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Crazy night in Pac-10 hoops as UCLA survives scare, Ducks go down

Posted by Jeff Nusser on November 21, 2007

Some were surprised by UCLA’s near upset against Michigan State last night. I was not.

You saw a perfect example of why I don’t have the Bruins ranked No. 1 in my Top 25: They just are not the same without Darren Collison. He is the juice in that engine. He directs the offense, giving it tempo and flow, and is absolutely nails on the defensive end, wreaking havoc with his multitude of steals — 2.2 a game last year.

That the Bruins had the talent and guts to come back in that game says a lot about them, and it was impressive. To do that with all the young players they have against a team that returned all its players, and do it without your team MVP? That’s really saying something. And if you haven’t gotten a look at just how good Kevin Love is, he’s reason A-1 why the Cougs probably can’t win the Pac-10 title this year.

UCLA will be the best team in the country … just not right now.

The other big news of the night was Oregon’s upset loss to St. Mary’s. Informed minds saw that as a potential upset, what with the Ducks traveling for a true road game at the WCC school. It’s easy to chalk up the loss to an unbelievable performance by true freshman Patty (yes, that’s his real first name) Mills, who dropped 37 on the unsuspecting Ducks.

But their problems were bigger than that last night. The No. 12 team in the country never even had the lead against the Gaels after the midway point of the first half. They gave up 61 points in the second half, and sent St. Mary’s to the line 36 times. Some of that was probably due to late fouling, but you get the picture.

In my Top 25 comments, I singled out Tajuan Porter as the key for the Ducks, and that I wasn’t sold on him as a floor leader in the absence of Aaron Brooks. Well, he scored just 13 points last night with one assist and two turnovers. He also shot nine 3s, making only three.

Porter might be 5-foot-6, but he’s no point guard, and Ernie Kent’s insistence on fitting a square peg into a round hole because he has no other true point guard on the roster will be a constant problem for the Ducks this year. On nights when the offense isn’t scoring 90 points, Oregon is going to struggle.

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One Response to “Crazy night in Pac-10 hoops as UCLA survives scare, Ducks go down”

  1. rtmsf said

    Nuss:

    I had trouble emailing you back (my acct, not yours). Anyway, we use VodPod to embed ESPN videos to the site. WordPress supports it, so it should be fairly easy to do. Let me know if you have any problems with it.

    RTC

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