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Pac-12 Confidential

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

February 13, 2014 at 3:23 PM

National, Pac-12 notes and the hoops week ahead . . .

Herewith, some odds and ends, notes, etc., from the Pac-12 and around the country, before we post the usual list of best televised games of the next seven days.

Interesting to me that Arizona and Arizona State have a Friday-night game in Tempe, the last one of which I can’t recall in the Pac-12. Back in the day, the regular format was Friday-Saturday games, but that went the way of the hand-crank telephone.

Friday is the lightest night of the week for college hoops, and the collegiate philosophy has always been that’s a window devoted to the high schools. But I’m told this matchup landed where it did because ESPN normally has an NBA game Friday night and this is All-Star Weekend. And it’s palatable to the two schools because it’s a single-game week for each.

Onward:

–     The Sagarin and RPI computers agree on the top five conferences, in order: Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big East and ACC. The West Coast is No. 9 in the RPI, not bad considering it’s one ahead of the Mountain West and two ahead of the Missouri Valley.

–    Trent Johnson, the Seattle product, ex-Washington assistant and former head coach at Nevada, Stanford and LSU, is going to need some serious fortitude — and, no doubt, time — trying to reverse fortunes at TCU. He’s 2-27 in league games over two years there (0-11 this season), and the Big 12 is a colossus this year.

–    Apropos of the Big 12, the league trumpets the fact that until this year, nobody in college hoops had beaten four AP Top 25 teams in four consecutive games since 1997, but both Kansas and Texas have done it in 2014.

–   While the Pac-12’s road teams are only 10-34 since Jan. 15, entering this week the Big Ten’s had won 13 of the last 26 since Jan. 25. Perhaps more remarkable, every team in the Big Ten has won a league road game.

–   Ryan Spangler, the Gonzaga transfer who left to get closer to his home in Oklahoma, leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.0 a game for the Sooners.

–   Oregon State is shooting a shocking 47.6 percent on threes in league games, when nobody else in the league is as high as 40. But it also has one of the Pac-12′s more imposing front lines, and yet the Beavers are under .500 in league play.

–   Lost in the woes of Washington State is the recent rebounding of forward D.J. Shelton, who has an astonishing 58 boards in the last four games, including efforts of 18 and 19.

–    While Pac-12 teams are generally struggling in attendance, Big Ten schools are averaging 13,368 a game, most in 14 years. Only two schools, Northwestern and Penn State, fail to draw 10,000 a game.

–    UCLA guard Kyle Anderson, who has 201 rebounds and 153 assists, is the first Bruin to go 200-100 since Charles O’Bannon in 1994-95, when UCLA won the national title.

–    Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson needs six points to hit the 500 mark and become the first Beaver to do it since Gary Payton in 1989 and 1990.

–   When Oregon State and Arizona State combined for 40 overtime points last week in ASU’s win, it tied for the second-most points in an OT in college history.

Now to the schedule, which has been trimmed back significantly Thursday night by snow and ice up and down the East Coast:

Thursday

Minnesota at Wisconsin, ESPN, 6 p.m. Gophers would tie Badgers at 6-6 in Big Ten with a win.

Colorado at UCLA, ESPN2, 6 p.m. Next job for Buffs: Proving they can win on the road.

Pepperdine at Gonzaga, Root, 6 p.m. Zags need to get Pangos healthy, rebound better.

Utah at USC, Pac-12 Networks, 7:30 p.m. Utes can’t afford a loss here.

Friday

Arizona at Arizona State, ESPN, 6 p.m. Sun Devils have a sellout for rival Wildcats, as well as some extra security after spitting incident last week.

Saturday

Pittsburgh at North Carolina, CBS, 10 a.m. Panthers probably have a hangover from Syracuse near-miss.

Cal at Washington, Pac-12 Networks, noon. Huskies seek to avenge Berkeley blowout.

Utah at UCLA, Pac-12 Networks, 2 p.m. Utes only team in the conference that hasn’t won a road game – all year.

Maryland at Duke, ESPN, 3 p.m. This assumes the foul weather on Eastern seaboard clears.

Stanford at Washington State, Pac-12 Networks, 4 p.m. Two teams that had gnawing. close losses Wednesday night.

Brigham Young at St. Mary’s, ESPN2, 5 p.m. Loser here has its NCAA at-large chances take a hit.

Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga, Root, 5 p.m. In convoluted WCC schedule, it’s senior night already at GU.

Florida at Kentucky, ESPN, 6 p.m. Without a doubt, game of the week.

Sunday

Wisconsin at Michigan, CBS, 10 a.m. Wolverine win in Columbus was big.

Oregon State at Oregon, Fox Sports 1, noon. No teams in college hoops have met more than these (340).

Villanova at Creighton, Fox Sports 1, 2 p.m. Jays made unthinkable 21 threes in 28-point win in Philly.

Colorado at USC, ESPNU, 5 p.m. Big deficit for USC: Negative 5.2 turnover margin.

Tuesday

Texas at Iowa State, ESPN2, 4 p.m. Cyclones got schooled by 25 at West Virginia.

Wednesday

Washington at Oregon, ESPN2, 6 p.m. Huskies need to dig out a win somewhere in Willamette Valley.

Arizona at Utah, Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m. ‘Cats trip more important to mountain schools than UA itself.

UCLA at Cal, Pac-12 Networks, 7:30 p.m. Cal tough to figure, but also rugged at home.

Arizona State at Colorado, ESPNU, 8 p.m. ASU has lately been aces, but this continues a testy stretch.

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