This week, we celebrated Groundhog Day.  This is a day where groundhogs across North America make public appearances to determine whether winter will continue for another six weeks or end early.  None of the groundhogs can agree on what will happen.  But if the groundhogs were asked about college basketball, we at World Financial Group (WFG) would hope that they are as enthralled with the WFG-sponsored Pac-10 men’s basketball season as we are.  One team is currently on a four game win streak and another two are neck and neck for the lead in the conference. 

But before we examine the match ups for this week, let’s look back at last week’s games.  Oregon State, the team on that four game win streak, took games from Cal State Bakersfield (non-Pac-10) and Oregon.  Arizona easily won over the two Washington based schools.  Washington State and Washington won against Arizona State.  And the Los Angeles schools, USC and UCLA, easily defended their home courts against Stanford and California. 

In the polls, three teams have found homes.  UCLA is the highest ranked in both the ESPN/USA Today poll (12) and the AP poll (15).  Arizona State finds itself at 23 with ESPN and 24 in the AP.  And Washington has the 25th spot in the ESPN poll and 22nd place among the AP.  And we at WFG would be remiss if we didn’t mention that USC also received votes in both polls (31 ESPN, 36 AP) along with Arizona receiving votes in the AP (tied for 42). 

This week’s action began rather early.  On Wednesday, February 4, the University of Southern California Trojans traveled across town to take on the UCLA Bruins.  UCLA was tied for first among the Pac-10 schools with Washington while USC was only a game behind.  USC junior forward Taj Gibson has posted four double-doubles in his last six games.  UCLA senior guard Darren Collison has made 22 out of his last 23 shots at the free-throw line.  The 228th “Battle for Los Angeles” ended with UCLA triumphant by a score of 76-60. 

We at World Financial Group followed hoops action on Thursday, February 5, which saw:

  • The Arizona Wildcats traveling to Oregon State to take on the Beavers.  Arizona won its last three games while Oregon State won its last four.  Arizona freshman guard Kyle Fogg has left defenses in a fog with an average of 15.0 points in his last three games.  Oregon State sophomore guard Calvin Haynes has gone 14 for 27 beyond the three point arc during the Beaver’s current win streak.  The Wildcats proved to be a little too powerful for the Beavers.  They took this game by a score of 56-53.
  • The Arizona State Sun Devils  visiting Eugene, Ore. to take on the Oregon Ducks.  Both teams hoped to snap their current losing streaks of two and nine games, respectively.  Sun Devil senior forward Jeff Pendergraph led the Pac-10 in field goal percentage and was third among NCAA players.  Oregon junior guard Tajuan Porter has cracked the all time Pac-10 list for three pointers.  His 248 career three pointers is good for ninth all time Pac-10.  And the Sun Devils scorched (sorry) the Ducks with a 66-57 victory.
  • The nationally ranked Washington Huskies traveling to Berkeley to take on the California Golden Bears.  Washington had a share of the Pac-10 lead while California was a respectable two games back and still in the hunt.  Washington senior guard Justin Dentmon averaged 26.5 points during the Huskies visit to the Grand Canyon State.  California leads the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage with a respectable .458.  In an upset, California won over Washington by a score of 86-71
  • The Washington State Cougars visiting Palo Alto and the Stanford Cardinals.  Both teams sought to end their current losing streaks of one and three games, respectively.  Cougar freshman guard Klay Thompson set a WSU freshman record with eight three pointers against Arizona State recently.  Stanford, though, has had the better luck against Washington State on their home court, having taken eleven of their last twelve games.  And the luck continued for Stanford.  Eleven points was their margin of victory as they won 65-54. 

And we at WFG watched the following games this past Saturday and Sunday:

  • In non-conference action, Notre Dame visited UCLA and UCLA won 89-63
  • Arizona traveled to Oregon on Saturday and won 87-77
  • Arizona State came calling on Oregon State and left with a 49-38 victory.
  • Washington State and California played the sole night game Saturday.  California took this contest 71-63
  • Sunday’s lone game featured Washington at Stanford.  And Washington left Palo Alto with a 75-68 win. 

Pac-10 Player of the Week honors went to Arizona junior forward Chase Budinger.  During last week’s games versus Washington and Washington State, Chase averaged 22 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists.  He also didn’t turn the ball over once.  Chase, your friends at World Financial Group extend our congratulations for your accomplishments on the hardwood.

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