Crawfacts is an assortment of news, notes and anything else you wish to call it, in the world of college basketball.
1. Arizona----Ouch, my preseason pick to win the NCAA tournament this year, right now is making me look awfully bad, after losing their opening exhibition game to Seattle Pacific. There is no other way to put it, an awful loss, even though it was exhibition and the opening game of the season.
The final score was 69-68, helped lots by the fact that Seattle Pacific was 12-12 from the free throw line, while Arizona was 12 for 19. Now you can see why I have harped so much on free throws in the last few months in my blog. Free throws are never given among importance by everyone in basketball.
So telling was this loss, was the fact that the last time Arizona lost an exhibition game to a much inferior opponent was 1984. To Seattle Pacific's big credit, not only this great victory, but last year in exhibition games, they defeated two D-1 opponents, Eastern Washington and Nevada. Ryan Looney is an outstanding coach and he has quite the program at Seattle Pacific and he will be an D-1 coach very soon.
If there is any room for optimism at Arizona, all you have to do is look back 10 years, when Syracuse lost their opening game to a D-3 opponent and then went on to finish 30-5 and got the number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Sean Miller has a young team, but I am not backing down from my pick and they will be there in the end.
2. UCLA---While many are picking the Bruins to win the Pac-12 and everyone expects them to finish in the top three of the Pac-12, I still say the "fallout" from not playing any games in Pauley Pavilion this year will have a big impact on the play of the Bruins. The history of teams who have to play out of their own arenas cause of renovation has not been good throughout the years in college basketball. And when you think about it, it makes sense. Comfort is great for everyone, including college basketball players.
3. Oregon---Finally after making all of us suffer, the Oregon Ducks will have a center court line this year and that players, officials and fans can see. While better late than never, shame on you Ducks for taking so long for this to happen, but plaudits for making the change.
4. Watching----I am going to be real interested to watch what happens this year at Pepperdine and Eastern Washington, when it comes to coaching. Both schools have first year coaches, Jim Hayford at Eastern Washington and Marty Wilson at Pepperdine. Wilson appears to have so much energy and has made a huge effort to connect with the past at Pepperdine and has reached out to so many people, including the media to bring attention to the Waves' program. As for Hayford, he makes the jump that very few have ever done and even more important, done successfully, coming from a D-3 program at Whitworth, where he dominated the Northwest Conference for many of his 10 years there. Some people in the media have picked his team to finish as high as third in the Big Sky, somewhat of a reach. But I can tell you one thing, if he wins and wins consistently at Eastern Washington, he will be one of the most sought after coaches in the country in a few years.
5. Don't Forget---Shameless plug here, I apologize, but starting November 2nd, this blog will move over to www.csnnw.com, so bookmark it now please. I have a bit of a name change over there as it will be called Crawford's Court, but I am thrilled to be there, with so many talented people. And even more good news, I will continue to write Crawscorner here 3 days a week, covering some small college basketball, sports business and golf, so if your sick of me, then you now can be doubly sick of me.
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