Pac-12 men's basketball scouting reports
Bud Withers ranks the Pac-12.
Seattle Times staff reporter
1. California (10-3)
Coach: Mike Montgomery (4th year at Cal, 74-40).
Top scorer: G Allen Crabbe (15.8).
Résumé: Some blowout wins over middling opposition, but one-sided losses to powers Missouri and UNLV.
Telling stat: Bears shoot .429 on threes and allow only .323.
Revelation: G Justin Cobbs has been an impact transfer (from Minnesota), scoring 45 in last two games and owning a 2.4-to-1 assist-turnover ratio.
Shortfall: Richard Solomon, 6-foot-10 soph, has been underwhelming, sitting early with a suspension and now with a foot problem.
Bottom line: Bears have a lot of parts, including a proven coach. They look to be the class in a contentious, but down, conference.
2. Arizona (9-4)
Coach: Sean Miller (3rd year at Arizona, 55-27).
Top scorer: F Solomon Hill (12.2).
Résumé: Only losses are to quality teams, but best win might be against Oakland.
Telling stat: With All-American Derrick Williams gone to NBA, top four scorers are balanced from 12.2 ppg to 10.1.
Revelation: Frosh G Nick Johnson averages 10.1 ppg and plays beyond his years.
Shortfall: Swingman Kevin Parrom has been slow to recover from leg wound after September shooting in New York. Frosh G Josiah Turner has had off-court issues.
Bottom line: With no starter bigger than 6-7, will be vulnerable inside. But if Turner and 6-9 frosh Angelo Chol progress, they can challenge for title in a down year.
3. Stanford (10-2)
Coach: Johnny Dawkins (4th year, 59-50).
Top scorer: F Josh Owens (12.7).
Résumé: A handful of solid wins but mostly against expected BCS-league also-rans. Cardinal had now-top-ranked Syracuse down until final minutes before losing.
Telling stat: Stanford outrebounds opponents by 8.3 per game.
Revelation: Frosh G Chasson Randle (6-1) is second-leading scorer at 11.8. Bellevue soph G Aaron Bright is much-improved, shooting 49 percent on threes.
Shortfall: Soph F Dwight Powell's numbers are significantly down from his Pac-12 all-freshman-team season.
Bottom line: Deep Cardinal looks like surprise of league. Key to potential NCAA berth is probably whether Powell gets untracked.
4. Washington (6-5)
Coach: Lorenzo Romar (10th year, 201-107).
Top scorer: G Tony Wroten (16.0).
Résumé: Best win is against UC Santa Barbara, with near-misses against Nevada and Marquette and a blowout by St. Louis.
Telling stat: Huskies are allowing .383 three-point shooting.
Revelation: Wroten has been electrifying at the rim, but the mesh between him and his teammates has been lacking.
Shortfall: Wings Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox have been somewhat inconsistent scorers, and center Aziz N'Diaye still doesn't provide much offense.
Bottom line: Huskies might be the toughest read of anybody in the conference. In spurts, they look capable of winning it, and at other times, they resemble a middle-of-the-pack outfit. We'll split the difference.
5. Oregon State (10-2)
Coach: Craig Robinson (4th year, 53-58).
Top scorer: G Jared Cunningham (16.8).
Résumé: Marquee win was over three-loss Texas on a neutral site, as was a two-point loss to 8-4 Vanderbilt.
Telling stat: Beavers are conference-best shooters at .496, leading to an 18.6 scoring margin.
Revelation: One-time UTEP signee Eric Moreland (6-10) plays 16 minutes off the bench but leads OSU in rebounding at 6.8.
Shortfall: A 36 percent three-point shooter last year, Cunningham is hitting less than 24 percent. Still, he may be the most dynamic Pac-12 player.
Bottom line: Beavers are deep, have some inside presence most Pac-12 teams lack, and Cunningham is an obvious all-league talent. Could challenge for OSU's first NCAA berth since 1990.
6. UCLA (7-5)
Coach: Ben Howland (9th year, 196-87).
Top scorer: G Lazeric Jones (13.3).
Résumé: Early losses to Loyola Marymount and Middle Tennessee State part of a subpar start.
Telling stat: Bruins allow .391 three-point shooting.
Revelation: Frosh G Norman Powell is coming on, scoring 19 in last game against UC Irvine.
Shortfall: C Josh Smith of Kentwood showed up overweight and out of shape, and his numbers and minutes per game (18) are down.
Bottom line: Despite the ouster of all-league forward Reeves Nelson, Bruins have size. But there's little to suggest they're title-worthy unless Smith comes on.
7. Oregon (9-3)
Coach: Dana Altman (2nd year, 30-21).
Top Scorer: G Devoe Joseph (14.3).
Résumé: Unconvincing, with best win at Nebraska, and double-digit losses to Vanderbilt, BYU, Virginia.
Telling stat: Top three scorers Joseph, Garrett Sim and E.J. Singler combine to shoot 87 percent on free throws.
Revelation: Joseph, a 6-4 transfer from Minnesota, has been an immediate hit, scoring in double figures every time out since he became eligible Dec. 10.
Shortfall: Ducks had their three lowest-scoring games of the season just before Christmas break.
Bottom line: Oregon seems still to be finding itself. Five players have led in scoring on various nights and seven in rebounding. They won't go easily under wily Altman, but they don't look as talented as best in league.
8. Washington State (8-4)
Coach: Ken Bone (3rd year, 46-32).
Top scorer: G Faisal Aden (15.3).
Résumé: Little of note, despite six-game win streak. Cougars, in November, finished eighth in 76 Classic.
Telling stat: WSU's field-goal percentage defense of .382 is best in league.
Revelation: Fifth-year senior C Charlie Enquist has proved serviceable, playing 20 minutes a game and making 34 of 42 field goals (81 percent).
Shortfall: Junior point G Reggie Moore's scoring has dropped since his freshman year, and he admits he's unhappy with his play.
Bottom line: Cougars have had a fitful start with three key injuries. Some nights, they're a handful with their quickness, but even with solid seasons from Enquist and Brock Motum, they're undermanned inside.
9. Colorado (7-4)
Coach: Tad Boyle (2nd year, 31-18).
Top scorer: G Carlon Brown (12.5).
Résumé: Little notable, with wins over Georgia and Western Michigan and a nine-point loss to MVC favorite Wichita State.
Telling stat: Soph F Andre Roberson is a double-double machine, averaging 11.6 ppg and 11.5 rpg (fifth in nation).
Revelation: Frosh G Spencer Dinwiddie (6-5) has averaged 15.7 ppg the last six games, team-high in that span.
Shortfall: Frosh F Damiene Cain left team in September to concentrate on studies, then returned in November. He played two December games, but has been out with a concussion.
Bottom line: Rebuilding season for Buffs, who lost lottery pick Alec Burks and career-leading scorer Cory Higgins. They play fast to take advantage of mile-high altitude, but don't have the horses to get out of second division.
10. Arizona State (4-8)
Coach: Herb Sendek (sixth season, 92-83).
Top scorer: G Keala King (14.2).
Résumé: Season has been marked by close losses (last five by a total of 19 points).
Telling stat: Without strong point guard play, Devils' team assist-turnover ratio is only .74.
Revelation: King, a sophomore, has bumped his scoring by more than 10 points from last year. But he's out of position handling the ball.
Shortfall: Frosh point G Jahii Carson didn't gain admittance, a major blow. Two 7-footers, Ruslan Pateev and Jordan Bachynski, haven't been big factors.
Bottom line: A long season appears in store unless ball-handling improves. But Sun Devils have a way of being pesky.
11. USC (5-8)
Coach: Kevin O'Neill (3rd year, 40-37).
Top scorer: G Maurice Jones (14.9).
Résumé: Trojans have only one December win, but four of season losses are by a total of 12 points.
Telling stat: Opponents shoot 15.8 percent better on free throws than USC.
Revelation: Transfer F from Iowa, 6-6 Aaron Fuller, averages 11.9 ppg and leads in rebounds at 6.8.
Shortfall: Loss of G Jio Fontan to knee injury means USC is without six of its top seven scorers from last year.
Bottom line: Remade Trojans will play a lot of ugly games (they fell 44-41 to New Mexico), and lose the majority.
12. Utah (3-9)
Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (first year, 3-9).
Top scorer: G Josh Watkins (16.1).
Résumé: A dreary start for tradition-steeped program included an eight-game losing streak.
Telling stat: Utes surrender league-worst (by far) field-goal percentage (.475).
Revelation: That Krystkowiak's rebuilding job would be so daunting.
Shortfall: David Foster, 7-3 center and Utah's career blocks leader, had foot surgery in November and is out indefinitely.
Bottom line: Consensus worst team in league looks headed for first sub-10-win season since 1973.
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