No. 21 Oregon and No. 24 UCLA each took care of business last night, which sets the stage for their big showdown Saturday at new Pauley Pavilion on network television.
Behind 21 points from Shabazz Muhammad and 17 from Kyle Anderson, the Bruins had no trouble knocking off Oregon State 74-64 for their 10th straight win. UCLA (15-3) moved ahead of Washington and regained sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 standings at 5-0. It’s the best conference start for the Bruins since 2003-04, coach Ben Howland’s first season in Westwood.
Oregon got its usual balanced scoring, as five players finished in double figures: Damyean Dotson with 16 points. E.J. Singler 14 and Carlos Emory, Tony Woods and Dominic Artis each had 10.
Saturday’s 1 p.m. PT game will be broadcast on CBS.
AROUND THE PAC-12:
— In case you missed it, Scott Suggs and C.J. Wilcox hosted a live chat Thursday and took questions from UW fans. Funny stuff. And informative.
— Bud Withers offers some historical perspective on Washington winning its first three conference games – all on the road.
— It’s a little old, but Andy Glockner, a NCAA tournament bracket guru at SI.com, is the first (I believe) to include the Huskies in his tournament projections. He has UW as the No. 12 seed playing in San Jose in the West region. Glockner has five Pac-12 teams in the tourney, including Arizona (No. 1 seed), UCLA (6), Oregon (6) and Colorado (10).
— On their subscriber site, ESPN recruiting experts make predictions about where Aaron Gordon will go to school. Some say Washington. Others say Arizona and Kentucky.
— Here’s a recent video of Gordon talking about the three schools. Interesting to note, he’s very familiar with UW’s offense and its concepts. He compared UW’s schemes to those used by legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. He also talked about the Huskies’ desire to score in the first eight seconds. Gordon called Arizona coach Sean Miller a good shooting coach and said Kentucky has great facilities if you’re really serious about basketball.
— Washington (12-5, 4-0) plays Utah (8-9, 0-5) on Saturday and the Utes could unveil a different rotation that includes freshmen reserves Brandon Taylor and Justin Seymour who are seemingly deserving of more minutes.
— After Wednesday’s loss at Washington, Colorado has lost four of the last five games. Still the Buffaloes (11-6, 1-4) are trying to remain confident as it heads to Washington State (10-7, 1-3) for Saturday’s game.
— It’s rivalry week in Arizona and plenty of smack talk flying between the No. 7 Wildcats and Sun Devils. Arizona State freshman Jahii Carson got things going when he wrote on his twitter account: “I (don’t) think there is a PG in the PAC better then me. Just me. I think I’ve played the best so far, and it’s my first year playin. Salute.” Arizona’s Solomon Hill said: “That comes with all the social media stuff. He’s feeding into that Arizona-ASU hype, this is his first rival game, and a guy like that, who has a lot of confidence like that, you really can’t say nothing to.”
— USC athletic director Pat Haden said he would spend what it will take to attract a top-tier coach for a program and told the Los Angeles Times: “There are probably some coaches that are untouchables, but I’m surprised with the interest I’ve received in the first two days.”
— The LA Daily News wrote a profile on Trojans interim coach Bob Cantu. Wonder if the 12-year USC assistant is a serious candidate for the job he’s holding or will Haden hire a coach with a high profile?
— Muhmmad and Carson have played so well lately they should receive consideration for the Wooden award, according to ESPN’s Jason King.