Tag Archives: Ben Burrows

Podcast of Champions. Annual meeting of the Wildcats & Buffaloes

It’s good to have friends in high places. You’ve surely talked about it at a Karaoke Bar a time or two (I know I have), and in this instance I’ve spoken with these friends, in bars, in high places. Ben Burrows – the sage behind the Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo – and Ryan Koenigsberg – CU and Broncos beat writer at BSN Denver – have been frenemies since this blog’s inception. I’ll focus on the former considering they joined Spencer and I to talk about the things we talk about and discuss tonight’s battle between our respective favorite schools. It’s a podcast that covers a lot in a lot of time, but worth the listen. Also worth your while, Ben’s preview of the game.

To all ye Buffs and Cats tonight: good luck and play nice and use the right restroom at the Dark Horse.

BONUS MATERIAL: My brief thoughts on this Arizona-Colorado game!

This thing boils down to who can take care of the basketball. Elementary? Perhaps. But neither CU nor Arizona has demonstrated a propensity to take care of the basketball. The Buffs, in fact, rank 268th in TO% – a good reason why the Buffs yield the 11th shortest offensive possessions in the country (nearly one-quarter of offense against CU comes in transition; a shot type Arizona has connected on with great efficiency). Neither defense has a propensity for creating turnovers so it would appear this is a self-controlled part of the game.

Another callout here is rebounding. I’m going to quote the afforementioned Ben Burrows on this one:

Whereas Colorado focuses on rebounding out of want, Arizona clutches at boards the same way a suffocating man lurches out for gulps of oxygen; they need them to live (or, as I wrote in this week’s Grab Bag: what defensive line play is to Alabama in football, rebounding the damn basketball is to Arizona in hoops).

He’s right. For the second consecutive year Arizona is the top defensive rebounding team in the nation. Also, take into consideration that four year starter and constant of these rebounding machines, Kaleb Tarczewski, has 59 rebounds in his last 5 games and it would seem Arizona is only getting better at their best feature.

The Key for the Buffs will be making their threes. They’ve been good at it, connecting on nearly 40% of those tries, but it seems they’re starting to live and die by that shot. Inside the arc, CU ranks 325th in FG%. That’s not good and when you consider that Arizona forces the second highest percentage of mid-range jumpers in the nation, well then you must consider that Colorado needs its threes.

One final thought: remember that it’s a Wear Black Game and not a Blackout.

Q&A With The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo’s, Ben Burrows

Arizona and Colorado will square off for the eleventh time in three seasons tonight. Ben Burrows knows Colorado basketball the way you know your seventh grade crush’s class schedule: he’s on their every move. This is may be our fifth iteration of a Rumblin Buff-PacHoops Q&A and it’s the first time that we find ourselves with a Colorado team that’s really struggling. For their entire Pac-12 lives, CU has been pretty damn good. This year it’s been an unfortunate not so much. Let’s ask Ben – the genius behind The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo – about it:

What happened to 2015?

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THREE FOR BART: Rumblin, Vitale, #Pac12AfterDark

  1. My Massive Basketball Preview 2014-15: Keeping it Real – If you’re not familiar with @rumblinbuffalo, familiarize. Ben is a friend and a helluva sports guy. He’s a Buffalo and rambles on his team from time to time and when he does it’s insightful, bright and funny. You’ll know that when you read his Massive preview. That’s some in depth CU coverage. You might even say Ben’s keeping it real.
  2. Never Forget What Matters Most – This is rife with everything you might no like about Dick Vitale. After all, it’s written by him – Americans, Dick, are still being held hostage in the Middle East. But the fact of the matter is the man is a wonderful ambassador. His views are uniquely his own and I can’t begrudge a man with a platform to call it like he seems ’em. He’s an emotional guy. I’m about to post an emotional piece. And ultimately I think Dickie V gets it. Whatever it is. We jive. We don’t agree, but I appreciate the man. And he’s right: Never forget what matters most.
  3. #Pac12AfterDark is amazing theater – You’re damn right. And this is just a football article. We’re about to have Full Court Friday in which the Pac-12 Networks will broadcast something like all of the games, on all of the networks, in a none of the time. Hoops overwhelm (in reality it’s 10 games in 6 hours, nice!). I’m going to live tweet it! Anyhow, fresh off an east coast trip, I fully understand how late these games run on that side of America. But if any of you right coasters are reading, it’s worth the red eye.

WANE: Echoing Through the Rockies

Spencer and I are going to Boulder. It’s our second annual appearance there and we will be breaking bread and beverage with Ben Burrows and Jason G upon arrival. How fun is that? So fun that we had them on WANE to discuss. These two are Colorado connoisseurs and flex that Buff muscle at Rumblin Buff and All Buffs. I even flex my own Buff for the latter. But enough physiology puns and full apologies for the echoes.

 

The Table:

0:55: A few too many mentions of cream rising

2:10: Let’s get the Arizona @ ASU loss out of the way

5:00: Don’t be fooled, both games in Boulder weekend are sexy

6:00: Bigger game this weekend for Colorado, ASU or UA?

8:04 Anyone here a regular Percy Allen of the Seattle Times reader? No? Ok, well…..

8:45: A debate of who should have the #1 Power Ranking spot.

10:00: philosophical debate of what a “power ranking” is. Conclusion: Tinder.

13:20: Big-X backing up his big talk

16:30: We talk post-Dinwiddie Colorado basketball

24:20: Podcast remote location Power Rankings

26:15: Spencer makes an unintentional back handed complement. Apologies to all those offended.

27:30: Anyone got a ticket for Saturday

27:40: Don’t let the Coors product line fool you, Colorado is NOT the “Keystone State”. Recreation ensues in Colo.

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.com– The 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)?

More on the Pac-12’s Stripes

It quickly became the biggest story in the Pac-12 if not the world of sports. Jeff Goodman hit publish and sent dialogue into a frenzy surrounding what’s already considered a crummy slew of Pac-12 officials. Larry Scott and Ed T. Rush have taken heat and addressed it with little more than a handheld extinguisher.

That’s my f****** problem (A$AP Rocky voice).

As you might expect, I spent a good portion of my day discussing the fact that next year TJ McConnell will have four teammates all over 6’8” to dish to and who are projected to play in the NBA; a glorious image in the wake of Aaron Gordon’s commitment to Arizona this officiating situation. It sparked a long debate with a buddy of mine during which I’m not sure either of us was making a concrete point beyond the fact that we agreed Ed Rush had to go.

I was arguing that it just needs to happen. I don’t care the logistics, the buyout, the fallout, the wrongful termination suits, whatever, HEGONE. The more I thought on this and the more I read opinion on the matter, it became increasingly clear to me that Rush’s actions – no matter their intent – we inexcusable and put too many people in compromising positions with regards to their job. Andy Glockner alluded to it, basically saying every call one way or another could and would be rightfully questioned.

The other side of my discussion didn’t disagree with these points. Brad agreed that Rush needed to go but he was diving into the logistics of it; after all, Brad is a lawyer. He was mentioning possible contract buy outs or the review period Larry Scott had referenced in an ESPN interview. Rush most certainly was on his way out, Brad just understood that the PR nightmare this had become was not about to be assuaged by firing the guy 24-hours after the whistle was blown. What’s more, the message had already been sent in support of Rush, citing “jest” and that it “won’t happen again.”

We ultimately never really went anywhere with the conversation because neither of us would really listen to the other.

Adam: HEGONEHEGONEHEGONEHEGONE. Don’t care how.

Brad: NOTYETNOTYETNOTYETNOTYET. Review period/PR Nightmare/Legal jargon

But it did propagate the discourse and the conclusion I’ve come to is that indeed Ed T. Rush needs to be fired.

But it’s not imperative.

Dismissing Rush solves nothing. It’s change for the sake of change and as we’re learning in the wake of Ben Howland’s departure and the subsequent hiring of Steve Alford, such action doesn’t always garner the desired or expected reaction.

Because everything surrounding Rush right now is reactionary. It’s all perception and it’s all message. I whole heartedly believe that there is no corruption in the Pac-12 Officials office but that is today’s perception. The removal of Rush won’t change that and Scott’s comments have done little to assuage these beliefs. As is always the case, action speaks louder than words and measures need to be put into place to ensure players, coaches, managers, athletic directors, PA announcers, popcorn vendors, media, directors of basketball operations, fans, SIDs, grandmothers, second cousins, one-night-stands, and everyone else can rest assured that games are being called fairly and by the best possible and prepared persons.

I do not believe this is resolved via firing alone. Hell, keep him around, it doesn’t really matter that much if there isn’t a significant investment made to ensure the improvement of this program. If Scott is sincere in stating, “I consider the integrity of our officiating program to be of the highest importance…” then he’ll take action.

Firing Ed Rush might make us feel better – a strange acceptance within the worlds of sports and public figures in which the calling of heads is celebrated – but it doesn’t solve anything.

You won’t quite find the direct resolution on these pages. Officiating development is not my area of expertise – come to think of it, I’m not sure what my area of expertise is. But I do know that money, time, and focus speak loudly. That with their powers combined improvement will be made and confidence instilled. Officiating is a tough job and will forever be criticized and chastised. But as Ben Burrows points out in his reaction to this news (and then outlines his actions on this situation) these guys are overworked and overscheduled and are held to little accountability. They’re also, evidently, bullied by their boss. It’s an imperfect craft, officiating a sporting event, but let’s start cutting out variables.

Creating a program that you’re proud of, an officiating corps worthy of upholding the moniker “Conference of Champions,” doesn’t begin with an axe, it starts an action.

Larry Scott, I implore you to take it.