All posts by awbutler

Lauri Markkanen’s Unique Season and Skills

Lauri Markkanen was struggling.

And despite those struggles, mock drafts are still touting him as the first pick. Sports Illustrated profiled him today.

It’s a unique juxtaposition as we hit the homestretch of the season and Lauri has looked less like a lottery pick and more like a Finnish freshman. Before earning this past week’s Player of the Week honors, during the previous five games, the sharp shooter had connected on a cool 27% of his shots. In earning the aforementioned award, the Finn shot 53% afield. Continue reading

PacHoops Power Rankings: Top Ten Teams!

The Pac-12 has three top 10 teams for the first time since 1992. In that year, per Greg Hansen, none of those three went to the Final Four. It’s as if getting to the game’s greatest stage were difficult or something?

1. Oregon

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PacHoops Power Rankings: Blowout in Eugene and what was your highlight?

The highlight of my weekend was the Oreo’s I bought for my Super Bowl watch. What was yours? Was it when Tyler Dorsey didn’t miss a three? Maybe it was when Jabari Bird dunked away the Utes? Could it have been Lonzo’s outshining of Markelle (kind of)? Perhaps Colorado’s first conference road win in a year (1/23/16 was their last)? You could even be from Massachusetts or simply not from Atlanta?

For me, the Oreo’s were really good. And here’s our podcast on the weekend (not the cookies).

1. Oregon

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PacHoops Power Rankings: Is the conference decided?

It’s not decided and Spencer, Cody and I discuss as much on this week’s podcast. You should give it a listen (it’s also linked at the bottom meaning you can simul-consume: podcast + these power rankings) – flop into it if you will (Is that a saying?).

Of course it has to be noted that no Pac-12 (or 10) team has ever achieved in-conference perfection. Stanford, Arizona and UCLA have accumulated 17-1 seasons. It’s hard to do. Saturday projects to be fantastic theater and it is one of just 10 marquee games (remember, marquee = Arizona, UCLA, and Oregon are playing one of each other) we’ll be delighted to this season. Can’t

Rankings:

1. Arizona

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PacHoops Power Rankings: Late to the game

Power Rankings are rooted in the present, an expression of immediate results accounting for only the current taste on an evaluator’s tongue. The best of PR’s are a declaration of recency bias, rationalized the facts, figures and stones.

Here’s my recency bias without recently posting any Power Rankings. Also, the following, unless noted as an opinion, consists of no alternative facts.

1. Arizona

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Arizona (and I) Visit UCLA on Saturday: Sports Preview

I’m skipping straight to Saturday’s game. It’s neither my job nor responsibility to be weary of overlooking an opponent. Arizona’s visit to USC is intriguing and I’m indubitably, unequivocally, absolutely watching. I’m in fact meeting a new hoops friend – RTC contributor, Michael Lemaire – for a Thursday evening of viewing and fandom. A delight.

But I’m not previewing Arizona’s visit to the Galen Center. Continue reading

PacHoops Podcast: Road Warriors, 0-18, life in Seattle

Heading to an opposing arena in contrarian attire has its innate allusions to being an ass. But what if you don’t want to be defined by the clothes you wear? Spencer headed to Haas and got curious about how not to be a jerk in an opposing arena. His strongest stance? Don’t wear non-participating gear to the game. Not exactly a parallel to cheering for your squad but there’s more. It’s a 52-minute podcast. And to that point we also hit: Oregon-UCLA, the pursuit of a zero win Pac-12 season, Arizona vs. Oregon vs. WSU as team of the week, and more.

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Team Capsules and my Pac-12 Championship Game Fandom for Sale

I’ll spare you the details of my Thanksgiving indulgence. Most of us indubitably did it and if you didn’t I admire you. For me, the ubiquity of food and rain placed the “go outside and be active” threshold far too high to go outside and be active. But seriously, was it a first down?

Alas, while I’ve spared you my Thanksgiving, I thought I’d note that I’m likely headed to Friday’s Pac-12 Championship game and my fan allegiance is completely for sale. So what’s it to you? What would you pay or provide to have the self-proclaimed preeminent Pac-12 basketball blogger cheer for your (football) team in the dimly attended Pac-12 Championship Game?

A brief review of my Pac-12 championship game resume:

  • Championships attended: 1
  • Rooting interest record: 0-1
  • Rooting interest margin: -38
  • Seating fortune: Covered during rain
  • Average time of arrival: Legal to drink on CalTrain
  • Average time of departure: Early 3rd quarter
  • Post-championship beverage of choice: Pisco Sour

I encourage you to take the above into serious consideration as you – Colorado and Washington fans, or even USC fans rooting for Washington and subsequently the Rose Bowl backdoor – prepare offers. For convenience purposes, I own several black pieces and one purple. Thus, attire will not be required but appreciated.

Finally, Pac-12, post-Feast Week, team capsules in no particular order (we’re not ready for Power Rankings): Continue reading

Our Best Laid Schemes: On Process, Mice, and Ladders

The first draft of this essay(?) was composed the weekend before the season tipped off last Friday. I’d intended to post on Thursday, November 10th with a full slate of games the next day and because Thursdays tend to recognize high viewership.

But last week just wasn’t going to lend itself to my usual auto-editorial process. And so we find ourselves 24 Pac-12 games deep and I’m just now posting about the season’s beginning. As it were, the best laid plans was the exact narrative of this composition. It’s consequently led to this lead and feels about as fitting as ever.

A little more on planning and college basketball:

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet. He passed in 1796 after publishing countless volumes of poetry and wielding great influence beyond the written word. His works were a bedrock to Romanticism, celebrating the emotional aesthetic within art, literature, music and even politics. It paved the way for liberalism and nationalism. American greats such as Dylan, Salinger, and Steinbeck have cited Burns’ poetry as deeply inspirational, even foundational, to their work.

And in 1785 he published a poem entitled “Tae a Moose.” When translated it reads “To a Mouse.” A strange figure to pay homage to but it’s perhaps fitting a romantic. The verses describe a man ploughing his field preparing for winter when he discovers he’s disrupted a nest. Towards the end, Burns addresses the creature he has disrupted:

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

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PacHoops One-Today: Arizona.

I’ve previewed all of the teams except ASU (11th best team so…pass and really just no time). It’s been a distracting week. College basketball is here. This is the preview of my team. Here’s where I previewed the others!

Arizona preview

SeanMillerPresser

At initial writing, Chance Comanche was still suspended, indefinitely, from playing for Arizona (it’s since been announced that he will play today vs. Michgan State). His suspension allowed us a gloriously tragic photo narrative. Because Allonzo Trier is officially not in Hawaii; Ray Smith sustained his third ACL tear (terrible) and has retired from basketball; Graduate transfer and native Tucsonan, Talbot Denny, also tore his ACL in the pre-season and is out for the year; recall that former Arizona commit Terrence Ferguson headed down under to pursue a paycheck in lieu of college. That’s five scholarship players disappearing in three months time, with one reappearing just this week (Comanche). Consider that another of the allotted 13 schollies is held by Dylan Smith, an ineligible transfer, and Arizona was briefly left with seven scholarship players right:mag7

Of course Comanche is back now but eight isn’t miles better than seven. Consider a practice. Consider a full season grind, an injury here or a tweaked body part there. While depth is overrated in college basketball as quantified by the % of bench minutes used by Final Four teams, it’s not overrated when it comes to protecting against the trials of a season (i.e. Dylan Ennis (foot) <> Casey Benson, Allonzo Trier (hand) <> no Elliott Pitts (last year), Xavier Johnson <> George King)

Last season on Anywhere but Anaheim

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