Three Most Valuable Players:
1. Jakob Poeltl, Utah
If having a solid big man is important for NCAA teams, Utah is in great shape. Poeltl shoots 66.0 percent from the field and averages nearly a double-double at 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. The Austrian 7-footer is agile, skilled and the best player in the Pac-12.
2. Andrew Andrews, Washington
Andrews is the only player averaging more than 17.5 points per game in the conference. He averages 21 a game, not to mention 5.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists. The 6-2 guard is a volume shooter, making just 33.3 percent of his shots, but you can count on him to post 20 points most nights.
3. Gary Payton II, Oregon State
Payton II is a lengthy thief of a player, with a conference-leading 2.5 steals per game. The 6-3 point guard also chips in 15.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per contest, but he plays like a kid who doesn’t want to get sweaty because he’s too short on time to shower before math class. His production isn’t lackluster, though, and he was the main reason OSU reached its first NCAA Tournament since his dad, Gary Payton, Sr., was on the team in 1990.
Biggest Surprise: Oregon Ducks and USC Trojans
Both the Ducks (picked fourth in the preseason media poll but won the regular season title) and the Trojans (predicted 10th and finished tied for sixth) have exceeded expectations. The Ducks appear ready for a postseason run, and the Trojans have changed from doormat to Pac-12 contender.
Biggest Disappointment: Dylan Ennis, Oregon
It’s not his fault, but the Oregon guard’s injuries derailed his only season in the Pac-12 . He transferred from Villanova, missed the first half of the season with a foot injury, and then re-aggravated it when he finally returned to officially force him out for the season. He scored just two points in 22 minutes this year and likely will not be eligible to redshirt a second time, therefore ending his collegia
Biggest Controversy: Feb. 24, 2016
A pair of Thursday games both incited controversy on Feb. 24, starting with Arizona’s loss at Colorado. Buffalo fans stormed the court after the game, leading Arizona head coach Sean Miller to go on a postgame rant about the dangers of court storming. Later that night, Oregon State defeated Washington on a game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but replays showed that the clock did not start when Stephen Thompson, Jr. caught the ball with 3.3 seconds remaining and his team down by two. To add more controversy, Thompson Jr. traveled before shooting but the referees did not whistle the play dead. After the shot was made the referees counted the bucket, Beaver fans stormed the court only to be shoved back to the sideline when the shot was initially only awarded two points. Once it was changed back to three, OSU escaped with the 82-81 win.
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