When it comes to knowing everything about the Utah Utes, it’s not wrong to note Delon Wright. And while that’s both short sighted and narrow, it’s not entirely inaccurate. He’s just really damn good. But after two double-negatives in nearly as many sentences, credit where credit is rightfully due: Larry Krystkowiak. In my estimation he’s the man with the plan and its come to near perfect execution. He built his program for the 2015 season (and most certainly beyond) and that’s exactly how things have played out.
So more about this team.
Delon is terrific but what else is going on? A 6’5″ point-combo-guard does not alone constitute the fifth most efficient defense in the country. He alone does not protect the rim at alarmingly elite – if not destructive – levels. He alone does not carry a Top-20 3FG% (he actually detracts from it). There are a lot of layers to this Utah onion. Let’s peel:
Arizona and Colorado will square off for the eleventh time in three seasons tonight. Ben Burrows knows Colorado basketball the way you know your seventh grade crush’s class schedule: he’s on their every move. This is may be our fifth iteration of a Rumblin Buff-PacHoops Q&A and it’s the first time that we find ourselves with a Colorado team that’s really struggling. For their entire Pac-12 lives, CU has been pretty damn good. This year it’s been an unfortunate not so much. Let’s ask Ben – the genius behind The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo – about it:
What happened to 2015?
I can’t confirm the immediate intro jams – we’re talking striking college scenery not Wooden statues and Boyle barking – but I feel none were as fitting as this week’s. Stereotyping can be funny so acoustic tunes conjuring be-dreadlocked coeds frolicking in the hills of Berkeley’s campus was notable. It felt right. Certainly more than any other school’s introduction.
And when we’re invited into the basketball side of Berkeley, well I don’t know what the hell. We first see the team standing around coach. They’re just standing around and the first thing Cuonzo says is, “Anybody ready to quit?” Quit what? Everyone’s just standing there. He continues inaudibly as he lightly bends at the hips, looking almost the part of a hobbled man with a cane. It doesn’t look like Cuonzo Martin. He continues inaudibly to his audience that won’t quit but has go to be grossly confused until you hear him say, “wobble.” And old-man-looking Cuonzo’s leg give a slight tremble. He straightens, “Now are we on the same page?” I watched this 4x. Continue reading
It’s the second to last week of Pac-12 hoops and the NCAA tournament couldn’t feel any further away. As Spencer and I hammered through Tuesday’s WANE, I felt like any declarations made about NCAA tournament invites were as solid as the World Cup in Qatar. There’s so much significant basketball left to be played. Even this week feels like we’re approaching the elimination stages. Of course the beauty of this game is that there is always the automatic bid carrot looming. Ask Colorado about it, maybe not Washington.
What that also means is that we’re headed towards Senior Days and those guys are my favorites. They embody the inevitability of sudden death that we’re so drawn to hopefully avoid in College Basketball. This whole thing culminates in a 68-team death match. We hope our team survives. Seniors are the Maximii of the game. We know we’ll lose them, but we can hope for a last gasp of heroism before they’re gone. So here’s to you, our stretch-run crew:
TJ McConnell, Anthony Brown, Chasson Randle, DaVonte Lacy, David Kravish, Stefan Nastic, Delon Wright, Shaq McKissic, Joe Young, Shawn Kemp Jr, Mike Anderson, Norman Powell, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Bo Barnes, Jonathan Gilling, and Askia Booker
Let’s see what you’ve got. Continue reading
Oregon perhaps took a little wind out of Utah’s sail and Larry K said that now is the time for less talk and more action. So Spencer and I talk about all of the Pac-12’s forthcoming action including Arizona’s trip to what should be a raucous Muss (but hopefully not inappropriately so). Perhaps it goes without saying that – one week from March – we delve into Bubble Watch and all of the OPPORTUNITY! for the Pac’s bubble squad of UCLA, Oregon, and Stanford.
WANE (and on SoundCloud)
We know Delon Wright is really good and that he’s uniquely gifted at getting to the rim. Last year it was at insane levels as 62% of his offense was a layup or dunk attempt which he made 71% of the time. He exploded onto the scene and to the rim and we took notice.
Presumably, 2015 wasn’t going to surprise us. Last year he was a JuCo transfer, the kid brother of Dorrel. He could sneak up on you. Continue reading
Everything really isn’t awesome. I hate leading each week with what a bummer of a collective we follow but – aside from Oregon – the collective Pac-12 bubble made few strides this week. The NCAA tournament is like a healthy cell and the Pac-12 has three viral proteins evolving – unsuccessfully – to permeate it’s strong cellular membrane. What? I’ve been staring at the Cal slot on this power ranking for a day-and-a-half. All I can conjure is I think Dwight Tarwater has a producer credit on the Lego movie.
They are Pac-12 basketball. It’s basically the Conference of Champions because of UCLA. For an entire season they alchemized the “C” on all jerseys to commemorate 100 national titles (Internet Fun: find the best line in this confirming article). UCLA – with Arizona on its heels – is the torchbearer of Pac-12 basketball.
But UCLA’s not there right now. And although they’ve fallen on tougher times we won’t let that diminish this rivalry. GameDay recognizes, why shouldn’t we? UCLA may have dropped what appeared to be a quintessential trap game (ASU is actually pretty good even if their student paper concedes on court success for off court fun), but the Bruins are also 4-1 against Arizona in the last five meetings.
A rivalry it is. Everything we need to know about UCLA:
Here’s our seventh episode that probably takes some monster tangents from Pac-12 Basketball namely some gross lapses in memory, a few soliloquies, zero sound effects, and the promise of a heated debate. Spencer cuts me off twice and neither instance is surrounding Bubble Watch. Maybe WANE will retire your jersey and maybe you’ll have the fortune of not sitting in the middle seat?
WANE (and on SoundCloud):
Finally everyone’s favorite socks will have their jersey hang in the rafters of the McKale Center. It’s been a long time coming for Jason Terry’s #31 but it’s well deserved. And because we adore a game that celebrates its moments, I thought it fitting to share one of my favorite Jason Terry moments (Stanford game-winner was hard not to link aside from its lack of a web presence).
First, let’s note that The Jet won a national title and was named the national Player of the Year. He was the Pac-10’s 1999 Player of the Year, made the bench cool, wore the socks and played basketball with the enthusiasm of 1000 Sean Miller practice plans.
Pure Terry: Continue reading