The games were large in significance but then it all seemingly went chalk and whoa UCLA is playing well. I absorbed 25% of it through a billion of monitors inside the Pac-12’s production truck outside Haas and the remaining 12.5% via DVR on my couch. None of it was comfortable but here’s a jog through it all:
Arizona 67, Utah 63 OT – Have you guys heard of Fantex Holdings? It’s a company that’s creating value out of an athlete’s earning potential and allowing you to buy stock in that potential. The athlete makes money, you make money. It’s literally stock in an indvidual. Now somewhere in there I’ve violated an NCAA rule but if I’m buying futures on a program I’m buying up some Utah. They’re a year away from really shaking things up but that’s discredit to what they’re capable of doing right now. I could go into the Luck thing again but we’re all sick of that at this point (though I did find it WILDLY ironic – or probably coincidental, sue me – that the Utah band was playing Daft Punk’s Lucky out of one of the closing timeouts). That’s a tough team and a more talented team than Larry K had initially given them credit for. They were getting the best possible shot Arizona has in them at this point for 30 minutes, fouled Aaron Gordon out of the game and used all that momentum to have a free throw for a lead in the last minute. They missed it. Meanwhile, this game was a distinct reminder as to why I’m so sad balls about Brandon Ashley’s injury. Arizona seems to have a bit of that certain intangible. They’ll bend but they don’t break (not a foot pun). They’re tough in all the right places and perhaps, most importantly, between the ears. Additionally, who doesn’t like patting themselves on the back? Before the game I said this:
Kind of love York starting. Hope he is hearing what he wants [cue: I’m the man I’m the man I’m the man]
— Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) February 20, 2014
And then he did this:
The sense – and maybe because we’ve seen 21 games with him not starting – but Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is great off the bench. The aforementioned success of York assuages concerns about a talent drop off and allows York to play a completely different role. I’m not a basketball coach but I get the sense that there are some parallels to being the fifth or seventh man. There’s a semblance of rotation and predictability in those roles. York has started two games and scored 27 points in those games. Meanwhile – and this is where I’m really working off of feel and perception – the sixth man plays the role of GO FIX IT. Rondae can fix things. He’s not afraid to get dirty and if you watched overtime last night (I did), you know Arizona doesn’t win without his skinned knees and elbows. Six points and two offensive rebounds in extra time. Let it rain, Gabe, and all you can muster is a puddle, well then go clean it up, Rondae.
UCLA All of the Points, Cal Many Fewer Regulation – As noted, I watched this from the production booth and for the first 25 minutes of the game I was lost. I didn’t know what was live and what was replay or what was a highlight. I saw football on one screen at a certain point and was convinced Myles Jack really could play everything. I’m working on that piece for Pacific Takes and will be sure to link you up. But with regards to the game, UCLA is good no matter what Kyle Anderson is doing. That’s to say, whether he’s scoring or facilitating, he’s the centerpiece of that monster. Yet when he’s facilitating and Jordan Adams is slashing and shooting, is there a better twosome in the nation? Honestly. I don’t follow the national scene as closely as our western dozen but those two are about as good as it gets. And last night was about as good as they get. Anderson: 11/9/7 on 4-8 shooting. Adams: 28/6/5 on 12-19 with 5 steals. We talk all about what a heady and versatile talent Anderson is. But watch Adams. He’s not the best athlete out there (no that’s Zach LaVine who from floor level I watched do multiple dunks in the layup line so I can first hand confirm he’s the ridiculous athlete). But he understands the flow of the game. Where’s the ball going and he gets in there. He’s incredibly resourceful and it serves him, and his team, quite well. As for Cal? I dunno, mix in some defense. Woof.
Oregon…, – Here’s the deal. I write this as no knock on Washington. They are a team in the midst of a tough season in which they’ll maybe garner an invitation to a tournament certainly not on CBS. That’s why I’m going to ignore them (I don’t love game recaps). But the Ducks. Ahhh, the Ducks. It hasn’t even been a topsy turvy season for them. It’s more Drop Tower than Roller Coaster. But they are still being discussed as a team on the bubble and last night they won. This is the time of year when only winning matters. From what I can gather from the box score, this was the quintessential Washington-Oregon game. Oregon played great offense. Washington showed up. The Ducks were outrebounded, gave up 1.08ppp (UW’s highest ppp since playing Oregon State, 1/25), gave up 14 offensive rebounds, and coughed up 13 turnovers (not that bad but I just accounted for 27 extra possessions for UW). What business did Oregon have winning? Well they play offense and that alone. Dana’s boys shot 57% afield and garnered 1.18 ppp. Like I said, just winning is all that matters at this point. The Ducks are who they are, they’ll just need to ride that gravy train into the Dance, if possible.
Colorado obviously beat ASU – I’ll spend plenty of time on you Buffs in the coming days but wanted to note, while I’ve got ASU here, that in the past two years, Arizona has lost 10 games. In the game immediately following their defeat of the Wildcats, teams are 3-7.