As the title says. …
— Billy Packer is out as the lead analyst at CBS, and in this story it is said that he will “pursue other projects in basketball.” Maybe one of those could be discovering that there is something called the Pac-10 Conference. Okay, maybe a cheap shot on the way out for Packer, who probably won’t be real relevant nationally anymore. But I think if you look up “East coast bias” in the dictionary, you’ll see his picture.
— Andy Katz in his Insider column today writes that UCLA’s game at UW Jan. 24 looms as one of the two biggest to watch on UCLA’s schedule for the 2008-09 season. “The Huskies seem to be the sleeper team in the Pac-10,” Katz writes, “with the return of Jon Brockman in the post and the anticipation that Quincy Pondexter can have a breakout season.” One quibble is that Katz writes UCLA’s game at UW “could turn out to be a difficult game again.” Hard to imagine how the trip to Seattle could be much more difficult for UCLA than it has been the last four years, all wins by the Huskies.
— This is a few days old, but the Louisville Courier-Journal has this story on all the rising high school talent in Seattle and how the University of Louisville hopes to get as much of it as it can. The story includes some good updates on the recruiting processes of some of those players.
— The New York Daily News has this look at whether the recent decision by Brandon Jennings to spend a year in Europe will become a trend. It includes a quote from Lorenzo Romar saying that he figured some player would try this eventually.
— While Katz says UW may be a sleeper in the Pac-10, this writer from Rivals.com says he thinks defensive problems will doom the Huskies to another bottom-tier finish. He says UW “ranked last or near last in the Pac-10 in numerous defensive categories.” Technically true, especially if you look at stats for the entire season (UW improved in most of its defensive stats when taking into account only Pac-10 games) But at the risk of nitpicking, I’d say that’s a little too simplistic. UW hasn’t been the greatest defensive team the last few years and it was a big problem early last season. But in what just about anyone would say is the most relevant defensive category — field goal percentage defense — UW was actually fourth in Pac-10 play at 44.1 percent. Looming as just as big — if not bigger — problems last year were free throw shooting and three-point shooting (the Huskies were ninth ahead of only the offensively woeful Beavers). UW coaches are confident each of those will improve this season with the influx of the three new guards and maturity in other players. The author does have a point about shot-blocking, though that’s another area UW was better during Pac-10 play than the entire season, ranking eighth in the conference at 2.11 per game, ahead of Cal and Oregon and not really that far behind WSU (2.67), generally regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the nation, making you wonder how crucial that really is.
— Demar DeRozan, whom some say could be the first pick in the NBA Draft next year, has apparently gotten a passing SAT score, making him eligible to play at USC.
All for now.
As the title says. …
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