Tag Archives: Andrew Andrews

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates a three point basket in the first half during a game against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Barclays Center on November 25, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Week 12 PacHoops Pac-12 Power Rankings: Halfway home.

It took the ending of a 49-game home win streak to avoid having a 6-way tie for first place. It’s that kind of year in the Pac-12. Yet as far as I can tell, no one in Eugene cares. We’re halfway home and despite all the crazy talk this one feels pretty wrapped up. Maybe I’m crazy but Oregon seems the best, Utah seems the hottest, and WSU seems the worst. Maybe those are my mid-season superlatives with a hat-tip to Andrew Andrews.

Power:

1. Oregon

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Podcast of Champions. The Dawgs will have their day.

We got together with old friend of the pod and real friend in real life, Jamie, to chat during Utah’s home (shocker) win over Cal. Having noted that fact, be warned that there are asides to discuss Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Sam Singer, Brandon Taylor as well as the game’s score. No spoilers, the contest is over. We also dove into the impending reality of the Washington Huskies, which unblemished home team will stumble first, Spencer’s heated take on court storming, an aside to the national scope of CBB, and a tangent on court appearances.

Per usual: subscribe on iTunes and feel free to tweet me ANY of your concerns, questions, or dreams.

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Podcast of Champions. Cody Martin of WildcatAuthority.com

Don’t let the title confuse you. Just because Spencer and I have an Arizona expert on this week’s podcast, we get deep into the entire conference. A loose timeline of what we discuss with Senior Staff Writer at WildcatAuthority.com, Cody Martin:

  • First Conference weekend impressions
  • Most impressive individual performances
  • Non-conference run around
  • Non-conference Biggest Surprise (individual and team)
  • Non-con biggest disappointment (individual and team)
  • Non-con + 1 weekend POY and COY

It’s my humble opinion that you’ll like it. Big thanks to Cody for joining us (give him a follow and check out his Pac-12 musings). You can also subscribe to our Podcast, here.

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Week 8 PacHoops Pac-12 Power Rankings: Parity or parody?

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.

Power Rankings:

1. Arizona

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2015-16 Washington Basketball: Inexperienced abroad

Some of you might be thinking, “Isn’t it time we read about a new head coach at Washington?” And your feelings would be valid (they’re always valid here, guys). He’s coached four progressively worse teams, had character (Robert Upshaw) and transfer/departure issues (Nigel Williams-Goss, Jernard Jarreau), has seen a steady decline in attendance, and hasn’t recruited at nearly the level he once did (ya know, like NBA players). That opening question is valid. But Lorenzo Romar is still the head coach at Washington. And this season he’s bringing…optimism? We have to be future thinking but Romar has a Top-10 class on campus right now, and another lined up for next season. You can’t tell me that anyone other than Lorenzo Romar would have Markelle Fultz – a Top-10 recruit – committing to move to Washington from Maryland. He’s a summer commit to the class of 2016. That is rare. Arizona only just got their first 2016 commitment. And Romar swooped him from Kentucky, Arizona and Louisville. In a day and age when CBB rosters are fluid, when roster management is a year-in-year-out endeavor, Romar appears to have set himself up for some annualized success. Something he hasn’t had in nearly half a decade.

Why I love them

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Pac-12 Tournament Day 1: Bottom Heavy

We were a three pointer by a struggling if not disinterested first teamer from having the 10, 11, and 12 seeds advance. That’s contrary to the norm. The least tightly contested game featured the two most closely ranked teams. That’s  contrary to the norm. Dan Kingma had nine points. That’s contrary to the norm. Of course we didn’t come to Vegas expecting chalk or things to go precisely according to plan (although I did remember to bring my ID to the airport for this trip. Big win.).

So what was Day 1 like? Maybe we call it a practice run? The MGM Grand Arena wasn’t quite bubbling to the top but – and this needs to be said – the PA guy called 4 games with unwavering enthusiasm. And he’ll be back at it again for Day 2. As for the basketball?

Day 1:

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WANE: Arizona at Utah & So Many Opportunities

Oregon perhaps took a little wind out of Utah’s sail and Larry K said that now is the time for less talk and more action. So Spencer and I talk about all of the Pac-12’s forthcoming action including Arizona’s trip to what should be a raucous Muss (but hopefully not inappropriately so). Perhaps it goes without saying that – one week from March – we delve into Bubble Watch and all of the OPPORTUNITY! for the Pac’s bubble squad of UCLA, Oregon, and Stanford.

WANE (and on SoundCloud)

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PacHoops Power Rankings: Good Weather

In New York they postponed two basketball games due to weather. As a reminder, basketball is played indoors, presumably a weather protected sport. In Brooklyn, they’re not playing indoor basketball because of weather. Meanwhile, I spent my Sunday at the beach. I went to Cal and Stanford in jeans and a shirt. A light jacket was in tow and today I’m lightly sunburnt, sunkissed if you will (don’t tell my dermatologist brother). So while the Pac-12 is maybe only getting three teams in this year’s dance (although I do discuss Oregon State’s chances below, HBD Tink), the Conference of Champions wins. Because while winning isn’t everything, neither is winter.

12) CALIFORNIA (-1)

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Washington Huskies Basketball Preview: Inside the Tunnel

They’ve won fewer games than the year prior for three consecutive years. The recruiting has gone stagnant; they literally had no 2012 class. Last season was the worst defense (104.5 Drtg) that LoRo has ever put on a court. The program’s struggles are quantifiable if not palpable. Average attendance at Hec Ed since 2011 has grossly declined: 9650, 8785, 7937, 6582. It’s fair to say the seat is warming. But I see a light from within this tunnel. Look at this year’s roster. It’s not soon to wow you but it’s balanced and youthful and projects. And then you note that Washington already has commitments from four 4-star recruits in 2015 and one 5-star in 2016. Encouragingly, two of those ‘I-do’s’ have come from local kids. I see a light. But for this season, I think we’re still in the tunnel.

Why I Love Them:

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Where They Affect the Game: Roberto Nelson and CJ Wilcox

Between Roberto Nelson and CJ Wilcox, these tremendous seniors have weathered the worst Pac-12 storm we’ve ever seen. And that’s on a coast that rarely experiences bad storms. Across their four years, they’ve been a part of some awful conference play. Yet here they are now, on the cusp of being two of the best players in a conference possibly sending 7 teams into the Dance.

And do you realize that neither of these two would make a normal first team all-conference team? Normal would suggest a five-man squad which the Pac-12 doesn’t do so they’ve got a Pac-12 chance at first team. But these guys aren’t even top-5! Sure, neither plays on a particularly dangerous squad so they fly under the radar, ignored pretty regularly despite terrific individual numbers. I get that wins are the most important stat; but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an individual’s efforts to try to win.

I wanted to tell each of their stories, how they affect the game. But as I worked harder into their numbers, deeper into their stories, I found some interesting parallels. And some fascinating divergence.

I’d like to begin with the parallels:

Player FG FGA FG% 3P% FT% TRB AST PTS
CJ Wilcox 6.2 13.5 0.46 0.401 0.854 3.6 2.6 18.2
Roberto Nelson 6.1 13.7 0.449 0.402 0.843 3.5 3.7 20.6

I was really excited to see these near identical outputs. The two best players on these two average teams. I mean, even their teams are nearly identical. Washington is 16-13, 8-8 and Oregon State is 15-13, 7-9. I even took a gander at their win shares: Nelson 3.7, Wilcox 4.0. Right on down the line they seem to be pretty similar. Wilcox is 6’5″ 195lbs. Nelson is 6’4″ 198lbs. Same size, same numbers, the big picture suggests they affect the game similarly.

But going a level deeper, we find our divergence.

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Simply put, Roberto gets to the rim and CJ prefers not to. If you were paying attention to the chart above, you’d have noticed they were making nearly the identical number of FGs per game (6.2 Wilcox, 6.1 Nelson). Yet, per our graph above, Nelson is taking 18.5% more two-point shots than Wilcox. How are they putting up the same number of points. If you guessed free throws, you were right. Nelson’s free throw rate is double that of Wilcox’s (56.7% vs 26.3%). And so it makes sense.

Like our Delon Wright study, Nelson is the slashing creating type. He differs from Wright in that he connects on 40% of his threes (Wright’s an atrocious 25.6%). But ultimately the two of them, as noted, are slashing and creating. Nelson’s possessions result in a play at the rim more than 40% of the time. It’s inside the paint that Nelson fights to 20.6ppg with just a sparse percentage of his shots being assisted. A little more than a third of Nelson’s shots at the rim are assisted. With Wright as our barometer, Nelson gets a slight more help from his friends. Wright has 29.4% of his rim shots assisted. For continuity’s sake, Wilcox is assisted on 45.3% of his rim buckets. These numbers suggest some self-reliance on the part of Nelson and Wright, the ability to create for oneself.

Not CJ’s strong suit. Wilcox is a phenomenal three point shooter. We noted he makes 40% of his shots from there and takes half his shots from there. That’s a productive output and why he’s 10th in the conference in eFG%. Conversely, Nelson leads the conference in usage (32% good for 21st most in the nation).

Nelson needs the ball in his hands to affect the game. Now obviously so too does CJ, but he ranks just 19th in the conference in usage, the lowest such percentage amongst the conference’s top-10 leading scorers (Wilcox is fifth). He’s a beautifully pure shooter. I’m inclined to note how often CJ’s threes are assisted but it’s actually below the D-1 average (75.3% vs 84.9%). Not exactly fulfilling our CJ-is-team-reliant narritive. But as such a great shooter (career 39.2% shooter as compared to JJ Redick’s 40.2% or Salim Stoudamire’s 45.8% – wait, Salim was that much better than JJ, sigh…)  it’s understandable that Wilcox is going to get the green light a little more often than not. Particularly as a senior with two underclassmen guards feeding him. Year-over-year, Wilcox’s percentage of assisted threes has decreased (I see you Abdul).

Ultimately, what each of these players is accomplishing is individually impressive and unique. They’ve arrived at similar destinations taking very different paths.

Neither of these seniors will win the Player of the Year award. But each has been a terrific Pac-12 basketball player, contributing to the resurgence of a conference once mired below mediocrity. It was the laughing stock of college basketball.

Today, while neither of their teams has seen great success, they’ve developed into two of the most dynamic and unique players in the conference. A part of arguably the best guard corps in the nation.

And they are seniors at the ends of their respective paths. I enjoyed watching them and I imagine you did, too. They did great. Good luck.