College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, January 8, 2010
Sure, it's early, but from the looks of things, the PAC-10 probably won't be sending more than three or four teams to the NCAA tournament this season. Which three or four remains something of a mystery, now that the only ranked team from the conference - Washington, #24 - has lost two straight and probably won't be ranked come Monday afternoon.
After losing to current conference leader Oregon (2-0), 90-79, on January 2, the Huskies traveled to Arizona State on Friday and came up absolutely empty, as the Sun Devils blasted them, 68-51. Not that the Devils are any great shakes - they out-shot Washington, 38%-36% - but their 11-5 record compares well to the best of the PAC-10, including USC (12-5), Oregon (10-4), Washington St. (12-3) and the Huskies, at 10-4.
Friday's win featured Arizona State's Rihards Kuksiks, a 6'6" swingman from Riga, Latvia, who pumped in 27 points to lead the Sun Devils to their first PAC-10 win of the season (1-2). Dropping bombs from all over the court, Kuksiks equalled his season-high, hitting 8 of 14 shots from the floor, including 5-for-8 on 3-pointers. The team's leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points per outing, Kuksiks also matched his career-high in rebounds, with 9.