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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

November 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Some heavyweight holiday stuff on the schedule in hoops . . .

A certain rhythm dominate early college basketball, including the Pac-12. Open with some beatable teams, and then jump into something more testy Thanksgiving week (or for a couple, this weekend). That’s the way it shapes up for most of the teams in the league.

Washington’s loss to Albany Tuesday night is the only one suffered so far, but that has a lot to do with some easy competition (of course, that was supposed to include Albany).

The early rundown:

Arizona (1-0)

Beat Charleston Southern, 82-73. Hosts UTEP Thursday night and Long Beach State Monday night. ‘Cats aren’t in a Thanksgiving-holiday tournament, opting instead for the Diamond Head Classic in December.

Developments: Xavier transfer Mark Lyons seems to have the keys to the bus. He had 17 points and six assists in the opener, in which freshman bigs Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett started but had modest numbers.

Arizona State (1-0)

Beat Central Arkansas, 79-64. Hosts Florida A&M and Cornell Sunday and Tuesday in prelims to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational, then moves to Sin City to play Arkansas next Friday at Orleans Arena and either Wisconsin or Creighton Saturday.

Developments: Jahii Carson, the long-awaited point guard, had 15 points and five assists in the opener.

Colorado (1-0)

Beat Wofford, 74-59. Moves to Charleston (S.C.) Classic for opener against Dayton Thursday, follows with either Baylor or Boston College Friday, with the final Sunday.

Developments: Josh Scott, 6-10 freshman from Monument, Colo., started the opener and hit 10 of 11 free throws.

Cal (2-0)

Beat Cal State-Bakersfield, 78-65, beat Pepperdine, 79-62. Travels to University of Denver for a Friday-night game, then hooks up in the DirecTV Classic (wonder if Mike Montgomery can put in a good word for Pac-12 Networks while he’s there?) in Anaheim, opening with Drake Thanksgiving night. Also in the field are Saint Mary’s, Xavier, Georgia Tech and Drexel.

Developments: Off-guard Allen Crabbe has been on fire, with games of 27 and 33 points, respectively.

Oregon (2-0)

Beat Northern Arizona, 83-73, beat Portland State, 80-69. Hosts Vanderbilt Friday night, then plays at UNLV Nov. 23 in the Global Sports Classic, and either Cincinnati or Iowa State in a second game.

Developments: In a new-look roster, touted point guard Dominic Artis is making an impact, with 26 points in two games, including 4-of-8 three-point shooting against PSU.

Oregon State (2-0)

Beat Niagara, 102-83, beat New Mexico State, 71-62. Travels to the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden to face Alabama Thursday and either Purdue or Villanova Friday. SEC media picked ‘Bama for sixth in 2012-13.

Developments: Ahmad Starks hit 6 of 11 threes in the opener and dropped 33 on New Mexico State (a media pick to finish second in the WAC) to win Pac-12 player-of-the-week honors. Beavers are trotting out a deeply veteran roster.

Stanford (2-0)

Beat San Francisco, 74-62, beat Cal State-Fullerton, 81-68. Cardinal has home games against Alcorn State and Belmont before swimming in shark-infested waters in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, starting Thanksgiving day against Missouri, and then getting either Louisville or Northern Iowa. The bracket also includes Duke, Minnesota and Memphis.

Developments: Dwight Powell, somewhat of an enigma last season, had 27 points in the USF win (side note: Cole Dickerson, Federal Way product, had 19 rebounds for USF), then followed up with a 14-point, 12-rebound game against CSUF.

UCLA (2-0)

Beat Indiana State, 86-59, beat UC-Irvine in OT, 80-79. Meets Georgetown Monday in Brooklyn in the Legends Classic, followed by either No. 1-ranked Indiana or Georgia.

Developments: Freshman guard Jordan Adams of Atlanta has been an immediate sensation, with 21 points in 22 minutes off the bench in the opener, and then a 26-point effort in which he hit all 16 of his free throws against UCI. Josh Smith, the big guy from Kentwood, has played a total of 27 minutes. Shabazz Muhammad, the high-profile recruit from Las Vegas, has been declared ineligible, but the penalty hasn’t yet been determined.

USC (2-0)

Beat Coppin State, 87-73, beat Long Beach State, 62-44. Trojans open with Illinois Monday in the Maui Invitational, which also includes Texas, North Carolina, Marquette and Butler. Illini are figured to be no better than mid-range in the rugged Big Ten.

Developments: Revamped roster after a season of multiple injuries has responded well so far. J.T. Terrell, 6-3 guard who began at Wake Forest and played last season at Peninsula JC, apparently has the green light, but is 7 for 25 on field goals. Trojans held LBSU to only 12 field goals. In the opener, USC used 11 players in the first eight minutes, more than it played in any game last year.

Utah (1-0)

Beat Willamette, 104-47. Hosts Sacramento State Friday night, then the Utah Thanksgiving tournament next week. Utes aren’t extending themselves too severely in the pre-conference, as the event also includes Wright State, Central Michigan and Idaho State.

Developments: Glen Dean, Roosevelt High product and Eastern Washington transfer, started and had 10 points and four assists in the easy opener. Jordan Loveridge, a 6-6 state-of-Utah product, had 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Washington (1-1)

Beat Loyola (Md.), 85-63, lost to Albany, 63-62. Travels to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut to play Seton Hall Saturday and either Ohio State or Rhode Island Sunday.

Developments: The Albany loss felt a bit like the gut-shot defeat administered by South Dakota State last December, although in a different fashion. Albany, by the way, was picked fourth by coaches in the America East in a preseason poll. The concussion sustained by Scott Suggs could be a significant setback if he’s unavailable this weekend.

Washington State (1-0)

Beat Eastern Washington, 88-69. Host Utah Valley Wednesday night, plays at Pepperdine Friday night, and at the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, playing Kansas Monday night and either St. Louis or Texas A&M Tuesday night.

Developments: D.J. Shelton had 12 rebounds against Eastern, a positive sign for a team that needs inside help. An NBA scout who saw their game against EWU told me, “They’re going to struggle against Pac-12 teams.”

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