*** On the spot response to developments on and off the sphere, and courtroom. (For a subscription to the free Hotline publication, click on right here.) …
1. Participant of the Yr? Little question.
We had deliberate to dedicate the primary merchandise in Saturday Evening 5 — a major piece of actual property within the Hotline’s world — to a soccer merchandise.
However then Payton Pritchard occurred. Goodness, gracious.
For those who missed his newest …
Pritchard led Oregon again from a 16-point deficit halfway by way of the second half at Washington, then hit the game-winner with 3.Four seconds left in extra time.
However it wasn’t a typical sport winner.
It wasn’t a lay-up or put-back.
It wasn’t a floater or nook 3.
It was a Curry.
Pritchard hit a closely-guarded, step-back, 30-footer from the suitable wing — watch it right here — to cap one other stellar efficiency.
All he did was rating 22 of Oregon’s 64 factors, hit 6-of-12 from 3-point vary and contribute a number of rebounds and assists — all whereas enjoying the complete 45.
The entire shebang … the comeback and the shot and the win … received the Hotline questioning:
Pritchard is having one of the best season for a Pac-12 level guard since …?
2. Level guard of the Century? Maybe.
We went a good distance again, to the flip of the century, and Pritchard’s play to date stands with one of the best we’ve seen.
He’s averaging 19.Four factors per sport (fourth within the convention), however that determine doesn’t rise and fall with the competitors.
In opposition to Memphis (with James Wiseman), Seton Corridor (with Myles Powell), Gonzaga, North Carolina (with Cole Anthony), Michigan, Colorado and Arizona, Pritchard averaged 18.2 factors.
He has been terrific in opposition to the dangerous and in opposition to the great — a season worthy of first-team All-American honors.
Total, he’s capturing 49 p.c from the sphere, 40.2 p.c from 3-point vary and 75.9 p.c from the road.
(You’re virtually higher off fouling him.)
He’s additionally averaging 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 35.Four minutes (tops within the convention).
He performs stellar protection, scores from in all places — good luck preserving him out of the lane — and makes his teammates higher whereas hauling them to victory on the identical time.
Did we point out he’s 6-foot-2 and 190 kilos?
The crack Hotline analysis workers compiled a listing of 12 level guards who produced elite seasons this century.
Once more, this isn’t a dialogue of essentially the most gifted lead guard to return by way of the convention previously 20 years.
(Pritchard isn’t even essentially the most gifted this season. That will be Arizona’s Nico Mannion.)
It’s about which level guard has produced one of the best season.
These 12 have been terrific for at the least one 12 months in school:
Washington’s Markelle Fultz
UCLA’s Aaron Vacation
UCLA’s Lonzo Ball
Oregon’s Joseph Younger
Arizona’s Nick Johnson
Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez
Washington’s Isaiah Thomas
Cal’s Jerome Randle
UCLA’s Darren Collison
Oregon’s Aaron Brooks
Arizona’s Jason Gardner
Oregon’s Luke Ridnour
(In that case inclined, you possibly can embrace Arizona State’s Eddie Home on the checklist. In our view, Home wasn’t a pure lead guard — he was extra of a combo — however that is purely subjective territory right here.)
It’s an fascinating debate:
— Fultz posted ridiculous numbers (23.Three ppg, 5.9 apg, 5.7 rpg) however didn’t assist his workforce win.
— Ball solely averaged 14.6 factors, however his impression on UCLA and the convention was momentous.
(Ball, not Oregon’s Dillon Brooks, ought to have been Participant of the Yr in 2017.)
— Gutierrez was named Participant of the Yr and Defensive Participant of the Yr, a feat not matched earlier than or since.
We might go on with flattering stats or details about all of the guards talked about above, however we’ll spare you.
With a powerful end, Pritchard’s season would be the finest for a Pac-12 level guard since Ridnour and similar to what we noticed from the highest gamers of the 1980s and 90s.
However don’t take the Hotline’s phrase for it.
We requested an professional.
“I believe it’s trending towards all-time nice,” Pac-12 Networks analyst Don MacLean, the main scorer in convention historical past, mentioned of Pritchard’s 12 months.
“And if Oregon wins the league, then it’s within the dialog of finest ever.”
3. So shut. Now, how far?
Stanford was thisclose to taking early management of the convention race.
After residence wins over Cal and the Washington colleges after which whacking UCLA round at Pauley Pavilion, the Cardinal had a five-point on USC with 13 seconds left.
Let that sink in:
5-point lead with 13 seconds left to take a two-game lead within the standings.
After which got here an epic meltdown.
Yep, the Cardinal dedicated two turnovers within the remaining 13 seconds of regulation, and the Trojans transformed each.
The three-pointer, by Elijah Weaver, would have been the shot of the day if not for Pritchard’s dagger.
Stanford performed properly sufficient for 79 minutes and 45 seconds to go away L.A. with a (uncommon) highway sweep and a (gorgeous) two-game lead within the loss column over USC, Oregon, Arizona and Colorado.
As a substitute, the Cardinal heads residence with a crushing loss and the hardest portion of its schedule nonetheless to play.
(It consists of 5 video games in opposition to Oregon, Arizona and Colorado.)
How lengthy this loss sticks … how shortly the Cardinal recovers … will outline the season.
And it’s a vital season for coach Jerod Haase.
4. Three days of the Cougar.
Talking of all-time stuff …
Washington State simply accomplished a stretch for the ages.
Thursday afternoon: The Cougars launched new coach Nick Rolovich and nailed it with the information convention.
Thursday evening: WSU toppled No. eight Oregon for its first win over a top-10 workforce in 13 years.
Saturday afternoon (approx 2 p.m.): The Cougars retired Klay Thompson’s jersey (with Steph Curry in attendance).
Saturday afternoon (approx Three p.m.): The Cougars end off Oregon State to finish their first residence sweep in convention play since 2013.
We just like the Rolovich rent, however Mike Leach set a remarkably excessive commonplace.
We like what first-year basketball coach Kyle Smith has accomplished with the Cougars, however WSU doesn’t have the personnel to problem for a top-tier end.
We just like the messaging — each the soccer information convention and the basketball ceremony — however momentum is fleeting.
Regardless of the uncertainty shifting ahead, the current advantages are unmistakable.
The convention wins at any time when one in all its colleges experiences a run of success on/off the sphere.
When that success unfolds at a faculty with what we might name second-level sources, it’s that rather more important.
5. Wage stuff.
With (presumably) all of the Pac-12 soccer teaching modifications full for the offseason, the Hotline was curious concerning the whole outlay on a comparative foundation.
Chris Petersen made $4.6 million in 2019, per the USA At this time wage database, whereas Mike Leach collected $3.75 million.
Their replacements in Seattle and Pullman, Jimmy Lake and Nick Rolovich, respectively, are on account of make roughly $Three million every subsequent season.
In the meantime, the Mississippi colleges, fortified by SEC income, went the opposite approach.
Ole Miss was paying Matt Luke $3.1 million and reportedly will hand over to Lane Kiffin a median of $4.2 million yearly.
Mississippi State paid Joe Moorhead $3.05 million final season and is giving Leach an enormous, fats increase: He’ll make $5 million per 12 months, reportedly.
In different phrases …
The state of Washington reduce compensation for its head coaches by about $2.35 million, whereas the state of Mississippi bolstered compensation for its head coaches by $Three million.
Granted, our figures don’t account for what the coaches would have made in 2020 had they remained in place.
And it’s a small pattern dimension: 4 colleges out of the 26 mixed.
However it’s additionally consultant of the broader monetary image within the two conferences.
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