Stanford comes to Tucson tomorrow riding a three-game winning streak and the Cardinal is dangerous.
Through the first half of the conference season, Stanford’s John Gage, a 6-10 junior, has emerged as the league’s best sixth man (now that Oregon forward Arsalan Kasemi is starting). Gage ranks sixth in the Pac-12 in this site’s productivity ratings (.757). The productivity ratings are based on a player’s production in his minutes played (see glossary for details).
Dwight Powell, a junior forward, ranks eighth at .676. Despite their consistent productivity, Gage and Powell are not the hottest of the Cardinal currently. Josh Huestis, a 6-7 junior wing player, is the WILDABOUTAZCATS.net Player of the Week (the same honor bestowed upon him by the Pac-12) because of his production in Stanford’s sweep of the Oregon schools at home last weekend.
Huestis had 72 productivity points in 62 minutes (productivity rating of 1.161) against the Ducks and Beavers. His overall Pac-12 productivity rating jumped more than 200 percentage points from .435 before last weekend’s games to .637.
“They were picked to be very good at the very beginning of the season and they’re living up to it now, that’s all,” Oregon State coach Craig Robinson told reporters about Stanford. “They have very good players. Powell is probably a pro, and I’m not sure (point guard Chasson) Randle’s not a pro, either. That kid is good. Then the rest of their pieces fit.”
Randle, a 6-1 sophomore, had 44 productivity points in 69 minutes (.638 productivity rating) last weekend against Oregon and Oregon State.
Arizona freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski, who had his best Pac-12 weekend with 29 productivity points in 49 minutes in wins over Washington and Washington State, was a possibility for conference player of the week. Cal’s 6-10 junior forward Richard Solomon, who plays against the Wildcats on Sunday, posted 46 productivity points in 55 minutes against Oregon State and Oregon.
ASU freshman point guard Jahii Carson continues to establish himself as the most productive point guard in the league. He had 74 productivity points in 69 minutes in the Sun Devils’ split with the Washington schools. His .644 productivity rating at the midway point of the conference season tops Arizona’s Mark Lyons (.565), Oregon State’s Ahmad Starks (.509) and UCLA’s Larry Drew II (.372).
One of the most interesting trends in the Pac-12 through the first half of the season is Oregon State’s inability to win despite keeping games close. The Beavers are in last place in the conference at 1-8 but seven of those losses are by 10 points or less, including three by three points or less.
Two factors: Robinson has yet to prove himself as an elite coach, especially in game management in close games, and the Beavers suffer from a significant dropoff in production after their top five players. That lack of depth costs Oregon State down the stretch.
Oregon State rates favorably in productivity when factoring its top players in terms of minutes played in conference games. The Beavers’ productivity rating of .541 among their most-used six players is only behind UCLA’s .559 (the Bruins also lack depth). Oregon State’s No. 6 player in minutes played — freshman forward Jarmal Reid — has a productivity rating of only .032.
That mark is the worst in the conference. Utah’s Glen Dean (.165) and Cedric Martin (.246), Washington State’s DaVonte Lacy (.196) and ASU’s Chris Colvin (.243) join Reid among the conference’s most unproductive when factoring the top six players in minutes played for each team.
Arizona’s rating is .536. Tarczewski is the UA’s No. 6 productivity player at .460, which is by far the best rating in the conference at that slot. The next best is UCLA’s David Wear, the Bruins’ No. 6 productivity player, with a rating of .358.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
PAC-12′s TOP TEN
This Week (Tucson times):
Stanford at No. 7 Arizona, 7 p.m. (ESPNEWS)
Utah at Oregon State, 8 p.m. (P12N)
Washington at UCLA, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
California at ASU, 7:30 p.m. (P12N)
Colorado at No. 19 Oregon, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Washington State at USC, 9:30 p.m. (P12N)
Utah at No. 19 Oregon, 6 p.m. (P12N)
Washington State at UCLA, 8 p.m. (P12N)
Stanford at ASU, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
California at No. 7 Arizona 5 p.m., (P12N)
Colorado at Oregon State, 7 p.m. (P12N)
Washington at USC, 8 p.m. (FSN)
Players listed are top six in minutes played in Pac-12 games
S: Number of starts.
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)
|ARIZONA STATE (6-3)
|SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (4-5)
|OREGON STATE (1-8)
|WASHINGTON STATE (2-7)
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner