- Adrian Wojnarowski: How reporting machine gets his scoops – Competition is not exclusive to the guys in shorts and shirts. Woj – a nickname I use for simplicity and not based on familiarity – seems to have a real big agenda. But my major takeaway in this is: where’s the money? If Woj is tweeting the juice during this “Trade Rumor Era,” where are the clicks? Websites make money when people are visiting them so it seems to me, twitter is the big winner here. That said, it would also seem that if you’re big enough, the money follows you. See the statistic on Woj’s twitter following. It’s grown nearly 10x in three years. Woj isn’t a journalist, columnist, or reporter. He’s a celebrity.
- On Jimmy Butler and non-linear development – I love the title of this piece and the phrase “non-linear development.” Living in San Francisco, this feels like a very start uppy term. Yet it also applies to fandom. We can’t put the cart ahead of the horse. I’m not certain that this article sheds a ton of light on this subject, but it is a nice reminder that not everyone gets better in the same way. That patience is necessary and every team needs a different something from a different player each year.
- Promise Keeper – So this is only Colorado’s fourth year in the Pac-12 so I’m still familiarizing myself with their history. Turns out it’s kinda twisted. I mean, no one’s family is in perfect order but this is a story about Bill McCartney and some odd twist and turns to what comes across as a fully lived life.
- Titus’s Top 12 NCAA Power Rankings: Want Heartbreak? Play Arizona - Forget that. Want heartbreak? Root for Arizona. Outside of that, I think this is the first time two Pac-12 teams are in the Titus rankings. UCLA might’ve squeaked in at some point last year but definitively Utah is in there now. And now you’ve got to read Titus’ Utah blurb.
- Pac-12 Burning Questions: Favorite Newcomer? – Over at the RTC microsite, we answered questions about our favorite newcomers. I think this is going to spark a bigger profile of Gary Payton II. Nevertheless, gotta read this thing for Danna’s bit on Poeltl.
- CONGRATS, SOUL BRO! - I’ve never taken one of these classes, specifically, but I have been in this situation. You might have, too. Luc captures the scene perfectly. And uncomfortably.
Last night Bill Walton was in Tucson to do play-by-play for the broadcast of Oakland @ Arizona. And he was great.
Last week, a petition was created – and signed by more than 1,500 lost souls – to never have that scenario play out again. Interested? Here’s the link and know that I did not sign it. I will not sign it. In fact, I’ve come up with a list of 25 people (tip of the iceberg) who would be worse at calling a U of A basketball game. Twenty-five people who wouldn’t compare Gabe York to Ray Allen or tell us about a 67-acre mushroom. A quarter-hundred people who don’t have a Tipi in their backyard; who didn’t nearly walk out on the winningest legend to keep a beard. Because you’d rather hear about the defensive efficiencies (1.31 ppp vs. Arizona) of the Oakland Grizzlies playing a red eye removed from East Lansing.
In no particular order:
- Lute Olson – Great coach. GOAT? Yet you never knew how much you liked the Grateful Dead until you heard all of Lute’s “uhhhs.”
- Dick Vitale – Do you really need me to?
- Jerry Garcia – Couldn’t provide a quarter of the basketball insight that Walton provides about The Dead.
- Jenny Finch – Has many fine features and Wildcat knowledge.
- Ernie Kent – Unless of course Arizona is playing Washington State in which case it would improve Arizona’s chances to win. Or would it?
- Digger Phelps - Is the devil.
- Craig Robinson - The man can charm a room – he’s learned from the best – but he can leave something to be desired on the mic.
- Kyryl Natyazkho - The former Wildcat – who once Bernied in the NCAA tournament – dabbled in media which was actually quite an interesting perspective. But let’s keep the big Ukraine of the mic.
- BYUTv – The single most homer broadcast that ever was. Jimmer also dropped a billion on the Wildcats so whether you liked ‘em or not, you won’t soon be seeing/hearing/experiencing BYU vs. Arizona anytime on the round ball side of a Las Vegas Bowl.
- Tim McCarver – Indubitably the worst. Ever. All time. He’s so bad that when you listen to his broadcasts you don’t enjoy the broadcasts because he explains things so longwindedly and in such elementary terms that he manages to confuse you even about the most simple of things like telling you that Tim McCarver is not the best play-by-play guy.
- Kevin Danna - And I love Danna! Listen to this call. And this call. But Dannaman didn’t hang banners.
- Ed O’Bannon - He was 5-3 All-Time against the Wildcats – destroyed ‘em – and now he’s trying to deamateurize our athletes? Wait, the latter’s a good thing.
- Spencer Smith – He’s not even an expert. But does have a media medallion on reddit/cfb.
- Adam Butler – The self-proclaimed “preeminent Pac-12 blogger” would likely spend the entire broadcast texting his brother and other friends throughout the country.
- This Lady – Not a chance she distinguishes between Kaleb Tarczewski and TJ McConnell.
- Sean Eilliott – And Boogie Cousins agrees.
- Patrick Butler - My father, at the slightest of great plays, does this miserably loud GASPSHOUTYELL that is not only startling but the point of countless familial battles. The things I do for ‘Cats games…
- Sarah Kezele - Because it seems she’d only talk about Walton.
- Lou Holtz - The master motivator’s motivation would be lost amidst everyone already being so fired up over things like Arizona Basketball.
- Steve Kerr – He has the basketball acumen, the Arizona pedigree, and the booth experience. But he’s got bigger fish to fry (21-3, if you need a hint).
- Colin Cowherd – Because we can’t commercialize everything.
- Craig James – He’s got a senate race to tend to anyhow.
- Casey Jacobsen – But big kudos because I’ve heard him admit, on air, that the tip-frosting phase was a mistake.
- Ray Lewis – That Stanford locker room tho…
- Brian Collins - Or maybe this would be great because – you know – boom goes the dynamite?
- How data help Duke refine approach on court – If someone can read this and tell me how data has actually helped Duke refine their approach on the court let me know. This makes it seem the Blue Devils are using SportsVU like a glorified FitBit. Seriously. There’s a few other parts to this, however. 1) Duke probably isn’t going to reveal their uses, and 2) This further highlights that just because we have data, doesn’t necessarily mean we know what it means.
- Race Against Resistance: How Bacteria are Circumventing Modern Medicine – And this is why I found Immunology to be one of the more fascinating classes I took in college. The human body is a brilliant machine. Its ability to recognize and destroy foreign agents is remarkable. But sometimes it needs help. The discovery of penicillin was game changing – a sixth man, if you need a basketball reference – in that it helps the body catch up – a spark off the bench. Our bodies sometimes can’t keep up with the foreign pathogens and so enter penicillin. It compromises cellular integrity (I wanted to write that), killing that which the body doesn’t recognize. So what happens when penicillin isn’t able to help at the same rate? When bacteria evolves faster than our bodies (already) or our medicines? Well, smart people get involved.
- The Sony Hack and the Yellow Press - I appreciate Aaron Sorkin’s perspectives on this because he’s named in some of the leaked documents. It gives him a certain connection to the events. Otherwise it seems like perfect timing for him to comment on a major media situation with The Newsroom wrapping up. So if you need one more Newsroom monologue…here it is.
When the rains subsided and the sun peaked out again, it was SantaCon in my neck of the woods. For me that meant the bar seemed full of Arizona and Utah fans – red galore. That’s why I was there, at least. For everyone else it was… well in New York, this guy mixed parties. In other news, I’m all about the news right now. I crushed All the Presidents Men and The Newsroom series finale last night. The latter of which I might be spoiling in the next paragraph:
A few thoughts on Charlie Skinner’s funeral: 1) Inordinate number of mega babes , 2) His grandson is always in the garage to play standup bass by himself? 3) Was Neal’s return the most triumphant return of all time or ever? 4) Seriously Jim? That’s your first move in that role? 5) Charlie stood for a renaissance of decency. That’s what Sorkin said. I’ll miss that show.
12) Washington State
DaVonte Lacy is taking 67% of his shots from deep which seems like an exorbitant amount of three pointers. He’s shot 68 treys and made them at a 35% rate. Hoop-math unfortunately doesn’t do individual rankings but in my poking around, I built a hack-of-a-list of some of the most voluminous bombers around:
- Jonathan Gilling, ASU, 85% of shots from deep, 46 total treys shot
- Naz Long, Iowa State, 81%, 60
- Isaiah Zierden, Creighton, 80%, 66
- Tim Marshall, VMI, 72%, 98
- Hans Brase, Princeton, 67%, 68
With 5:24 remaining in their game against Army, the Trojans led 63-54 and had about a 95% chance of winning. They lost, yielding an unfathomable 31 points over those final five minutes plus overtime. Army shot 95.45% eFG% over those final 10 minutes.
10) Arizona State
9) Oregon State
Before this season started I’d considered having an OSU tracker, noting on a regular basis how close to the major conference cellar these guys were. Turns out, they’re not going to be that bad and they’re a pretty good defensive unit. They’re limiting teams to the twelfth lowest eFG% in the nation and just this week picked up their first non-conference, high major win since beating Purdue on November 12, 2012.
I had a few things to say about Colorado last week and I said them in the following places:
- All Buffs - Written prior to their home loss to Colorado State
- Rush the Court – Written following their home loss to Colorado State
How does one oversleep on the day of your first game in two weeks? Anthony Brown reportedly did exactly that Saturday morning which baffles me. Maybe he was exhausted from finals? Nevertheless, after sitting briefly he managed to score 17 points as the Cardinal had to comeback from an 8-point halftime deficit against Denver.
In conversating about the RTC Team of the Week, Andrew Murawa was trying to make the argument for Oregon as such. I ultimately talked him into picking Utah for the honor as I’m a sucker for road games. With that said, however, the Ducks did collect the best win (by KenPom rating) of the Pac-12 week. They knocked off KenPom’s #38 team, Illinois, in the less-than-triumphant return to the Pac-12 for Ahmad Starks. Also, for just the second time this season, Joseph Young did not lead the team in field goal attempts.
UCLA has almost no depth and it’s going to hurt them on occasion. You perhaps know my feelings on the overrated nature of depth, but the Bruins lack both depth and experience and that can often be a lethal combination. Four Bruins played 35-or-more minutes while the Bruins rank 333rd in % of bench minutes. UCLA didn’t lose to Gonzaga because they didn’t have enough players – Gonzaga is really good – but it didn’t help, either.
Wyoming is perhaps the most deliberate team in the country. They’re more contrived than a Newsroom monologue. So when they marched into Haas and exacted their style all over the Bears – a snail’s 55 possessions – it was impressive that Cal beat them at their own game. Cal is not one of the more offensively gifted teams in the conference so with the Cowboys trying to force Cal into long possessions and a slow pace, Ty Wallace asserted himself as the best player on the court (17 points, 8 boards, 5 assists).
Against what I’m told is a pretty good Eastern Washington team, the Huskies began raining threes late prompting this tweet:
Goss has Isaiah levels of clutch.
— Sean Kramer (@SKramerWrites) December 15, 2014
for this play:
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) December 15, 2014
Ya know, just some Delon Dunks:
I’m a little bit tired of the RichRod-Arizona-Michigan narrative but it seems to be a significant one. A recap of events from the McKale Center and Arizona’s most complete game of the season, an 80-53 drubbing of the Wolverines:
- RichRod in attendance
- Drops by locker room and wishes basketball team “good luck”
- Miller says he could tell there was a “twinkle in his eye”
- Football team is not introduced as South champs at halftime of Gonzaga game, Greg Byrne calls it #Strategy
- Entire football team is brought onto the court at halftime as South champs, Rodriguez addresses the crowd
When these teams squared off a season ago, Michigan was unranked and playing with a broken Mitch McGary. Four months later they had no Mitch McGary and were outfight B1G champs albeit the unfortunate carnage of the Harrison family in the Elite Eight (doesn’t losing in the Elite Eight suck?). The Michigan Wolverines are a real deal basketball program and losing to the New Jersey Institute of Technology is not indicative of really anything. So strike that from your memories.
Of course these two schools are now forever-ish linked by the career of Rich Rodriguez. Arizona still hasn’t been to a Rose Bowl and Michigan doesn’t have a football coach. This is basketball season.
My questions. His answers. Continue reading
When a Pac-12 school schedules a game against the Kansas Jayhawks, I’m going to pay attention. But, because I’m the preeminent Pac-12 blogger, I need some help. I can’t know this conference and, say, the Valley. So I brought the questions to Brian Goodman, the lead writer for Rush The Court’s Big 12 microsite. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.
Questions and answers:
Kentucky made Kansas look really, really small and lots of other things. But Kansas isn’t actually that team. They’re quite good, right? What does this team do that makes them elite?
- Everybody Loves Mike – There are lessons to be learned from Mike Miller. Not necessarily basketball ones but lessons about how to be successful. Miller has made himself a success the good old fashioned way: by helping people out. Sure he’s busted his butt and has god given skills that have made him – say – an NBA lottery pick and champion. But no one makes it alone. Miller helped everyone else. It’s helped him. In some regard it’s business 101: Listen. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
- A Day in the Life of an Uber/Lyft Driver in San Francisco - I’ve thought about becoming a driver and was intrigued by this article. But then I read it and got to thinking about something else. Is this the Millennial tone? Are we cynics? Unending critics of a presumably unsupportive capitalist society geared towards selfish ends? Do we hide entitlement behind feigned self-deprecation? It’s disheartening to find the bad in everything, particularly one’s everyday life.
- This Will Probably Be the Slowest College Basketball Season Ever Played - Thought I’d revisit this one after attending my first game of the season! It was Arizona against Utah Valley and did not project to be much of a contest. It was not. Furthermore, I was bringing eight co-workers who knew little to nothing about college basketball. I took it upon myself to educated them. Whether or not they learned anything or even appreciated it is unknown. I kept telling my co-workers what a slow game this would be. Here’s how I explained it: This game was going to be slow but not necessarily by possessions but rather by actual game time. UVU plays an offense designed to take its time. That was then coupled with Arizona’s defense which is designed to make an offense take it’s time (20.2 seconds per possession vs. 19.5, respectively). UVU wanted to take their time and was then going to be allowed to. And then, what happened, was the Wolverines (UVU) went ahead and fouled Arizona at the highest rate they’ve fouled anyone all season. It was the only green spot (defensive FTrate) on their KenPom page. Long possessions and lots of fouls made for a lot of “action” with an unmoving clock. KenPom – in the above article – notes further reasons why this could be the slowest season ever, but on Tuesday night, it was the confluence of offensive strategy, defensive strategy, and the referee’s whistle that made this thing s-l-o-w. Of Note: 1) My co-workers loved McKale, 2) This game was actually well ahead of the average pace (71 AdjT vs. about 67). This was instigated by the fouls and the 25% TOrate from UVU.
We’re going to give Power Rankings the old college try. Hike up the back of our drawers, grunt twice, and force rank folks one-through-twelve. My focus could meander, I make no promises on continuity or sense. Here’s our PacHoops Power Rankings debut.
But…before we get started, I’m open to suggestions on what to call this. Hit me up.
1) Arizona Wildcats
A couple weeks ago, as I was contemplating a content calendar, the idea of Luck came up. I’ve previously written about Utah’s luck but decided not to address it. I figured the stat wasn’t worth diving in to as it ultimately supplements the narrative – nice – wasn’t necessarily going to help us understand this year’s team.
Until last night. Continue reading