ESPN had one of those postseason-hype-building conference calls today with analysts Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla, so I asked them how far the Arizona Wildcats can go without Brandon Ashley.
“I think they’re good enough to win it,” Bilas said. “I’ve been watching since Ashley went out. They turned a corner there and I really like their team. They’re not a drop-dead shooting team but they defend so well, and they’re good around the rim, they limit you to one shot. They’ve been pretty efficient.”
“Would they be better with Brandon Ashley? You bet. They’d be the best team. I thought he was their best overall offensive threat, because he can go inside and outside and do different things. He was really important to them.”
Fraschilla said he was skeptical after Ashley went out on Feb. 1 but has since become a believer.
“I didn’t think (the injury) would be a killer because Sean’s system is so good, so ingrained,” Fraschilla said. “I thought they would be solid. But he’s had other guys step up and be more aggressive. He’s had to have more confidence in Gabe York and Elliott Pitts while T.J. McConnell has been more aggressive. I think they’ve adjusted extremely well on the fly. But their defense can still carry them.”
Items related to tonight’s Arizona-OSU game (9 p.m., Fox Sports 1 with Rob Stone and Marques Johnson).
-- OSU is using video to generate support from "Beaver Nation" heading into its final home week.
-- Craig Robinson likes how his team matches up with Arizona.
-- The Beavers are staying optimistic heading into a defining stretch of their season.
-- Robinson lit a fire under OSU center Angus Brandt and it paid off.
T.J. McConnell doesn't make Miles Simon's list of the five point guards who are best under pressure.
Dana Altman's campus campaigning brought out a good student crowd that helped the Ducks in their win over ASU on Tuesday.
The Ducks will be riding a six-game winning streak into their game with Arizona on Saturday.
Johnny Dawkins says he's not thinking about getting a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.
UCLA's Zach LaVine is expecting boos when he returns home to Seattle this week.
Colorado needs more from Wesley Gordon.
Cal is trying to lift itself into one of two top-four finishes that seven Pac-12 teams are fighting for this week.
Russ Pennell has landed a new gig at Central Arkansas, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
Mustafa Shakur was named the D-League's Player of the Month for February.
UA signee Stanley Johnson and UA target M.J. Cage led Mater Dei into the Open Division final.
A week after checking out UA, Chase Jeter heads to Duke.
Zane asked on a previous discussion thread asked if 2016 prospect Mike Bibby Jr. is being recruited by Arizona: The Wildcats have been looking at him but there is not a known offer as of now (UA typically doesn't offer scholarships early unless they are certain the player would fit).
Also, Morty noted on another thread that OSU was being overlooked by the Star in favor of Oregon. Actually, that was just a blog post because I attended the Oregon-ASU game on Tuesday in order to collect material for advance stories later this week (Neither Oregon nor UA may have media availability before Saturday's game so you have to scrape together what you can).
Other Pac-12 games today:
Colorado at Stanford, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Utah at Cal, 9 p.m., ESPNU