Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, who will join us in this space for a live chat Thursday, talked to KJR-AM sports radio Monday in a wide-ranging interview. He touched on the conference’s $2.7 billion TV deal with ESPN and Fox, which has forced the league to change the scheduling.
Scott acknowledged some challenges with the TV deal, but noted it’s been a success because it’s increased the league’s exposure while being financially lucrative. Each team nets about $25 million annually.
Scott argued the Washington Huskies, which won the 2011-12 regular-season conference title, would have made the 2012 NCAA tournament if the current deal would have been in place.
“It’s hard to say definitively, but I don’t think that would have happened to UW if we would have had our current TV contract,” he said. “More people would have seen them play. Realized how tough the conference was. The depth of the conference. Realized the amazing talent that they had on that team. I mean, it was a travesty that the Pac-12 champ Washington didn’t get into the NCAA tournament that year. That’s why we needed the TV (deal). That’s why we needed the new contracts.”
TUESDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Following Sunday’s win, which delivered Arizona the outright Pac-12 regular-season title someone asked coach Sean Miller who he thought should win the conference’s MVP award. Of course, Miller was partial while campaigning for junior Nick Johnson. Miller told the Arizona Daily Star: “I would think Nick Johnson would be the leading candidate, and there’s two reasons. Number one, we were the No. 1 team. I think that’s always taken into great account by the coaches who vote but also, just being very realistic, he has had a phenomenal season. What he does on defense, that alone he’s an all-defense (Pac-12) guy, one of the best defensive guards probably who plays college basketball. And from offensive perspective, he’s our leading scorer.”
— Oregon guard Jason Calliste didn’t mince words when he said: “I hate Arizona State.” You might think the ill will stems from the off-court incident at Wells Fargo Arena after ASU’s 74-72 win when a Sun Devils spit on members of the Oregon team. However, Calliste, a transfer who played at Detroit, said his dislike of the Ducks began after they eliminated his former team in the NIT last year.
— Utah is playing meaningful games in March which is signs of progress for a program that had fallen so far.
— If Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had is way, college basketball would no longer be the feeder system for the NBA and a young star like Nigel Williams-Goss would play in the NBA Developmental League rather than the Washington Huskies.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Arizona State (21-8, 10-6) at Oregon (20-8, 8-8), 8 p.m. PT ……… Fox Sports 1
Pac-12 tally: 71-25 (.739)
Season tally: 170-48 (.780)