Pac-12 links: Isaac Hamilton denies only targeting USC

» For what it’s worth, Isaac Hamilton said he isn’t only targeting USC as he tries to back out of his NLI to UTEP: “It’s a school close so she (grandman) can see me play.” Tim Floyd has his doubts.

» Two Arizona players joined Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA: All-American linebacker Jake Fischer, and transfer kicker Jake Smith.

» Is Jahii Carson the quickest point guard in college basketball? Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Utah’s Jordan Loveridge sheds 25 pounds

» Promising Utah forward Jordan Loveridge has dropped 25 pounds since March, spurred in part by his father’s recent diabetes diagnosis. The 6-foot-6 rising sophomore didn’t want his dad to diet alone.

“As close as we are, it’s something that’s made us closer,” Bill Loveridge told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We talked about it once, and then we’ve just kind of gone out and done it.”

» Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will serve one day in jail for his guilty DUI plea. How long should he be suspended?

» Stanford is the only FBS school that employs African-Americans as athletic director, football head coach and men’s basketball head coach. Is that a big deal? David Shaw: “I think it is a story that it’s not a big story. That’s a great story!” Continue reading

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Pac-12′s Top 25 Players: Who was left out?

With the week’s countdown over, here is a rundown of the Pac-12′s top 25 players as voted on by 11 different writers. I also included my ballot on the right side.

Totaled votes My votes
1 Marqise Lee, USC Marqise Lee, USC
2 Anthony Barr, UCLA Marcus Mariota, Oregon
3 Will Sutton, Arizona State Anthony Barr, UCLA
4 Marcus Mariota, Oregon Will Sutton, Arizona State
5 De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
6 Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona Brett Hundley, UCLA
7 David Yankey, Stanford Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
8 Brett Hundley, UCLA Morgan Breslin, USC
9 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington David Yankey, Stanford
10 Morgan Breslin, USC Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
11 Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon Ed Reynolds, Stanford
12 Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA Trent Murphy, Stanford
13 Ed Reynolds, Stanford Hroniss Grasu, Oregon
14 Scott Crichton, Oregon State Scott Crichton, Oregon State
15 Shayne Skov, Stanford Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA
16 Hroniss Grasu, Oregon Hayes Pullard, USC
17 Trent Murphy, Stanford Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
18 Brandin Cooks, Oregon State Shayne Skov, Stanford
19 Leonard Williams, USC Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
20 Bishop Sankey, Washington Shaq Thompson, Washington
21 Hayes Pullard, USC Deone Buccanon, Washington State
22 Taylor Kelly, Arizona State Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
23 Shaq Thompson, Washington Bishop Sankey, Washington
24 Brendan Bigelow, Cal Paul Richardson, Colorado
25 Silas Redd, USC Eric Kendricks, UCLA

For player bios, see Parts I, II, III, IV and V. The voter list is at the end of Part I.

The per-team tally in the final results: USC 5, Oregon 4, Stanford 4, UCLA 3, Washington 3, Arizona State 2, Oregon State 2, Arizona 1, Cal 1. Washington State, Colorado and Utah were shut out.

Also receiving votes, in descending order: Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Cal stadium debt a ‘noose around the campus’ neck’

» Cal’s newly renovated Memorial Stadium has a marvelous press box view of the San Francisco Bay, but the price may be looming, insurmountable debt. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the school would still be short $132 million even if it sold all 2,902 seats. Stagnated at 1,857, Berkeley is now spending $300,000 a year to “professionalize” sales efforts.

The campus had originally planned to raise $270 million of the $321 million cost through ticket sales.

The whole project seemed ill-conceived from the beginning, what with the reliance on non-binding pledges. An absolute face palm of a quote from John Wilton, vice chancellor for administration and finance: “They learned a commitment is not a commitment until you have a binding document. Now we feel we’re better off.”

In other news, the Bears landed 2014 quarterback Luke Rubenzer, a Scottsdale, Ariz., product rated three stars by Rivals.com. He has generated at least one premature comparison to Russell Wilson, which is fine but does little to avert crippling debt.

» Tucson’s city prosecutor dropped domestic violence charges against Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey, who had been allegedly involved in a December incident with his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend. Carey was an All-American for the Wildcats last season, a card he won’t hesitate to use in the face of trouble.

» Former Washington State athlete and New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason wrote marvelously about his battle with ALS in a guest spot on Peter King’s MMQB. Continue reading

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Bruins steady in latest APR rankings

The NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate reports this morning, which means anyone can go fiddle with the somewhat-cumbersome search engine and figure out which rivals they can mock for their classroom failures. While certainly imperfect, the APR — which factors in eligibility and retention — is still the only college athletics’ only comprehensive academic metric.

Here are the rankings for Pac-12 football, which average out the four academic years through 2011-12:

1. Stanford, 978
2. UCLA, 966
3. Utah, 963
4. Oregon St, 957
5. Arizona, 956
6. Washington, 954
7. Oregon, 951
8. Colorado, 946
9. USC, 945
10. Washington St, 942
11. Arizona St, 937
12. Cal, 935 Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Ed Orgeron berated former player; Arizona adds unique display facemasks

– A USC player from the late 1990s and early 2000s says Ed Orgeron called him a “motherf—-r” for leaving practice 20 minutes early once a week for a statistics class. Best quote: “He M-F’d me all over the place.” Orgeron did not comment.

– These won’t be on the field, but Arizona is getting some unique display-model facemasks — including ones with an A-logo and “Cats” script.

– Stanford released a slick “You Can Play” video, one that features forward Josh Huestis and running back Barry Sanders Jr. Athletic director Bernard Muir opens by setting up chairs for everyone.

– Cal’s speedy but oft-injured tailback Brendan Bigelow has had wheels since he was a kid. The Bears also gave their basketball court a paint job.

– SI’s Andy Staples and former NCAA compliance officer John Infante both break down the problematic nature of the NLI. Continue reading

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UCLA earns a No. 6 seed in NCAAs

Updated with team reactions

UCLA secured a No. 6 seed on Selection Sunday, but the celebration was somewhat muted.

The Bruins were happy more or less happy with the number, though coach Ben Howland said he expected a four- or five-seed. They were fine with playing No. 11-seed Minnesota on Friday, a team they still need to study on film.

But the location? Those 1,300 miles to Austin, Texas, wasn’t what the team wanted — especially not as two other Pac-12 schools were slotted in California. Howland said last week that he was more concerned with the location than the seed, and stuck true to that sentiment after the bracket was released.

“Honestly? I’d rather be Cal right now, playing in San Jose,” he said. “I’d rather be a 12-seed right now, playing in San Jose. Absolutely. Especially for the fans.” Continue reading

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Muhammad leads Bruins in Pac-12 awards

Two days after UCLA won an outright Pac-12 title, Shabazz Muhammad became the eighth player in program history to win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year — sharing the honor with Arizona point guard Jahii Carson.

The star swingman, who ranked third in the Pac-12 with 18.3 points per game, is the first Bruin to win since Kevin Love in 2008. Muhammad also made the 10-man all-conference first team with senior point guard Larry Drew II, while freshman point forward Kyle Anderson was a second-team selection.

Muhammad and Drew both generated some talk for the conference’s Player of the Year Award, but that went to Cal guard Allen Crabbe. Oregon’s Dana Altman won Coach of the Year, and had his Ducks positioned for a conference title before losing the last two games of the season.

Muhammad and Anderson also made the All-Pac-12 Freshman team, but guard Jordan Adams missed the cut for the five-man list. He averaged 15.2 points per game, eighth best in the conference, and was an honorable mention for receiving at least three votes.

Here’s the full list of conference awards: Continue reading

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Pac-12 Power Rankings — 3/7/13

1. Oregon (23-6, 12-4) — The Ducks are the best team in the Pac-12 as long as Dominic Artis is healthy, but he only saw 12 minutes in a win at Oregon State. Oregon should get its first conference title since 2002 if its point guard’s foot injury is no longer a problem. Damyean Dotson also has a hip injury, but is expected to play.

2. Cal (20-10, 12-6) — Cal’s defense had held locked down opponents to 33.7 percent shooting through a seven-win streak, but couldn’t stop Stanford in their season finale. Allen Crabbe and the Cardinal’s Dwight Powell also started a scuffle that ended with the ejection of two players and three assistant coaches — including Mark Madsen.

3. UCLA (22-8, 12-5) — The Bruins lost to Washington State for the first time in 20 years. Washington State was missing its second- and third-leading scorers. Oh, and UCLA forward Travis Wear re-aggravated his sprained right ankle. A share of the Pac-12 title is within reach if Oregon loses, but what an awful night for this team. Continue reading

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Pac-12 Power Rankings — 2/27/13

1. Arizona (23-4, 11-4) — Visits from the Washington schools didn’t provide the stiffest challenges, but Arizona took care of both the Huskies and the Cougars with ease last week. Defense is an issue at times, with coach Sean Miller describing it as “terrible” after beating WSU 73-56. The Wildcats allowed Washington State to shoot 52.2 percent in the second half, and would have been in more trouble had the Cougs shot better than 14 of 28 at the line.

2. Cal (18-9, 10-5) — Conference-leading scorer Allen Crabbe has gone a bit cold lately, but Justin Cobbs ensured that a Bear would be named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the third straight time. In his past six games, Cobbs is averaging 16.6 points on 53.4-percent shooting, his best stretch since November. Cal plays its last three games at home and is at least slightly favored in each.

3. UCLA (20-7, 10-4) — The Bruins’ offense is syncing again three bumpy weeks, helped in part by better ball movement and shot selection. They’ve made 6 of 12 from beyond the arc in each of their past two games. UCLA is likely without forward Travis Wear (sprained foot) for at least another game, which is a troubling prospect as it prepares to host ASU and Arizona. Continue reading

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