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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 25, 2011 at 7:24 AM

Four Pac-12 teams still alive; plus the most honest – and potentially damaging – quote you’ll ever read

derrick williams and momo jones.JPG
Photo credit: Getty Images – Kevork Djansezian
With a 93-77 thumping over defending NCAA champion Duke, Arizona advanced to the Elite Eight.
The Wildcats also removed any doubt, which Pac-10 team is the best this season. They won the regular-season title while Washington beat them two out of three times, including a 77-75 in overtime win to claim the tournament championship.
Still Arizona holds the bragging rights. The Wildcats are the first conference team to make it to the regional finals since UCLA in 2008.
And they danced all over the Blue Devils thanks to a dominant showcase from Derrick Williams (above, right), who finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds, both game highs. Lamont Jones (above, left) also had 16 points and six assists.
Williams will likely forgo two years of eligibility and apply for the NBA draft this summer, but the rest of the Wildcats return along with a top 20 recruiting class that features five-star point guard Josiah Turner and four-star forward Angelo Chol.
Many believe second-year coach Sean Miller is a ahead of schedule and has led Arizona back to prominence sooner than expected. Last season, the Cats were 16-15 and fourth in the conference. And now they’re one win away from their first Final Four since 2001.


AROUND THE PAC-10:
— In an interview with 710 ESPN, Washington State coach Ken Bone talked about the team’s perception following the third player cited for drug possession.
Bone said he was embarrassed by the string of incidents. When asked if he felt the WSU players were being unfairly targeted by local police he said: “I’m going to do whatever I can to change things here with the marijuana issue.”
I’ve never heard that before from a coach. It’s a brutally honest statement, but it’s also the kind of sound bite teams will use against the Cougars in recruiting.
WSU athletic director Bill Moos tried to clarify why he cleared Casto to play 24 hours after Bone suspended the junior forward. It appears as if new information came to light.
Still as Spokesman-Review columnist John Blanchette wrote: “reinstating Casto was as situationally sketchy as the bust.”
Bud Withers also weighed in on topic and took a hard look at Bone. “Somehow, the message of coach Ken Bone isn’t getting through,” Withers writes.
The pot predicament didn’t stop Washington State from knocking off Northwestern 69-66 in overtime to win a ticket to the New York and the National Tournament Invitational semifinal. The Cougars (21-12) play Wichita State (27-8) on Tuesday.
— There’s a chance NIT final could feature two Pac-12 teams. The other side of the bracket includes Colorado squaring off against Alabama. Under first-year coach Tad Boyle, the Buffs are finishing the season strong and that could help them next season.
— The College Basketball Invitational organizers couldn’t have scripted a better final. Oregon takes on Creighton in a three-game series next week that pits Ducks coach Dana Altman’s new team against his former squad.
— Colorado added Jeremy Adams, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Navarro (Texas) Junior College, to a 2011 recruiting class that now includes four players. The Buffs may lose high-scoring sophomore Alec Burks to the NBA.
— UCLA coach Ben Howland has taken to scare tactics to get the three Bruins straddling the NBA fence to return to school. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he guaranteed the NBA will have a lockout that will wipe out the December schedule.
“I can tell you in the NBA, in my opinion, this is going to be a serious lockout,” Howland told the LA Times. “They will not be playing, in my opinion, next December and maybe even January. … You’re not even going to get paid next year for half the year.”
UCLA’s Reeves Nelson, Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee are considered NBA prospects.
Lorenzo Romar’s good friend Rany Bennett is reportedly one of the leading candidates for the Utah job. Bennett has spent the past 10 years at Saint Mary’s where he’s compiled a 106-29 record in the last four years. He’s guided the Gaels to five postseason berths.
— That sound you heard after San Diego State and BYU lost was the dirt being tossed on the Mountain West Conference’s grave. Three schools – Utah, TCU and BYU – are leaving the league next season.

Comments | Topics: top 25, UCLA

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