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Archive for March 11th, 2008

My gosh, this conference is ridiculous

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 11, 2008

No, I’m not talking about the officiating.*

I’m talking about the amount of talent on these 10 squads.

That was never more evident than when the Pac-10 unveiled its all-conference teams on Monday, and it was revealed that Kyle Weaver was on the second team.

Without seeing the teams, my first response as a Coug — as someone used to slights, both perceived and real — was, of course, righteous indignation. I was touting Weaver as an all-American not so long ago, and the idea that he couldn’t even make his own conference’s first team was just unbelievable to me.

Then I took a look at the all-Pac-10 teams, and one thought hit me: This conference is loaded with talent. And while I still will disagree with Weaver’s exclusion from the first team, the thought of him being left off doesn’t seem as ridiculous to me as it once did. The sheer volume of talent in the Pac-10 is almost unbelievable.

On the first team alone, I see three guys (Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo and Brook Lopez) who are NBA lottery locks and two others who could well fall there whenever they come out (Ryan Anderson and James Harden).

On the second team is another guy who could be in the lottery (Jarryd Bayless), two other probable first-round picks (Darren Collison and Jon Brockman), and two other guys who could find their way into the first round (Weaver and Maarty Leunen).

On the third team is Chase Budinger, another first-round lock. Russel Westbrook probably will be there when he comes out, as will Taj Gibson. Derrick Low and Jeff Pendergraph, unfortunately look more like second rounders. Sad for them.

But by my count, that’s 11 probable NBA first-round picks, and possibly 13 if you throw in Weaver and Leunen. That is just absolutely nuts.

Now, on to where I disagree. It’s clear that the coaches voted a with a “most talented” mentality rather than the “best player.” While both Harden and Mayo were prolific at scoring and are very talented, you can’t convince me that either one of them had a better season than Weaver. Harden tired tremendously down the stretch as injuries took their toll, and Mayo was a human turnover machine.

Weaver doesn’t score points at the rate they do, but there is more than one way to carry a team, and Weaver absolutely has done that in stretches this year with his playmaking ability and his defense. The baseline passes, the steals, the blocks, the lockdown defense (just ask Mayo) … Weaver’s done it all. I would expect such selections out of media, but I expect Pac-10 coaches — especially when so many of them preach defense — to be a little bit more savvy than that.

Here’s how I would construct the first two teams — the third team and honorable mentions look pretty good to me. Also, I’m curious as to how you would have put them together. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

First team
G – Kyle Weaver
G – Jerryd Bayless (Moves up from second team for me. Explosive scorer who plays well beyond his years.)
F – Ryan Anderson
F – Kevin Love (Totally agree with the coaches picking him as Pac-10 player of the year, by the way.)
C – Brook Lopez

Second team
G – O.J. Mayo
G – James Harden
G – Darren Collison
F – Jon Brockman (What does it mean when a guy averages 17.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the best conference in the country and can’t get on the first team? Sheesh.)
F – Maarty Leunen

Third team
G – Derrick Low
G – Russell Westbrook
F – Chase Budinger
F – Taj Gibson
C – Robin Lopez (This is my only change on the third team. He changes games with his defense and rebounding, more than Pendergraph, who is wildly inconsitent.)

No real gripes with the honorable mentions (which rightly included Aron Baynes), the all-defensive team (which gave a well-deserved honorable mention nod to Robbie Cowgill), and the all-freshman team. What do you think?

* Although I could be, considering the sheer number of games referees have tried to ruin this year, including Saturday’s awesomeness. Good thing they swallowed their whistles when overtime rolled around.


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Butch needs you for a final push

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 11, 2008

You heeded my original call. Now, it’s winning time.

Butch is in first place in the EA Sports NCAA 09 Mascot Challenge voting — FIRST PLACE, above ALL OTHER SCHOOLS — and we want him to stay there. Voting continues until Friday.

Do your duty.

Posted in Around the 'Net | Tagged: | 1 Comment »