Allen Crabbe’s name wasn’t called by David Stern. It was perhaps disappointing that Adam Silver announced the former Cal forward’s name following the Cleveland Cavalier’s third time on the clock. Crabbe was the first pick of the second round in Thursday’s draft and the Cavs promptly traded the lengthy shooter to the Trailblazers.
Draft day – and this one in particular – can be a wild, unpredictable day. But the Blazers find themselves with a player who is anything but wild and unpredictable. With a marvelous shooting stroke and a tall frame by which to shoot over people, Crabbe seems to have NBA written all over him. The Blazers have now acquired a commodity that will be sorely missed in Berkeley.
But don’t soon feel bad for Mike Montgomery and his Golden Bears. First of all, they have a sweet new floor and will welcome McDonald’s All-American, Jabari Bird. The local – Salesian High, Richmond, CA – will help to replace the scoring Crabbe takes with him to the NBA.
But the most intriguing piece on this forthcoming Cal Bears roster is sophomore Ty Wallace. The dynamic athlete has the ability to guard up and down the lineup and showed a propensity to score from all over the court. Or at least a fearlessness to shoot from anywhere on it. A refined offensive game from Wallace could prove a lethal weapon for the reloaded Cal Bears who finished fourth in 2012-13 season.
Of course that sort of dependence on youth in the wake of a Pac-12 Player of the Year can be daunting. Crabbe scored 18.4 points and grabbed 6.1 boards per game this past season. In layman’s terms: that’s a lot of production. According to many, it was NBA first round-type production. Alas, for reasons only the player-pickers could give us (and they won’t), Crabbe dropped into the latter round in which he will not be guaranteed a contract.
That disappointment, however, didn’t deter from the love and support showered on the newest member of the Portland Trailblazers:
I don’t know if the title of this post will hold but it certainly was nice for an evening, wasn’t it? And I should be clear, I’m not all that big on doing things for the haters. They gonna hate. No, I like the idea of winning for those who support us.
Because we watched this conference season long and sure, we saw their lows. But we also saw the highs. We saw that those Berkeley guards were assassins and that the Arizona freshmen were ginormous and that the Ducks could defend. Day one’s results aren’t indicative of anything colossally important. It was three good teams playing three good games. It just happened to be on the biggest stage. I’m into that but not smearing it in (too many) faces because, well, there’s too much still to accomplish.
For now…feels good.
Oregon - The question I kept asking was whether or not Oklahoma State or Oregon was more upset about the Ducks’ twelve seed. Now, writing this late Thursday night, my assumption that the Cowboys were pissed to face the Pac-12 tourney champs was confirmed. Because they lost. Oregon leaned on the efforts of Arsalan Kazemi (11/17) to move their way past the aptly seeded Cowboys. Oregon reminded us that they’re a defensively oriented squad; limiting the Cowboys to just 40% shooting and 4 offensive rebounds. The point, however, is that the Ducks were the assertive group. The statistical breakdown doesn’t exactly suggest a dominant victory, but it was. A sign that the Ducks were the aggressor and unafraid of the tournament.
California - It’s not very often that a team garners an out-of-conference rematch. Cal got their re-shot at the UNLV Rebels and won. Boom. Limiting the Rebs to zero buckets across an eleven minute stretch in the second half. That, my friends, is what I’d call a great success. The Bears applied the age-old belief that guards dominate this month as Crabbe and Cobbs combined for half of Cal’s points (32 of 64). This, whether it’s sustainable or not, is how the Bears do it. The Mountain West sustained their second loss of the night (see ya’ MWC champs) and may have demonstrated their general propensity for clutch losing. Have I gone too far?
Arizona – Can you call a 6-over-11 game an upset? It seemed the case as everyone considered Belmont ready to win their first tournament game. They had the outcome (first tourney win) and court (SLC) correct. Just the wrong team. Harvard upset Steve Alford following Arizona’s dominant performance for their first ever NCAA Tournament victory. Back to Bruins and Cats. Belmont managed to get the game within three late in the first half but never made it spicy again. Which is no knock on the Bruins. Arizona was the better team heading in (6v11, duh) and then went ahead and asserted themselves as such. Which hasn’t been the general case for this group. They’ve lost seven games to Pac-12 opponents which is not necessarily a bad thing but it ain’t all that impressive. However, considering Arizona’s issues against Pac-12 opposition, context might help. The Bruins rated 53rd per KenPom. That would place them sixth in the P12. Is Arizona figuring it all out?
Mike Montgomery has a touch of a bad rep when it comes to the NCAA tournament. He ranks 31st in tournament win percentage amongst active coaches with at least ten tournament appearances and, despite all those great Stanford teams, has left the first weekend just thrice (1997 S16, 1998 F4, 2001 E8). But I’m not always one to harp on these facts when evaluating a coach’s career. But we’re also not looking at this sorta stuff right now. I will, however, admit to picking against such records and memories in this tournament because completing brackets should be completely irrational.
The Bears are dancing and rematching.
Why I like them: This is March and March loves guards. Cal has two terrific ones in Crabbe and Cobbs who have been dynamite in big games and big situations (see: Crabbe in Tucson, Cobbs in Eugene). These two are not afraid of the moment. Additionally, this game is in San Jose; a drinking-legal CalTrain ride from Berkeley (with a short stint on Bart). Or I suppose fans could just drive, too, but whatever. I encourage them to get there! Another item to keep an eye on – and I really don’t yet know what to make of it – is the fact that Ricky Kreklow returned to significant action last week. He played 18 minutes in Vegas – just his seventh game of the year – and knocked down two threes. He’s a wildcard and I’m kinda into it.
Why I don’t like them: The pieces after that dynamic duo leave something to be desired. Namely, Ty Wallace has cooled off and I don’t love depending upon a freshman difference maker. Or a thin PF, foul prone C, and a former walk-on backing them both up (though he is the Thurmanator). And while we were just starting to have to wrap our minds around the fact – yes, fact – that these Golden Bears were a good, not just hot, team, they went ahead and lost a pair and in unconvincing fashion. Cal is slumping into the tournament and one cannot feel good about that.
Poetic Justice: Revenge. It’s pretty simple here considering Cal had these Rebels all but beat back in December if it weren’t for a missed box out by David Kravish. The Bears will get a second shot in a weird “unavoidable” move by the committee.
Best Possible Scenario: Cal indeed exacts revenge, limiting Anthony Bennett’s touches and forcing the Rebs to shoot an uncomfortable number of threes (looking at you, Katin Reinhardt). This is the recipe New Mexico recently imparted in defeating UNLV. Of course Crabbe and Cobbs show up before an impressive Cal crowd and the Runnin’ Rebels get run out of the Dance. Next up, however, the Bears are unable to shoot their way out of the ‘Cuse zone (the Bears rank 309th in three-point shooting at just 30%) and this battle of witty and snide coaches falls the way of Boeheim.
I don’t know if you were at the game and so if you were we’re tied in the following category. But my guess is that if you weren’t, I now have a new “Never Have I Ever” trump card.
Never have I ever seen an entire assistant coaching staff ejected.
Because that happened in Haas Wednesday night following the “Brawl in Berkeley” (that’s what people are calling it, right?). I mean, Mark Madsen got tossed. And what a ridiculous rule that only the HC can leave the bench to break up a fight. Whatever.
I kinda loved it.
But not that much. I won’t condone fighting, it’s pretty bush league, but I sure as hell love a rivalry game. I’ll always reference the “anything can happen” factor and it most certainly can. Cal was a 6 point favorite at home. They lost by 12.
When the dust settled from the scuffle and we watched the most tense final five minutes of a blowout I may have ever seen; and after Allen Crabbe tried his best at a mega comeback (assisting and scoring a swift 8 points post delay); and following Ricky Krekow going full Rudy for three of those minutes trying to get his entire lost season’s worth of physical contact in; indeed, after all of that the only thing Spencer and I could discuss was how could we get these two to play in Vegas.
As it were today, we’re going to need some help. Arizona will have to beat ASU and Washington must beat…OK well it’s impossible at this point but it stands that I want Arizona to beat ASU (handily). Write that down.
But there is one way in which this occurs (I’m telling you there’s a chance). Each of UCLA and Oregon lose-out and Arizona triumphs over ASU causing a four way tie for first and Stanford (currently sitting in ninth) stays where they are (I don’t believe they can move much beyond eighth). They’ll then need to win their first round game and – voila! – we have a Thursday Big Game!
Note: There is the obvious situation in which these two meet in the semis or finals but I want spice early and often which explains my hope for a Thursday meeting. Also, after scouring the standings and tiebreakers, this:
But the overarching point here isn’t a commentary on fighting or even rivalries for that matter.
It’s the ubiquitous fact that March is magnifying and tense and highlights everything we love about sport. It’s the lone time in our lives in which we encourage drama. For this fact, it makes total sense to put this thing in Vegas because if there was ever a place for drama to stay, it’s Vegas.
Last night we saw the 12th place team handle the 1st place team. We watched the ninth place team complete the convincing sweep of the third place team. And there is still a chance of that four-way tie for first in which case hell wouldn’t freeze, it’d just get hotter.
Criteria for such an award are oft debated: Is it the best player? The most valuable player? The most impactful? What’s the breakdown of numbers vs. intangibles vs. wins? In the real world, the award is voted on by the coaches and sometimes they do things like award it to Jorge Gutierrez (career achievement?). Sean Miller recently said Larry Drew II would be his pick for POY. Against Arizona, Drew2 is averaging 11 points and 9 assists and is a convincing 2-0. Against everyone else it’s 7/7. So there’s that.
Whatever the case, it often boils down to a gut check; a conglomerate of components that make up a POY ripe for discussion, criticism, and debate.
To help you in determining the winner, I’ve pieced together my ideas of the top candidates with some of their numbers and of course left you a write in vote. Of note, the “Big Game Numbers (BGN)” are the players ppg/rpg/apg against the conference’s top four teams (Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Cal).
Alas, without further ado and without prefacing much by way of candidate qualifications, the Candidates:
Allen Crabbe, G, California
[Note: Open Crabbe snipped with shoving joke]. OK, that’s out of the way so we can get to his ears? Double joke fail? Crabbe has filled the tin with the best of them and been Monty’s rock all season long. He’s the safest pick amongst the field as he’s been the best player on a top team. His performance in Tucson (31/7/5 on 12-15 shooting) was likely the best game of the year.
18.5 ppg , 6rpg, 2.6 apg
109.6 ORtg (11) , 25.2% possessions used
5.3 win shares
BGN: 18.6/4.3/2.6 (4-1)
Jahii Carson, PG, Arizona State
Please advice that the following is all nice things about Jahii Carson, alert his mother. ASU waited a long time (year plus) for this kid and he proved worth the wait. The native Phoenician has been a program changer (10 wins in 2011-12, 20 wins in 2012-13) in leading the Devils onto the NCAA bubble conversation (at least for more than a hot second). I have big respect for the effect he’s had on this program, but winning has got to count for something (a lower half finish ain’t great).
17.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5 apg
102.0 ORtg, 28.6% possessions used
3.5 win shares
BGN: 17.6/4.2/4.3 (2-3)
Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Up in the air whether this guy would ever play in Westwood, he finally debuted in Brooklyn – adjacent the home of NBA headquarters; perhaps telling of the Gucci wearing small forward’s intentions. Alas, once both the hype and Shabazz settled, he proved one helluva basketball player. Similar to Crabbe, Bazz is susceptible to the mono-dimensional critique, yet another best-player-on-a-top team argument can be made for his candidacy.
18.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.9 apg
108.9 ORtg, 28.1% possessions used
3.1 win shares
BGN: 16/5.8/1 (3-2)
Spencer Dinwiddie, PG, Colorado
Big guards cause havoc and The Mayor is no different. And he rocks a swag ‘stache. He’s a dynamic force on the offensive end, commanding the floor and getting in the lane at will, while defensively he’s capable of locking down smaller guards – which is generally most of them. And he rocks a swag ‘stache. The Buffs haven’t had quite the conference season they expected but they should be dancing in March and Dinwiddie is a major part of that. And he rocks a swag ‘stache.
15.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.0 apg
115.9 ORtg, 23.8% possessions used
4.8 win shares
BGN: 14.4/2.6/3.8 (2-3)
Arsalan Kazemi, PF, Oregon
Like Muhammad, this guy’s eligibility was in question. Unlike the Bruin, however, Kazemi was never seen in a cutesy satchel (no more backpack jokes); just a dirty stache (no more ‘stache jokes). Kazemi joined the Ducks and quickly started doing a lot of everything for them. He undoubtedly embodies the concept of guy that does the dirty work but that’s just what the Ducks needed. And he’s done it well. The following won’t WOW you until you get to the efficiency stuff. Wow.
9.4 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.3 apg
121.2 ORtg, 16.3% possessions used
5.1 win shares
BGN: 9.8/10.8/.8 (2-2)
Solomon Hill, SF, Arizona
In a surprisingly long lineage of point-forwards at Arizona, Hill has endured the strangest of times at Arizona. But he’s done so to blossom into a tremendous talent and one that’s deserving of mention in such a candidacy. The data isn’t about to overwhelm you, but watch a game or two and the talent just may.
13.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.7 apg
112.9 ORtg, 21.6% possessions used
4.3 win shares
BGN: 14.8/6/2.8 (0-4)
Andre Roberson (11/12/2), CJ Wilcox (17/4/2), Carrick Felix (14/8/2), Roberto Nelson (18/3/2), Brock Motum (18/6/1)
We are entering awards season and while I’m not about to make too many picks, I do think Argo and Silver Linings Playbook will be announced frequently this coming Sunday.
But just as these films get some late sprucing as Oscar Sunday is approached, some late hoopla and for your consideration moments, so too do the candidates for Pac POY. As sports fans, we’re fully aware of moments and celebrate those who capture them. While Derrick Williams was walking away with the POY award, his depositing of Darnell Gant’s shot was a POY moment. I suppose for Jorge it was some charge he took.
But here we are at the homestretch, the final time to showcase one’s goods for award consideration and as I see it today, we have just a handful of POY contenders. The field:
Allen Crabbe: 20/6/3
Jahii Carson: 18/3/5
Spencer Dinwiddie: 15/3/3
Shabazz Muhammad: 19/5/1
C.J. Wilcox: 18/5/2
Other names could be dropped into that list but then we’re just building out an All-Conference team and we’re not here for that. We’re looking for the one and even this list feels long. But the Academy is now dropping ten films into consideration so I figure we can extend ours to five.
Now I haven’t the slightest clue what the voting criteria are. I don’t know if this is an award given to the best player or the most valuable one but as it were, looking back historically, it appears the award is given to the conference’s best player which tends to also be the most valuable. An easy overlap. Just rattling off the last few winners’ names you get that sense: Williams, Randle, Love, Harden, Afflalo, Roy. All very recognizable names.
Team success often plays a part which is why Brock Motum didn’t win last years award and the coaches decided to give Jorge a career achievement award.
But this year, as is clear by the above list of studs and their output, there’s a legitimate battle for the award. Interestingly, Arizona and Oregon have such balanced production that their best players have played their way out of POY contention (though I think they’ll be OK with a conference title or a nice March run in its stead).
Diving into that list, I’ll say that I really like Spencer Dinwiddie’s game. I think he’s a complete guard with tremendous size and a league future. I don’t think he’s going to win this award. That’s not to drop him from this list, he makes it in my mind as an MVP-type, but as POYs go, he’s not yet there. And while CJ Wilcox is one of the smoothest players in the league, 13ppg against the conference’s top three teams (AZ, Ore, UCLA) doesn’t exactly do it for me. One thing that definitely does it for NBA scouts is Shabazz’s mid-range game which is lethal considering his size and athleticism. But his game is relatively mono-faceted – scorer – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just would seem to eliminate him from the POY race. His team does sit near the top of the conference but their collective success seems to have them in that position.
And so we’re left at two: Carson and Crabbe.
The former is a super freshman. He’s the centerpiece of ASU’s transformation into possible dancers and has been equal parts fantastic and valuable. Crabbe too has been great and perhaps overlooked until recently as his team has catapulted back into the top half of the conference standings.
So facing what appears to be this two man race and returning to the aforementioned moments, who will capture theirs?
I think Allen Crabbe is going to have a big chance tonight as his red hot Bears travel to Eugene to take on the first place Oregon Ducks. A big game here and Crabbe maintains POY-mentum. And this is really his biggest opportunity for a statement game. It’s the last team the Golden Bears play ahead of them in the standings; though big games against Colorado and/or in The Big Game (3/6) could go a long way in securing the award.
Last night, Carson did nothing to hurt his chances of POY-dom with 21/4/5 against the lowly Cougars. He’s vying to become just the third freshman to ever win the award, joining the likes of Kevin Love and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Good company and his closing arguments could come in the form of big games on the road. A place the young man is learning to thrive. Remaining are contests at UCLA and at rival Arizona by which Carson could find his name etched onto the POY cup – or whatever it is they give the player.
But the overarching excitement here is that we are having a POY talk which means we’re remarkably close to what’s shaping up to be one of the maddest Marches in awhile.
As my buddy Jamie recently asked, “How do we get this sport year ’round?”
Here I sit. Sickly and playing semi-nurse to my roommate who’s just had his ACL reconstructed and who – in his post-surgical, in home state – has accumulated a viewing list the size of Washington State’s RPI (188). As I mentioned, I am under the weather and took a half-day from professional life to rehabilitate and help the roommate with nominal tasks suddenly turned difficult without the function of two knees (he sponge bathes himself).
And so, 181 PacHoops posts, two-seasons on pointguardu.com, 3/4 of a season on PacificTakes and Rush the Court, and 1/4 season on AZDesertSwarm I’ve finally turned the corner into true sportswriter-dom. I’m three episodes into The Wire. Yes, in this day and age it would seem one cannot truly comment on sports without having experienced this Home Box Office tour de force. I’ve just met Omar and I find McNulty equal parts frustrating and endearing, a confused character, flawed like and broken like so many cop protagonists before him (looking at you, John McClane). And while it is HBO programming without Allison Williams, it didn’t take long for us to get hooked.
All of that said, the chances that I make obscure references to this now dated show are slim so rest assured I will not go Whitlock on you. I have, however, thought seriously about likening each of your favorite Pac-12 teams to a GIRLS character. It’s going to happen.
Alas, as we hit the homestretch, like drug ring in the projects of Baltimore, teams will begin to rise to the top of the game while others…well…others will begin to drop like flies.
GotW: Like Sex and the City this weekend doesn’t necessarily have any stunners, but there’s plenty of substance and couple of pretending divas. Take Washington @ Arizona. This game screams Samantha as it’s the two sexiest names squaring off on the slate but it’s really not attractive at all. Woof. Nah, the best looking of that cast was Charlotte, a simple beauty, nothing overwhelming but certainly good looking. Our simple beauty of this weekend? Cal’s visit to Eugene. The Bears are hotter than a Mike Montgomery timeout which actually deserves some additional commentary. While the shove worked and all the right things were said afterward, could the national commentary and hubub have turned to distraction? It’ll be interesting to see how they react as they take to the court in what will undoubtedly be a hostile environment. And, for the record, I’m not Miranda fan.
Game to Avoid: You ever seen Enlightened? It’s on the half-hour before GIRLS and each week we catch the final three minutes and it’s the most dramatic moments of the show but no one’s actually into the show and none of us have the slightest clue what it’s about or an interest in getting further involved. Sounds about how my Wednesday night is going to shape up as I’m not going to dedicate too much time the 7pm WSU @ ASU game while awaiting the 8pm tip of UW @ AZ. The lone Husky invited over to watch has already asked that we garner burritos during that hour.
Something to Prove: Slowly growing his worth as a Hollywood star, Vincent Chase finally made a name for himself as the centerpiece of Aquaman. This mega-blockbuster role is the career maker Chase had been searching for. Or was it? He wanted more, preferring to find his dream gig in Medellin; seeking to prove he was an artist and not just a pretty face. Well few are about to say much about the Sun Devils being a pretty face (maroon and piss), but we can consider their inflated win total appealing. Wins are sexy to the committee just as starring in a James Cameron movie is star igniting (Chase, Sam Worthington). But regardless of what your resume states, if it doesn’t have staying power it doesn’t have staying power. The Sun Devils have a key opportunity to prove their worth as a tourney team by holding court at home this weekend, taking greater steps to becoming the stars they want to be in March.
Something to Lose: As Larry David putzes around Los Angeles (and New York in his most recent season on Curb), he acts as if he has nothing to lose. Not a man on fire but a man devoid awareness to the greater context of social accord. It’s been with a similar disinterest for public opinion that the Cal Bears have played their way into Dance consideration. But as I said in the GotW preview, there’s growing opinion about all things Monty and his basketball program as some (if not many) are thinking he should not be coaching on the sidelines. This national conversation could quickly spiral into a distraction for a hot team, particularly considering he was “surprised at the legs” the story got. The fact of the matter is that there are TV cameras everywhere and anytime a 60+ shoves a twenty-year-old, it’s going to become a pretty, pretty, pretty big deal.
Two hands were abruptly thrown onto Allen Crabbe’s chest before he rallied his team to victory over ASU. And the college basketball universe went nuts about the Mike Montgomery shove. Understandably so.
Such actions have cost greater coaches their jobs and while maybe their strikes have occurred with more severe intent, there’s really no place for that. We could celebrate Crabbe’s rally and the motivational tactic but why does it have to boil down to a shove? Was that really the best possible move? A lost moment amongst the emotion of competition? Whatever it was, Mike Montgomery is better than that and I trust the situation was handled internally and appropriately.
In other news, I’m hoping that my body is internally and appropriately handling whatever this bug is that I’ve inherited so I can get back to full strength for the final three weeks of this season!
The Presidential weekend:
Leader in the Clubhouse: Oregon stands alone and if they’re not standing on concrete then it’s at least setting. They hold a game lead over the next two teams chasing them and they hold wins over both those teams. You know this. And you also know they garnered a road sweep against the Washingtons without Dominic Artis. I’ve already likened his pending return to a deadline trade and with essentially a 1.5 game lead for the one seed in Vegas (who’s stoked for Vegas??) that incoming talent should behoove them. That said, I’m going to need to give a shout out to the Cal Bears for the run they’re on and their late rally into Dance contention.
Biggest Loser: When I headed down to The Farm on February 3, I witnessed the best version of the Stanford Cardinal that there could be. Damn they were good. And now they just got swept at home. They’ve dove under the .500 mark in conference and while the LA schools are proving tough, the home court is to be defended. At least as a team with aspirations of The Dance; a fleeting sight in Palo Alto.
What We Learned: As I was settling in to Saturday night, and Evan Gordon’s shot was circling the tin and another Top-5 team had lost, I got to talking about the absurdity of this college basketball season with Matt and Dave. “This college basketball season” we began as an excuse for anything, including Dexter Kernich-Drew’s late foul, a speeding/texting/rolling stop ticket, working late, performance issues…hey, this college basketball season! Indeed it’s becoming increasingly less predictably who will win week in and week out and what more could you ask for? Unless it’s your team, an oligarchy doesn’t befit the masses. Do you realize just how crazy this March is going to be? Vegas, too? The absurdity of this season will roll its wild self on into tournament play and we’re going to be the benefactors of, well, this college basketball season.
The YouTuber: CU pulled off a fun one of these mid-game on Thursday and as I went on a Harlem Shake bender the next day, this was the most impressive:
I watched the Cal-Arizona game Sunday afternoon. Had the full braintrust there, Wildcats galore for the first viewing at my buddy’s new apartment. I left unsatisfied with Arizona’s effort and upset the Cats wouldn’t be a top-3 team heading to Boulder for their big rematch there. And in the time it took to walk the street and hail a cab home, Allen Crabbe hit four more shots. The dude couldn’t miss and it got me to thinking that maybe that was the best performance of the season. He missed four shots all night in dropping 31/7/5 in the road upset. Performance of the year.
And then Spencer Dinwiddie went ahead and missed zero shots all night en rout to a road win and 24/3/4 making it remarkably difficult to choose the performer of the night. It certainly wasn’t last night’s GIRLS and I missed the Grammy’s.
My roommate and I instead hammered out the original Jurassic Park and so my final answer for top performance Sunday goes to Goldblum.
Leader in the Clubhouse: Can I pass on this one? There are eight teams within two games of the conference lead.Parity? Competition? Mediocrity? All of the above? I don’t have this answer because it appears everyone is doing there best not to lead here; what with Oregon’s three game skid and the Wildcats’ hiccup against Cal and UCLA’s whatevering and Stanford’s roller coaster, etc. But this is sport and so there must be a top team and I choose Oregon. They’re a good team with a broken PG who should be returning soon. Like getting that extra arm at the trading deadline, the Ducks will get the extra bump they need as we near season’s end. Sure they have their issues, but their three game skid has been negated and they maintain, A) The simplest schedule B) Tiebreakers against both Arizona and UCLA. But there’s still a whole lotta season left…
Biggest Loser: The Huskies entered conference play with little expectations and then quickly jumped out into first place with a nice little 4-0 start. I was excited and impressed. Well they’ve since lost six of seven and this weekend pretty much sealed their fate. Nail. Coffin. They managed to be competitive in Pauley and then things just fell apart in the Galen Center. I wanted to watch the latter of these games but FSN is maybe the most unaccessible network out there. I managed to get a few updates via gchat from someone in Israel who was getting the game fed to him via Skype call. Woof.
What We Learned: This college basketball season is going to shock us. It’s going to wow us and surprise us and challenge us and have us shaking our heads to the point our necks hurt. But that’s why we love it. That semblance of hope that indeed anything can happen and that no matter how accurate Ken Pomeroy or Nate Silver or your gut is, this game will no doubt shock you. Kansas at TCU? Arkansas over Florida? Cal toppling Arizona? USC flirting with contention? If there was anything we learned this week – from the greater landscape to our Pac-12 backyard – competition reigns supreme. There may not be an elite power, a blow away team that tramples through the season like I just took down my $17 Chinese food delivery. No, we learned this week that perhaps no one is quite great. But the season is.
The YouTuber: I’m heading to Colorado this week to see my Cats in the Keg and I ask you, Colorado…
With Conference play tipping off tonight last night, the fellas at RTC and I compiled what I would call our Pre-Season-Post-Non-Conference-Schedule predictions. With a twelve-to-thirteen game sampling from each team and player, we made new-ish predictions on how the league is going to shape out. Here is the aggregation of our picks.
As for me, I don’t think I went particularly crazy here. I really think CU edges UCLA out of the second slot and I’m not buying ASU’s hot start. It’s worth noting here that I will forever be sad that Brock Motum won’t realistically win the POY award. Just a bummer cause he’s really good and fun to watch. I just might have a Foster’s in his honor.
Anyhow, here’s how I picked the league and some other All-This-That-and-the-Other Teams:
7. Oregon State
8. Arizona State
9. Washington State
PG Jahii Carson
G Allen Crabbe
F Shabazz Muhammad
F Solomon Hill
F Brock Motum
PG Jahii Carson
G Jordan Adams
F Shabazz Muhammad
F Jordan Loveridge
C Josh Scott
PG Dominic Artis
G Nick Johnson
F Josh Huestis
F Arsalan Kazemi
C Jordan Bachynski
Coach of the Year:
Player of the Year:
Freshman of the Year:
PG Dominic Artis
G Jordan Adams
F Josh Huestis
F Jonathan Gilling
C Jordan Bachynski
PG Jio Fontan
G Ahmad Starks
G Chasson Randle
F Aaron Fuller
C Josh Smith
G Nick Johnson
G Roberto Nelson
F Dwight Powell
F Carrick Felix
C Jordan Bachynski
All-Upside (most room for improvement into conference season):
PG Aaron Bright
G JT Terrell
F EJ Singler
F Brandon Ashley
F Tyrone Wallace
Game of the Year (to this point):
Florida at Arizona: the game was hyped as the biggest of the OOC schedule and lived up to the billing. McKale was rocking as if the ‘Cats were a top-10 tea— wait, they are. OK, so it appeared as if things were back to normal in Tucson until Arizona spent much of the game playing catch-up. With the final possession and the ball in their fearless, gamer’s hands, the Wildcats managed to knock off the Gators.
Game of the Year (in conference):
Arizona at UCLA – This should be the game of the year in the second to last weekend with Game Day in town and a whole lot of talent on the floor. I think it’s safe to assume Arizona will be a contender but no one seems to know what we’ll get out of UCLA. If recent history serves us well, this will indeed be a ball game.