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EAST COAST BIAS? PLEASE!
December 13, 2005

SCS.com There is no East Coast bias whatsoever. I'll get that out of the way right off the bat. Many people claim that the media is biased towards the East Coast and does not show any love to the West Coast. The primary piece of evidence they use is television exposure: "We don't get on TV until 10 or 11 o'clock at night!" Well, thanks to the time difference, unless they move their games up to a late afternoon start time, that's how it's going to be. To show that there is no East Coast bias, there are several pieces of evidence that can easily prove that theory wrong:

A) Have you seen Gonzaga play lately? Of course you have. They have already played three games on the ESPN network and another on CBS. Plus, their showdown with Washington was on FSN's Sunday Night Basketball. Yes, the UW game was a late night match-up, but there was no way it was going to be played at 5:00 on a Sunday afternoon in Washington.

B) It would help if the top teams out West went on the road and scheduled games against the East's best in order to get more exposure. Washington doesn't play on the road until January 12th, and their toughest game was against Gonzaga. Way to give the East Coast a taste of UW basketball. Arizona had three tough games in Maui, but they don't travel east of the Mississippi until January 28th when they face North Carolina. Stanford never plays east of Montana this season. Their most difficult non-conference game is against Virginia Tech, in Las Vegas. UCLA is probably the only quality team out west that is going to play somewhat East. They played two games in New York City and still are going to go to Michigan for a contest. Teams on the West Coast need to come east, play quality teams, and win games in order to get respect from East Coast writers. If we can't see you, how are we supposed to consider the top teams legit? Why do you think Gonzaga and Nevada are loved by the national media?

C) Let's switch to college football for a second. I have one word (or three letters): USC. They are on TV every weekend and have three of the last four Heisman Trophy winners. That doesn't seem like it is much of a bias to me.

D) Back to basketball. It always seems like West Coast teams are overrated. Therefore, the so-called "biased" media is hyping up these teams, and they are not just living up to expectations. You don't have to go much further than this season in the Pac-10. Arizona and Stanford were preseason top ten by some publications (including this one), and they have come nowhere near that. Arizona has shown a severe lack of leadership, while Stanford is just awful. California was being touted as a surprise Pac-10 team with Leon Powe the best PF in the country, and then they went to play an average Kansas team and got blown out of the water in the second half. UCLA was expected to be a Pac-10 title contender, and then they went to New York City and got manhandled by Memphis and needed a last second free throw by Jordan Farmar to beat Drexel. Oregon was analyzed as a potential NCAA Tournament team and a team that will make some noise. They are standing at 4-3 after a 30-point home loss to Illinois. Looking back to the past few seasons in the NCAA Tournament, the aforementioned Gonzaga Bulldogs played their bloated record to a high seed in the tourney. As is commonly known in the college hoops world, the Zags have disappointed in the postseason since the nation jumped on the Gonzaga bandwagon. If the teams from the West Coast could live up to expectations placed on them by the "biased" media, they would get more focus.

If the top teams on the West Coast would play to their potential and/or come east and win games, they would get more exposure nationally. In addition, people should stop complaining about the lack of media exposure; the top teams get on TV plenty of times if they deserve it, just look at USC football. There's no contest. It is fairly obvious: there really is no East Coast bias.

For those that aren't familiar with the top teams in the West this season, here is an overview of them. This should also appease the "You don't show enough love to teams west of the Rockies" brigade.

Washington: This has been the best team in the West so far this season. They have outscored their opponents by almost 30 points per game and have a very good win at home against Gonzaga. Five players average double figures in points, and ten players average at least 13 minutes per game. The Huskies are led by their frontcourt trio of forwards Bobby Jones, Jamaal Williams, and freshman Jon Brockman. Jones is an outstanding defender that is very versatile; Williams is a bull down low; and Brockman has been possibly the most impressive freshman in the country so far. Brandon Roy is one of the best all-around guards in the nation. He is a good scorer and passer on offense, rebounds well, and racks up steals and blocks. Ryan Appleby is an excellent three-point shooter and scorer. Washington has numerous options in both the backcourt and frontcourt, including starting freshman point guard Justin Dentmon, who is averaging five assists per game. Last year's starting big man, Mike Jensen, should return soon from an injury.

Gonzaga: They have been one of the best teams in the country so far this season, with wins over Maryland and Michigan State. Adam Morrison has solidified himself as the best player in the nation, averaging almost 29 points per game. Post player J.P. Batista has been nearly impossible to stop down low, going for 21 and 9 a contest. Sean Mallon is a solid forward, while David Pendergraft provides frontcourt depth. In the backcourt, Derek Raivio is vastly underrated on a national level. He is an outstanding long-range shooter that controls a game very well. However, he has sat out the past few games due to injury. Jeremy Pargo leads a host of decent perimeter players for the Zags, including part-time starter Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes.

UCLA: The Bruins have been up and down this season, with wins over Nevada and Temple, but a bad loss to Memphis, and a narrow defeat of Drexel. Jordan Farmar and Aaron Afflalo are one of the best backcourts in the country. Afflalo has been a superb scorer this season, while Farmar is a very good all-around point guard. Cedric Bozeman has been playing power forward, taking on an Alan Anderson-type role for the Bruins. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is a surprise freshman forward, while Ryan Wright and Ryan Hollins have played well up front. Small forward Joe Shipp should return soon from injury.

Nevada: The Wolfpack are 7-1, with quality wins on the road against UNLV, Kansas, and Pacific. I don't think they have played to their potential yet, though. Nevada has one of the premier big men in the country in Nick Fazekas, who can dominate a game. It is not just Fazekas and a bunch of role players, however. Marcellus Kemp and Mo Charlo are two very good players on the wings. Kemp is putting up 16 points per game, while Charlo is going for 15 and 8 boards a contest. Chad Bell is a solid big men that can rebound and play defense. Ramon Sessions is a very good point guard, while fellow guards Kyle Shiloh and Lyndale Burleson are also producing on the perimeter.

Arizona: The Wildcats are 4-3, with losses to UConn, Michigan State, and at Houston. They have not received any sort of leadership from seniors Chris Rodgers and Hassan Adams. Adams has been a very good player, though, putting up 18 points and 7 boards per game. Mustafa Shakur and Rodgers have formed a decent backcourt, although it hasn't been overly impressive. More production is needed from the perimeter players. Ivan Radenovic is a versatile forward who can score inside and outside, and is a good passer and rebounder, while Kirk Walters has been a solid big man. Freshman Marcus Williams is an athletic wing. Jawann McClellan is returning soon after a suspension relating to academics.

California: This could be a solid team to watch come March. The Golden Bears are 6-2, with no quality wins to think of, yet a bad loss to Eastern Michigan to open the season. They were, however, without Leon Powe for that game. Powe is one of the best players on the West Coast, and one of the best power forwards in the country. He has a versatile offensive game and is a load to stop. He puts up 23 points and 10 rebounds per game. A trio of 6-10 big men round out what is a very good frontcourt. Devon Hardin goes for 12 and 7 per game, while Jordan Wilkes and last year's starter, Rod Benson, come off the bench and provide quality production. In the backcourt, Richard Midgley and Ayinde Ubaka are a very good duo. They combine for 27 points, 7 boards, and 8 assists per game. Omar Wilkes is a scoring wing, while freshman Theo Robertson is solid on the perimeter.

Colorado State: This has been one of the biggest surprise teams thus far. The Rams are 7-1, with quality wins over Colorado and Auburn at home, and Denver on the road. The only blemish is a road loss to Kansas State. CSU has one of the best, albeit least known, players in the country in 7-0 center Jason Smith. He averages 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. He could dominate the Mountain West Conference. Also up front, 6-9 Michael Harrison and 7-0 Sean Morrison give the Rams size not commonly seen in the MWC. They combine for 20 points and 9 boards per game. Sean Morrison and Cory Hill comprise a very good, yet undersized, backcourt. Both average double-figures. Michael Morris is another solid player on the perimeter, while Stephan Gilling provides excellent depth.

Other teams to keep an eye on out west: USC, Oregon, Stanford, Fresno State, San Diego, Washington State, Utah, Air Force, Pacific, Cal State-Fullerton, Montana.

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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