Cantu---If I were Pat Haden, I would take away the interim and give Bob Cantu a three year contract. Of course today, USC athletic director, Pat Haden fired Kevin O'Neill and appointed Cantu as the interim coach of the Trojans.
In this day and age of coaches moving, getting fired, going into other professions, Cantu is in a league by himself. He has been a part of the USC basketball program for 12 years, coaching under three head coaches, Henry Bibby, Tim Floyd and O'Neill.
Knowing the quality of person Cantu is, I am certain he didn't like the circumstances of taking over as head coach, but someone has to do it. The timing of O'Neill's firing was somewhat unusual also, in that the Trojans were coming off a pretty good road trip, a split, losing to Colorado and beating a vastly improved Utah team.
USC basketball is a program that has long waited for something good to happen. Playing always in the shadow of UCLA's 11 national championships and being a football school, USC is a sleeping giant. With a great arena and so much talent in the LA area, why they can't win consistently in basketball s a total mystery. Perhaps, Bob Cantu can end the mystery, given the chance.
Huskies---Being 3-0 in the Pac-12 headed for this weekend, it is somewhat of a surprise for the Washington Huskies to be in that position. But then again, perhaps only a handful of coaches, including Husky head man Lorenzo Romar have as good a winning percentage in the month of January. Romar's teams always seem to come together after the first of the year, then play great down the stretch in the Pac-12/10.
Not sure if they will be doing that again, but an interesting stat is that this is the first time in 101 years, yes 101, that Washington has won three in a row on the road to start their Pac (whatever they called it back in the day) season. Them playing well, just makes the Pac-12 much more interesting to say the least.
"100 in 90"---Last week I continued my journey to see 100 college basketball games live, start to finish, in 90 days. My total for the week was six and for the year, 40 games. I am a little behind pace, so I need encouragement when you see on the streets or at a game. Thank you.
Mac's Message---It is Monday, so time for another good answer to a reader's question, from Portland State assistant coach, Andy McClouskey.
"Andy, please give a mid-term report card on the Viks?", Thanks---Bill---Downtown, Portland
"Bill thanks for your question and a good timely one it is as classes really get going in the second week of the quarter at Portland State University. As a team I think our season is broken up into four segments.
Preseason practices without grades was an incomplete as we just has too many injuries and our practices were limited because at times we did not have front court players healthy enough to practice. The players that were healthy enough, did their jobs and Coach Mac took notice. To give a grade would be unfair.
Second segment, non-conference games brought a tough schedule and "Professor Mac" takes that into consideration. C would be the grade, cause we did what we should do, nothing out of the ordinary, but nothing really negative.
The third part of the grading period is the Big Sky games and going into this week, we are 3-3 and have lost a conference home game and have not won on the road. However the home conference loss, was to one of the Big Sky leaders (Weber State) and the road trip, we got swept on was one of the toughest all year, so the grade is a C+.
In segment four, I am going to issue an overall grade as a B-, let me explain. The conference grade is weighted more in my mind, because we play more money games at Portland State. So that is my thinking to issue a B-, while two segments were Cs and one was incomplete.
The "students" need to address Field Goal Percentage Defense and we need to get some wins on the road, while winning on a consistent basis at home to improve our grade.
So 13 games into the season and six games into the Big Sky season we are at a B-. Once again to get an A, we need to steal some games on the road and win at home, nearly every game. The most drastic issue this team faces is to limit teams to a much lower field goal percentage. To win games on the road teams can't give up the percentages were are doing at present. But as always the Professor is forgiving.
Bill, thanks for your question. Here is to lower field goal percentage defense, road wins and many As." Professor Mac, also known as assistant coach Andy McClouskey.
Attendance---How sad was it this past week that a very good Oregon team, could not play before full houses at home against two of the best teams in the conference and one of the top 10 teams in college basketball. Once again, shameful Duck fans to only have 7,800 fans show up for Arizona State and even worse, 9,500 for Arizona last Thursday. Great arena, great basketball, pathetic fan support.
Scores---Usually my humor section, but not today. Serious upsets could be coming onboard this week in college basketball, highlighted on the west coast, so let's get right to it.
1/17 Gonzaga (64) at Portland (65) Biggest upset of the year in college basketball, but for it to happen, Ryan Nicholas has to have a monster game for the Pilots. He is without question the best player on the team, but has been too inconsistent so far this season.
1/17 Portland State (90) at Northern Colorado (60) Vikings will shoot well again.
1/17 Santa Clara (71) at San Francisco (68) Another good win for Kerry Keating's team.
1/17 Oregon (67) at USC (69) in OT Ducks get swept in LA this weekend
1/19 Gonzaga (80) at Butler (71) two ranked teams, Zags are so much better
1/19 Arizona (55) at Arizona (58) difference here, is the home team will prevail
1/19 Oregon (66) at UCLA (86) will be Ducks worse loss all year long