March Madness looms ever closer. With two weeks remaining in February, World Financial Group fans are on the edge of our seats to see who might emerge from the Pac-10 into the final four. Half the Pac-10 teams boast conference records above .500 and the race for first place is very close. Over one million spectators have caught a Pac-10 Men’s Basketball game live and eleven have been sellouts.
Let’s recap last week’s action. Washington moved into first place all on their own with wins over Oregon and Oregon State. Washington State was able to take a victory from Oregon, but lost to Oregon State. Both Arizona and Arizona State swept the Los Angeles schools. Finally, California topped Stanford in their lone Pac-10 contest.
In the polls, three WFG-sponsored Pac-10 schools are taking residence. The highest ranked is the hot Arizona State. They are tied for 11th in the ESPN/USA Today poll and the AP has them at 14. UCLA, having lost two over the weekend, fell to 15 in the USA Today poll and 20 in the AP poll. Washington continues to find poll real estate with rankings of 19 (ESPN) and 22 (AP). Also receiving votes are California (29 ESPN, 30 AP) and Arizona (tied for 31 ESPN and 30 AP). Hey, that’s half of the Pac-10 receiving national recognition. Pretty cool!
This week, World Financial Group fans watched these games on Thursday, February 19:
- The California Golden Bears traveled to Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks. California was working on a three game win streak while Oregon still sought to win their first Pac-10 game. Led by sophomore forward Harper Kamp with 18 points, the Golden Bears won their 20th game of the season as they handed Oregon a 78-60 loss. For the Ducks, Tajuan Porter scored 19 points.
- The Stanford Cardinals visited the Oregon State Beavers. Stanford hoped to snap a two game losing streak while Oregon State hoped to build on their one game win from last week – and they did! Oregon State now has a two game win streak: junior forward/center Roeland Schaftenaar scored a season-high 26 points in their 66-54 win over the Cardinals. Stanford’s point leader was Jeremy Green, with 19 in the second half.
- The Washington Huskies took on the UCLA Bruins in LA. When they arrived, Washington was on a three game win streak while UCLA hoped to snap their two game losing streak. And the Bruins did so, led by Josh Shipp, Darren Collison, Nikola Dragovic and Alfred Aboya – who scored in double digits – to bring UCLA to a 85-76 win. Washington forward Jon Brockman had 16 points and 14 rebounds for his 55th career double-double. This is now the most rebounds among active players in college basketball.
- The Washington State Cougars visited the USC Trojans. Both teams hoped to snap their one and three game losing streak. But it was USC who came out the victor by a score of 61-51. USC is 13-1 at home this season. WSU player Taylor Rochestie scored 16 points.
Saturday, February 21 saw the following action, and WFG fans watched:
- Washington State versus UCLA. This was a close one, but WSU won 82-81 led by Taylor Rochestie’s 33 points. UCLA Nikola Dragovic scored 23.
- Washington versus USC. The Huskies took this one 60-51, led by Quincy Pondexter’s 22 points. Trojan player Daniel Hackett led USC with 11 points.
- Stanford versus Oregon. And Oregon finally wins in the Pac-10! Duck player Michael Dunigan led Oregon scoring with 14 points, contributing to a 68-60. Stanford’s Landry Fields led the Cardinals with 19 points on the hardwood.
- California versus Oregon State. And Oregon State wins this one 65-54, led by Calvin Haynes’ 19 points and four steals. California’s Theo Robinson led Golden Bear scorers with 15 points.
And on Sunday, February 22, WFG fans watched the “duel in the desert” as the Arizona Wildcats travel to Tempe to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. One win streak will end, as Arizona has won their last seven to Arizona State’s last four. And it was a close one. Arizona State, led by James Harden’s 18 points, won over Arizona by a score of 70-68. Wildcat Nic Wise led Arizona’s scoring drive with 17 points.
Pac-10 Player of the Week honors go to Arizona Wildcat junior guard Nic Wise. Over the past two games, Nic has averaged 26.5 points a game along with three rebounds and two assists. In addition, 62.5% percent of his shots from beyond the three point arc have scored. World Financial Group extends congratulations to this fine student athlete.