Weekly Wrap: Pac-10 is the pits
At this rate, the Pac-10 may only have one team dancing come March.
It began with Oregon State losing a pair in Lubbock to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas Tech two weeks ago.
Stanford has lost to San Diego and Oral Roberts.
UCLA dropped one in double-overtime to Cal State Fullerton.
Cal got sent back from New York City with a pair of losses to Syracuse and Ohio State.
And then the Pac-10 got taken to the woodshed by a pair of WCC teams over the weekend — neither of which was named Gonzaga.
Loyola Marymount, a team that won all of three games last season, went into the Galen Center and took care of USC. Portland handed Oregon its first setback, and then Oregon State continued its miserable start with a loss to Sacramento State out of the Big Sky.
But the Pac-10 has several résumé wins, right?
Arizona State has gotten off to a somewhat surprising 4-0 start, but Herb Sendek has gotten fat on cupcakes (Texas State, Western Illinois, San Francisco and TCU). Same for Washington State and Arizona, each of which remain unbeaten.
Even Washington, which should be the cream of a weak Pac-10 crop, hasn't truly been tested with victories against Wright State (without its top two players), Belmont, Portland State and San Jose State.
The best win thus far by a Pac-10 team.
There truly is none.
Maybe ASU's win against TCU or Arizona's victory against Rice in Tucson.
That's what it's come to.
STUD (PLAYER OF WEEK): Wesley Johnson — The Iowa State transfer made Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who has been touting the junior forward for the past year or so, look good with a big-time performance in the win over North Carolina in Madison Square Garden. Johnson went for 25 points (4-for-8 from deep) and eight boards and also defended extremely well in the victory.
DUD: I hate to do this to Craig Robinson, but the Oregon State coach is getting the award for the second consecutive week — this time after a loss to Sacramento State. The Beavers are supposedly a Pac-10 contender, and Sac State is a Big Sky bottom feeder.
MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Portland's Nik Raivio was 10-for-20 from the field, finishing with 25 points and eight rebounds in an 88-81 victory against Oregon.
MID-MAJOR TEAM OF THE WEEK: Loyola Marymount split a pair of games this week, but the victory was a huge one even if it did come against an injury-ravaged USC team. LMU defeated USC on its campus for the first time since 1976-77 and also got its first road win since Dec. 8, 2007 — a streak of 24 consecutive losses.
WORST LOSS: Richmond to William & Mary. The Spiders can ill-afford to have games like this one if Chris Mooney's team is to have any shot of getting at at-large berth at the end of the season. Richmond will continue to improve as Dan Geriot works his way back from a year off due to injury, but this one could hurt down the line.
WEEK TO FORGET: Jeff Capel and Willie Warren — The Oklahoma coach went back to his old stomping ground at VCU and got beat by rookie head coach Shaka Smart. Capel's star player, Willie Warren, had an abysmal game and missed on all eight of his shots from beyond the arc.
BEST EFFORT: Rookie head coach Josh Pastner and the Memphis Tigers were just an inch or so (that's how close Elliott Williams 3-point attempt was off as time expired) away from knocking off top-ranked Kansas. The Tigers played extremely hard and nearly pulled off the upset on a neutral court.
WHY I'M SMARTER THAN I LOOK: Not only did I pick my upset special for the second consecutive week (I called Portland's win over Oregon), but I also said that North Carolina was overrated due to three clear weaknesses. All three were exposed in the loss to Syracuse — point-guard play, perimeter shooting and the lack of a go-to guy who can create his own shot. This Tar Heels team, despite all their talent up front, should be ranked somewhere from 10-25.
SHOT OF THE WEEK: It seems like an eternity ago, but John Wall's last-second heroics against Miami (Ohio) were just seven days ago. The Kentucky freshman point guard, in his first game, showed why he'll likely be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. There's not much he can't do.
LANCE'S DEBUT: Cincinnati freshman Lance Stephenson made his debut early in the week and struggled, going 2-for-10 from the field with seven points. In his second game, a win against Toledo, the talented New Yorker went for 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
BIG TEN NOT NO. 1: I'm not sure how the Big Ten can be considered the elite league in America even with six very good teams because the bottom — Penn State, Northwestern, Iowa and Indiana — has struggled so much early on this season. Penn State has lost to UNC Wilmington and Tulane, Indiana left Puerto Rico with three losses (including one to Boston U.), Iowa has dropped contests to UTSA and Duquesne and while Northwestern has a legitimate loss to Butler, the Wildcats have suffered a huge blow with the season-ending injury to their best player, Kevin Coble.
MISSING STEPH: Has anyone checked Davidson's record lately? The Wildcats, who lost Stephen Curry to the NBA, are winless in their first four games. It's going to be an adjustment for Bob McKillop, but don't be shocked if Davidson finds a way to get back into the Big Dance this March if it can win the Southern Conference tournament.