With the start of college hoops and the fact that four football teams are on a bye this weekend, this Pac 10 roundtable is loaded with basketball questions, but we lead off with some bowl questions to get things started:
1. The Pac-10 has 7 bowl contracts to fill and currently only 5 spots filled. Stanford, UCLA, and Arizona State all sit in the middle of the Pac with 6 losses. Out of those three teams, which, if any, will make it to post-season play?
Its pretty clear that Stanford has the best chance. They are already at five wins and their last game is against Cal and rivalry games can often end up being a toss up anyways. Luckily for the Cardinal, their team is actually decent and if they play to their strengths I do not think it would be completely shocking to see Stanford win this game and head to one of the Pac 10's lower tier bowls. Of course, California may simply load up the box and stuff Stanford's running game, but I guess we will just have to wait and see. ASU and ucla, however, basically face a bowl elimination game against each other and then must play Arizona and USC respectively. Although Arizona State has a somewhat realistic shot, right now I would be surprised if either of these teams find themselves in the post season.
2. Is there anybody NOT rooting for OSU to win out and go to the Rose Bowl? Anybody? I think even Pete Carroll has to have a spot in his heart for this story. And if OSU does win the Pac10, pushing USC to 2nd, do you think USC will make a BCS game or find itself in the Holiday Bowl?
Actually i wouldn't mind Oregon State winning out and heading to the Rose Bowl. USC would probably end up in the Fiesta Bowl against a Big 12 or SEC team and a lot of fans would like to have a trip somewhere other than the Rose Bowl as a change of pace. I know that personally I would love to see SC play one of those big bad SEC teams (ha!), and I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who would not mind a little bit of a west coast beatdown.
3. Let's take a stroll down b-ball lane. What are your Pac10 rankings for B-Ball?
I am currently working on a preview, but here is how I think the final standings will look:
2. Arizona State
3. USC (tied for 1st if Alex Stepheson is eligible)
5. Washington State
10. Oregon State
4. Now that we've seen your B-Ball Top 10 (with assuredly UCLA at the top and OSU at the bottom), who is your surprise team this year? And why is it Cal?
The easy pick is Washington here (due to a solid recruiting class, underachieving talent, and Jon Brockman), but I think a lot of people will overlook WSU. The Cougars return a solid core of players including likely all conference center Aaron Baynes along with their most efficient scorer in sharpshooter Taylor Rochestie. They also bring back solid bench player Daven Harmeling and added an excellent adn highly underrated recruit in Klay Thompson. Despite the loss of a lot of their stars, Washington State can still rely on its stingy defense and their ability to control the pace of the game. They will be a much better team then people will give them credit for in the preseason.
5. With the legendary Lute Olsen out at Arizona, what are their chances of making the tournament this year?
Let's see... No Bayless, no Jennings, no Whitey* and an appaling lack of depth. Then again they also return future first rounders in Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill along with an experienced PG in Nic Wise. But they just lost to UAB too, so I guess in the words of the immortal magic 8 ball, "Reply hazy, try again".
*And no Gaddy, Moser, or Hill, but thats for next year.