Pac-12 Basketball By The Numbers – I took offline heat for being critical of the Pac-12 Networks keeping their “marquee program” on streaming-not-broad audience distribution on Friday’s opening night. This was a reference to Arizona for which I was criticized (the argument that UCLA is the marquee name). Alas, our friends at Forbes conveniently broke it down for us – by the numbers – just who the marquee franchise is.
The BSN Buffs Roundball Roundtable – Here is a monster podcast centering on Colorado Basketball. The fellas (friends of the blog) have a very fun time talking about their squad and instilling the optimism in CU basketball that I wasn’t able to convey. If you’re in the market for further Buff optimism, here’s more good.
- Meet the Men of American Whiskey – Squad.
- China Diary: Amazing scene at historic Pac-12 basketball game in Shanghai – Have you ever followed a regular season professional or collegiate competition on to Chinese soil? Neither has anyone else. Additionally, as you flip through these photos, try your best to not recognize the exploitation of amateurs.
- Updated 351–1 rankings as college basketball tips off – Prior to the season’s tip off, Hanner and Wynn updated their predictions. Take a look and see how the Pac was adjusted for as well as a general understanding into how these two take a mathematical approach to the CBB season.
- The (Not-So) Secret History of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary – As we’ve been deep in the state of sports journalism – what with the shuttering of Grantland and all – I thought I would revisit some classic-if-not-unique sports writing.
- DraftKings, FanDuel are illegal gambling websites, N.Y. AG rules, must cease operations – My initial linkage was to a Washington Post synopsis of this story but good grief it was the most egregious display of advertising popups I’ve ever seen. I’d rather the forced quiz I’m taking for smaller news outlets. It looked like Don Draper threw up on the page. So instead I’ll link to – goodness the Sun Times is the same boat! Here’s Wall Street Journal analysis. Cease and desists have been sent. I find this case interesting but not fascinating. It’s ultimately another case of a smart business being more agile than governance and regulators (Uber? AirBnB?) in a technological climate that’s well equipped to move and adjust rapidly. This one, however, isn’t meddling with cabbies and hotels, their meddling with sin: Gambling!
- Gonzaga Fires Mark Few, Cites Poor “In-Game Coaching” – I am so sorry I didn’t link to this beautiful piece of trolling satire sooner.
- Five minute season preview: Pac-12 – Absolutely worth the read considering: 1) I’m releasing my conference preseason standings and superlatives today and I don’t agree with all of this, 2) Eisenberg is a UCLA grad, I believe a San Diego resident, and definitely a West Coast guy.
- What’s Happening at the University of Missouri? – This is a terrific breakdown of the goings on at the University of Missouri over the past few weeks and months that culminated in yesterday’s resignation of school president, R. Bowen Loftin. I was struggling to figure out the entire story until I read this one. And while the entire picture isn’t completely clear, with hundreds of #HotTakes muddling my timelines, this article helped to think critically on the situation.
- Confessions of a non-‘naturally grown’ sportswriter – Which side of the sports media fence do you fall on? “Naturally grown” journalists or kids on a platform. The reality, as is the case in most he-said-she-said arguments, lies in the middle. We’ve examined this as ESPN shut down Grantland and every site aspiring to be Grantland stared wide-eyed. I got my daily sports email from The Lead Sports lamenting our loss an their sites to provide great content like G. The very article I linked to is a “blogger” writing for a blogging platform (The Cauldron) that was purchased by Sports Illustrated and is a takedown of a traditional journalist writing on his own blog. It’s all too meta. Fact of the matter is change drives change. Keep up.
- Luke Walton Q&A: Warriors’ dominant start, filling in for Steve Kerr and more – 35-year-old head coach of the best team in the NBA.
- West Coast Bias: Opposing coaches assess five of this year’s top teams – Aside from this being a great series by Jeff Eisenberg, Cal State LA’s Dierter Horton explains to us that UCLA’s most effective lineup looks just like theirs did last year. Which is effectively what we said here on Tuesday. The specific, however, that I didn’t delve in to, was Aaron Holiday’s ability to play the role of Norman Powell – a supersized guard with defensive prowess. Powell was a bulldog, and while I’m not much of one for “replacing” players, if the Bruins can manage to not miss a beat with the losses of Powell and Kevon Looney (Horton says Bolden is great at being a long, versatile PF) then they’re a year up on everyone else.
- On Grantland and Sports Media – I really appreciate this article. It takes a very macro view of the entire happenings with Grantland. As I noted in Monday’s #34B the actions of the Mother Ship are consistent with their other activities. The Grantland product is highbrow in a lowbrow medium. It wasn’t making money and that’s a fact. Of course there are Skipper and Simmons’ proclaimed BSDs and now even stretches that Simmons’ podcast intro song (TuPac’s “Picture me Rollin'”) is a slight at his former employer. My big takeaway: the internet is the greatest mouthpiece an individual has for self-promotion. So please tell your friends about pachoops.com!
- Ranking every team in college hoops from Grambling St. (351) to UNC (1) – Dan Hanner and Luke Winn do it again. This is my favorite list as I believe it’s more comprehensive than the KenPom preseason ratings and more analytical than the AP (who usually isn’t far off in the preseason). Of course what none of the current polls can account for are the injuries to Robert Cartwright (shoulder done for the year) and Dylan Ennis (foot injury out one month). I tweeted this, but between Cartwright (PG), Ennis (combo/PG), Ray Smith (SF), and Xavier Johnson (PF) the All-Injured Pac-12 squad DOES NOT NEED A CENTER. Thanks and take care.
- Adam Butler on Friday Night Live – The good guys at Radio 1190 in Boulder had me on this past Friday night to talk about CU and Pac-12 basketball. Jake Shapiro was kind enough to invite me and you won’t soon find me passing up an opportunity to talk hoops. If you want more, WANE is coming…
- Connelly Q&A: Editor-in-chief on what went right, wrong with Grantland – If you want to get really deep into the ESPN stuff, this is a really good Q&A with the man who took over Simmons’ title for the last few months. He’s as candid as I think he can be, being honest without being an asshole – particularly to his current employer: ESPN.
- The Young Man, The Myth, The Legend – Amdist all of this Grantland talk, let’s not forget that the internet – and even BIG BAD ESPN – still has a bevy of phenomenal writers. Take Wright Thompson, for example, and this linked story about Leonard Fournette.
Grantland was shutdown last Friday afternoon. It wasn’t the most college basketball-centric site which is OK. CBB doesn’t draw gross amounts of eyeballs. And while we can be upset about the end of this site because we’re selfish consumers of their great product, I think I understand this move from ESPN. When have they ever been dedicated to digital media? There have been just nominal changes to the ESPN homepage and UX (amongst my favorite subjects) in the past 15 years. Universally, we’re still trying to figure how to monetize digital journalism. And while Grantland delivered some of our favorite, it wasn’t necessarily in line with the ESPN-way. Of course there’s the Simmons-Skipper dick measuring competition that needlessly cost us great content. But if ESPN is indeed losing market share and their direction is to cut costs at the “talent” level, then I get this. And talent endures. You’ll still read your favorite writers as their careers and digital journalism evolves. For today’s #34B, a few of my all-time favorites:
What an awesome couple of years, though.
— Andrew Sharp (@andrewsharp) October 30, 2015
- The consequences of caring – Because #SPORTS
- Confessions of a former die hard – Particularly relevant as Lowe’s Met’s fell last night. Always care.
- The Life and Death of Fandom – As much as Lowe wants you to think he’s a soulless, carefree sports abosrber, he’s not. Can’t be. You don’t write like he does without hope.
- Daring to ask the PED question – Happy to take this one offline. Lots of thoughts on the PED conversation but when it comes to baseball, no amount of needles in your ass will help you hit a 98mph sphere.
- 30-second shot clock doesn’t bother Oregon basketball – My gut reaction is, “Tell me something I don’t know.” Then you read an article full of Dana Altman quotes and again I react with, “Tell me anything.” But this is worth for Dana’s passive aggressive comments about his most impactful players as well as the fact that he discusses playing 11 guys will be critical. Did you know that Altman teams have pretty traditionally ranked in the latter half of bench minutes? He goes deep into that thing. More fouls won’t be a terrible concern.
- Outside of USC, Pat Haden holds more than a dozen roles that pay at least a half-million dollars a year – This article says that Pat Haden is a bad athletic director because he has too many peripheral jobs. Yet, if you have any familiarity with the role of an AD, he’s being called out for over reaching in a role that’s specifically built for creating reach. Someone tell me what Haden is doing besides making bad hires because from a fiscal standpoint I believe USC athletics is doing just fine. Additionally, if any of you would like to hire me to be a professional networker, I’m your guy.
- 2016 wing Josh Conley commits to Utah – You all know that I’m an Arizona fan. What you might not know is that there’s a slogan flung around by Nike – presumably propigated by Miller but who really knows – that says, “Arizona Basketball Never Stops.” As it were, there’s a pretty consistent Arizona basketball news cycle: TJ McConnell a 76er, Rondae buys his mom a house, Luke Walton (35) is the head coach of the defending NBA champs, etc. But here’s a piece on Utah signing their second significant recruit of the week. Utah basketball (athletics?) might not be stopping any time soon. (they also received a commitment from Devon Daniels).
- ESPN Tightens Its Belt as Pressure on it Mounts – From a media perspective there is so much to consider when reading this article. First of all, I initially couldn’t read it. I was blocked after a paragraph or two and asked to sign in or sign up. Other avenues allowed me to read in its entirety but I’d like to put it out there: Does anyone pay for online content? I pay for hoop-math and KenPom but not for the letters so much as the numbers. The second thing to note here is the changing means of media consumption. We’ve long known that live TV (SPORTS!) has been keeping cable subscriptions alive and lucrative, but we’re beginning to see the true pull of streaming media. Fascinating. Particularly the part that notes that ESPN can be undercut by its current distributors if they try to go to a direct-to-consumer model.
- Before Student-Athletes Earn a Penny, a Course in How to Manage Millions – What are the prerequisites for entry into this class? If I’m not mistaken, most of these guys are “going pro in something other than sports,” which ultimately means money management shouldn’t be any less important. Which kind of gives raise to a greater issue for me: higher education. Do you explicitly use anything you learned in college? I was a human biology major. I work in healthcare marketing and haven’t drawn the organic connectivity of a molecule since 2005. But I’ve had to figure out a budget (not of millions). Similar coursework would be great for the lay student. Alas, for those who are gifted enough to make millions playing sports, and considering the rate at which pro athletes are going broke, this is probably a good move.
- The RTC Podcast: Offseason Storylines (and Welcome Back) Edition – Linking here to the RTC podcast hosted by Randy and Shane Connolly. Always good insights here and I imagine the more listeners they have the more likely they are to regularly produce this thorough pod. NOTE: Some pretty serious ASU basketball talk in this national preview.
- Welcome to Lopez Land. (You may know it as New York) – There’s Pac-12 splattered throughout this nice profile of the Lopez twins. But my favorite call out is the NYT quoting of friend of the program and over all good dude, Kevin Danna. In related news, the NBA tips on Tuesday night and I’m pretty fired up for that. Think about the NBA right now. It’s as exciting and broadly talented as I can remember. The league’s best player isn’t on a talent contending team – but he might be? I won’t derail this brief into a note the Pellies but Tuesday night is exciting.
- Injury bug hits Wildcats again, this time in basketball – I was going to make Ray Smith the “Stat you must know” for my Arizona preview. He’s a dynamic “modern” basketball player with shooting range, length, and a bunch of other scoutitudes (that’s scout + platitude combined). You haven’t heard a lot about him because the summer before his senior year of high school he tore his ACL. Shortly thereafter he committed to play for Sean Miller and the rest of the 2015 class took to the summer circuits. Smith remained a highly rated recruit but the publicity didn’t swirl. And that was fine. Smith worked hard to rehabilitate and join a his new teammates in Tucson. And then, on Thursday night, he tore his other ACL. And that sucks.
- Sports Illustrated Pac-12 basketball preview – I’m a fan of the numbers. I like when we use past performance to predict future performance. The last few seasons, SI has done a great job leveraging the smarts of Dan Hanner and Luke Winn, to discuss preseason hoops. This year is no different. This preview shares some fantastic insights into the forthcoming season.