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The Pac-12 Year in HOLY S***!!! (Copying Grantland)

If you’re not familiar with Grantland’s Year in Holy S***!!!, familiarize now. In a swift Bart ride back to my house I was taken out of the stat holes of KenPom and hoop-math and reminded that SPORTS! Watch that Steph Curry highlight reel and tell me you don’t get goosebumps as he drops trey on the Nuggets, turning to their bench before net.

Alas, this is a Pac-12 blog and holy shit happens here, too. We’re about to dive into it. But to further preface this reactionary and sudden expulsion of disbelief; before unveiling the moments that had as out of our chairs, jaws gaping, eyes wide, SMHing all over; prior to that, I’d just like to say that these are the things that have us coming back. Fandom, for better or worse or otherwise, allows us to get lost. Why we stand and shout. Holy shit. Bravo.

Here are a handful of those times from Brad, Ben, Matt, Jason, and me in no particular order.

The McKale Monitor Mishap

Jason of AllBuffs.comThe Monitors at McKale moment game started late for me.  I was in the car in a part of Colorado that severely tested KOA’s claim of “3 countries/38 states” motto.  When I arrived at my destination, not exactly civilization, but a place that does have DirecTV, (luckily the game was on ESPN) I turned on the TV and my first “Holy Shit” moment occurred.  CU was up, by double digits, in McKale, “Holy Shit indeed”.  Over the remaining 15 minutes of the game, the rest of my party arrived, the beers and wine were flowing and then the FT’s started clanking, oh those FT’s. When Mark Lyons made his second free throw with 10 seconds left, I stood up and I didn’t sit down for several minutes.  Sabatino Chen ended up with the ball in his hands with 3.5 seconds left, it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t designed, it was….. BANKED, but it did go in.  There were high fives and then a “wait a minute, they’re reviewing it”.  It was good, it was definitely good was being echoed throughout the room.  Then it began, the slow walk toward the TV, the room was hushed, the volume was cranked and everybody was gathered around a 52 inch high-definition TV.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 10.02.27 PM

Win probability.

Over and over we watched, angle after angle, hands now ON the TV, “no-it’s out right there, it’s good, the red light isn’t on yet”.  Then it happened……”HOLY SHIT” they called it no good.  F-bombs were dropped; BS’s thrown around and the air had been let out of the room.  I don’t remember the last 5 minutes of the game, all I know was that CU lost, but I will never forget that “HOLY SHIT” moment and that I was in the middle of nowhere, with high-definition TV while the refs  standing courtside were stuck with the standard-definition variety

Adam – I’d watched as my Wildcats made a furious comeback from the most three pointers the Buffaloes would hit in a single game all season. Well, it was going to be the most until Chen happened. Head down dribbling out the clock he heaved it up and you know the rest. I was here with friends and had conceded Arizona’s loss. We watched all of the angles and I even broke things down for my houseguests exactly how, if I were one of the officials, I’d bury my head in the monitor, confirm the call with field goal arms and bolt off the McKale floor. I bolted out of my living room to demonstrate. But when I returned, the officials were waving the whole damn thing off and…HOLY SHIT. Hey, Cats win and Mark Lyons doesn’t give a rats ass about how nice Sabatino’s hair is.

He Touched the Ball x5 and Cancun

Adam - From my Vegas vantage point following the UCLA-Arizona game I had this to tweet which, as you’ll notice, when unreplied, retweeted, or favorited. For shame.

Well then what happened?

AND THAT’S SOME STRAIGHT NOSTRADAMUS ACTION PEOPLE. Anyhow, in our hotel room, we watched that presser another 3-to-fifteen-hundred times because oh my holy shit goodness Sean Miller wasn’t happy. There’s more spice in that presser than an Indian dish. There’s more heat in Miller’s words than a dutch oven under plastic covers. There’s more flame in those eyes than under Ken Bone’s seat. Ask the Pac-12 representative Miller “didn’t” berate but rather who was the closest in proximity as he screamed innocuously down a hallway. And then Goodman’s news broke and maybe this is the true holy shit of it all? We wound up with an officiating scandal that I had to digest in phases. $5k and a trip to Cancun is some watered down Illumanati action. And now replay the presser.

Jahii Drops 40 on The Strip

Adam – Sure it was a career high and sure the Devils needed every one of his double-score scoring output from Carson. That’s undoubtedly some MVP stuff. Carson connected on 16 of his 25 shots inside the Thomas and Mack and that’s a pretty damn efficient 40 points. But wait, there’s holy shit coming. Because the 5’10″ Carson made 14 of those 16 shots as layups which basically just says to me that Carson stared down the Rebels and their 7 blocked shots per game to announce to everyone that, “I AM JAHIISUS. I AM SO GREAT THAT I HAVE FORCED HERB SENDEK OF SLOTH PACED OFFENSES TO COMPLETELY BURY THE FOUNDATION OF HIS OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY AND THE STYLE IN WHICH HE BUILT HIS CAREER IN ORDER TO KEEP HIS JOB AND LOCAL TALENT. AT LEAST HE CAN NO LONGER LAMENT JAMES HARDEN’S DEPARTURE. I AM JAHIISUS.” And then he beat Marquette in Tempe to secure the first Sun Devil win over a ranked opponent since before Todd Graham was associated with other coaching jobs. Harden, who?

Askia Booker Doesn’t Give a Jayhawk

Ben of Rumblinbuff.com - 

If safeties-free, all-balls performances like 17 points as a freshman in the NCAA Tournament, or a sizzling domination of a non-conference run in Charleston as a sophomore didn’t let you in on the secret, let me clue you in: Askia Booker was born to get buckets.  Important buckets.  Season-defining buckets.

So, when Kansas, dominator of all things Colorado Basketball for generations, makes the mistake of getting into a see-saw affair in the snake-pit-that-Tad-built, who else could CU turn to with the game on the line?  Not Josh Scott.  He’s too smooth, too nice.  Not Spencer Dinwiddie.  He’s too conventional, too ‘efficient.’

2013-12-0714_38_55

No, you need insanity.  You need a player with no conscience, no understanding of the stage upon which he steps.  You need, to be brash, a player who does not give a f***.

Askia Booker does not give a f***.  Askia Booker gets buckets.

And so, 80-feet from the basket, with three seconds left on the clock against that team, the under-recruited dynamo from South LA – off-center goatee, and all – was the player in silver getting the ball.

One dribble, two.  Still too far from the hoop.  Better euro-step to cover some ground.  Square up, leap, let fly.

Watch the gif.  Count the fucks given by Booker.  There are none to be found.  After release, he just stands there, as if waiting for the oncoming train of noise.  Waiting for us, the fans, to realize what he has just pulled off.  He was born to hit that shot.  He was born to euro-step into that shot.

Almost four years ago, Colorado was in a similar situation against the hated Jayhawk.  Clock ticking down, tie game, ball in hand, CU had a shot to stun the #1 team in the land in the time-before-Tad.  In that moment, it was Cory Higgins who was called upon.  Higgins, the program’s co-leader in scoring, wasn’t up to the moment, and air-balled his dance with history.  Looking back, it all makes sense.

Booker is everything that Higgins is not.  Higgins was calm, cool, collected.  Indeed, sophisticated.  James Bond in shorts.  Booker is the junkyard dog, barking at everything in sight.    John McClane in Black and Gold.  Higgins may have been more talented, but Booker has the want, the need to hoop.  The balls to steal headlines from future NBA bonus babies.  The grit to walk across broken glass when needed.

I could twist myself in knots talking about how the game, the win, the shot meant something for Colorado, for Booker.  In the end, there’s nothing but the inbounds, the euro-step, and the pure, un-adulterated brashness of Ski and his moment.

Bucket gotten.

Mike Moser Leaves Las Vegas, Does Not Suffer Nic Cage-like Departure

Matt of AddictedtoQuack.com - Given Oregon’s lack of depth in the front court this season, the addition of a quality player like Mike Moser was definitely a wanted surprise to Duck fans.  Keeping him away from Washington was just an added bonus. Moser brings leadership, talent, and immediate play-ability to a position that was vacated by fan favorite, Arsalan Kazemi. Moser also fits perfectly into Dana Altman’s high-post wheel offense.  His ability to stretch the floor, handle the ball, and pull bigger defenders away from the hoop compliments Oregon’s guard focused offense. To say that Moser joining the Ducks this off season was a Holy Shit moment is putting it lightly.

Just this Dunk

Brad of Portland –  If you were watching that dunk you were like, HOLY-SHIT-KNOCK-KNOCK-WHO’S THERE-BOOOM-SHAKALAKA-F***-YOU-DARREN-SHARPER-HOLD MY DICK! Then you put a hand over your mouth, made a noise like you were watching Kevin Ware shoot a jumper in a regional final, and wept like you saw a double rainbow.

827051630RHJ doesn’t dunk his nigiri in the soy sauce, he slams that shit down so hard he cooks the fish. He is not a role model. Just because he can dunk a basketball does not mean he should raise your kid. Anyone raisin’ that kid is laughing their way to the bank faster than Earl Woods. The rest of us are just wiping our own kid off the Christmas card and sending a photo RHJ posterizing the entire Aggies basketball team instead.

RONDAE!
Larry Drew Two’s Icy Veins Meet Icy Shabazz
Adam – LD2′s season in and of itself was a giant surprise. He was the rock his coach couldn’t quite be and the his prima dona wing wouldn’t be. For all the heat he’d taken in leaving Carolina across 12-13 Drew was a leader and it was fun to watch. And then to see those who we cheer for and appreciate succeed is great! So as Drew took that pass and slashed through the lane and hit a fading, elbow jumper to sink the Dawgs and maintaining their spot atop the conference – the conference they’d go on to win – I was impressed and jaw dropped. Holy shit as it were.
uclabuzzer
But in that gif you’ll notice the sulking shoulders of a neon shoed gentlemen. He’s left handed and was no where near a position to necessarily get a basketball with a waning clock and whining attitude. And yes I just said “whining attititude” which is the same crap my dad would drop on the Blue Rhinos – my 11-and-under baseball team.  Whiny attitude is a phrase reserved for juveniles but that’s about what not getting the ball when you want the ball equates to. It was the moment that perhaps personified everything that we didn’t know but felt UCLA’s season would become. Holy shit did he really just big league his own team off an icy cold buzzer beater? He did, and now it’s Steve Alford’s team (which was a holy shit in and of itself).
Two Teams AND Two Numbers
Adam – With two, citations of the number two, this. But when Oregon visited Pauley on Saturday January 19, 2013 it was the first Pac-12 Conference game featuring two ranked opponents since March 2009. What two words come to mind here? Holy and shit. Four years it took to get to this place and it was 21 vs. 24? And the road team won? Man oh man had this conference hit rock bottom. There would be just one more contest between ranked opponents that season (see: Ball, He Touched the)
What did we miss (lots no doubt)?
RobersonBoards

NBA Draft: Andre Roberson the Glue Guy

In a draft lacking star power, value is to be sought. And as we often think of value as bang-for-our-buck, GMs will need to deeply examine their needs and pick accordingly. Selecting talent for the sake of talent is not an option this year.

Andre Roberson, Colorado’s versatile forward and only player in school history with a whole lot of every type of stat, would seem to be the type of talent to do exactly that.

He declared late in the declaration process and I discussed that and other components of Dre’s draft prospects over at AllBuffs. You can read that article here.

He’s the quintessential glue guy and might actually have the best long-term prospects amongst any of the similarly sized and skilled Pac-12 players in this year’s draft. The defensive side is not in question and the versatility he offers there will get him on the floor. It will then boil down to whether or not he can develop a consistent jumper. He can get is garbage buckets (BIRDMANBIRDMAN) but to get regular tick and a lucrative contract, he’s going to have to hit the corner three.

He’ll need to bulk up a touch as well, it’s a physical damn league.

This is the first in some sporadic draft coverage I’m doing across a few different platforms. I’ll post to the others as they come up on The Pac-12 Post and PacificTakes.

And, as I mentioned, there are a lot of like-sized players amongst this Pac-12 class of possible draftees and so I apologize in advance for any and all Kawhi Leonard references. He’s just now become the easiest damn comparison for the exact type of player who boards and plays defense and learns to shoot and goes straight to becoming Bruce Bowen before ever thinking they could ever be MJ.

Oh, and bear in mind that Kawhi Leonard didn’t have an offer from either USC or UCLA. He’s a Riverside native.

OK OK! That was a cheap shot considering the entire 2009 class projected to be Leonard-types with Moser, Honeycutt, and Nelson on-boarding and all of whom projected as better prospects in HS. But it’s still interesting to play the look-what-you-missed game.

ChenHair

Waxing Seniority: Sabatino Chen

With the regular season now wrapped and the Pac-12′s seniors having played their final home games, we’re taking a tour across the conference and bidding this group of seniors farewell.

James Lucas is a contributor and moderator at AllBuffs. He’s an OG Buffs basketball fan and yet another great mind of basketball thought.

The first thing that has to be mentioned when discussing Sabatino Chen is the hair. His glorious, glorious hair. And I don’t say this mockingly as I rock the same hairdo as Tad Boyle (bald is beautiful dammit). I’m jealous. No matter what he does on the court, the hair stays the same – glorious and bouncing along.

The second thing that’s mentioned? The fact that this is a kid that almost no one wanted, and now he’s getting quality minutes (and starting over half the games this season) for a team that should be dancing in March. When Chen transferred to CU from Denver University, many complained pointing out that he barely got minutes on a team that was pretty bad. Their complaints were legit, but Tad Boyle once again proved that he’s smarter than everyone else as Chen slowly became a player that Buff fans learned to love. His hard-nosed defense and absolute fearlessness when it comes to guarding anyone endeared him.

This year, he took over the role of senior leader and has reportedly outworked almost everyone on the team. That work has paid off as this year his offensive game actually has a few solid elements to it. He’s predictable – when he gets the ball he’s either shooting a corner three, passing or doing a spin move to drive into the lane – but it works just enough that teams have to stay honest.

He’s worked hard to prove us all wrong, and is exactly the type of kid who makes college basketball fun. I’ll always remember him for two things while at CU. Obviously, the first is the hair – have I mentioned that it’s glorious? It is. The second?

 

 

ColoradoCEC

Q&A with some serious Buffs: They Love Josh Scott and The Lumineers

Last year, Arizona went 3-2 against the Pac’s newest members. Those two losses both came at the hooves of the Colorado Buffaloes who – per my man, James – have picked the Wildcats as their team to beat, the Red Letter Game he calls it. And oh do I dig that. I love competition. You, I’m going to play and beat YOU. That’s the sorta stuff that gets me to turn any game on. Why else do we revere Joe Namath’s guarantee, Ruth’s called shot, and Duke losing? Bravado and rivalry drives sport and I’m happy to welcome the Buffs into the realm of teams I want my ‘Cats to wallop.

But I’m also really enjoying watching their program evolve. Tad’s done tremendous work in short order and this is indeed a program being built to contend. And contend they will.

Leading up to Thursday’s showdown in Tucson, I asked some of my favorite and most trusted and wise CU pals their thoughts on…well, lots.

James (JL), is an admin at AllBuffs and the first ever devout Basket Buff I’d ever met. He’s a loyal gchatter and man of great knowledge.

Jason (JG) is another AllBuffs contributor to whom I owe lots. He’s the man who convinced me into the world of KenPom and we have great discussions concerning the balance of advanced stats and the romanticized story of sport. I look forward to discussing Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise with him. Join us? He also crunches numbers – namely win shares – that have encouraged me to be a more holistic observer of the game.

And Ben (BB). This dude runs a dedicated blog to CU athletics – The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo at Rumblin Buff – and I really like his work. He’s the sort of fan that keeps enough perspective to know that a 1-11 football season calls for game previews surrounding new beers. My man.

Converse with these men in basketball dialogue as it will be worth your while. And…without further ado: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS!

You gentlemen know your Buffs inside and out, something sparked that interest in sports: What’s your greatest athletic achievement?

JL: Probably getting two different players thrown out of a game for throwing punches at me in an AAU game.  Apparently my opponents weren’t fans of my tactics (because when you lack talent, you have to find little things to make up the difference).

JG: I used to be able to play a little golf, when I was 15 I set the course record on a 9 hole course.  I shot 29 (par 36); I was 8 under through 7 holes and limped in with a bogey, par finish.  While I was never as good at basketball as golf, I can’t get enough hoops.

BB: I was co-captain on my high school’s scholastic bowl team.  We won the conference title my senior year, does that count?  No?  You’re probably right. My life is generally light on athletic “achievement.”  I usually played the “Ben Mills” role on teams growing up, leading me to expand my talents in other areas, i.e. playing the tuba. More recently, I’ve become more than decent at beer-league softball, and my solid play at first base helped my team to 11-straight championship game appearances.  So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Greatest sporting event ever witnessed?

JL: In person it’d probably be the Nugs home playoff game in Melo’s rookie season.  The team had been out of the playoffs for almost a decade and the fans were delirious. We curb-stomped the #1 seed Timberwolves that game in what was probably the loudest sporting event I’ve ever been at in my life.

JG: This is a good question, one I waffled on and my answer may be an odd one.  I have lots of memorable sports watching moments (Tyson ear bite fight, Jordan crossover/push-off on Byron Russell, the OJ car chase but one stands above the rest.  Under a month after September 11th I was in Vegas on Fall break when Bonds hit his 71st home run.  I was in the sports book at the Mirage (a month away from my 21st birthday) when he hit it.  I have never been a Bonds fan, but the shear pandemonium in the sports book at that time in US History I will never forget. Steroids be damned, that was a good moment.

BB: All-time would probably be the 2007 National League play-in game between the Rockies and the Padres.  Incredible atmosphere, incredible game, and a night I’ll never forget (even though the Rox aren’t my #1 team). If you want something CU-ish, the 2003 upset of KU in Boulder is up there.  Somewhere Kirk Hinrich is still missing layups.  Another fun one is the Big XII tournament win over K-State from that same year.  It was one of the more bizarre finishes in the history of college basketball, with CU wining on a buzzer-beater to essentially send us into the Tournament.  (*cough* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFItSuuy3dU *cough*).  That win got those of us in the band another free night in Dallas, and $115 cash in per diem.  K-BOOSH!

Whether you have a commute or cube, I know you’ve got headphones droning something out: Favorite song of the moment?

JL: I hate admitting this, but I begrudgingly like the Lumineer’s “Ho Hey“.  I’m a sucker for songs that have random yelling of “hey” in it.  This is why Cake might be the greatest band of all time. (PacHoops endorsed!)

JG: I am a sucker for the Lumineers “Ho Hey” song that is incessantly on the radio right now.  I can’t get enough of those 2 minutes and 42 seconds. (PacHoops endorsed!)

BB: Childish Gambino, “You See Me.” (NSFW) (PacHoops endorsed!)

Onto the hoops. Ten-and-two. That’s where your Buffs stand. So, in a word, are you: happy, disappointed, ecstatic, sorrowful, [insert your own word]? Why?

JL: Underwhelmed. Had you asked me pre-season, I would have said 8-4/9-3 would be a successful non-conference schedule. However, for some reason, the 10-2 record has left a little to be desired. I’m probably nit-picking because we’re light years ahead of last year, but I question whether the team can peak like they did last year. That said, I never rule out Tad.

JG: Can I be happy and disappointed?  It’s impossible not to be happy with the overall record but I am certainly disappointed about the way those two losses came.  The Kansas loss was just a poor effort from the tip and the Buffs never really seemed to get into it in Laramie.  There is a lot to be happy and disappointed about in individual players as well.  Obviously I am happy with Dinwidddie, Dre and Scott but disappointed in SHT’s lack of pretty much everything and XJ’s inability to get anything going this year.

BB: They’ve beaten my preseason expectations, so I’ll go with “impressed.”  Despite six freshmen and only one senior, and saddled with the sixth toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, they emerge with only two understandable road losses?  I’ll take that.

My Wildcats are sans loss and deep like Lake Tahoe, what, if anything, scares you about them?

JL: Their size. There’s a lot to terrify there, but I like how our guards & forwards match up. The question is, can the Buffs keep Zeus/Ashley/Jerrett off of the boards and out of the low post? Scott & Roberson are good, but can Simba step up?

JG: You said it, but it isn’t just their deepness it is the overall talent that resides in that deepness.  They have a handful of guys that can beat you on any given night.  CU doesn’t have enough horses to bounce back if things go south early.

BB: Senior leadership. The additions of Tarczewski and Ashley are nice, and Nick Johnson is obviously a stud, but the inside-outside combo of Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons will win you the games in March. My Buffs just don’t have that experienced foundation to lean on in crunch time.

Does Spencer Dinwiddie’s mustache make him better?

JL: Damn right. Just wait until next year when Chris Jenkins is out there rocking the stache too.

JG: It has too right? Anybody that rocks the stache has to have some swagger; I think Dinwiddie feeds off that. You can’t be some chump on the court rocking it; you have to have some skill to not look like an idiot with it.

BB: Of course.  Based on absolutely nothing, I figure it’s worth an extra 2.3 points per game.

Can the Buffs win this game in Tucson? If so, how or what gives them their best shot?

JL: Can? Yes. Will they? No. Best chance is if they play the D that won the Charleston Classic and kicked CSU around in the first half of that game. If the Buffs can play that type of lock-down D, they’re dangerous.

JG: Can they win? Sure they can, but a lot has to go right. Dinwiddie has to come out in first half CSU beast mode fashion, Booker has to take good shots within the offense, Dre has to grab boards like he can, Scott is going to have to battle on both ends of the court and the bench has to show up.  So it can theoretically happen, but I have to agree with my friend Ken Pomeroy in giving CU a about a 1 in 5 chance to win. Too much has to go right to win a road conference game and that just doesn’t happen in college basketball very often.

BB: No. Road games are still an issue.  As awesome and praise-worthy as he is, the Tad Boyle era has been peculiarly devoid of solid wins in true road games (9-18 on the road since his start in 2010).  After shocking K-State in Manhattan in 2011, our best true road victory is probably the win over Fresno St from this year.  Even that took a 17/20 night from ‘Dre to secure.  Nothing is easy when the Buffs go on the road. Is this going to be a disaster on the level of Kansas?  God I hope not, but if you guys want to move this to a neutral site (12-6 in the Boyle era), we’d be more than happy to oblige.

I’m allotting you 140 characters (a Tweet in modern vernacular) to glow about Josh Scott and/or Andre Roberson…GO!

JL: Josh Scott is already good, but will be All-Pac-12 next year and possible All-American. Get in the weight room!

JG: I don’t need 140 characters: Every possession Josh Scott doesn’t touch the ball in the post is a wasted possession.

BB: ‘Dre recently learned how to pull off the Euro-step.  Your move, Rodman.  Josh Scott?  The Big Fundamental v 2.0.  Duncan is Jealous.

Who is your favorite Wildcat, present, past, or future?

JL: The one that Tad kills with his bare hands a la the Bear from last year.

JG: This is an easy one, Damon Stoudamire.  I always stayed up late as a kid and subsequently I became a West Coast basketball fan and Arizona was my team.  I owned not only a #20 Arizona jersey but also his Toronto Raptors jersey as well.

BB: As a Bulls fan, Steve Kerr is an obvious #1.  As for someone I actually think of as a Wildcat, Miles Simon, and the “Simon says: Championship” run in 1997, happened at the right time in my youth.  His play in the title game still rattles around in my head.

The prediction question, not brought to your by Nate Silver. Tell me what happens Thursday night?

JL: I think Arizona has too many weapons, and it’ll be a little too much for the freshman to deal with, as Zona wins this one and CU starts planning to get their revenge in the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

JG: I expect Arizona to come out tough, go up early before giving a few back before the half and up end by 5.  Stretch the lead to 10 in the first 5 minutes of the second half and the score to stay right about there for the rest of the game.  At home and having a battle tested pre-conference schedule Arizona is going to be too much for CU to handle.

BB: An Arizona win. CU keeps their heads afloat for the first 25 minutes, mostly because Dinwiddie has a big game.  As Carlon Brown revealed last year, Spencer grew up an Arizona fan, and he lights it up to spite them.  ‘Dre drops a ‘Dre-esque 13/12, but is limited in the 2nd half with foul trouble.  Hill and Johnson blow it open between the 16-min and 12-min timeouts, and CU struggles to get back into the game the rest of the way. ‘Zona 72 – CU 65

/Questions

So there you have it, insight from the faithful. I appreciate their time and their program and their efforts for the greater good of Pac-12 hoops. Additionally, I’m really hoping to make it out to Boulder on Valentine’s Day for Arizona’s visit but time will tell. Who’s got airline miles?

AllBuffs

All Buffs Wrap: Conference Kicks and The Red Letter Game

This week’s wrap up for AllBuffs is more of a preview. You see, Colorado joined this conference, escaping the tyranny of Big-12 Hoops in which no one seems to care much to challenge the Jayhawks; a fact I’d like to cite for their 8-straight conference titles but reality is they’re just that damn good.

Read my AZ-CU Preview at AllBuffs.

Well now that they’re in the Pac-12, Colorado was seeking a rival. Last season Utah – their travel partner – wasn’t worth the endeavor. The Utes would prove one of the worst major conference foes of all-time and the Buffs would win the conference tournament. They settled on the Wildcats as their main rival.

An outsider might call it a little brother move - I wanna be like them! – and perhaps there was an element of such. After all (and I’m always quick to rattle the stats off), Arizona has won 25 conference titles, visited the Final Four four times, and won the 1997 National Title amongst many other braggable accolades.

But then the Buffs went ahead and beat the Wildcats twice last season. Down year’s be damned. When the new kid on the block – expected to finish eleventh – picks the baddest kid in the playground and KO’s them, literally knocking the Wildcats out of the tournament for just the second time since I was born, they mean business. And if you’ve followed their program, they indeed do. They’ve played more-than-respectably this season and Tad Boyle is far on his way to building a program.

So Thursday night, when these two square off it should be a helluva ball game. Both school’s have loft expectations for 2013 and it begins this week.

I’ll be watching – albeit after rushing from the office due to the damn 5pm tip – and excited to see what will come of this long awaited return to conference play. Glad it kicks with doozy.

AllBuffs

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Starting yesterday, I’ll be doing a weekly wrap up (<– that’s the wrap up, FYI) of the Pac’s goings on at AllBuffs, the best Colorado fan site I’ve ever known and home to friends. Allow me to tell you more about it.

The Colorado Buffaloes won the inaugural Pac-12 tournament, garnering the conference’s 2012 automatic bid and did the conference proud in The Dance. That late season run culminated in Buffs Madness this past October and the raising of the banner.

A sweet, sweet reward for a sweet, sweet first season in the Pac. Consequently it’s a sweet reward I’ve witnessed twelve times as a Wildcat fan if we’re talking regular season champs, four times if we’re just talking conference tournaments. Hell, once if we’re talking National Titles. Oh, wow, that didn’t take long for me to digress. But the Buffs did beat my ‘Cats twice that year and for that my hat is tipped and, as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!

Before you get too crazy and think I’m changing allegiances, NEVER. I’m always going to be an Arizona fan. Fear not – or really think whatever you want – that’s my team, never going to apologize for it.

But just as last season was the Pac-12′s inaugural season, so too was it PacHoops’ first. My debut post was viewed just once per WordPress analytics. I kept at it – as I still do today – writing and refreshing that analytics page, giddy the day I exceeded ten views without writing about Arizona and posting it to my own Facebook page (I have like trillions of Wildcat fans as friends on The Book).

Then one day I had a handful of referral traffic from a site I’d never visited. I clicked and saw my blog had been linked to; it was AllBuffs! From there I received some occasional linkage and eventually I was reached out to by my now good friend, James (Goose on the boards). He’d emailed me on the gmail account I’d set up for my blog strictly because that’s what you do when you start a blog. Or at least according to the ask.com article I’d read about starting a blog told me to.

He’d written to ask me - me – to answer some questions about Arizona leading up to the Buffs and Wildcats’ meeting in Tucson. This is what transpired. From there, James and I continued to talk and together we spawned the Pac-12 Coaches Death Match. This proved quite popular and, above all else, a ton of fun. James and I continue to discuss Pac-12 basketball and, frankly, all subjects under the sun, but lots and lots of basketball.

I’ve met others from AllBuffs and you know who you are. It’s been a fun ride to date and I don’t expect that to change. The community is fantastic and they’re the right kinda fans. I dig it and eagerly anticipate my first trip to Boulder for a game. Been staring pretty hard at the Valentine’s day tilt…

So tune into AllBuffs for some Pac-12 wraps and some good banter. They’ve got a budding basketball program over there that they’re damn proud of and have a lot of reasons to be. Just ask them about Josh Scott.