You might’ve read my Pac-12 preseason predictions. If not some of them here then if you were traveling in the early November time frame you might’ve seen them featured in USA Today’s College Basketball Special Edition/leaflet. My friend bought me a copy en route to a wedding in Mexico and left it in the hotel shuttle. I have the best friends!
If you didn’t click the above link, here’s how I had things shaking out: Continue reading
Power Rankings are rooted in the present, an expression of immediate results accounting for only the current taste on an evaluator’s tongue. The best of PR’s are a declaration of recency bias, rationalized the facts, figures and stones.
Here’s my recency bias without recently posting any Power Rankings. Also, the following, unless noted as an opinion, consists of no alternative facts.
I’m skipping straight to Saturday’s game. It’s neither my job nor responsibility to be weary of overlooking an opponent. Arizona’s visit to USC is intriguing and I’m indubitably, unequivocally, absolutely watching. I’m in fact meeting a new hoops friend – RTC contributor, Michael Lemaire – for a Thursday evening of viewing and fandom. A delight.
But I’m not previewing Arizona’s visit to the Galen Center. Continue reading
I’ve previewed all of the teams except ASU (11th best team so…pass and really just no time). It’s been a distracting week. College basketball is here. This is the preview of my team. Here’s where I previewed the others!
At initial writing, Chance Comanche was still suspended, indefinitely, from playing for Arizona (it’s since been announced that he will play today vs. Michgan State). His suspension allowed us a gloriously tragic photo narrative. Because Allonzo Trier is officially not in Hawaii; Ray Smith sustained his third ACL tear (terrible) and has retired from basketball; Graduate transfer and native Tucsonan, Talbot Denny, also tore his ACL in the pre-season and is out for the year; recall that former Arizona commit Terrence Ferguson headed down under to pursue a paycheck in lieu of college. That’s five scholarship players disappearing in three months time, with one reappearing just this week (Comanche). Consider that another of the allotted 13 schollies is held by Dylan Smith, an ineligible transfer, and Arizona was briefly left with seven scholarship players right:
Of course Comanche is back now but eight isn’t miles better than seven. Consider a practice. Consider a full season grind, an injury here or a tweaked body part there. While depth is overrated in college basketball as quantified by the % of bench minutes used by Final Four teams, it’s not overrated when it comes to protecting against the trials of a season (i.e. Dylan Ennis (foot) <> Casey Benson, Allonzo Trier (hand) <> no Elliott Pitts (last year), Xavier Johnson <> George King)
Last season on Anywhere but Anaheim
On Monday the Pac-12 coaches voted for their conference’s awards and it was without controversy. Which isn’t to say the conference went the way of mundane chalk but rather that it was a season of generally solid things. Nothing rocked the boat.
Alas, this isn’t the post where we pick apart the awards – a fool’s errand. This is the post where I select my own all conference team then look at the actuals. Basically we look at where I went WRONG.
My 2016 Pac-12 Awards
I got credentialed to last year’s Pac-12 tournament. It was awesome and in that wonderful first day of basketball, USC knocked off the fifth seeded Sun Devils. It was USC’s sixth win over a conference opponent in two years and it came at the hands of my behated (word?) Devils. I don’t know if you “have” schadenfreude or wish it or feel it but knowing what the German word translates to, that’s what I have/feel/wish for ASU. Until I had to go into that presser and listen to sixth-year senior Shaq McKissic talk about the game. To listen to Bo Barnes explain how the shittiest team in the Pac-12 could erase a 14-point lead in the game’s final ten minutes was miserable. All the ill I’d have ever wished on the Sun Devils was manifesting but the moment’s cruel reality was that I had to see what my schadenfreude created. I wanted nothing to do with it. It looked awful. They answered their questions with red eyes, barely audible, then left the stage. I felt for them. It wasn’t the stakes of the Super Bowl but those red eyes suggested otherwise. Josh Norman. Cam didn’t answer a few questions. I’m pretty much OK with it.
I imagine you’re going to start seeing bigger swings in these rankings as it only makes sense to reward teams for being as good as their last weekend. It’s like a weekend when family comes to visit and you don’t go to bars until last call. Monday – or in this case Tuesday’s Power Rankings – are just going to be a lot kinder to you. That’s a less-than-abstract way of asking Pac-12 teams to sober up? Or do we like a drunk Pac?
Which brings us to even further existential questions like: Do I want to live in a world where Alabama is winning national championships on trick plays? Where people watch an admitted one quarter of college football and their first take is “Lane Kiffin called a great game?” Where Andy Enfield runs the hottest team on the coast? I hope you’re sticking to your 2016 resolutions.
Without a doubt, this was the most difficult Power Rankings I’ve had to complete. Considered foregoing it. I dropped teams with noteworthy showings (Colorado, Stanford), while others made huge jumps because – yanno – last week’s second through fifth ranked teams went a combined 0-6. Standard stuff. Begging the question: Is the Pac-12 full of parity or parody? The former would suggest that good teams are losing on the road to equally challenging opponents. The latter, however, suggests we’re in for a season of laughable outcomes, an opportunity to perhaps enjoy our Western anonymity.
But before you go diving onto the season’s panic button or attempt to rip your shirt off as you’re being escorted from the final minute of a rivalry game, remember that the Pac-12 is a historically difficult road game. Last season, home teams won 67% of the games – the third highest mark amongst conferences. This – my Utah and UCLA, friends – should have a calming affect. I think we can rest pretty well assured that this conference is full of champions! Parity.
As you gander this week’s Power Rankings, I encourage you to take your criticisms directly to me. Comment on Facebook, Tweet at me, or email – let’s talk it out. 2016: the year of the discussion.
I maybe could’ve skipped this week’s Power Rankings considering the release of the Independence Day: Resurgence trailer. But that felt disrespectful during the biggest week for Star Wars nerds since they played the extended trailer during that awful Monday Night football game (I tuned in). Speaking of big weeks, the Pac-12 was supposed to have one! Turns out they had a couple of really impressive halves:
- Winning in Kansas City (Go Beavs!)
- Down one in Lexington (Go Devils!)
- Up double digits at home against Saint Mary’s (Go Bears!)
Well the Beavers and Devils would lose by double figures and Cal needed a late three to beat the Gael’s at home. Oregon took a road loss (but outscored the Broncos in the second half!) and Utah’s return trip to Wichita wasn’t victorious (led for all of 28-seconds). Meanwhile the Bruins continue to win the tougher parts of their schedule (Got them Zags!). The weekend wasn’t quite this:
But you could still feel like this: