With the end approaching, I’m curious if that means we begin to see true colors. Careers are winding down and the significance of everything is seemingly magnified. And for as much as we want to believe that a mid-January game holds equal bearing to a late-February contest, we just know that’s not the case. Furthermore, the calendar changed. It’s March, the universal excuse for madness to ensue. So naturally Arizona won another Pac-12 Title. Who’s ready for brackets?
We’ve got a third win – five in two years now – for Andy Enfield against Pac-12 teams! And while there is very little remarkable about this group, they’ve improved on last season and that’s something to be noted and celebrated. There’s still two games remaining for the Trojans and a guaranteed Pac-12 tournament matchup (I’m considering trying to trend #BetterThan5v12 during that game) in which Enfield could capture a monumental sixth win but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
10) WASHINGTON STATE
The fact that this team has six conference wins is pretty impressive. I think Ernie has done a fine job with this group and made things really uncomfortable for UCLA in Pauley late last night.
I’m going to ignore everything about Tad Boyle’s meltdown Thursday night after his fifth consecutive loss to Arizona by double digits. Unless of course he was speaking to me through Howell to get back into the Coaches Death Match. Not sure. I am sure that Askia Booker and one helluva senior night in Boulder. He scored the most points he’s ever scored inside The Keg and that’s one helluva going away. 29 points, 9-16 shooting.
8) OREGON STATE
The Yosemite Valley was created when a glacier melted 10,000 years ago. The complete melting – and subsequent exposure of one of the world’s most beautiful places and the site of my weekend – took up to 1 million years. And now you understand Oregon State’s philosophy! They try to keep things as slow as possible for a beautiful result. They just can’t seem to do it anywhere but at home. What’s worse is that road hasn’t just been more of the same slow, close margin games. In conference play, the Beavers are 7-1 with an average margin of +6. Close games, just the way the Tinkle ordered it. On the conference road, however, the Beavers are 1-8 with an average margin of -12. What a difference a flight makes. Speaking of OSU flights, someone completely unfamiliar with Pac-12 basketball told me about a grounded plane out of LA recently due to an in-flight scorpion sting. You should’ve seen their confusion when I lit up and told them that Oregon State’s men’s basketball team was on that flight.
Aside from visiting Tucson this weekend, I’ve semi-given up on following Cal’s season. Wildly streaky. But because recruiting is everyone’s guilty pleasure and they had two-five stars (Rabb and Swanigan) on campus, both of whom are Arizona targets, my interest was piqued to see Tweets like this over the weekend:
Davon Dillard just verbally committed to California, per a source.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) March 1, 2015
Which led to more tweets like this:
6) ARIZONA STATE
The Sun Devils rank last in defensive eFG% in the conference and did not deviate from that model this weekend. In getting swept on their ski trip, the Sun Devils allowed Colorado and Utah to shoot 55% eFG% which is impressively bad and depressingly bad when you realize the Devils average 53.5% eFG%. Basically the norm for the Herbivores is to giveit all up which naturally leads us to a cheap and easy Mill Ave joke. Grow up, Adam.
And that’s a wrap. I suppose on some level we were waiting to see how the Cardinal wouldn’t make this year’s NCAA field. If you haven’t been paying attention it worked out something like this:
- Losing five-of-eight
- Chasson shooting slump
It’s not like they fall apart annually, they just never project confidence. And do you think they’re going to win in Tucson? On TJ McConnell’s senior night? I don’t think so either. No dancing in Palo Alto and that’s pretty disappointing. Almost as disappointing as having to still Power Rank them fifth. This conference…
#TakingCareOfBusinessAtHome. That’s the name of UCLA’s close to the season as they can let the rest of their bubble-mates do things like not win at home (Stanford). Also, because I love seniors this time of year, I present to you Norman Powell’s weekend: 52 points, 20-34 FG, 9-13 FT, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals. Someone wants to dance.
The Ducks needed to do something they hadn’t done since 1976 this weekend. And they did it:
We swept the Bay Area! We swept the Bay Area! Holy crap!
— David Piper (@atqdave) March 2, 2015
Key to this was Mighty Joe Young. He played all 40 minutes against Stanford and 37 at Cal. He scored 46 points (25 & 21, respectively). At halftime, Kevin O’Neill provided analysis like only KO does and said something to the extent of, “Chasson Randle, Stefan Nastic, and Anthony Brown have got to know that after tonight they only have 3 guaranteed games left.” Those three lost. Joe Young won.
The Utes had a chance to put Arizona away. The score was 41-47 on a monster three from Brandon Taylor. Momentum was with the Muss. There was 8:21 remaining. Little did the Utes know that Delon Wright had already scored his last points (those came with 9:46 remaining in the second half), that this would happen, and that this was all nothing new to the Wildcats:
We huddled up and we said, “We’ve been here before.”
That’s what TJ McConnell said to his teammates and they’d carry on to outscore the Utes 22-10 in the game’s final 8:21. More, later this week, on Utah in close game scenarios.
Here is Sean Miller’s packing list before every road trip:
- Ties (at least one)
- Throat lozenges
- Quarters for the cuss jar
Number five must certainly and always travels with the man because it’s the most surefire and proven means to victory. For the season, Arizona is yielding just .915 ppp on the road. What’s more, the Wildcats are only getting better at it. Since losing at ASU, they’ve been giving up just .869. Speaking of that ASU loss, I think Wildcat nation universally agrees that was the peak Tarczewski frustration. The perception of Zeus has transformed since then because he’s scored a few more points, reaching double figures in four of those six games. Yay! But the reality is Arizona is playing beyond elite defense right now. Since ASU, teams are getting just .848 ppp. Kaleb is getting better and so too is Arizona:
Please note that we’re seeing Arizona trending towards better – if not dominant – and it’s March. Pac-12 Champions, again, and can I get two claps and a Ric Flair?
— Stanley Johnson (@_5Gauge) March 1, 2015