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Mike's Mind

Armenian National Team & L.A. Clippers

       Conference play is finally here! Outside of the Stanford-USC blow out last week, us West Coasters haven't had a chance to see how our squads rank up against our regional rivals. All that changes Friday night as USC heads up to Utah, and outside of Oregon State, nothing but conference games are on the slate!  

USC Trojans @ #24 Utah Utes (-3) Friday
       Utah is coming into the game 3-point favorites, and I can't seem to figure out why. USC is coming in with a 1-2 mark, looking abysmal against Alabama and Stanford, albeit both are top 10 sides. However, the games just weren't close at all.

       While Utah's competition has been sub-par, best being Brigham Young, which they won due to a failed two point-conversion, they are hosting this outing. Not to mention, a top tier defense that should be licking their chops to get to Sam Darnold, making his first collegiate start. 
Pick: Utah 27-14

Boise State (-13) @ Oregon State
       The Beavers ended a year long skid and are coming off a win, aiming for their first two game win streak since a three game streak to start 2014, while the Broncos are coming off a bye and are two weeks removed from a 3 point victory against the Washington State Cougars. 

       Despite Oregon State's improvements, and they are much improved, I can not see them sticking with the Broncos, even in Corvallis, though they will keep it close for the first 45 minutes or so, before Boise State runs away with it.

Pick: Boise State 37-20

Colorado @ Oregon (-10.5)
       The Buffalo's gave the Michigan Wolverines quite a scare in the Big House, before Michigan ran away with it. And like the Beavers, they are much improved. Senior QB, Sefo Liufau is a game-time decision, and without him, Colorado doesn't stand much of a time. 
       Oregon is just as banged up, coming off a close loss in Nebraska, thanks to questionable calling on potential PAT attempts. Back in the familiar confines of Autzen, the Ducks should take this game.

Pick: Oregon 38-20

#7 Stanford (-3.0) @ UCLA 
       Stanford are the Pac-12's big boys. They demolished USC and are already 1-0 in conference play. They won the conference last year. Christian McCaffrey is Christian McCaffrey. They hold a eight game win streak over UCLA and are coming in favorites.

      UCLA isn't having the great season it though it would. Rosen is still learning, and no one has emerged as a legit wide receiver option. This game will end up one of two ways, a Stanford brutal blow-out, as the norm, or UCLA will fight and edge it out. I like the home field advantage here.

Pick: UCLA 27-24

California @ Arizona State (-4)
       If you are a fan of high scoring games that provide absolutely no defense, this is the one to watch. ASU beat Texas Tech 68-55 earlier in the year, with Kalen Ballage scoring 8 touch downs, while the Golden Bears have given up 40 twice, and 31 in the other game. 

Pick: Cal 54-49

#9 Washington (-9) @ Arizona
       The Huskies head off to the Old Pueblo and face off against Rich Rod and his retooling Wildcats squad. The Huskies have been blowing out everybody and expect that to continue in Tucson, though the Wildcats will be pesky for the first half. 

Pick: Washington 42-21

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       Houston has traded Beasley, the former #2 overall selection, to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Guard Tyler Ennis, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski.

       Beasley was solid for the Rockets, averaging 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds on 52.2% shooting from the field in just 18.2 minutes of action. During five playoff appearances, Beasley averaged 10.4 points, 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes on 47.8% shooting. Solid all around numbers in limited time, but with the additions of Ryan Anderson, Nene and the hopeful improvement from Sam Dekker, Rockets felt Beasley was expandable to shore up the point guard slot and should provide a boost to the Bucks scoring woes. 

       Ennis, on the flip-side, was the 18th pick in 2014 out of Syracuse, and has appeared in only 79 career games over a three year span, averaging 4 points and 2 assists in 13 minutes, Ennis has struggled from the floor hitting only 41.1% from the field and 30.5% from behind the arc. Not much of a loss for the Bucks and a gamble from Houston.

Rockets Grade: C- 
       Beasley at least provided some offense, Ennis might not even get much time.

Bucks Grade: A
       Only reason it isn't an A+ is due to Beasley potentially ruining team chemistry.

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       Despite having a full roster, Doc Rivers looks to add some more warm bodies onto the Clippers training camp roster, as the franchise has agreed to camp terms with Xavier Munford and Dorrell Wright.

       Munford has spent the majority of his time in the D-League with the Bakersfield Jam, averaging just over 20 points and 6 assists during the 2015-16 campaign, prior to being called up by the Memphis Grizzlies who were nursing injuries to seemingly ever player. While with the Grizzlies, Munford chipped in with just under 6 points in 17.4 minutes, knocking down 39.1% of his attempts from range, playing the Clippers twice. Averaging 9 points in 26 minutes, while shooting 50% from the field is a solid line for a D-League guy.

        Wright, on the flip side, is a 11-year veteran of the NBA, despite having sat out the 2015-16 campaign. Last playing time for Wright came with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 5 points in 13 minutes and 35% from range. With 20 playoff games under his belt, Wright is expected to provide some veteran leadership.

       Nice camp additions by Doc here, though, with 15-men on the roster, the odds of either of those two sneaking by are astronomical, unless an injury occurs. 

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