Tag Archives: All Buffs

PacHoops Power Rankings: The Newsroom is gone

When the rains subsided and the sun peaked out again, it was SantaCon in my neck of the woods. For me that meant the bar seemed full of Arizona and Utah fans – red galore. That’s why I was there, at least. For everyone else it was… well in New York, this guy mixed parties. In other news, I’m all about the news right now. I crushed All the Presidents Men and The Newsroom series finale last night. The latter of which I might be spoiling in the next paragraph:

A few thoughts on Charlie Skinner’s funeral: 1) Inordinate number of mega babes , 2) His grandson is always in the garage to play standup bass by himself? 3) Was Neal’s return the most triumphant return of all time or ever? 4) Seriously Jim? That’s your first move in that role? 5) Charlie stood for a renaissance of decency. That’s what Sorkin said. I’ll miss that show.

12) Washington State

DaVonte Lacy is taking 67% of his shots from deep which seems like an exorbitant amount of three pointers. He’s shot 68 treys and made them at a 35% rate. Hoop-math unfortunately doesn’t do individual rankings but in my poking around, I built a hack-of-a-list of some of the most voluminous bombers around:

  1. Jonathan Gilling, ASU, 85% of shots from deep, 46 total treys shot
  2. Naz Long, Iowa State, 81%, 60
  3. Isaiah Zierden, Creighton, 80%, 66
  4. Tim Marshall, VMI, 72%, 98
  5. Hans Brase, Princeton, 67%, 68

11) USC

With 5:24 remaining in their game against Army, the Trojans led 63-54 and had about a 95% chance of winning. They lost, yielding an unfathomable 31 points over those final five minutes plus overtime. Army shot 95.45% eFG% over those final 10 minutes.

10) Arizona State

9) Oregon State

Before this season started I’d considered having an OSU tracker, noting on a regular basis how close to the major conference cellar these guys were. Turns out, they’re not going to be that bad and they’re a pretty good defensive unit. They’re limiting teams to the twelfth lowest eFG% in the nation and just this week picked up their first non-conference, high major win since beating Purdue on November 12, 2012.

8) Colorado

I had a few things to say about Colorado last week and I said them in the following places:

  1. All Buffs – Written prior to their home loss to Colorado State
  2. Rush the Court – Written following their home loss to Colorado State

7) Stanford

How does one oversleep on the day of your first game in two weeks? Anthony Brown reportedly did exactly that Saturday morning which baffles me. Maybe he was exhausted from finals? Nevertheless, after sitting briefly he managed to score 17 points as the Cardinal had to comeback from an 8-point halftime deficit against Denver.

6) Oregon

In conversating about the RTC Team of the Week, Andrew Murawa was trying to make the argument for Oregon as such. I ultimately talked him into picking Utah for the honor as I’m a sucker for road games. With that said, however, the Ducks did collect the best win (by KenPom rating) of the Pac-12 week. They knocked off KenPom’s #38 team, Illinois, in the less-than-triumphant return to the Pac-12 for Ahmad Starks. Also, for just the second time this season, Joseph Young did not lead the team in field goal attempts.

5) UCLA

UCLA has almost no depth and it’s going to hurt them on occasion. You perhaps know my feelings on the overrated nature of depth, but the Bruins lack both depth and experience and that can often be a lethal combination. Four Bruins played 35-or-more minutes while the Bruins rank 333rd in % of bench minutes. UCLA didn’t lose to Gonzaga because they didn’t have enough players – Gonzaga is really good – but it didn’t help, either.

4) California

Wyoming is perhaps the most deliberate team in the country. They’re more contrived than a Newsroom monologue. So when they marched into Haas and exacted their style all over the Bears – a snail’s 55 possessions – it was impressive that Cal beat them at their own game. Cal is not one of the more offensively gifted teams in the conference so with the Cowboys trying to force Cal into long possessions and a slow pace, Ty Wallace asserted himself as the best player on the court (17 points, 8 boards, 5 assists).

3) Washington

Against what I’m told is a pretty good Eastern Washington team, the Huskies began raining threes late prompting this tweet:

for this play:

2) Utah

Ya know, just some Delon Dunks:

1) Arizona

I’m a little bit tired of the RichRod-Arizona-Michigan narrative but it seems to be a significant one. A recap of events from the McKale Center and Arizona’s most complete game of the season, an 80-53 drubbing of the Wolverines:

  • RichRod in attendance
  • Drops by locker room and wishes basketball team “good luck”
  • Miller says he could tell there was a “twinkle in his eye”
  • Football team is not introduced as South champs at halftime of Gonzaga game, Greg Byrne calls it #Strategy
  • Entire football team is brought onto the court at halftime as South champs, Rodriguez addresses the crowd

THREE FOR BART: Scott, Rose, Parenthood

  1. Great Scott! – I could tell you a lot about this article…but I wrote it. So if you want my thoughts on what I wrote you should just read it (of note – I contribute weekly over at All Buffs, a high quality forum for all things CU)
  2. Derrick Rose Does Not Belong to You – First of all, I love this title. Secondly, I love this column. Thirdly, is it just me or has The Cauldron been pretty hit-or-miss? Let’s revisit these thoughts sequentially now that they’re out there. (1) It’s just a really good, and true title. (2) We do revere our athletes and our heroes for overcoming personal strife to win. In Rose’s case it’s repeated injury and it now seems he’s being turned on for looking out for number one. The author hits on a terrific and NBA-centric parallel (Sterling) but doesn’t bother to go down the hypocrisy of criticizing Rose and simultaneously criticizing the NFL for not caring for its players enough. (3) I just don’t regularly find myself enjoying what I find or read on there. It just seems to be lacking a je no sais quois which is exactly what good content tends to have.
  3. Things I’ll Teach My First Kid – I’m not remotely close to this. I mean, one time I dated a girl for 3.5 years and then another time I thought really hard about the L-word and on a daily basis I market to expecting families but this. Like what fuckups are we that we then get to teach another person how not to be one, only to know that they’re going to be one, and then hold them when they cry about it? Maybe that’s parenthood? I don’t know. But someday I’m excited to find out. In the meantime, please excuse my empty fridge and the weekend.

Arizona Wildcats Basketball Preview: The World According to You

I couldn’t do it. I’ve previewed eleven of the twelve teams in this conference but I knew that I couldn’t preview the Arizona Wildcats without egregious, alienating amounts of bias. I mean, I could do it, I’m just not sure you’d want me to. In a season like this I had to step back for fear of alienating you, my friends. So I asked – well – my friends to preview the Wildcats for us! Section by section, fellow interneters and real-life friends preview the 2014-15 Arizona Wildcats. The World According to You:

Wildcat Intro (Ben Burrows, Rumblin’ Buff)

What exactly is a Giant Death Robot?  Well, it’s the apex predator of the Civilization word of Sid Meier, a hulking killing machine noted for being ‘a towering mass of guns, rockets and futuristic death-rays.’  It’s also my pet name for the 2013-14 Arizona Wildcats.  Considering how badly they thrashed my Buffs in three meetings, I’m possibly biased by circumstance, but that bunch certainly was a writhing machine of death for many of their opponents.  The whole melange of destruction was based on a ferocious defense that stood as one of the best I’ve ever witnessed in person.  They would expel all their energy by the Elite Eight, falling in overtime to Wisconsin, but I don’t necessarily hold that against them.  Last season’s Tournament was especially bonkers, and Frank Kaminsky was born to give them fits. C’est la vie.

The trick then becomes, how does Sean Miller and crew reform the GDR after losing probably their two best players in consensus All-American Nick Johnson and athletic wunderkind Aaron Gordon? *laughs* Just kidding, there’s no trick, it’s just the typical tango of some elite returners and a top-5 recruiting class.  I guess that’s life at the top…

Why Brad Loves Them (friend of the program):

I’ll leave that to Stanley Johnson:

“I love to win; that’s why I came to school here. I thought we have the tools to win and the people that are here love to win as well. I think winning is an attribute. It’s a mentality and it comes with competitiveness.”

He’s right. For his part, Johnson is the reigning California Mr. Basketball (succeeding Aaron Gordon) and has won 70 straight high school games. As for “the people that are here,” they won 33 games last year and lost just 5 – by a combined 12 points. Maybe a coincidence, but they didn’t lose a game until they they lost Brandon Ashley to injury – he was averaging 12 points a game. Arizona is starting three McDonald’s All-Americans. The other two have seven years of experience and 13 feet between them. Of those one was a Cousy Award finalist (best collegiate PG) as a junior, and the other is a 7-foot center who averaged 9 and 6 last year (in just 28 minutes). For depth, Arizona will sprinkle in a bench with another seven footer, a 39% 3-point shooter (and another one that might be better), a five-star PG, and the top JuCo player in the country.  So, why do I love them? Because they’re climbin’ a ladder in Lucas Oil. Besides, I’m not the only one:

Why Connor Hates Them (House of Sparky):

So, obviously there is a lot to like about this team. But my job isn’t to tell you why the Wildcats are so good. Adam can do that, or any number of the preseason publications can. I have been called upon to nitpick this team, and so I will direct you to their backcourt. Sure, it is a talented one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is one of the top groups of guards in the country towards the end of the year. But there are also a lot of fresh faces, and I’m not sure if the group will gel enough in time to perform at peak potential early on in the season when Arizona has to play against teams like Gonzaga, Michigan, or any number of the quality opponents out at the Maui Invitational. To be honest, I would rather have a duo of Askia Booker and Xavier Johnson to navigate my team through that challenging non-conference slate. That combo is the elite, experienced mix of players I want running my offense.

Of course, with that being said, games in November and December are needed for newcomers to get their feet wet. I’m sure Sean Miller wouldn’t trade guys like Stanley Johnson and Kadeem Allen, because you know that come tournament time, they will be drawing oohhs and aahhs from fans around the country as Arizona marches from Portland to Los Angeles to Indianapolis. I just don’t think they are “elite” enough to garner a preseason top five ranking. And if that’s the biggest problem I can find with this team, they’ll surely be fine.
 Jason’s Stat You Must Know (All Buffs):
41
This is Stanley Johnson’s retired number at Mater Dei High School. At MDHS we won four consecutive state titles and the 2014 National Championship. He lost just 7 games as a Monarch. Other notable Monarchs to have their numbers retired include: [field, blank]. A school that has produced Miles Simon, Reggie Geary, The Wear Family, Jamal Sampson, DJ Strawberry, and Mike Hopkins has retired just one jersey. #41. Stanley.
Top-5 Stanley’s According to Luc (The Stoop Kids)
  1. Yelnats
  2. Flat
  3. Johnson
  4. Kubrick
  5. “Tookie” Williams

Here is where I make my triumphant return to preview. I wanted to keep it brief and poignant. It’s me again.

Mountain High (best possible season):

Win their last six games and finish ninth in the Western Conference, 1.5 games out of the eight seed.

Rock Bottom (worst possible season):

Los Angeles.

How Deep is Your Love: The Bench Misnomer

The following is a comprehensive guest post from internet friend, Jason. He’s a regular contributor at All Buffs and my gchats.

Deep benches in basketball seem to be a recipe for success.  The term “depth” gets thrown around like a double play. It gives you line-up options, protection against foul trouble or injury; the ability to go all out and press or play pressure D for a full 40.  This all seems to make sense, it’s intuitive, but does it actually correlate to winning? Because winning is the best stat.

There are a couple ways to look at this. Does a long bench help you through the season more than in the NCAA tournament? Or is the reverse actually true? Looking at the final 4 teams for the last 5 years, there have only been 2 teams (2013 Wichita St and 2009 Michigan St.) in the top 100 in the percent of bench minutes played (thanks KenPom). And just two Final Four teams ranked in the 100’s (2013 Louisville and 2010 Michigan St).  Meanwhile, there have been nine in the 300’s. It appears that having a short bench full of go-to guys means more than having a bunch of interchangeable guys in the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Final 4 Tournament teams overall ranking in % of bench minutes played

Rank

# of Teams

Top 100

2

100’s

2

200’s

7

300’s

9

The reality of this isn’t terribly shocking. The best players seem to win the most games. That 2012 Kentucky team that has set the bar for modern, single season domination had six players drafted. Coach Cal called upon his reserves the 323rd most frequently. They beat you because they were good, not deep. In a three week sprint for the finish, you don’t necessarily need more, just the best.

But what about the other side? Garnering an invitation into the Dance is quite an accomplishment. Tourney appearances hang from rafters, too, so it’s worth exploring whether or not, across the grind of thirty-plus games including a conference slate, a bench is helpful. The inevitability of injuries, sickness, wear-and-tear, the dog days, and every other unpredictable occurrence. Does having a deep bench help spell those issues?

Bench MinAgain, the answer appears to be “no”.  Over the past 3 seasons in the Pac-12 there is a negative (-0.213) correlation between bench minutes and winning. This year the overall NCAA is on pace to have an overall negative correlation higher than the three year Pac-12 average of -0.236.

Some of the deepest teams have actually been the worst. Take this year’s Oregon St. team: they have the deepest bench in the three year study of the Pac-12. Craig Robinson’s playing his bench 39.2% of the time and it’s  earned him 10th place in the standings.  The conference regular season winners are 11th, 10th and 10th in the percent of bench minutes played in the three years of Pac-12 hoops studied. Conversely, the longest benches have finished 10th, 3rd and 7th.

Bench Min by Year, 3 year avg, and avg Pac-12 regular season conference finish

Bench Min_Finish

Scouring over this we may be inclined to do a case study on Dana Altman. His teams have the highest average % of bench minutes played in the 3 year history of the Pac-12. There are no outlier years. He consistently plays his bench a lot.  This makes some sense on the periphery; he brings in a lot of transfers, trying to figure out lineups that work, tossing out a lot of different combinations and bench players.  But if you dig a little deeper you can see that even at Creighton he had a run of three consecutive years where he had the 3rd highest percent of bench minutes played. Clearly he’s a guy that likes to go deep into his bench and he’s only able to partially execute that plan with the roster turnover he’s had at Oregon.

Dana BenchOf note, and considering our first point with regards to Final Fours and our second note with regards to winning conference titles, Altman has been to just one Sweet Sixteen and only won or shared three conference titles in twenty-five years as a head coach.

In theory, having a long bench is terrific. You can spell all those season long unexpecteds. But, like I science experiment, perhaps introducing too many variables gets you into a situation where you can’t control the results. A classic case of less-is-more, maybe the bench is just for the Bernie:Kreal_Berie

I got posts in other places: Buff’s, Pac-12, Media Day

Yesterday was a happy birthday to me. A cheers to you mom and dad and I hope you guys are having a blast in Mexico.

Now this past weekend in a roommate-less apartment I did whatever I wanted. This sums up to a lot of college basketball preparation. I streamed Arizona’s Red-Blue game in the stead of watching college football. I’m into this stuff.

And I also re-upped my seasonship with AllBuffs. I’ll be dissecting and appreciating the Colorado season with those guys on a weekly basis and you can read my first post for them BY CLICKING ON THIS BOLD AND HYPERLINKED TEXT. I’m pretty intrigued to see what steps Boyle-and-program take this season. A tipping point of sorts with expectations high in The Keg. They don their first target top.

And, in the case that you missed it, I’m knocking out social media posts for the Pac-12 on a weekly basis, too. Captioning photos and collecting sweet moments from around the conference’s sports. Tweet at me if you come across a doozy, I’ll try to include it and give you a big shout out. You can read this week’s post BY CLICKING ON THIS BOLD AND HYPERLINKED TEXT.

I’ll also be going to Pac-12 Basketball Media Day on Thursday and covering it for Rush the Court. Very excited to head to that for the second straight year especially considering the jump most players take from their freshman to sophomore year.

BY CLICKING ON THIS BOLD AND HYPERLINKED TEXT you can follow me on the twitter for a live tweeting of Thursday’s events. I encourage you to suggest some dynamite questions for me to sprinkle in between getting feedback from Andy Enfield on my healthcare start up.