Posted: 8:00 a.m. Thursday, March 14, 2013
By Adam Butler
The first round's slate featured games separated by a mere 12-points and absolutely no quit in anyone. Highlighted by Jahii Carson's 34-point effort, the opening games were tremendous. Can today match the already highly set bar?
Pac-12 Round 2 Games
#1 UCLA vs. #9 ASU, 12pm, P12N - These two split the season series and while their first meeting was dubbed a "letdown game" by the Bruins over and over and over again, they let it happen anyway. When they met in Westwood, however, the Devils took UCLA to overtime and so one has to think, and very fairly so, that this game is far from what one might consider a breezy 9v1 game. While LD2 has had a terrific season, he's not always known for his defense. Can he stop Jahii Carson who's hot as a pistol following his career-high 34 points against Stanford? The pup averaged 17 points, 4.5 boards, and 7.5 assists per contest against the Bruins.
#4 Arizona vs. #5 Colorado, 2:30pm, P12N - Another rubber match. This one, however, with slightly more underlying the narrative. We all remember the monitor deal and, frankly, it's overplayed; certainly now considering both teams are likely to dance and the game had slight bearing on the season's outcome. Whatever the case, it adds to the tale of these two programs' budding rivalry, which is the real story. Three of their last five meetings have come down to a final possession and don't expect this one to deviate too far from that trend. Andre Roberson is back in action but the X-factor (pun) here could once again be Xavier Johnson who is now putting up 16/7.5/1 against Arizona. 9/5/0 overall.
#2 California vs. #10 Utah, 6pm, P12N - Utah enters this game as the hottest team in the conference. They're winners of three-straight (first time this season) and looked every part the confident squad expecting to win against USC. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears are coming off an embarrassing home loss in which they tried to fight while down nineteen at home to their primary rivals. They'll have the two most talented players on the court in Cobbs and Crabbe which is definitely something they'll have going for them. But I love a senior swan song and between Jarred DuBois and Jason Washburn, the Utes have two such players putting up numbers better-than-their-averages across this three game winning streak. Can the senior train keep rolling?
#3 Oregon vs. #6 Washington, 8:30pm, ESPNU - Well the Huskies darn near let the Cougs right back into that thing and ensure that the Utes weren't the only surprising team riding a three game win streak. But they didn't. And for much of the game last night they looked like quite a good team. Not surprisingly, the Dawgs were at their best when Gaddy and Suggs were at theirs. At their best, as it were, would not seem to be the level at which the Ducks are playing. They've been uncompetitive in their last two - losses to Colorado and Utah - and would benefit from a return to defense. Across those two games, Oregon allowed their opponents to shoot 52%. A general recipe for losing.