Pac-12 Games To Watch This Week

By Evan Barnes
Casey Sapio – USA Today Sports Images

With Week Two of Pac-12 play upon us, here’s my pick for the games to watch this week. If it’s as exciting as last week’s action, we’ll be in for another treat.

Arizona at Oregon (Thursday): Another day, another test for the Wildcats, who keep finding more ways to survive than roaches. They have to face a team in Oregon, who’s fresh off blitzing Oregon State in the second half of their game Sunday.

Look for Oregon freshman Damyean Dotson to cause fits in the backcourt. The Ducks are a great rebounding team so if Arizona hopes to win, they need to take smart shots. If they fall behind early like they did to Colorado, they don’t have the benefit of a home crowd to inspire them. My pick: Arizona

UCLA at Colorado (Saturday): The first major road trip for the Bruins and they have to face a Buffaloes team that’s earned sympathy for how they lost to Arizona. A Buffaloes team that has the type of guards who can give the Bruins fits in Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie.

UCLA’s been improving defensively so this will be another test to see if they can slow Booker and Dinwiddie. On the flipside, Colorado has to find a way to slow down Shabazz Muhammad. Look for a good inside matchup with Andre Roberson and Travis Wear as whoever wins that could be the X-factor. My pick: UCLA

(Fun fact. Dinwiddie and UCLA’s Larry Drew both won section titles at the same high school (Taft) in Los Angeles. Drew did it in 2008, Dinwiddie in 2011 and both were named section Player of the Year.)

Washington State vs. California (Saturday): A battle of two of the best scorers in the Pac-12 as No. 1 Allen Crabbe (21.4 ppg) goes against No. 3 Brock Motum (19.4 ppg).

Motum only had 15 pts and he might have a hard time scoring against Cal’s taller frontcourt. Crabbe had 21 and 27 against UCLA and USC so it looks like he’s due for another 20-point game even though Washington State is 4th in the conference in FG% allowed. My pick: California.

USC at Utah (Saturday): How is this intriguing you say? Both teams were pleasant surprises last week as Utah took Arizona State and Arizona to the wire on the road while USC beat Stanford and hung tough with California.

So consider this a game to see which team is a better candidate to deserve further attention in Week 3. Both teams had low expectations entering conference play so sit back and watch to see which team is maybe the best of the lower half of the Pac-12. My pick: Utah

For more Pac-12 thoughts on just any cool thoughts in general on sports, music and life, follow me on Twitter: @Evan_B

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