Posted: 2:06 p.m. Sunday, March 17, 2013
By Jack Follman
Ode to the champions
The Ducks simply play better basketball than any other team in the conference. They may not have future lottery picks like UCLA and Arizona, but they have a team that is balanced, plays together exceptionally well and that simply can shoot. The Ducks are probably the best "team" in the conference and if Dominic Artis had not gone down in the heart of the season, it is likely they would have taken home the regular season title, so it is a fitting end for them. The Ducks also showed some serious resilience after the disappointing end to their regular season and their near loss to Washington on the opening day of the tournament.
Player of the tournament
Damyean Dotson G Oregon
It's hard to make a call here since there are a number of players on Oregon who could deserve the honor, but I'll give Damyean Dotson the slight edge over Arsalan Kazemi, Johnathan Loyd and E.J. Singler simply because he was the most consistent of any Duck and his three-point shooting seemed to be the difference in every game. Dotson started off with 17 against Washington and then had 14 against Utah and 13 against UCLA. Really though, this is an award that could basically be given to the entire Ducks core.
Play of the Tournament
Jarred DuBois' buzzer-beater against Cal
DuBois rose up over a defender and buried a clutch three-pointer as time expired in Utah's quarterfinal game against Cal to send the game to overtime where the Utes would pull off the tournament's biggest upset. All of this took place while I'm sure hundreds of Cal fans screamed "foul" at their television screens.
Surprise player of the tournament
Johnathan Loyd G Oregon
Loyd's 19-point explosion against UCLA in the championship game may have been a career high and lifted the Ducks to the title, but it was the two free throws that he knocked down with just seconds remaining against Washington with the Ducks trailing by two that were probably actually even more important. A less than 60 percent shooter from the line, Loyd stepped up and buried the two biggest he had probably ever shot in his life and it ended up separating the Ducks from being an NCAA Tournament bubble team to Pac-12 champions.
Biggest disappointment of the tournament
Jordan Adams' injury
Adams had just completed one of the best games that anyone had in the tournament this year as he willed the Bruins to their win over Arizona in the semi-finals but broke a bone in his foot while defending Solomon Hill's final shot at the buzzer. Adams' absence in the championship game likely may have cost the Bruins the game and their chances of winning games in the NCAA Tournament are very low without the talented guard.
Performance of the tournament
Jahii Carson against Stanford
The freshman sensation showed why he shared freshman of the year honors with Shabazz Muhammad in the opening game of the tournament as he went off against the Cardinal for 34 points along with 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Carson was also huge late in the game in getting the Sun Devils an overtime win.
Damyean Dotson G Oregon
As mentioned earlier, Dotson was the hottest shooter in the tournament and unlike guys like Jarred DuBois, he never really cooled off. He was the most consistent scorer for the Ducks throughout the games.
Arsalan Kazemi F Oregon
Kazemi was a monster for the Ducks on the boards and when they really needed scores. He had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the championships and exploded against Washington in the overtime, essentially winning the game for the Ducks all on his own.
Jahii Carson G Arizona State
Carson followed up his epic performance against Stanford with another good one against UCLA and nearly led the Sun Devils to the upset which may have gotten them into the NCAA Tournament. Overall, he outplayed Shabazz Muhammad and looked more deserving of the freshman player of the year title.
Larry Drew II G UCLA
He may have went scoreless against Arizona in the semi-finals, but he scored 20 and probably saved the Bruins from getting upset in the quarterfinals against Arizona State and played the best of any Bruin in the championship game.
Jarred DuBois G Utah
Another guy that has to have a mulligan because of his scoreless game in the semi-finals against Oregon when he just plain went cold and ran out of gas, but there's no denying that DuBois was one of the most fun players to watch throughout the tournament. His hot shooting and relentless play is the main reason Utah went on the surprise run that they did.
One game standouts
Some players really stepped up but only had one game to do it, so I thought that despite their brief lifespans, Brock Motum, Aaron Bright and Justin Cobbs deserve some recognition for their huge games that almost willed their teams to victory.