Fan

4:14 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Thanks for the feedback Bob, but I think I can make as much of an argument if not better for Oregon (although it pains me to say it) than I can Arizona yet Oregon isn't all but guaranteed an invite like the Wildcats. Oregon has non-conference wins against Pacific and @ Kansas State both whom will have 20+ wins by selection Sunday. Oregon also has won at Arizona and is one of the few teams to have beaten Stanford. I'm going to stop the pro Oregon talk before I make myself sick. I just think Arizona gets too much credit for their tradition and reputation as well as the "what might have happened had everyone been healthy" scenario. Anyway, love the blog Bob, keep up the great work!

Posted by dda

4:40 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Ok Bob, I can deal with that. Perhaps WSU just matches up great vs USC as Zona does against WSU. I just saw WSU win very easily twice vs USC this Season. In addition, Kyle Weaver seems to be the "KOBE STOPPER" in terms of guarding AJ Mayo. Thanks for your response, GO COUGS!

Posted by Geno

5:40 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Wow....I thought I would find a ghost town here on the Blog. Do you all know that Husky Basketball is DEAD?? Pretty much as dead as your Football team.

What do city kids do when the two most beloved sports are dead? Do you go out and smoke weed? Do you go out and drink yourselves silly? Do you rape someone? Do you steal from your neighbors?

Life in the big city has got to be more stressful than life in the country - which is calm and serene. While WSU will be 'Dancing' UW will be 'NIT'ing'.

You can only imagine how much your school's Athletic Department wished they'd never heard the words 'ROMAR' or 'WILLINGHAM'. Too bad for you.

Posted by joeB

5:58 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Well Geno, it appears that you are also dead - brain dead. Get back in your rut and have someone shovel in the topsoil.

Posted by Geno

6:31 PM, Mar 03, 2008

I know Mr. joeB - it is tough to be a Husky!

Posted by dallashusky

8:46 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Geno I thought that the cougars were suppose to finish second in the pac. It looks like the cougs were quite a bit overrated and then there coach will probably get a good look from Indiana and wsu will be right back where they started as a stepping stone program. Enjoy the wins Geno because you guys can't hang on to a coach. And you guys will be right back where you started. Maybe you guys can call on grandpa bennett to come back and coach.

Posted by bomberboy

9:44 PM, Mar 03, 2008

UW and WSU will both win the same number of NCAA tourney games this year.

Posted by Carlton

7:59 AM, Mar 04, 2008

Bomberboy,

That is the most chicken sh*t comment I have ever read. I'd much rather be going to the tourney with a chance to loose, than for the second year in a row not be going to the post season at all. Guess being a loser takes away from your creativity huh?

Carlton

Posted by Cougfan

8:10 AM, Mar 04, 2008

bomberboy: I actually thought your coment was funny. I chuckled. I do understand why you think WSU will lose in the first round, but I would have to disagree with you and say the Cougs will win 1 or 2 games. Wazzu has had a rough go of it in the PAC 10, but it will be good for them to play teams they have yet to face. I really believe the PX will show its strength come tourney time. But, one never knows until the time comes.

Gee, do you think Carlton is anyone but Geno? He must have used the multiple personality defense in his latest "case."

Posted by Dawg Pack!

9:44 AM, Mar 04, 2008

As much as I dislike the cougs, I hope the win a couple games in the tourney so that it does show the strength of the PX. If all our teams do well it continues to show our superiority over the other conferences and will help to break down the "east coast bias"

Posted by Carlton

10:37 AM, Mar 04, 2008

DawgPack,

That is the most logical thing I have read in years. Always cheer on your conference (this doesn't mean sucking up to the other teams durning the season however Cougfan). Good post.

Carlton

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