Dane Miller’s Feb 12 Pac-12 Men’s Hoops Previews

The day features three afternoon games on Pac-12 Networks with a nightcap on ESPN

Posted on February 12, 2022

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

Pac-12The Pac-12 doesn’t always get scheduling right, but it deserves some credit for spacing out today’s matchups over a reasonable window.

Three games on the Pac-12 Network take place in the afternoon, while the nightcap features one of the top matchups of the day in College Basketball.

The eyes of the nation will be on the UCLA-USC showdown on ESPN when Mick Cronin seeks his first win against the Trojans since taking over from Steve Alford.

I preview all six games here, and my picks along with Stephen Vilardo’s appear at the bottom.

Oregon Ducks Logo Pac-12California at Oregon

Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR
Saturday, February 12
1:00 pm PT, Pac-12 Network

The Ducks look to potentially claim sole possession of second place with a victory over California at Matthew Knight Arena.

Will Richardson had an uncharacteristic night on Thursday, going 3-for-14 from the field and 1-of-8 from deep.

But the Bears don’t match up with Oregon the way Stanford does, and Dana Altman’s team has won nine in a row in the series.

With Cal lacking interior size, Altman figures to throw a healthy dose of Franck Kepnang and N’Faly Dante at Mark Fox’s frontcourt.

Oregon’s N’Faly Dante | Andy Nelson/Associated Press

Foul trouble among the UO bigs is an X-Factor, yet Oregon has the horses to go small if it needs to.

Richardson figures to have a strong bounce-back performance from two days ago, while De’Vion Harmon should continue his hot shooting streak.

Outmatched across the board, the only major statistical advantage California has is turnovers committed per game.

That’s a substantial advantage against Altman’s press-scheme, and could open the slimmest of margins for an upset.

If Cal handles the Oregon defense, cleans up on the defensive glass to prevent second-chance points, and hits their threes, Fox’s team might have a chance to shock the Conference.

Arizona football Pac-12Washington football pac-12No. 4 Arizona at Washington

Alaska Airlines Arena, Seattle, WA
Saturday, February 12
3:00 pm PT, Pac-12 Network

The Huskies have an opportunity for revenge.

Since facing Arizona on January 3rd, Washington is 8-3 and looks like a different team. The confidence gained in Tucson appears to have spurred a renaissance within the UW roster, but the rebirth isn’t complete.

The Dawgs schedule has been weak in those 11 matchups, with victories over California, Oregon State, Utah, and Arizona State comprising six of the eight wins.

But the game today at Hec Ed is an opportunity for Washington to prove it’s legitimate.

Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin | Geoff Crimmins/Associated Press

The Wildcats struggled with Mike Hopkins’ zone in early January, committing 21 turnovers while forcing just six. It took a late second-half run for UA to pull away, and a 27-point explosion from Bennedict Mathurin.

The Canadian turns it up on the road, but the hostile crowd in Seattle might make this matchup a nail-biter in the final 10 minutes.

Tommy Lloyd knows the UW zone breaks down with quick ball movement around the perimeter followed by sharp passes into the paint for finishes around the rim.

But UA’s offensive flow could stall with consistent turnovers, potentially allowing the raucous Washington student section to change the game.

A win wouldn’t move the Huskies to the bubble, but it would position them for a run in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Utah at Colorado

CU Events Center, Boulder, CO
Saturday, February 12
5:00 pm PT, Pac-12 Network

In the first matchup of the year between the two Mountain schools, Craig Smith has an opportunity to make a statement.

The Utes are playing their best basketball since December, battling Washington close in Seattle and taking Oregon down to the wire in Salt Lake City.

Lazar Stefanovic might be the top freshman in the Conference outside of Harrison Ingram, and Branden Carlson is an efficient 20-of-37 (54.0 percent) from the field since returning in late January.

Utah’s Brandon Carlson | Thomas Boyd, Associated Press

But Utah is 36-83 in true road games since joining the Pac-12, and 4-25 since the start of the 2019-20 season. In order to take the next step in the development of the program, Smith must find ways to win on the road.

Boulder is one of the most difficult places in the league to get it done, yet a victory would be program-building win in Smith’s first year.

To pull off the upset, the Utah defense must force Colorado to exceed their 14.4 turnovers committed per game and win the rebounding margin.

Even then, it might take a monumental game from Carlson and Stefanovic to secure the victory.

Arizona State at Washington State

Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum, Pullman, WA
Saturday, February 12
7:00 pm PT, ESPNU

The writing is on the wall for this year’s version of the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Bobby Hurley’s team looked unmotivated against Washington on Thursday, appearing to give up in the second half in Seattle. That’s a problem for a team that doesn’t have the talent to take possessions off.

The 23-point loss two days ago was the highest margin of defeat to the Dawgs since 2010, and another historic loss could be in the cards if ASU doesn’t show up in Pullman.

ASU’s Jalen Graham | Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cougars have a superior offense, which should carry the day, yet WSU’s defense is comparable to Arizona State’s.

It’s a razor-thin margin, but Hurley’s team might keep the game close if they force turnovers and defend the perimeter without fouling. And on offense, ASU must take care of the ball and get its bigs involved.

Stranger things have happened, but it doesn’t look good for the Sun Devils.

usc logoNo. 12 UCLA at No. 21 USC

Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, February 12
7:00 pm PT, ESPN

In the Game of the Day in the Conference of Champions, UCLA and USC face off in the Battle for L.A.

Producing two Instant Classics over the last four games, it wouldn’t be surprising if this matchup came down to the final shot.

Mick Cronin remains winless against the Trojans, going 0-4 since taking over the helm in Westwood.

But USC doesn’t have the same level of skill or depth that it’s enjoyed in the first four matchups against Cronin. Yet, Andy Enfield still has the firepower to continue his dominance of the City of Angels.

USC’s Isaiah Mobley | Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Isaiah Mobley was held out of the Pacific game on Tuesday, but it’s fairly likely that he will be back to face UCLA.

Enfield will need Mobley’s inside presence, ball-handling, distribution, and outside shooting against the deep Bruins.

The matchup to watch is USC’s defense against the trio of Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, Jr., and Jules Bernard.

Slowing down all three is close to impossible, but keeping two of them in check might be enough to secure the win.

But facing a UCLA team still within reach of first place in the Pac-12, USC could suffer its first loss to the Bruins in almost three years.

Stanford at Oregon State

Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR
Saturday, February 12
7:30 pm PT, Pac-12 Network

Don’t look now, but Stanford is on Upset Alert.

Oregon State has struggled throughout the season and its attendance has been embarrassingly thin. Yet, the Cardinal are a young team that consistently shoots itself in foot.

The Tree committed 17 turnovers in Eugene two nights ago and average 15.4 per game.

That opens the door to a Beaver roster desperate to feel the joy of a win.

Oregon State’s Maurice Calloo| Amanda Loman/AP

Wayne Tinkle’s team dropped a heartbreaker to Cal on Thursday, potentially motivating his players to step it up a notch.

Rebounding is probably a high priority in Tinkle’s game plan, along with limiting turnovers on offense.

Second-chance opportunities could provide leeway to Stanford’s sloppy offense, and pure effort plays in OSU’s defensive rebounding could change the game.

Matchups don’t always come down to “who wants it more,” but in a game like this, the team that gives more effort could walk away with the victory.

February 12 Game Picks

—More from Dane Miller—