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Basketball: Pac-10 Reflections, Week 1

Welcome to Monday morning . . . geez, what a thing to say!

Anyway, now that the conference season has gotten under way, we’ll resume our weekly Pac-10 Reflections:

– USC senior Dwight Lewis seemed incredulous about self-imposed sanctions that will keep the Trojans out of the postseason, beginning with the Pac-10 tournament. “Of course, we’re shocked,” Lewis said. “We didn’t see this coming.” Perhaps not, but there’s an overwhelming sense the school fell on its basketball sword with hopes the NCAA goes easy on the football program.

– How big a deal is it that Oregon sophomore center Michael Dunigan — averaging 19.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg and shooting 68 percent from the field over the past five games — suddenly looks like the best big man in the Pac-10?  “It means the world to everybody,” UO point guard Malcolm Armstead said. “When you have a big fella who can average a double double, it opens up so much. It opens up Tajuan (Porter) outside, it opens up my driving, it opens up our shooters.”

– Oh yeah, and for the first time in 10 years, the Ducks swept the Washington road trip.

– UW senior Quincy Pondexter, after the 90-79 loss to Oregon: “Maybe we got a little bit ahead of ourselves in the cocky standpoint. We need to be a lot better on the court before we try to have a flamboyant style.” So, that conference-opening home win over Oregon State didn’t actually clinch the Pac-10 crown for the Huskies?

– UCLA senior Michael Roll on coach Ben Howland going with a zone defense Thursday against Arizona State: “I thought hell froze over.”

– Arizona’s biggest lead in three previous road games this season was 1 point. Bring on UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, where the Wildcats led by 20.

– Go figure Washington State: Lost when Klay Thompson scored 33 points, won when he scored seven. I know what you’re thinking — forget it. In 10 other victories, he’s averaged 26.3 ppg, in two other defeats, just 18.5 ppg.

– On Saturday, for perhaps the first time this season, Arizona State really missed James Harden. The Sun Devils had more turnovers (12) than field goals (11)  in their 47-37 loss to USC.  Harden scored that many points by himself in one game last season.

– Even with Jorge Gutierrez going scoreless before leaving with a sprained knee, Cal’s bench contributed 40 points to the win over Stanford. That’s more than six other Pac-10 schools got from their bench in two games last weekend.

– So, would Oregon have beaten Washington on Saturday had WSU not been called for a technical foul call with 0.3 seconds left in the first overtime Thursday, allowing the Ducks to win in the second OT?

Jeff Faraudo