November 3, 2006

Pac-10 Notes: UA picked second by media

Pac-10 Media Day was on Thursday and here are some notes on Arizona and the Pac-10 with basketball season beginning to kick off. The Wildcats being picked second in the conference by the majority of the media outlets but are getting a lot of respect nationally.

  • Arizona was picked to finish second in the Pac-10 by the conference's media members, with UCLA being chosen first. Here's how the media voted:

    Team 1st place votes Points

    1. UCLA (21) 335
    2. Arizona (13) 280
    3. Washington 236
    4. Oregon (1) 193
    5. California 177
    6. USC 160
    7. Stanford 127
    8. Oregon State 75
    9. Arizona State 69
    10. Washington State 54

  • This is the first time in five years and the second time in eight years that Arizona isn't predicted to win the conference. Over the past seven years, Arizona has won three Pac-10 titles.

  • A voter picking Oregon to win this year's Pac-10 title had to be the surprise of this year's Pac-10 media day. UO head coach Ernie Kent is on the hot seat after several consecutive seasons of underachieving squads.

  • Basketball magazines Street & Smith's, The Sporting News, Blue Ribbon and Athlon's all chose UCLA to finish first and Arizona second. Lindy's chose Arizona over UCLA.

  • Arizona's national ranking according to the following media outlets: Website: 7
    Lindy's: 7
    Blue Ribbon: 9
    ESPN/USA Today: 10 12
    Street & Smith's: 12
    The Sporting News: 12 Magazine: 30

  • can't make a decision about Arizona. The website ranks the Wildcats 7th in the country but the magazine ranks Arizona 30th, with the following analysis:

    "Even when Lute Olsen's Wildcats are down, they don't fall too far… At this point, Olsen's program is judged by how far it goes in the NCAA Tournament, not if they make the Big Dance."

    So while the magazine doesn't like Arizona and can't spell the coach's name, it does have an interesting prediction for the Wildcats' national finish. They predict Arizona, a 2nd seed (not bad for the 30th best team in the country) to lose in the championship game to Ohio State.

    Figure that one out.

  • Three Pac-10 teams have started off the season with exhibition games. Here's how those schools fared.

    Oregon 93, Lewis and Clark 55: Maarty Leunen led the Ducks with 16 points and 20 rebounds, Aaron Brooks had 21 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 5 steals and 4 turnovers and freshman Tajuan Porter led all scorers with 29 points.

    UCLA 73, Cal Poly Pomona 43: Arron Afflalo's 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists led the Bruins with Josh Shipp scoring 16 points in 22 minutes.

    California 83, Sonoma State 51: Ryan Anderson led the way with 17 points, Theo Robertson scored 11 points to go with 7 rebounds and 6 assists and Devon Hardin scored 12 points with 8 rebounds.

  • Lute Olson (with an 'O') had the following comments on the Wildcats at Thursday's Pac-10 Media Day:

    General Remarks: "We open Saturday with our first exhibition game. As far as our team goes, our biggest concern has been injuries as we haven't been able to get our big guys out there together a whole lot. We have good depth as a result, and the practice environment has been such that we can put good players against good players for challenges every day. I think we are going to be a very exciting team. In addition to our returners, I think we have three freshmen who will have an impact on the season.

    On Mustafa Shakur: "The thing that I've tried to get across to Mustafa for the past couple years is that if an NBA team is going to go out and get a shooter, they will find a better shooter. What will get him in the league is his defense and his work ethic. He has great quickness, but he has to be in that leadership role all the time. He has done a great job coming back, he is a team guy. He has come back from that experience, and taken it as a positive one. There is no chip on his shoulder like some guys might have. From the day he stepped back on campus, he has been about the University of Arizona and our team."

    * Information from the Pac-10 Conference was taken for this report.

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