While the majority of summer tours in college basketball consist of teams making the trek overseas (or to Canada) together, there are all all-star teams put together to represent a conference or some other entity. The Pac-12 has put together an all-star team of sorts in recent years, and on Tuesday they announced the 12-member squad that will visit Australia to play three games in early July.
Two of those games will be played against the Australian men’s national team, which will be preparing for the Summer Olympics to be played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August.
The coaching staff will be led by Mike Montgomery, who led the programs at both Stanford and California before retiring in 2014, with former Stanford head coach Trent Johnson and former Stanford players Casey Jacobsen and Brevin Knight serving as his assistants. Ten of the conference’s 12 teams will be represented on the roster, with Oregon (which has some players hoping to reach the Olympics for other countries) and UCLA being the teams without a player making the trip.
Also of note for Oregon is the fact that they’ll be taking a summer trip to Spain in August, so their players are already set up for a busy summer.
Arizona and Oregon State will each have two players on the roster, with Kadeem Allen and Chance Comanche making the trip representing Sean Miller’s program and Drew Eubanks and Stephen Thompson Jr. doing so for Wayne Tinkle’s program. Of the 12 players two earned honorable mention all-conference honors (USC’s Jordan McLaughlin and Washington State’s Josh Hawkinson), and Colorado’s Wesley Gordon was a Pac-12 All-Defensive Team selection.
Below is the full roster, and the team is scheduled to depart for Australia from Los Angeles July 7.
G Kadeem Allen (Arizona)
C Chance Comanche (Arizona)
G Tra Holder (Arizona State)
G Stephen Domingo (California)
F Wesley Gordon (Colorado)
F Drew Eubanks (Oregon State)
F Stephen Thompson Jr. (Oregon State)
G/F Dorian Pickens (Stanford)
G Jordan McLaughlin (USC)
G Lorenzo Bonam (Utah)
F Matisse Thybulle (Washington)
F Josh Hawkinson (Washington State)
Pac-12 Conference Tournament Preview and Postseason Awards
The expectation entering the season was that there were at least five teams capable of winning the Pac-12. Sure enough many of the expected contenders remained a factor for a significant portion of the season, with Oregon eventually rising as the class of the conference. Dana Altman’s Ducks went undefeated at home in Pac-12 play and finished above .500 on the road, which is generally a good formula to at the very least contend for a conference title. The play of Dillon Brooks, Elgin Cook and company may make Oregon the favorites in Las Vegas, but they’ll have plenty of challengers as well.
Utah has the conference’s Player of the Year in sophomore center Jakob Poeltl, Arizona and California both have talented rotations and teams such as Colorado, Oregon State, USC and Washington are all capable of making a run as well. As of right now the Pac-12 could be a seven-bid league depending upon not only what happens in Las Vegas but also in other conference tournaments across the country. This much is certain: given how balanced and talented the league is, whoever cuts down the nets Saturday night will have been pushed to their limit.
The Ducks may have just a seven-man rotation, but it’s the versatility within that group that makes them so difficult to deal with. Dillon Brooks, Elgin Cook and Dwayne Benjamin are three forwards who can play just about anywhere on the floor. Freshman Tyler Dorsey can play either guard spot, and big man Chris Boucher is a 6-foot-10 senior who can score in the paint and also on the perimeter.
Both Boucher and Jordan Bell run the floor like gazelles and are incredibly active defensively, and point guard Casey Benson’s improved throughout the course of the season. They’ll score points thanks to the talent and Dana Altman’s offensive schemes. But if Oregon can make things happen defensively and get out in transition, they’re an incredibly tough team to beat.
And if they lose?: Utah
Utah’s rise from team that appeared to be headed towards the NCAA tournament bubble to second place in the Pac-12 is due in large part to the development of their perimeter rotation. Brandon Taylor’s embraced the facilitator role down the stretch, and Lorenzo Bonam’s made strides as well. The Runnin’ Utes can surround elite big man Jakob Poeltl with shooters, thus keeping the spacing that ultimately produces quality shots on a regular basis. Utah ranked second in the conference in field goal percentage defense and fourth in three-point percentage defense, and even with the occasional offensive issues they’ve been solid defensively.
Arizona: The Wildcats are still formidable, even with the end of their streak of two straight Pac-12 regular season titles. Gabe York’s been on fire of late, and with Ryan Anderson and Allonzo Trier leading the way Sean Miller’s team doesn’t lack for talent either.
California: The Golden Bears were the team many were waiting for to get going, and down the stretch they did. The return of Tyrone Wallace helped, and they’ve got two of the nation’s top freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb. But they’ve had their issues away from Berkeley, so we’ll see what they can do in Las Vegas.
The Trojans have struggled a bit down the stretch, losing six of their final eight games of the regular season. That being said, USC’s offensive balance and tempo could lend itself to a run in Las Vegas. Jordan McLaughlin and Julian Jacobs make up a very good point guard duo, and the Trojans have capable scoring options both in the front court and on the perimeter (six players averaging double figures). They’ll need to keep the turnovers to a minimum, but Andy Enfield’s team is one to keep an eye on.
The Bubble Dwellers:
Colorado: The Buffs are in the field. But a loss to a bad Washington State team could make the wait more nerve-wracking than it should be.
Oregon State: The Beavers may have been overlooked by some when it comes to their NCAA tournament hopes. Beat Arizona State, and that should be enough.
USC: The Trojans arrive in Las Vegas in solid shape to land a bid. Avoiding a bad loss against UCLA in their tournament opener should be enough to make them feel comfortable.
Pac-12 Player of the Year: Jakob Poeltl, Utah
Poeltl was the preseason pick for the award, and despite Utah’s occasional issues on the perimeter he’s been very consistent for Larry Krystkowiak’s team. In conference play Poeltl averaged 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, shooting a Pac-12 best 62.4 percent from the field.
Pac-12 Coach of the Year: Dana Altman, Oregon
Three times in the last four seasons Altman’s won this honor, with this most recent award being for leading the Ducks to a regular season Pac-12 title. Oregon navigated injuries early in the season, most notably the loss of the player expected to run the point in Dylan Ennis, and found their groove in conference play when all healthy pieces were back in the fold. And in a season in which road teams had an incredibly hard time picking up wins on a consistent basis, Oregon was one of two teams to sweep two Pac-12 road trips this season (Utah being the other).
First-Team All Pac-12:
Jakob Poeltl, Utah(POY)
Andrew Andrews, Washington: Andrews has been the unquestioned leader for a very young squad, and in conference games he averaged 22.3 points (first in Pac-12) and 5.1 assists (third) per game.
Gary Payton II, Oregon State: Payton’s was named the league’s best defender for a second straight year, and there’s also his versatility. The senior ranked in the top ten in the league in rebounding (ninth), assists (first), steals (first) and assist-to-turnover ratio (third), and 11th in scoring.
Dillon Brooks, Oregon: As good as Brooks was as a freshman, he was even better this season. Averaging 17.1 points per game in Pac-12 play, Brooks was a serious contender for Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Ryan Anderson, Arizona: In his lone season on the court for Arizona, the Boston College transfer averaged 16.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest. He was one of two Pac-12 players to average a double-double in conference play (Washington State’s Josh Hawkinson).
Second Team All Pac-12:
Jaylen Brown, California
Rosco Allen, Stanford
Dejounte Murray, Washington
Elgin Cook, Oregon
Josh Scott, Colorado
Defining moment of the season: Oregon ends Arizona’s 49-game home win streak
CBT Prediction: Oregon’s the pick here, but it would not be a surprise if any of the top four teams left Vegas with the crown.
Shot selection, sluggish play costs No. 11 Oregon at Stanford
Entering this week it appeared as if the question of “who’s the best team in the Pac-12” had a clear answer. No. 11 Oregon sat atop the standings in first place, and with one of the conference’s favorites for Player of the Year in Dillon Brooks leading the way Dana Altman’s Ducks looked to be approaching “elite” status. After the Ducks’ 0-2 weekend in the Bay Area, it’s time to slow down with the “elite” chatter.
Two nights after getting blown out at California the Ducks lost again, this time failing to complete their comeback attempt at Stanford as the Cardinal won 76-72.
Rosco Allen scored 25 points and grabbed seven boards for the Cardinal, shooting 9-for-12 from the field and not struggling all that much to get the looks he preferred. Allen hit shots from all three levels, at the rim, in the mid-range game and from deep, and so did his teammates. As a team Stanford shot 55.3 percent from the field and 9-for-13 from three, with Christian Sanders accounting for ten of the team’s 18 assists and Grant Verhoeven (13 points) and Dorian Pickens (16) chipping in as well.
Oregon, on the other hand, once again got away from the things that have made them so successful offensively. Working to get the best possible shot has worked quite well for the Ducks, given their many offensive options who can score from just about anywhere on the floor. Against Stanford 27 of Oregon’s field goal attempts were three-pointers, far too high a percentage for a team with scoring options such as Brooks, Elgin Cook, Tyler Dorsey and Chris Boucher.
Oregon settled until late in the second half, resulting in a deficit that proved too large to fully erase.
Winning on the road is tough, especially in a conference in which three teams (Arizona, Oregon and Utah) have managed to pick up a road sweep this season. But that can’t result in a team losing sight of what has made it so successful for much of the season. That appeared to be the case for Oregon in their two games in the Bay Area.
The good news for Oregon is that they have the talent needed to ensure that this is but a minor blip on the radar, a weekend that can be used to refocus on what made them the team many pegged as the best in the Pac-12 a week ago. The negative: as a result of this weekend Oregon’s margin for error is now gone, with two-time defending champion Arizona leading the charge.
PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Big Ten showdown and key bubble battles
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 4 Iowa at Indiana, 9:00 p.m.
As a result of their surprising loss at Penn State Saturday night, Tom Crean’s Hoosiers enter this pivotal contest a game back of the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten standings. And with their backloaded conference schedule, this is a game Indiana has to get if they’re to entertain thoughts of winning the Big Ten title. Two of the Big Ten’s best players will be on display in Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff and Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, but both have plenty of help behind them offensively.
Iowa’s Peter Jok has been one of the conference’s most improved players, and the Hoosiers can counter not only with forward Troy Williams but with freshman center Thomas Bryant as well. The key in this one: turnovers, as Indiana has lost the ball on more than 20 percent of their possessions in conference play. That can’t happen tonight if they’re to win.
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 11 Oregon at California, 9:00 p.m.
The Ducks have been the class of the Pac-12 to this point, but a win in Berkeley won’t come easy. The Golden Bears may not be enjoying the success many expected before the season began, but Cuonzo Martin’s team has won all 14 of its home games this season, most recently whipping rival Stanford last weekend.
The problem for Cal: Tyrone Wallace is still out due to injury, and given Oregon’s many versatile scoring options that’s a problem. Pac-12 POY candidate Dillon Brooks leads the way, but Chris Boucher has emerged as one of the conference’s best big men in recent weeks. Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb and Jordan Mathews will need to come up big, as this is a huge contest for Cal’s NCAA tournament hopes.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
The top two teams in the Big West get together in Honolulu, as Hawai’i hosts UC Irvine (1:00 a.m.) in the first of their two meetings this season. This will be a matchup of strengths when the Bows have the ball, as they lead the Big West in two-point field goal percentage (54.7) while UC Irvine leads the conference in two-point percentage defense (38.9) thanks in large part to 7-foot-6 Mamadou Ndiaye. Hawai’i forward Stefan Jankovic (15.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) has been a much-improved player under first-year head coach Eran Ganot, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding.
Two ACC teams with matching 6-5 league records meet at the Carrier Dome, as Syracuse hosts Florida State (7:00 p.m.) in a game both teams need for their respective NCAA tournament résumés. Jim Boeheim’s team should be well-rested, as they haven’t played in nine days, and they’ll need that energy to slow down FSU guards Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Malik Beasley and Dwayne Bacon. The Seminole backcourt is young but talented, and they’ll face two fifth-year seniors in Syracuse’s Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney.
Picking up a home sweep of Utah and Colorado may have given Oregon State’s NCAA tournament hopes some life, but they really need to go on a run here. Tonight’s game at Stanford (11:00 p.m.) represents a good opportunity for Gary Payton II and company to win their third straight, but the Cardinal did win the first meeting in Corvallis back on January 6. In that game rebounding was the deciding factor (Rosco Allen finished with 21 and eight boards, too), as Stanford grabbed half of their available missed shots. OSU can’t let that happen again.
With SMU ineligible for postseason play, the other American Athletic Conference teams are jockeying for position in next month’s conference tournament. Tonight UConn looks to avenge its home loss to Temple January 5 with a win in Philadelphia (7:00 p.m.). Since Amida Brimah’s return the Huskies have played much better basketball, as they have their rim protector and a finisher for Daniel Hamilton’s alley-oop passes back on the court. The Owls have won their last three games, and tonight is their second-best remaining opportunity for a quality win (they play No. 1 Villanova next Wednesday).
At this point, no one’s catching Wichita State for the Missouri Valley regular season title without the Shockers collapsing in epic fashion. But when it comes to who can earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, both Illinois State and Evansville have a shot. The two teams meet in Evansville tonight (8:00 p.m.), with three of the Valley’s best players on display in ISU’s DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell and Evansville’s D.J. Balentine and Edigijus Mockevicius. Evansville won the first meeting by 11 in mid-January, as the Redbirds shot 6-for-31 from three on the night.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
Mercer at Wofford, 7:00 p.m.
Hofstra at William & Mary, 7:00 p.m.
High Point at Coastal Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
James Madison at College of Charleston, 7:00 p.m.
Milwaukee at Oakland, 7:00 p.m.
Pepperdine at Saint Mary’s, 11:00 p.m.
Arizona uses late run, beats Stanford for 12th straight time
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) Gabe York made a long 3-pointer with 8:24 left on the way to 19 points, and No. 12 Arizona survived a Stanford rally midway through the second half for a 71-57 victory Thursday night.
Ryan Anderson added 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (16-3, 4-2 Pac-12) in their 12th straight win against the Cardinal dating to a loss on Jan. 4, 2009.
Arizona’s Kadeem Allen went down in the corner by his team’s bench with 10:55 left then briefly left for the locker room before returning.
Grant Verhoeven provided a big lift in the second half for Stanford (10-7, 3-3), but the Cardinal went cold when it counted as Arizona pulled away for good.
Verhoeven’s three-point play with 15:35 remaining pulled Stanford within 39-37, then he converted another three-point play at 14:19 before a pair of missed free throws by Kaleb Tarczewski. Verhoeven took a charge at 13:20.
Stanford then made just two of its next 14 field-goal tries and went nearly 9 minutes between baskets.
Wildcats coach Sean Miller won his 299th game and could reach 300 victories Saturday night against California in Berkeley.
Arizona, the two-time defending Pac-12 champion picked to win again, has won three in a row since a 103-101 four-overtime loss at USC on Jan. 9.
Arizona’s 12 straight wins in the series mark the program’s longest active winning streak in the conference against any opponent – but the previous two games on Stanford’s home floor in Maples Pavilion were decided by 10 total points.
Two years ago and ranked No. 1, Arizona escaped with a 60-57 win, then an 89-82 victory by the seventh-ranked Wildcats last January.
Marcus Sheffield scored 17 points for the Cardinal, coming off a 77-71 win against Bay Area rival Cal on Thursday. They faced a team either ranked or receiving votes in the AP poll for the fifth time in six games and shot 4 for 21 from 3-point range.
Arizona’s Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who had two big games in sweeping the Washington schools last weekend with 13 total points and 18 assists, was limited to no points and three assists.
The Cardinal began the game 1 for 8 to fall behind 12-4 but Arizona had an offensive drought of its own missing nine of 10 shots during a stretch late in the half as the Cardinal stayed within 31-30 at the break.
Arizona: The Wildcats committed nine first-half turnovers but outrebounded Stanford 42-29. … Miller is 11-0 against Stanford and 50-18 against universities from the state of California, with the Wildcats winning 13 of their last 19 games in California in the regular season and NCAA tournament.
Stanford: Jim Plunkett, Stanford’s only Heisman Trophy winner, sat courtside next to fellow quarterback and two-time Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. … The Cardinal are 12-22 against ranked opponents under eighth-year coach Johnny Dawkins. Arizona was the second-highest ranked team Stanford faced after a loss to No. 8 Villanova in November. The Cardinal beat No. 21 Utah 70-68 in overtime at home Jan. 1.
Arizona: At California on Saturday.
Stanford: Host Arizona State on Saturday.
SUNDAY’S SNACKS: Washington pulls off a stunning comeback
With 14:18 remaining in the game, USC led 66-44 and appeared poised to complete a road sweep of the Washington schools on the first weekend of Pac-12 play. Obviously things didn’t go as planned for the Trojans, who without Julian Jacobs (left the game early in the second half with a left foot injury) unraveled against Washington’s defensive pressure.
Dejounte Murray led Washington with 29 points, and an Andrew Andrews layup gave the Huskies an 86-85 lead with 25 seconds remaining. Jacobs, Jordan McLaughlin and Bennie Boatwright scored 15 apiece for the Trojans in defeat, as 12 second-half turnovers opened the door for a Husky comeback.
No. 8 Arizona 94, Arizona State 82: This game turned about halfway through the second half as Gabe York knocked down three huge three-pointers, resulting in the Wildcats winning in Tempe for the first time in three years. Also of note in this one: Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley was ejected in the game’s final minute.
Ohio State 75, Illinois 73: Marc Loving scored 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Buckeyes held off the shorthanded Fighting Illini in Columbus. The difference came at the foul line, where Ohio State outscored the visitors 28-9. Illinois attempted 32 three-pointers, making 12, but they were unable to make up for the free throw disparity or the fact that Ohio State scored ten more points in the paint (30-20).
Oregon State 70, Oregon 57: Wayne Tinkle’s Beavers controlled the game from start to finish as they beat the rival Ducks in Corvallis. Playing in his first conference game Tres Tinkle led five Beavers in double figures with 19 points to go along with six rebounds. Tinkle and fellow frosh Stephen Thompson Jr. combined to score 29 points off the bench, and defensively Oregon State kept Oregon from getting out in transition. Oregon didn’t score a single fast break point and shot just 35.8 percent from the field.
Marshall’s James Kelly: Kelly accounted for 27 points and 11 rebounds in the Thundering Herd’s win over Western Kentucky.
Washington’s Dejounte Murray: The freshman scored 29 points and grabbed five rebounds in a stunning comeback win over USC.
George Washington’s Tyler Cavanaugh: Cavanaugh accounted for 21 points, ten rebounds and three assists in the Colonials’ 69-63 win over Fordham.
Hampton’s Akim Mitchell: Mitchell missed all seven of his shots from the field, scoring four points in the Pirates’ 30-point home loss to Princeton.
Bradley’s Ronnie Suggs: He had a hard time against the Wichita State backcourt Sunday afternoon, shooting 2-for-10 from the field and committing three turnovers on the 85-58 defeat.
USC’s Jordan McLaughlin: McLaughlin had a rough go of it in the second half of USC’s loss at Washington, committing seven of their 12 second-half turnovers.
Oregon’s Dwayne Benjamin: Benjamin scored just three points in a loss at Oregon State, shooting 1-for-10 from the field.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
Freshman Donovan Mitchell had his best game as a Cardinal, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds, as No. 18 Louisville outlasted Wake Forest, 65-57. Chinanu Onuaku (15 rebounds) and Damion Lee added 12 points each, while Devin Thomas and Bryant Crawford scored 14 apiece for the Demon Deacons.
No. 21 Utah dropped to 0-2 in Pac-12 play with a 71-58 loss at California. The Golden Bears are now 2-0 in league play, and freshman Ivan Rabb scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half to go along with ten rebounds to lead the way. Cal’s now won eight of their last nine games, so how have they managed to turn things around after a bad trip to Las Vegas during Thanksgiving?
Also off to an 0-2 start in Pac-12 play is No. 25 UCLA, which lost 85-78 at Washington State. The Bruins have lost their last three games in Pullman, and Sunday night they allowed the Cougars to shoot 55 percent from the field. Josh Hawkinson (ten rebounds) led five Cougars in double figures with 20 points, with UCLA’s Isaac Hamilton scoring a game-high 27.
OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS
James Kelly scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Marshall’s 94-76 win over Western Kentucky. The Thundering Herd shot 52.1 percent from the field and forced 19 Hilltopper turnovers.
Vermont picked up a nice road win, as they beat Harvard 65-62 at Lavietes Pavilion. Ethan O’Day led the Catamounts with 16 points and Ernie Duncan added 14.
Wichita State scored 48 first-half points, beating Bradley 85-58 on the road. Markis McDuffie scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Fred VanVleet added 13 and five assists.
South Dakota State moved to 14-3 on the year with a 63-59 win over Western Illinois. The Jackrabbits shot just 33.3 percent from the field but still managed to win, with George Marshall scoring 18 points, Mike Daum 17 and Deondre Parks 16.
In a matchup of two of Conference USA’s better teams, UAB erased a 12-point halftime deficit to beat Middle Tennessee 78-67. Robert Brown and Nick Norton scored 14 apiece to lead the way for the Blazers.
Hooper Vint posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds as UTEP beat North Texas 84-75 in El Paso.
Seth Berger and Donte Clark scored 15 points apiece to lead UMass to a 74-67 win at La Salle in the Atlantic 10 opener for both. Jordan Price led all scorers with 23 points, but the Explorers shot 7-for-25 from three.
Tyler Cavanaugh scored 21 points and grabbed ten rebounds and Patricio Garino added 12 and nine as George Washington held off Fordham, 69-63.
Colorado survived in Palo Alto, beating Stanford 56-55 in a game they led by as many as 16 points. Josh Scott finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Buffaloes, with Stanford’s Michael Humphrey leading all scorers with 19 points.