Five Games to Watch in this Year’s Pac-12

Pac-12 Basketball

With the recent release of the Pac-12 Conference’s schedule for the upcoming 2017-2018 season, let’s take a look at some of the more exciting matchups.

Oregon Arizona

1. Oregon @ Arizona (Week of Jan. 10)

Possibly the most anticipated game of the Pac-12 season, Oregon and Arizona ended last year as the conference’s co-champions. Needless to say, this game is a must win in the eyes of both teams; beyond the contest, each roster has something to prove. Arizona may be looking like the stronger team as the season approaches, but undoubtedly both squads return this year with depth, talent, and an itch to show who deserved the crown of the Pac-12 more last year.

USC UCLA

2. USC @ UCLA (Week of Jan. 31)

The classic Golden State matchup, USC v. UCLA never disappoints. USC may be looking forward to the matchup more so this year, now that Lonzo Ball’s dominance has moved just a short way down the road to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, with UCLA’s return of Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh, the Trojans will be no easy challenge to overcome. Bleacher Report preseason rankings finds USC at number ten, thanks to the return of Bennie Boatwright, Chimezie Metu, and Shaquan Aaron. If USC has plans of joining the conference’s elite this season, beating rival UCLA is a good place to start.

UCLA Arizona

3. UCLA @ Arizona, USC @ Arizona State (Week of Feb. 7)

The combination of four powerhouse Pac-12 teams, not just two, highlights this week as one of the most anticipated of the season. While we know the talent that USC, UCLA, and Arizona will be returning is bound to be strong this season, ASU’s squad cannot be overlooked, and will certainly pose a threat to the Trojans, as USC heads to ASU’s home court. With one of the highest scoring backcourts in the Pac-12, the Sun Devils will utilize the ability of their combination of guards to score from the outside, as well as pester the Trojans with under the rim talent.

ASU Arizona

4. Arizona @ Arizona State (Week of Feb. 14)

More commonly known in the southwest as the Duel in the Desert, this fierce rivalry mirrors that of USC and UCLA. No matter what the difference in talent is between these two teams, this game will always be interesting. This year, fans are lucky enough to have two teams that are not worlds apart for the most part. Both sides have talented players returning, and neophytes waiting to be tested. Realistically, Arizona does have the better team–all the reason that their matchup away at ASU is just a bit more anticipated.

Stanford Cal

5. California @ Stanford (Week of Dec. 27)

Ok, so maybe people have their doubts about California; granted, they did have quote an exodus of talent at the end of last season. However, they have a lot of potential to be a good team if they use it correctly. A new head coach means a new coaching style, which means confusion for opponents. Playing against a new coach in college basketball can often leave teams just as baffled as playing against new players. Returning players include defensive threat Kingsley Okoroh, as well as Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee, whose scoring ability will have to be put to good use if Cal wants to see a chance at beating Stanford.

Twitter: @andrew_mck11

Previewing the Pac-12

Arizona

The Pac 12 had the most successful Spring of any conference last basketball season. As a whole they got four teams into the tournament, three into the Sweet 16, two into the Elite 8 and one into the Final Four. And let’s not brush over USC’s upset over fan favorite SMU team. Following the Madness, the conference then saw two of its players go #1 and #2 in the 2017 NBA Draft. The trend of success should continue, as more highly touted prospects join the conference for the 2017-18 season. Let’s take a look at some early pre-season predictions. It should be noted that this does not include the potential transfer of Marvin Bagley, the top player in the Class of 2018 that several Pac 12 teams are in the running for.

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Start of live period brings highly anticipated excitement

If you ask anyone affiliated with high school and college basketball what the most chaotic and busy part of the year is, they’ll probably give you one of two answers: the March Madness, or the July Live Periods.

For four days out of the second, third, and fourth days of each week Division I coaches have the opportunity to watch players all across the country, making each live period a critical time for scouting.

Today, at 5:00 PM, marked the beginning of the first live period, and dozens of D-I coaches flocked to Albright College to see what kind of talent the Elite camp has to offer.

To read about the best performers on the first day of live period, click here

Some of the most notable programs that showed up to scout our talented pool of players included DePaul, St. Bonaventure, George Mason, and Hofstra. A wealth of Patriot and Ivy League coaches were also in attendance, as the bulk of this week’s coaches in attendance were of the mid-major variety.

A bulk of the players that showed off their skills already hold solid lists of Division I offers. Specifically, two of our rising juniors have impressive lists of offers that they can certainly build on this week and in the remaining live periods this summer as members of the class of 2018.

Cormac Ryan (Milton Academy ’18), one of the top prospects at Elite 1, already holds offers from Tulane, DePaul, St. John’s, Davidson, Rice, Boston College, and Penn, While he also holds interest from Notre Dame, Stanford, and Michigan, according to Verbal Commits, the coaching staff of the Maryland Terrapins also told Ryan they planned to be in attendance to see him play this week. 

“I’m excited to get out here with my team, it should be a fun July,” said Ryan. “Hopefully me and my team can get a couple of wins and get looked at. I’m trying to prove that I’m just as good as anybody else, I improved my game in the spring and I want to show that I’m continuing to get better.”

Atiba Taylor (Hackensack ’18), an explosive 6-foot-3 guard  also has the potential to add to his already impressive offer sheet, which includes Connecticut, Rutgers, Manhattan, Fairfield, Rider, Seton Hall, and Temple. Taylor also cited recent interest from SMU and Louisville since the contact period began for rising juniors.

With three days left of live period, countless other players are poised to show off impressive skill sets to a growing list of D-I coaches. We’re looking forward to another great day of hoops!