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.
When the trio you send home a character issue guy, someone who’s played in just half your team’s games, and a walk on for violating team rules, you know some weird shit went down. Alas, the Trojans have still won just four Pac-12 games under Andy Enfield and while he seems to have made some recruiting noise, I’m increasingly not sure Larry K was wrong:
— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) February 2, 2015
11) WASHINGTON STATE
A case for Dusan Ristic to start over Kaleb Tarczewski was made to me this weekend. I’m impressed with myself for entertaining the conversation as long as I did. The case, as it were, was that one must outscore one’s opponent to win the game. My stance? Zeus forever. But under the combatant’s game winning philosophy of outscoring the opponent (which is mathematically correct I will concede), I present to you: Exhibit Washington State. They rank 66th nationally in offensive efficiency (107.4 is nice), and three hundred and nineteenth in defensive efficiency. In conference they’re yielding 116.6 points per 100 possessions and conversely trying to “outscore” everyone with 102.3 points per 100 possessions. Across 100 possessions, that’s a 14 point loss. But Josh Hawkinson has the third best defensive rebounding percentage in the nation!
Time was taken and Lorenzo Romar drew up what would – in all inevitability – result in a fruitless final shot attempt. This isn’t a knock on LoRo but rather that these things rarely seem to pan out. Coming out of the timeout, the camera panned to Andrew Andrews who had scored 32 points at this juncture in the competition. He looked at the camera. He winked. He fucking winked and he ended a seven game losing streak:
This tweet embodies the Buffs’ season:
First half in Corvallis, OSU 34-12. Fewest points for CU-Boyle team. Previous 18 vs. Pitt. Season low 14.3 FG percentage @Pac12Networks
— Colorado Basketball (@CUBuffsMBB) February 22, 2015
Because I know the Pitt game from last year’s NCAA tournament (look away CU fans, I’m about to re-reveal that score: 48-77) weighed heavily on that program. Boyle kept the score around over the summer as a reminder but distinctly removed it upon the official beginning of the 2015 season. They were supposed to move on. It appears, however, things have come full circle. On the positive side of things, Josh Scott grabbed 17 rebounds against Oregon.
John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn won an Oscar for their song Glory. They performed the song as their more familiar selves, John Legend and Common. The performance had everyone in tears including UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY GRADUATE CHRIS PINE! And now I’ve written something about 16-11, 6-8 Cal.
7) OREGON STATE
Joe Lunardi – whom Spencer feels is his favorite of all ESPN characters – has Stanford out of the NCAA tournament. This has got to be a terrible prospect for Stanford fans considering this conference sucks and that the aforementioned Lunardi feels that at worst three Pac-12 teams will be invited. Sure the Cardinal won this weekend, but they have arguably the toughest final four games remaining with a visit from the Oregons and a trip to Arizona. And Chasson Randle isn’t trending the way we’d like to see a Senior trend as his career wanes and his NCAA tournament chances dwindle:
Here’s what I’ll maintain – UCLA is not a team I’d want to play in the NCAA tournament. What I discovered in learning everything about them and watching them intently for two-hours on Saturday was that they’re not very disciplined. There isn’t much cohesion to what they do and the Bruins had just six assists against the Wildcats. They were forced into using Noah Allen (6’6”) in the front court as Tony Parker, Thomas Welsh, and Kevon Looney each fouled out. Obviously, keeping your talent on the floor would be imperative to being successful – no matter whether they’re working together or not. And if we can agree that Tony Parker is a part of the Bruins’ talent=winning equation (11 & 8 in wins, 7 & 5 in losses), then his 10 foul, 4 point, 2 rebound weekend in Arizona ain’t gonna cut it.
4) ARIZONA STATE
I received an ESPN score notification that ASU-USC was over, 56-62. This must’ve been submitted before – you know – Savon Goodman goaltended a desperation three. Things worked out for the Devils but the bonehead goaltend was puzzling. Alas, the USC game isn’t necessarily why ASU makes their highest power rankings appearance of the year; a team you’d never have expected to power at fourth. They’ve been great in the latter half of conference play. And while this may not be the year for the Devils, this program is in better health than we perhaps otherwise thought.
Jordan Bell at the top of this video is priceless and this might be my favorite senior quote:
Joe Young on Senior Day: “I’m going to miss the nets here and the rims. I love them.”
— Steve Mims (@SteveMims_RG) February 22, 2015
I’m not entirely sold on the Ducks playing in the NCAA tournament, there remains a lot of basketball to be played and for these guys none of it will be at home. But beating a top-10 team has been scientifically proven to not hurt tournament chances. It’s just science.
The sting of losing to Oregon isn’t so much that anything was revealed about the Utes so much as the blow they took to their title chances. Big picture, I know a team that once lost in Eugene on Oregon’s senior day. That team went on to be within one shot of the Elite Eight. We are at the point in the season where individual game results mean almost nothing or everything. Let me explain. For Oregon, beating Utah has potentially made their season. A visit from the ninth ranked team was all Dana’s Ducks had left to prove to anyone that their patchwork season was going to be worth Dance consideration. For the Utes, we’ve already accumulated a sample set to understand their ceiling and cellar. On more nights than not, we’re watching the best of Utah basketball. This doesn’t help their chances of a 3-seed but when we’re operating in the space of three and four-seeds it’s all about matchups. And next Saturday’s game.
The Wildcat’s starters – occasionally vaunted as the best starting five in the country – shot 25% from the field and made zero three pointers against UCLA. They still won because defense travels and it’s less inclined to slump. I lead with this – ignoring the 259 points Arizona put up during their prior three games – because this is what Arizona does. And they’re going to do what they do and only that. They won’t necessarily feed the hot hand if the hot hand isn’t going to contribute to stopping an opponent (remember, Kaleb forever). Credit is indubitably due to the Wildcats’ bench effort (27 points on 11-17 shooting) but when the going get tough, Miller is sticking with who he trusts. And he trusts the guys that best do what Wildcats do: