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Bruins favored in three-team race
Posted: Tuesday November 09, 1999 02:03 AM
By Jim Moore, Special to CNN/SI
Mark Madsen should keep Stanford in the thick of the Pac-10 hunt. Allsport
Will anyone be able to handle Bruins' inside tandem of Jerome Moiso and Dan Gadzuric, as well as Earl Watson on the perimeter? Freshmen will dominate: Look out for the Bruins' Jason Kapono, the Wildcats' Jason Gardner and the Cardinal's Casey Jacobsen. Pick any one of the top three for win-place-show. The Oregons will fight for another NCAA berth while Washington plummets. The rebuilders are at the bottom. The over-under for Pac-10 victories for Washington State and new coach Paul Graham is two|
How they will spend Selection Sunday
Players to Watch
| Top Three Frontcourt Players |
Michael Wright, Arizona |
Wildcats' best player is still only 19. Shot 55.6 percent and averaged 13.9 points last year. Could hit 20 this season. His rebounding average of 8.8 was highest ever for a freshman.
Mark Madsen, Stanford
Everyone talks about his tenacity, but he's talented, too. Crafty around the basket. Shooting 58.7 percent in his career. Likes to stick his nose in the middle of the action. Will be doing it in the NBA next year.
Brian Scalabrine, USC
A tough call for third-best player inside, but Scalabrine combines outside touch with inside ruggedness. There are those who have compared him to Detlef Schrempf -- those being Arizona coach Lute Olson.
| Top Three Backcourt Players |
Earl Watson, UCLA |
Can anyone keep up with him? He penetrates and pulls up when he's not preoccupied with feeding his teammates. Returns to natural position at point guard. No one in Westwood will forget Baron Davis but Watson will help the memory fade.
Eddie House, Arizona
He's the Sun in the school nickname because it looks bleak otherwise. A scorer who will be tough to stop, but figures to face gimmick defenses this year. Top returning scorer in conference at 18.9.
Deaundra Tanner, Oregon State
Led Beavers in scoring (15.8) and assists (4.7). Could become only the second Beaver to earn All-Pac-10 Conference three times. The only other was Gary Payton. Just like Payton, Tanner is also a terrific defender. An all-around player who could lead Beavers into NCAAs.
| Top Three newcomers |
Jason Kapono, UCLA |
At Pac-10 Media Day, Bruins coach Steve Lavin went on and on about this youngster from Lakewood, Calif. Averaged 23.5 points, 9 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 3.3 steals his senior season. Also shot 92.5 percent from the free-throw line.
Jason Gardner, Arizona
When you are named Mr. Basketball in Indiana as Gardner was last year at North Central HS, you arrive with expectations. Gardner averaged 22.6 points last year and had a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. Olson smiles when he talks about him.
Casey Jacobsen, Stanford
Selected player of the year in California by Cal-Hi Sports. Finished prep career with 3,284 points, breaking CIF record that was held by Tracy Murray. Averaged 31.2 points his senior season.
| Hot Coach |
Ernie Kent, Oregon |
Ducks are viewed as a team on the rise, and Kent, an Oregon alum, might lead them to an NCAA Tournament berth.
| Coach on the Hot Seat |
No one, really, but the man to watch this season will be Paul Graham at Washington State, the conference's only new coach. His season will be longer than the wait he had to become a head coach, more than 20 years.
| Toughest Schedule |
Faces Duke in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament and then might have to tackle Connecticut the next night. After that, it's Auburn, Georgia Tech and Mississippi State before the rigorous Pac-10 season begins.
| Quickest-Way-to-20-Wins Schedule |
Oregon State |
Aside from game at Utah, Beavers have piled up the pastries and look to be dining heavily before Pac-10 competition reveals whether they're fat and not so sassy. Among the gimmes: Chico State, South Carolina State and Denver.
Mark Your Calendar
Nov. 11, Stanford vs. Duke |
Opener in Madison Square Garden tournament will size up the Cardinal.
Jan. 8, Arizona at Stanford
On the opening weekend of conference play, a huge game in Palo Alto.
Jan. 27, UCLA at Oregon State
Bruins are the better team, but lost 65-63 in Corvallis last year. As with their football team, Beavers are darkhorse Pac-10 contenders.
Jim Moore covers the Pac-10 for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Look for his CNN/SI conference insiders during the season.
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