Eleven of twelve schools from the Conference of Champions will tip off their seasons on Friday. Altogether, there are sixteen games featuring PAC 12 schools. Here’s what you need to know.
Steal leads to fast break?
Two talented UCLA freshmen and Liangelo Ball were arrested for shoplifting during the team’s trip to China. Coach Alford is displeased enough to sit them out for the season opener against Georgia Tech. Deep down, he’s probably happy that this makes it look like they aren’t paying players in Westwood.
FBI Tries Officiating PAC 12
Speaking of paying players, USC’s Tony Bland and Arizona’s Book Richardson have now been indicted by a federal grand jury. Their defense teams claim they were scapegoated. So do nervous Arizona fans. Fallout could be serious for the two programs, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the proceedings.
It’s Good to be Nike
Oregon has shown that the departure of most of their final four team is not the end of an era. They’re somehow competing hard for top recruit R.J. Barrett and five-star Bol Bol. As in, it’s Oregon vs Duke & Kentucky. Either Dana Altmann is a genius or there’s money talking. Both are plausible.
Arizona (State?) Lands Five Star Recruit (?!)
That’s right, five star guard Luguentz Dort chose Arizona State over a host of good basketball programs. His final list included Michigan State, Baylor, and Oregon. Bobby Hurley was apparently the difference, winning over Dort with the chance to work on his game and see minutes early. I’m sure the Canadian Dort is also ready for the Tempe sunshine and all of their beautiful ‘campus’.
Wherefore art thou, Romar?
Romar’s last year in Seattle was bad, but his departure arguably left the Huskies worse. UW narrowly escaped embarrassment with Jaylen Nowell’s late shot to defeat D2 St. Martin’s. A good Belmont squad is coming to Seattle, and they currently rank ahead of Washington in KenPom. The Dawgs should be on upset alert.
Stanford also had a too-close-for-comfort game against Chico State. The Cardinal were without heralded freshman Kezie Okpala, but regardless will need to play better perimeter defense moving forward to reach a fifth in conference ranking that some expect. Outside shooting was also a concern until late in the game, when Isaac White led a brief barrage of Stanford threes.
Ain’t Nobody Doing it with Blocks
Cal’s Kingsley Okoroh recorded a triple double against a tiny school from Montana. And he did it with blocks. Okoroh is a capable rim protector who averaged 4.1 blocks per 40 minutes in his Junior season. First year coach Wyking Jones can use all the help he can get from Okoroh in leading a depleted Cal roster into 2018.
Colorado’s Evan Battey has been ruled academically ineligible. Battey took five years to graduate high school. Life after Derrick White is not off to a good start for Tad Boyle.