Pac-10 not shaping up the way polls expected

By Patrick Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Notes from around the Pacific 10 Conference, starting with this gem from the UCLA sports information office: Playing on Tuesdays in the month of November this season, the Bruins are 2-0. On all other nights, the defending national champions are 0-3.

That tidbit probably can't be topped, but let's try.

What the ...: Sure, it's only December, but you might find yourself looking sideways at the Pac-10 standings. UCLA and Stanford, picked to finish one-two in the conference, suddenly have found themselves struggling.

As a whole, the Pac-10 is 27-11. But the Cardinal (3-2) and the Bruins (2-3) have contributed five of those losses. Only Oregon State, the consensus pick to finish way behind everyone else, has a worse overall record at 1-2. Four teams are still undefeated: Arizona (6-0), Cal (3-0), Washington State (2-0) and Washington (2-0). The middle of the conference finds Oregon at 4-1, Southern Cal at 2-1 and Arizona State at 2-2.

Bruised Bruins: It may get worse before it gets better for UCLA. Coming off an 85-70 thrashing by then-No. 2 Kansas, a loss that knocked them out of the national rankings, the Bruins were informed they may have to muddle through the rest of December without the services of their starting point guard, Cameron Dollar.

Dollar, a junior, has injuries in both hands. He has continued to play despite a torn ligament in his right pinky finger and has had it heavily taped the last two games. He also suffered a dislocated left pinky in the game against the Jayhawks.

He assumed the point guard role after Tyus Edney, currently of the NBA's Sacramento Kings, graduated. In last year's NCAA title game against Arkansas, Dollar subbed for an injured Edney, recording six points, a career-high eight assists, four steals and three rebounds in 36 minutes.

UCLA coach Jim Harrick equated Dollar's injuries to "playing with boxing gloves on," adding that he should have held him out of games some time ago so his hands could heal.

The Bruins face No. 20 Maryland this Saturday in the Wooden Classic at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in California, and also play Stephen F. Austin, Notre Dame and Nevada-Las Vegas this month. Harrick is not expected to play Dollar against the Terrapins, and may keep him out of the rest of the games to get him healthy for conference play.

That's great, Mr. Fridder Uh, Frieder: The good news from Tempe is head coach Bill Frieder has been signed to a two-year contract extension. The quotable coach, who doubles as the foil to Arizona coach Lute Olson in their series of Bank One commercials (and was called Mr. Fridder in one of them), is signed until the year 2000.

His reaction was typical Frieder.

"What does it mean? I guess that means we are stuck with each other for the next five years," he said.

Wishful thinking: Stanford included a section in its media release called "History Hoopla." It detailed how the Cardinal held Michael Jordan to four points in an 88-75 Stanford win over his alma mater, North Carolina, in 1983. But in last weekend's Diet Pepsi Tournament of Champions, which featured the two schools, Stanford couldn't duplicate that performance against the Jordan-less Heels, who pounded the Cardinal 87-63.

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