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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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June 16, 2008 7:40 PM

Re-assessing the Pac

Posted by Bob Condotta

So now that we know for sure who is staying and who is going, time to rate the teams again based on their outlook heading into the 2008-09 season.

1, UCLA --- Despite big losses, could have been a lot worse for the Bruins, who retain Darren Collison and Josh Shipp but lose Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Russell Westbrook. They also recently added to their already best-in-the-nation recruiting class with center J'Mison Morgan. The clear team to beat in the Pac-10 next season and again a contender for the Final Four. SI.com referred to UCLA as one of the winners of the off-season after tallying up all of their moves.

2, Arizona State --- The decisions of James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph to not even think about the NBA gave ASU one of the calmest off-seasons of any team in the conference. The big question may be whether an ASU team that hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 2003 can handle all the hype.

3, Arizona --- So after all the dust settled, Arizona will return three of its top four scorers from last season in Chase Budinger, Nic Wise --- who each debated leaving school for different reasons --- and Jordan Hill, who combined to score 39 points a game in 2008. Then add in uber-recruit guard Brandon Jennings and through all the seeming turmoil, the Wildcats look to again be a team that won't be deep, but should have the frontline talent to contend if UCLA slips at all.

4, USC --- The biggest personnel issue left to be resolved in the conference is the eligibility of USC incoming freshman Demar Derozan, a 6-7 forward considered one of the top recruits in the country. His latest test score was a big improvement, however, and speculation is that he will likely make it in. USC also returns three starters in Dwight Lewis, Daniel Hackett and Taj Gibson and should still be an NCAA tourney team despite the loss of O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson.

5, Washington --- Since our last rankings, all of UW's eligibility issues among its freshmen have been resolved, so the Huskies move up a few spots as the addition of the three guards combined with the return of Jon Brockman for his senior season makes Washington a team that has legitimate NCAA tourney aspirations.

6, Cal --- The Bears slip a few spots with the loss of Ryan Anderson. Still, count me as one who thinks the addition of Mike Montgomery will mean a lot to this team. And don't forget that the Bears should return the services of forward Theo Robertson, who missed last season due to injury after starting every game in 2007. That means Cal essentially returns three starters in Robertson, swingman Patrick Christopher and point guard Jerome Randle.

7, Washington State --- The big question in Pullman is whether one of the best recruiting classes in school history can make up for the loss of three seniors who comprised most of what was undoubtedly one of the most important classes in school history. No way the Cougars don't slide a bit, but the foundation seems solid enough to prevent a fullscale retreat, as well.

8, Oregon --- In similar boat as Cougars, losing three senior starters but also welcoming a much-hyped recruiting class. Ducks got a late addition for next year in point guard Garrett Sim of Portland who got out of his LOI to Cal after the firing of Ben Braun, giving them six incoming freshmen, all who could contribute to some degree next year. Ernie Kent's track record, however, is that it usually takes him a year or two to break in large groups of new players. Given the rumblings surrounding Kent, there may be no more interesting team to watch in the conference next year than Oregon.

9, Stanford --- A long fall for the Cardinal. But the loss of the Lopez Twins as well as the strange change in in coaches seems to auger for a tough season in Palo Alto next year.

10, Oregon State --- New coach Craig Robinson seems to be making a lot of good moves so far. And some of the talent here (Omari Johnson, Lathen Wallace, the Tarvers) is intriguing. But hard to see how they climb out of the cellar next year.


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Posted by Chris Miller

12:56 AM, Jun 17, 2008

Good to see the Cougs and Ducks at the bottom, where they belong. I hope it plays out this way. I'm unbelievably tired of all of their fans and their attitudes.


GO DAWGS!!!

Posted by Cougfan

7:56 AM, Jun 17, 2008

Chris: What a witty and thoughtful entry. Thanks for the analysis.

Posted by UW Alum

8:35 AM, Jun 17, 2008

Oregon fans are a little worse than WSU fans. I just want to make the NCAA tourney, that should be the UW goal every year and every year it doesn't happen (the last two) should be deemed a disappointment. We need Bradley and Gaddy!!!!!

Posted by Cougfan

8:43 AM, Jun 17, 2008

UW Alum: And thank you for your analysis. At least I know who the expert is on fan behavior. I have been searching for that person for many years, and by golly, it just happened to be a husky. What a surprise!

Posted by Cougfan

9:11 AM, Jun 17, 2008

Reassessing the Pac (fan base): The following is my assessment of PX fans. It is based on nothing but heresay and inuendo.

1. Stanford--I just don't want to argue with someone from Stanford. They obviously are more intelligent than I.

2. UCLA--Loved the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Spicolli was a stoned out surfer dude. UCLA has to have the most of those.

3. Cal--Kind of akin to Stanford fans. Really intelligent people that I would not want to argue with. Their band wears cool hats!

4. Arizona--Close to Nogales. Except for the occasional bottle being thrown from the stands, pretty intense atmosphere and knowledgeable. (Meatball never did answer my question though. It seems that they bitch about every call--possible?)

5. Oregon State--There aren't that many of them to really make them poor fans.

6. WSU--Had to put them in front of husky fans, although I am not sure I believe it.

7. uw--They know everything about everything. They are perennial NCAA participants, they think their FB program is on a level with Michigan, and so on, and so on, and so on...

8. U$C--Not very passionate unless they are winning, and even then they are a typical LA crowd.

9. ASU--I am only going by what the Meatball says. He was right about Budinger and so I have to believe him about this--right patience?

10. UofO--However, I will take the atmosphere of their games over almost any. I have been to FB games, BB games, wrestling matches, track meets. Always festive.

Posted by patience

11:07 AM, Jun 17, 2008

wow,

cougfan sure is here on the husky forum a lot these days. guess the departures of weaver, low and cowgirl means there is little to no reason to hang out on the cougar forum (if such a thing even exists).

Posted by Cougfan

11:10 AM, Jun 17, 2008

Patience: www.cougfan.com

my name is bledsoe11

I guess I do hang out there

You are adding to your legend of biggest horse's ass each and every moment. So how high do you think Budinger is going in the draft? Oh, he is back at U of A you are wrong again.

Posted by Cougfan

11:54 AM, Jun 17, 2008

Patience (aka Horse's ass): Just browsing the cougfan site and I noticed in the last significantly discussed post that 3 of the first 6 posts were by husky fans. Could you possibly explain this? COuld it be that they have nothing better to do? WOW, you are a horse's ASS!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Chris Miller

11:59 AM, Jun 17, 2008

Cougfan,


Don't get me wrong here, there are some exceptions of fans that do have educated opinions and are generally respectful despite the rivalry between the schools. In fact, if these people didn't exist I wouldn't have a place to stay when I go to those towns (Pullman and Eugene). I have some healthy friendships and business relationships with students and alumni from those schools. More specifically, I was referring in my previous post to the fans that are undereducated and love to run their mouths at public events such as Mariner games or Sonics rallies or Seattle bars. As you well know, there is nothing better than having educated sports debates with people that can appreciate your knowledge of the game and the teams involved. But when you constantly run into uneducated fans of the other team and they inevidably say the same things over and over it completely devalues my own personal opinion of fans from those schools.


GO DAWGS!!!

Posted by Cougfan

12:02 PM, Jun 17, 2008

Chris: Fair enough! But remembe, because of uw's location and the amount of non-alumni fans that they have being part of a large metro area, there are going to be plenty of uneducated fans for them as well. Agree?

Posted by Carlton

12:24 PM, Jun 17, 2008

Decent list, however I'd move UW ahead of USC and WSU ahead of Cal. The logic behind a team who finished 8th-9th in the Pac-10 last season moving up because they return 2 starters and a guy who sat out a year doesn't add up. WSU does the same thing, yet were a sweet sixteen team. I do enjoy your guys bantor over a season 6 months away, football season can't come soon enough.

Posted by patience

12:26 PM, Jun 17, 2008

cougfan,

you make a good point about there being lots of uneducated husky fans. wsu, however, leads the pac 10 in uneducated graduates!

Posted by Cougfan

12:29 PM, Jun 17, 2008

patience: You are right. I would never argue with you. You are always right. How is Budinger doing?

Posted by Ziasudra

1:44 PM, Jun 17, 2008

A curious argument about educated/uneducated fans. Seattle area is top-heavy technologicaly, especially in comparison to Spokane/Pullman - which group of imports would seem likely to be more educated? Actually, why would any one with extensive education move into the Eastern farm belt?
I moved here due to Aerospace opportunities. My three sons went to UW (I'm a Hokie, myself), so I adopted the Dawgs. That seems to be a widespread situation.

Posted by ClayBennetSucks

2:13 PM, Jun 17, 2008

Cougfan,
Shut up already. Don't you have anything better to do than post 7 worthless times in a few hours?

Posted by grant

2:25 PM, Jun 17, 2008

I think UW, USC, and Arizona could all finish 3rd-5th in any order next year. ASU could disappoint, but I think they're solid after UCLA on top. Regardless of order, all five should be dancing next March. I don't know if the Pac will get more than 5 teams in next year after losing so many top players.

I seriously hope Romar is not waiting around for Gaddy and Bradley. We could get Aaron Dotson now, and have him for 4 years. Gaddy and Bradley would be terrific, but they just seem like long shots.

Bob,
Does the signing of Garcia to fill in up front after Brockman and Wallace graduate signal that Wolf may be the odd man out to make the scholarship situation work? Or does Romar just want more depth up there? I always assumed it would be Joel Smith to give up his scholarship, since he has already graduated.
Thanks.

Posted by Pacman

2:51 PM, Jun 17, 2008

Heres my take.

1) UCLA - But I would not be suprised if they slipped a couple of spots given what they lose.

2) ASU - Fantastic inside outside with Pendergraph, Harden but not the depth of UCLA.

3) UW - Experienced team with potentiallu dominant frontcourt and Thomas, Suggs provides instant scoring lacking last year.

4) USC - Gibson returns. Instability relating to Mayo fallout and DeRozan.

5) UA - Massive instability given Lute longevity and outburts. If no Jennings they fall further and Chase regrets his decison.

6) WSU won't fall too far as they seem to have developed considence within program. When last seen Rochestie was no Lowe. Recent wsu success built on chemestry experience which take time to replicate.

7) Cal - MM will have program rebound in the future, but given loss of Anderson, Hardin they a couple of years away.

8) UO - Oregon's heralded class is now departed and they massively underachieved. Huge coaching uncertainty. Brown and the lil guy provide a decent backcourt and some promising freshman. Lot of unproven talent.

9) OSU - They do have some talent and a new coach excited to be Corvallis. Change in this case is cause for optimism among players. They will be better than most think.

10)SU - It is going to a long, slow road to recovery. They lose league MVP and bro, coach Trent who really proved himself last year and saw former super successful coach go to archrivals Cal. Then they hire coach who is very low down on wichlist and uncertainty blame regarding why Trent felt the need t leave. Bad demoralizing situation in PA. What telaent there is is overated. The cupboard is pretty close to bare.

Posted by ESPN

3:28 PM, Jun 17, 2008

1. Texas 14. Davidson
2. UNC 15. Arizona St.
3. Pitt 16. Oklahoma
4. Kansas 17. UCLA
5. Notre Dame 18. Syracuse
6. West Va. 19. Georgetown
7. Connecticut 20. Tennessee
8. Purdue 21. Louisville
9. Memphis 22. Michigan St.
10. USC 23. Florida
11. Gonzaga 24. Wisconsin
12. Miami (Fla.) 25. Miss. State
13. Duke

I know...this isn't the PAC 10 ranking...thought it would be interesting however to show how ESPN has done the pre season raning.

Posted by Carlton

3:36 PM, Jun 17, 2008

Ziasudra,

Ever heard of Hanford? What about Batel? Richland WA has the higest PHD per cap in the U.S.A. Know your state bro. All in all though, you make a good point.

Carlton

Posted by Eastern WA

3:44 PM, Jun 17, 2008

Interesting comments from Cougfan and those shooting back. Someone made the comment relating Eastern Wa to the"Eastern Farm Belt". Interesting comment. That could be said for Pullman, but farther from the truth with the Spokane area. Unfortunately Spokane has an overeducated population. There are 5 universities within an hour and a half of a metro area of nearly 500,000 residents. Within Spokane itself, there are 2 main colleges (GU and Witworth), but also extension branches (WSU/UI/EWU). EWU is 15 miles away.
So, what does having so many colleges condenced in such a small area. do..it floods the market with skilled professionals i.e. teachers, nurses, mental health wokers etc. which keeps wages down. When I lived there I was fortunate to have a good salary, but, I think I was the exception. The majority of my family is in the greater Seattle area. There are bits of King county I love, but also SPokane county.
I guess this is the long way of saying that Eastern Wa isn't the "fam belt". There are pockets, just like Monrow WA etc. I find that the ones who bash on Spokane are generally those who have not take the 50 minute flight or 4 hour drive.

Posted by Paul

4:11 PM, Jun 17, 2008

All of you are dumb. Talk about basketball. We live in the same state, no point in making fun of it. Morons.

Posted by Cougfan

6:01 PM, Jun 17, 2008

Claybennettsucks: Ahhh, an angry Sonic fan telling the Cougfan to shut up. I am glad you have the time to count how many times I post. Another intellectual and stimulating comeback from a husky.

Posted by G

7:24 PM, Jun 17, 2008

ESPN = 1. USC, 2. ASU, 3 UCLA?? i dont buy it but they're better than i am at predicting this stuff so.....

Posted by Randy

10:02 AM, Jun 18, 2008

Ok sports fans, let’s deal with the facts and leave out the emotions.
The way to look at who could be the best teams next year are based on 3 items,
1) How much are you losing
2) How much is coming back
3) What new is coming in

1) What the teams lost. The major losers are Oregon (46.8ppg), UCLA (44.6ppg) & Stanford (41.1ppg). The big losers: Cal (35.5ppg), WSU (34ppg), Arizona (33.6ppg) & USC (32.8ppg). Minor losers: Washington (18.4ppg), Oregon St (10.4ppg). No loss to speak of: Arizona State (5.1ppg). Note: this excludes early departures (CJ Giles, Adrian Oliver etc)
2) What is returning (counting players who averaged a minimum of 4ppg):
Arizona State (57.5ppg)
Washington (54.9ppg)
Oregon State (41.4ppg)
Arizona (39.5ppg)
California (39.2ppg)
USC (34.7ppg)
Stanford (33.6ppg)
Oregon (26.9ppg)
UCLA (26.7ppg)
WSU (26.4)

So based on returning players this could be the order of finish. Oregon State 3rd??!! UCLA 9th?? But wait, there is still…
3) Incoming freshmen! Here is where the debates all belong. Which teams will benefit the most from the new recruits when added to the existing players. Based on rankings of individual players the Pac 10 rank like this:
1) UCLA (Pac 10 and nationally)
2) Arizona
3) Oregon
4) Washington
5) USC
6) Washington State
7) California
8) Stanford
9) Oregon St
10) ASU
To be honest California through ASU is a toss up. Very hard to rate. Cal does have CJ Seeley coming in. Oregon State is picking up a transfer although I can’t remember the name.
This puts a major emphasis on UCLA, Oregon & WSU to get the most out of their recruits. Oregon St has a lot coming back but look how they performed. So with all 3 factors here is a possible look at next year. Of course more will be known after seeing all these recruits in non conference play.

1) Arizona State – The best coming back but no incoming help.
2) UCLA – They’re losing so much but what a class!
3) Washington – Not losing much at all with a good incoming class
4) Arizona – Medium loss but good class. Should balance to a good year.
5) USC – Medium loss with good class. Again even balance but some slippage.
6) Oregon – Gets tough here. Major loss but good class. Can they help enough?
7) Washington St – Same as Oregon but not quite the as good a class.
8) Cal – Returning group actually good but no help coming in.
9) Oregon State – This is a risk but they do have quite a returning group.
10) Hate to put them last but major loss with very little incoming help.

Feel free to debate but leave out the insults. Concentrate on the numbers and ratings. I have intentionally left out factors such as coaching as it is to subjective.

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

12:11 PM, Jun 18, 2008

Randy- Again, well thought out post, but please, even you couldn't be serious by placing the Huskies as preseason #3. It looks like one of the experts believes the same thing as the meatball:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology

Lunardi has 4 Pac-10 teams getting in to next years big dance:
Arizona #2 Seed
UCLA #2 Seed
ASU # 5 Seed
USC # 8 Seed

(Take a peek who Lunardi has as the last 4 out! That means you guys will get a NIT invite rather than the CBI tourney! That is improvement!)

A #2 seed implies being ranked in the Nation's Top 10....not bad for a program that many media sources have jumped ship on. Come March, all will jump back on and make statments about "what a remarkable turnaround Arizona has had" and " Lute Olson seems completely re-energized"...problem is, we never really went away, just stepped briefly away from the National Spotlight.

UCLA's youth will lose a lot of close games next year, and the loss of Love, Mba , and Westbrook will be too much. Yes, they have great recruits coming in, but that's just it...they are unproven recruits.

My Cats return the most promise with the best SG/SF in Chase Budinger, and the Best Center in Jordan Hill. Couple in steady spark plug guard play by Nic Wise, and couple in untapped 5 Star Recruit Jamelle Horne with the new incoming players, I have to say we will be the favorite to win the Pac-10.

When it comes down to it, the core of Collison, and Ship does not compare to Budinger, Hill, and Wise. Yes the UCLA guys have Final 4 experience, but the return of Lute Olson and the new staff can off-set that lack of deep post season experience. It'll be interesting, no doubt, but I don't see more than 4 teams from the Pac-10 making the NCAA tourney. Sorry Husky fans, but that is reality.

Please think realisticly before catapulting your Husky team infront of other squads. That is all the Meatball asks.

Posted by Randy

11:24 PM, Jun 18, 2008

Meatball, I gave a great deal of thought to my post and to be honest I see Arizona, USC & Washington as a toss up. I would cerntainly not be surprised if it works in reverse or in any order. I put it this way simply due to the fact that Washington loses so much less in scoring than the Wildcats and Trojans.

As far as all of the expert rankins and seedings you note in your post, I think most of them are garbage. They are pure guesses and I don't see what they are basing their predictions on. And guess what, putting the Huskies as a "last 4 out" doesn't dictate how they play next year. What I thinks is off base is putting Arizona as a #2 seed. They finished 8-10 last year and were bounced in the first round. I just don't see that much improvement. But let's see how the teams play in non conference to make better assesments.

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

9:37 AM, Jun 19, 2008

Randy- Those experts put just as much if not more thought into their projections than you did. You thinking otherwise is as laughable as your projections themselves. Fans like you really need to start thinking with your noggins and less with the heart. You may not have lost much in terms of players leaving, but guess what Randy? What you have returning isn't much on the National Scope to get excited about. You have an undersized Power Forward surrounded by a bunch of question marks. Until the Huskies can win on the road, who cares if they can beat cupcake teams when they consistantly lose to the better teams?

By the way, Lunardi's preseason bracketology have been right on for the last few years so you actually should be happy that the Huskies are projected to do slightly better than last year. Kudos to you, but get real fellah, they will not finish any higher than 5th or 6th (likely will finish 7th). I adjust my 8th or 9th place for Washington as CAL, Stanford, and OSU will be even worse than the Huskies.

Posted by btheg

11:40 AM, Jun 19, 2008

Randy made some good points. In considering what's returning for each team one must also consider non-starters who were unable to get the PT to score because of starters who are now gone. Talent, coaching and program stability IMO also play a part as well as returning exp. on the roster. I'll concede my points are more intangibles than facts but they are just as important.

Bottom line is ASU IMO is not likely to win the Pac-10. Although they have all returning starters this does not mean their returning starters are better than the incoming talent on other squads.

There is no question that UCLA will be the most talented team in the PAC-10 next year. UCLA has multiple FF experience in Darren, Shipp, Aboya, Keefe, Roll and Drago. Two of these guys are starters and three have significant experience off the bench. UCLA also has the most talent coming in with the #1 rated class of Jrue, Morgan, Gordon, Lee and Anderson. All the incoming frosh (except maybe Morgan) played in multiple televised all star games and were selected to do so because they are considered the top talents at their respective positions. I can think of only Derozan (sc), Dunigan (UO) and Jennings (AZ) being as highly touted and doing the same. UCLA's incoming frosh will be better players than most existing players on the rosters of their conference rivals. Other incoming H.S. players such as Love, Bayless, Jennings, Rose, etc. have proven that Frosh can make an immediate impact on a season. So with that said, UCLA will be #1 in the PAC-10 yet again because:

1)They have the experienced players (2 returning starters, 3 contributors from the bench) who are winners (3 consecutive Pac-10 titles & FF's).
2)They have the best coaching (Sorry Meatball but Lute is not the Lute of 10 years ago)
3) They have the best quality, as well as, quantity of incoming recruits. ( 5 players who avg. 4.33 stars!)
4) They are the most balanced team going 2 deep at every position.
5) Their conference rivals have more chinks in their armor than UCLA (be it depth, talent, coaching, etc.)

I think Bob is right on with his predictions. AZ will be #2 (assuming Jennings qualifies) and keep the race close given UCLA's youth but 2/3 of the way into the season, UCLA will have become a monster.

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

12:57 PM, Jun 19, 2008

btheg- well thought out. I'm glad there are people out there that realize some incoming recruits will likely have a bigger impact than role players or subsitutes on existing Pac-10 rosters. Where I differ is who will have the impact. Of all the incoming guys, I honestly think Jennings and Rozan will be the Bayless, Mayo, and Love of the 2008-2009 Pac-10 season. I don't want to Jinx Jennings as he hasn't passed his test yet, but he will likely be in the running (along with Chase Budinger) for Pac-10 player of the year. I think these are the early canidates: (in no particular order)

Darren Collison
Jon Brockman
Chase Budinger
Brandon Jennings
Demar Rozan
James Harden

Posted by btheg

1:23 PM, Jun 19, 2008

Meatball I agree with your Pac-10 POY selections except you left off Jrue Holiday whom I'm sure you have heard of. I know most Udub fans have heard of him. ;-) Jrue is ranked #2 overall 2008 recruit by Rivals, #4 by Scout. He is a baller and has the ability to have just as much an impact as Jenning or Derozan.

Posted by Dave " The Meatball" Armistead

11:17 AM, Jun 20, 2008

btheg- This is where I differ. I have watched Holiday play live a handful of times; his game is going to have issues translating to the college level. I think he is over rated.

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