These are no Siskels and Eberts, but a handful of Pac-12 beat writers had the best – or worst? – view of what was one rotten men’s basketball season. Jeff Faraudo of the Oakland Tribune (Cal), Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic (Arizona State), Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune (Washington) and Tom Kensler of the Denver Post (Colorado) join the Daily News’ Jon Gold for a roundtable discussion on what doomed the conference…and what it can do to fix itself.
6) What was the best game you saw this year?
Jon Gold:: Maybe it was just the venue – Madison Square Garden – or the plot – Steve Lavin, sidelined by cancer, but up in the box watching against his former team and head coach Ben Howland. Or maybe it was just a good game. But St. John’s 66-63 win over the Bruins in New York City was an intriguing matchup of two different styles.
Jeff Faraudo: Cal’s 78-74 home loss to Arizona was a game played at a high level. Arizona was impressive and Cal, despite the loss, competed well. Was a great atmosphere.
Doug Haller: Oddly enough, it was the one I just covered. Arizona at Arizona State. Twenty-two lead changes. Eleven ties. No team led by more than seven points. And somehow, Arizona State won. For once, I got to write a different story.
Bill Oram: Utah 62, Washington State 60 (OT). OK, so not exactly a Final Four preview, but this was a tremendous game. Utah was coming off a 40-point loss to Colorado in Boulder, while Wazzu was still trying (as it still is) to find an identity. Good back-and-forth game that wasn’t resolved until Josh Watkins — moment of silence for Jiggy, please — made a jumper in the paint to give the Utes the final advantage. The shot was an exact copy of the one he made at the end of regulation to force overtime. For those of us around Utah it was a really cool moment. All season we’d wondered, “Will these guys win a conference game?” Here in their second attempt, days after a history loss, they did it. It was an afternoon game and I’ll never forget Larry Krystkowiak, absolutely drained, patting his son Cam on the knee, saying, “C’mon buddy, let’s go have a day off on a Saturday.”
Ryan Divish: Arizona vs. Washington at the McKale Center. Two athletic teams that made plays and played at a high level. Any time a team comes into Tucson and wins, it’s usually going to be an entertaining game.
Tom Kensler: Colorado 72, Oregon 71 in Boulder. Game appeared headed toward overtime when CU point guard Nate Tomlinson was fouled with under 2 seconds remaining as he took the ball right at Oregon’s E.J. Singler on a fastbreak. Tomlinson me the first of two foul shots for the difference.