We did it! Or rather they did, the twelve teams of the Pac, completed their regular season. And how about those seniors? Andrews for 47, a week earlier it was Scott as the P12 POW, and then Gabe York going full Steph Curry Bryn Forbes for us.
Alas, we’ve come to the end of scheduled play and our last power rankings. If you’ve followed for all 17 of these posts, here’s what it’s tracked like:
Looks pretty nuts, doesn’t it? Three different teams held my top spot (Arizona, Oregon, USC) which gives the feeling of continuity (I think?). Consider there’s been six different #1 teams in the nation this year (a record or close to it) and three seems reasonable. To try and quantify the madness I looked at ranking variance. USC, UCLA, and Washington were the most variable in their rankings, notably based on preseason predictions and mid-season performance (both UW snd USC approached their preseason predictions by season’s end 11 and 8, respectively). Washington State’s power ranking, meanwhile, showed the least variance, fluctuating from a consistent low (12) to a high of 10 (weeks 6 and 7).
This final power rankings is identical to the Vegas bracket and not purposefully. As I walked through last week’s rankings and results, this felt about right. Would be curious your thoughts.
Saw a note that this was Oregon’s second outright Pac-12 title since World War 2. That’s a minute and they’re now set up to flirt with a number one seed. But before you get really worked up about that consider that Indiana is an outright B10 champ and everyone’s current darling; UVA and UNC exist; Kansas is likely the number 1 overall seed; and I haven’t mentioned Michigan State yet. No shame in a two.
Well I’ve been looking for this tweet for quite some time but here I’ve found it:
Utah: 2015 NCAA 4 seed RT @Utebuntu Utah plays Kansas next year and is scheduled in the Puerto Rico Tipoff tournament.
— Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) March 14, 2014
By holding off Colorado this weekend, the above March 2014 prediction might finally come true (they were a 5-seed last season).
Here’s my concern about Cal making a deep tournament run: Ty Wallace, in KenPom’s Tier A or B games (top-50 weighted games) has an offensive rating of just 88.6 and a usage of 28.8%. That’s 15% off his season mark – an already not-so-efficient 103. But his defensive presence is invaluable and that will ultimately be what dictates Cal’s ceiling.
So what’s it going to mean? Gabe York setting an Arizona single game three point record and hitting a flurry of threes to end Cal was damn exciting and one helluva senior show, but what’s it going to mean? Have he and the Wildcats found some new level? A new groove? Allonzo Trier was 4-18 for the weekend. Parker Jackson-Cartwright played just 31 minutes. Cal was their biggest win of the season (by resume standards). As we head to Vegas, can Arizona bolster that resume? Or does that even matter at a point?
Moving forward this is one tough team to finger. They are operating at a -1.5 points per 100 possession margin. Of course ASU finished fifth last year and they operated at a -3.4 pp100 margin so maybe there’s precedent for that? Well, that team lost to the 12-seed. In 2013 and 2014 Colorado also finished fifth with margins of +3.2 and -2.6 respectively. Ultimately these margins are the affect of playing approximately .500 basketball. On the season, the Buffs have put together the third highest pp100 margin (+10.5) of the Tad Boyle era.
I’m not 100% convinced of the steal-slam-NCAA tourney lock narrative, but this is a violent means to that – and a UCLA-sub-500 – end:
USC has not finished the season strong. They’ve lost 6-of-8 and their defense is reeling (as we noted last week). But how much do we love the narrative of USC beating UCLA for the third time this season and ensuring a sub-.500 record for their rivals?
This is what 47 senior night points looks like:
At this point there’s really just two things to pay attention to re: Stanford hoops: 1) Whether or not they retain Johnny, 2) Reid Travis’ med-red request.
Three times. And not that a .500 win percentage is a barometer for UCLA success but just three times since 1948 has UCLA finished below .500.
ASU broadcasts have a requisite split screen for a opponent second half previews. That’s nice when your team wins. It’s embarrassing when they’re embarrassing.
Had a conversation about the Oklahoma City Thunder with a sports friend. He began to raise concern about their having lost four of five (this was prior to their win over the Bucks). My stance was that an 82 game season is long, road trips are tough. It’s impossible, if not irrational, to judge an NBA book by it’s 5-game cliffnotes. Judging a college team, however? A college team losing more than half of their games in consecutive fashion isn’t a good look. But you didn’t need the context of the OKC Thunder (one of the NBA’s best) to understand that.