For the record, know that I could care less about Shabazz’s Gucci backpack. For starters, I’m not a backpack guy. That’s not to say I don’t like them, but exorbitant spending on a carrying device that effuses the appearance of a middle-school seems an unworthy purchase to me. I still use the backpack I used from the first day of sixth grade. I mean, there was a Trapper Keeper in that thing. Whatever Shabazz had in his – more than likely just channeling his inner KD35 – I’m not concerned and I certainly don’t care about how he got it. I’ll let that be worried about by the NCAA and whatever investigative abilities they may or may not have. Go for it fellas! Because I’m really more concerned with UCLA’s crowning victory parade ending in a Tempe meltdown. No bueno there and while I think it might say more about ASU, it certainly wasn’t a good luck for the Bruins who looked mighty good in Tucson. Alas, maybe the backpack is telling of where the focus is in Westwood.
Leader in the Clubhouse: An utter no brainer here, the Oregon Ducks just keep stockpiling wins like its football season or something. I love how deeply ingrained this team is in playing the style their coach wants them to. They systematically beat you and that’s why they managed to eek out yet another W despite losing Dominic Artis. And they’re deep, too. On Wednesday night, Altman saw his second group mount a bit of a comeback against the Cougars in the first half. That group cut an eight point deficit to three. And then he subbed four new bodies in. Arizona is the only other team that can do that in the Pac-12. When you can throw that many looks at people, it makes you defensively vicious. I mean, look at the UCLA-ASU box score. Not one starter played less than 30 minutes. That’s unsustainable and a truth the Ducks will never have to deal with. And EJ’s heating up.
GotW: Felt like a lot blow outs this weekend, some demons being shaken free. My gut would suggest that the Oregon-Washington game was the GotW but any event that displays 44 combined turnovers cannot be consider the best of anything. Maybe the best of the worst, I don’t know. I did catch that USC-ASU game that went to OT and featured a whole heckuva lotta points. Somewhere KO sipped (slugged?) his JD-rocks and thought, “A team once coached by me nearly yielded a century mark?” Alas, JT Terrell gets to play free and loose and it showed as he and Jio hit big threes in the closing ticks. Fun game.
Biggest Loser: I really do not like what I’ve been seeing from Cal. I think Allen Crabbe is tremendous but one player does not a team with effort and discipline make. Justin Cobbs was quickly taken out of his game in the first half in Colorado and that essentially spelled the rest of his night. Sure he got his late but at that point the Buffs were heels up sipping fine scotch and curious whether or not they were going to hit up the slopes in Park City before or after their trip to Utah next week. Cal looked disinterested and out of sorts and wildly dependent on the successes of Crabbe and Cobbs. Bad recipe.
What We Learned: The Buffs are back. They played their kind of ball and took the Bay Area to task. Final scores aside, Colorado finally started scoring some buckets. Is Xavier Johnson for reals? I know he’s not going to drop double-doubles on the weekly but his 11/3 effort Thursday was exactly what this group needed from someone not named Booker, Dinwiddie, or Scott. Also, 20 rebounds is so much. The next step will be in observing the sustainability of this O as the slump they were in was significantly long. Did they just catch fire or is this real deal? I’m leaning towards the latter. I told BuffsNation about it, too (amongst other weekend wrap up items). But in all honesty, I don’t know if too much was grossly revealed by this weekend’s games. UCLA exposed Arizona as lacking a scoring threat on the post and that just because there is immense size in Kaleb Tarczewski, he isn’t yet the type where teams scheme against him, opening things up for Arizona’s dynamic guards. Grant Jerrett is becoming more assertive about getting into the blocks but isn’t quite there yet. At the end of the day, however, your team is generally pretty well suited to feature two such players. It’s going to be OK in Tucson.
The YouTuber: This video was brought to my attention and I can’t get enough of it. I don’t know if it’s the fact that a 6’9″ 270lbs man tackles someone absurdly unprepared to take a tackle from a 6’9″ 270lbs man or the shot. Dude should get blindfold credit.