Arizona-Oregon pregame: On JMac's wish, Walton's world and Pac-12 race

2014-02-06T11:25:00Z 2014-02-06T16:28:45Z Arizona-Oregon pregame: On JMac's wish, Walton's world and Pac-12 raceBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Received a text message this morning from Jawann McClellan that I figured was worth passing on:

“Need a huge favor...Damyean Dotson and Joe Young r my two former players," McClellan wrote. "They can not come in and get a win tonight lol they will not let me hear the end of it.”

McClellan, who played for UA from 2004-08, is now an assistant coach at powerhouse Yates High School of Houston, where Young and Dotson played. Dotson joined Oregon out of Yates, while Young first attended Houston and transferred this year after his father was reassigned with the Cougars’ staff.

Throughout a week of talk about losing Brandon Ashley, Sean Miller has tried to keep it in perspective.

“With nine games left we have a two-game lead (in the Pac-12) and we don’t want to relinquish the two-game lead,” Miller said. “We want to keep fighting and the way we do it is to not get too far ahead of ourselves. We can’t control everything that’s happened, including Brandon’s injury. But what we can control is that we’re working very hard and staying together to be the best that we can be.”

The Wildcats keep getting help toward that goal. On Wednesday, Stanford pulled down Cal into the four-loss logjam in the middle of the Pac-12. Arizona is three games ahead of that pack, but just two ahead of UCLA, entering tonight’s game with Oregon.

Before he started quoting Winnie the Pooh and raving about Cal’s Greek Theatre during Wednesday’s Cal-Stanford broadcast, ESPN’s Bill Walton answered Dave Pasch’s question about what Arizona is facing without Ashley.

“Wholesale change,” Walton said, adding that Ashley “doesn’t know how good he is.”

Walton and Pasch will call the Wildcats’ first full game without Ashley tonight (7 p.m. MST on ESPN).

Other items related to tonight's game:

-- The Ducks know time is running out if they are to grab an NCAA tournament bid.

-- Young is hoping to break out of a shooting slump.

-- Dana Altman is no fan of Sunday games.

-- Addicted to Quack says better things may be ahead for the Ducks despite their "broken wings."

-- Our pregame coverage: A main story on how UA could shuffle its rotation without Ashley, sidelines notes and a photo gallery.

SI's Luke Winn has an analytical look at what the Wildcats lose without Ashley.

ESPN's John Gasaway says Aaron Gordon is the Wildcats' MVP, in large part because of what he's bringing on defense.

ASU's Jordan Bachynski could break Anthony Cook's Pac-12 career blocks record this weekend (if not, it might be Feb. 14 against Arizona).

After Stanford beat Cal on Wednesday, David Kravish said he doesn't know why Cal is wrapping losses around its upset win over Arizona.

Colorado had to hold off WSU at Boulder.

What if OSU had held on to Jahii Carson?

Former UA guard Daniel Bejarano had a career-type night against UNLV, four years after he languished on the Wildcats' bench before transferring.

Other Pac-12 games tonight (times MST):

Washington at Utah, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks. It's a homecoming for C.J. Wilcox, who is now seeing the payoff from redshirting.

OSU at ASU, 9 p.m., Fox Sports 1

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Utah 6 1 0 0.857 16 3 0 0.842
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857 18 2 0 0.900
Stanford 5 2 0 0.714 14 5 0 0.737
Oregon State 5 2 0 0.714 13 5 0 0.722
Oregon 4 3 0 0.571 14 6 0 0.700
UCLA 3 4 0 0.429 11 9 0 0.550
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429 10 8 0 0.556
Washington 3 4 0 0.429 14 5 0 0.737
Washington State 3 4 0 0.429 9 10 0 0.474
Arizona State 2 5 0 0.286 11 10 0 0.524
California 1 6 0 0.143 11 9 0 0.550
USC 1 6 0 0.143 9 10 0 0.474

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Oregon State at
Arizona State
1/28 6:00 pm
Oregon at
1/28 8:00 pm
Stanford at
1/28 9:00 pm
Colorado at
1/29 7:30 pm
Utah at
1/29 8:00 pm
California at
Washington State
1/29 9:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona State
1/30 6:00 pm
Oregon State at
1/30 8:00 pm
Stanford at
Washington State
1/31 6:00 pm
Colorado at
1/31 8:30 pm
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