Pac 10 subtracted by 8

Feb 22, 2005 3:59 AM

It’s been a year of "The Big Two" for Pac 10 in college basketball, with Arizona and Washington duking (or dunking) it out much of the season. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses among the league’s elite.

ARIZONA: Coach Lute Olson’s Wildcats like to get out and run with opponents. Arizona leads the league in both three point shooting (37 percent) and free throw accuracy (78 percent). The backcourt is tough behind senior Salim Stoudamire (18 ppg), who leads the Cats in scoring and shoots over 90 percent from the charity stripe.

The frontcourt is talented as well, with junior Hasan Adams (12 ppg) and 6-foot-10 senior center Channing Frye (14 ppg, 7.5 rpg) crashing the boards. Arizona is an impressive 6-2 SU/ATS on the road. The Wildcats close the regular season on the road, visiting Washington State, Washington and Arizona State.

WASHINGTON: The Huskies are the ultimate run-and-gun team behind lightening-quick guard attack. The exciting Nate Robinson, a 5-9 junior, and senior Tre Simmons lead Washington in scoring. Brandon Roy, at 6-6, adds more size and is a scorer. Senior guard Will Conroy leads in assists (6.3 apg). Washington’s top rated offense averages 89 points at home, 86 on the road.

The Huskies shooting 48 percent from the floor and lead the Pac 10 in steals. They are also second in three-point shooting (37 percent). The Huskies are No. 1 in rebounding margin (+4.9 rpg) and in scoring margin (14.4). This Saturday is a showdown in Seattle with Arizona. The Huskies will be out to avenge a 91-82 loss at Arizona in a Jan. 22 contest that sailed over the 169 posted total.

STANFORD: The Cardinal has had a fine season despite some key players graduating from a year ago. However, Stanford suffered a major blow last week with the loss of its top scorer, 6-6 junior Dan Grunfeld (17.9 ppg), who hurt his knee and is out for the year. Their defense has been tough, allowing 69 ppg and 43 percent shooting by opponents (both third in the Pac 10.)

With Grunfeld out, more will be asked of junior guard Chris Hernandez (14 ppg) and 6-11 junior Matt Haryasz, who leads the team in rebounding. Stanford lost 76-73 at Washington as a +14 dog and upset Arizona, 87-76, in January. Grunfeld was the hero in the Arizona win with 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting. He will be missed.

ARIZONA ST: Step right up! Hurry, hurry, to see the one-man show at Arizona State! The Sun Devils have struggled in Pac 10 play, but they have a super-talent up front in 6-foot-8 junior Ike Diogu. Big Ike leads the Pac 10 in scoring (22 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg), a one-man show if ever there was one. He also shoots 57 percent from the field and 81 from the line.

Diogu also doesn’t have much around him, with 6-8 sophomore Serge Angounou still learning up front. Big D is a terrific shot blocker, which is why Arizona State leads the Pac 10 in rejections (3.9 pg). ASU is also third in scoring (76.8 ppg), which helps explain a 9-4 "over" mark in Pac 10 play when totals were posted.

OREGON ST: The Beavers have a nice frontcourt duo of 6-foot-8 senior David Lucas (16 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and 6-8 junior Nick Dewitz (13 ppg, 5.0 rpg), while senior guard J.S. Nash runs the backcourt. Oregon State is third in both three-point shooting (37 percent), and defending the three-point shot (32 percent accuracy).

One concern is home/road play. OSU started 10-1 SU, 7-3 ATS at home, but just 2-7 SU, 2-6 ATS away from Corvallis. Last week, the Beavers had a big 90-73 upset victory at home over Washington as a +8 dog. State has home contests this week against Stanford (Thursday) and Cal (Saturday), before ending the regular season at UCLA and USC.