Road tests looming for Washington, Colorado
Don’t look now, but Washington (16-7, 9-2 Pac-12) is
hot. The Huskies have won five in a row and are in sole possession of first
place in the Pac-12. They must now hit the road for five of their last seven
games, beginning on Thursday at Oregon.
The Huskies are 3-1 on the road and just one of three teams to have a
winning record in conference road games. As a whole, the conference is 20-46 on
the road in Pac-12 play.
Colorado (16-7, 8-3) is in the thick of the Pac-12 race. The Buffaloes
are just a game behind first-place Washington. They also have to play five of
their last seven games on the road. The Buffaloes are a perfect 7-0 at home in
conference games. Playing on the road has been a different story. Colorado is
1-3 this season in Pac-12 road games. The Buffaloes will look to change that on
Thursday at Arizona. Colorado
has won 9 of 14 all time against the Wildcats.
Cal (18-6, 8-3) is tied for second with Colorado. The Golden Bears are
coming off of a 21-point win over Arizona State last Saturday, but that was two
days after they relinquished their lead in the conference with a four-point
loss to Arizona and reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, Kyle Fogg. Cal
will be at USC on Thursday. Forward Harper Kamp is close to reaching a
couple of milestones. The senior is 19 points shy of 1,000 for his career, and
seven rebounds shy of 500.
Devoe Joseph continues to make an impact for Oregon (16-7, 7-4). The
senior guard is averaging 18 points over his last nine games. On Thursday,
Joseph and the Ducks will welcome a very hot Washington Huskies team to Matthew
No team was more impressive than Arizona (16-8, 7-4) last week. The
Wildcats swept the Bay Area schools, thanks in part to the stellar play of
Fogg. In Arizona’s 78-74 win at Cal last Thursday, Fogg scored 23 points, knocked
down 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc and added four assists. In a 56-43 win at
Stanford on Saturday, Fogg scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers with
four more assists. Defensively he held his opposition to 8 of 28 from the
field. The Wildcats return home this weekend to host Colorado and Utah.
Stanford (16-7, 6-5) has fallen on some rough times. After starting
conference play 5-1, the Cardinal have lost four of their last five games as
they prepare to visit UCLA on
Thursday. Their most recent loss was a 13-point defeat at the hands of Arizona,
in which they were held to 25% shooting from the field. Stanford defeated UCLA 60-59
in their earlier matchup in late December.
Some home cooking did Joshua Smith good. He put together his best back-to-back
performances of the season for UCLA (13-10, 6-5) when it visited the
Washington schools last weekend. Smith averaged 21.5 points and seven rebounds
last weekend. He scored a career-high 24 points last Thursday against
Washington with friends and family in attendance. Smith attended high school in
the Seattle suburb of Kent, Wash. The Bruins will host the Bay Area schools
this week, both of which defeated UCLA earlier this season.
Jared Cunningham continues to lead the conference in scoring with 18
points per game and recently he’s been shooting Oregon State (15-8, 5-6)
into wins. The Beavers have won four of their last five games. Defense has been
a key as well. They’re second in the nation in steals per game (10.3). They had
16 steals last Saturday in their win over Utah. Cunningham had four steals to
go along with 20 points. The Beavers will play host to the Washington schools
this weekend, beginning with Washington State on Thursday, a team they lost to
by five points earlier this season.
While Washington State (12-11, 4-7) is continuing to adjust to life
without senior guard Faisal Aden (ACL), forward Brock Motum has
stepped up his game. In the three games Aden has missed, Motum is averaging
28.3 points per game.
Arizona State (7-16, 3-8) is another team that is battling a tough
injury. Junior forward Trent Lockett has missed the team’s last six
games with an ankle injury. Over the last six games without Lockett in the
lineup, the Sun Devils are averaging 12 less points per game.
The Sun Devils will be a welcome sight for Utah (5-18, 2-9). Since their
21-point win over Arizona State last month, the Utes have lost in a row. Those
losses have been by an average of 18.3 points. The Utes are 2-15 in games
decided by 11 or more points.
The last outing for USC (6-18, 1-10) was a 28-point
shellacking in Seattle. One bright spot for the Trojans has been the play of
sophomore forward Garrett Jackson. He’s averaging 15.3 points over his
last three games. More production has come with increased minutes. In the last
three games, he’s averaging 31.7 minutes per contest. Jackson averaged 16.5
minutes in the Trojans first 21 games. USC was swept in the Pacific Northwest
last weekend and have lost 11 of its last 12 games.