Tag Archives: Boulder

WANE: Home from the Road

We returned from Colorado no worse for the wear and our favorite team had won. Boulder was a great trip and if you want the non-WANE tales let’s meet at another one of the Pac-12’s great locales and discuss it. Nevertheless, this week Spencer and I dive into the bubble and a lot of hypotheticals and awkward prognostication.

 

The Table:

1:05: Spencer gives the built in mic everything it can handle as we begin to talk about the Colorado Trip.

1:50: We briefly discuss the utopian Cats game
2:30: Best Cats performance since Duke 2011?
3:05: Adam discusses the critical stretch of the game with Zeus, Gordon and RHJ in foul trouble
4:40: Xavier who?
5:45: We discuss the Coors Event Center as a venue and how to correctly deal with “U-of-A” from visitors.
8:00: As promised, a link to the podcast where we discuss the league’s toughest road trips
8:40: Cats’ road fever
9:00: Bubble Watch time: Colorado and its at-large profile
9:30: Spencer’s roommate Tyler is brought in for brief analysis and then quickly dismissed. That guy sucks.
10:50: Just who are these 2013-2014 Oregon Ducks?
13:30: first use of the phrase “I ponder you this…”, followed by mumbled nonsense.
14:50: Utah, the best team in the country that has ZERO chance of an at-large bid?
15:35: Which Pac-12 team(s) currently projected in the field is most vulnerable?
17:35: House Money!
18:50: Adam is an underground celebrity within the Pac-12 footprint.
19:30: We admit, UCLA’s beat down Cal at Haas was as impressive as Arizona over Colorado
21:20: One of the drawbacks of recording in the common area of a cramped apartment is hearing the clambering of kitchen supplies.
22:10: Just how good is UCLA and what tournament seed can they achieve?
23:25: Another link to that podcast where we rank Pac-12 road trips
24:00: Weekend preview begins with a debate of how to properly label the Colorado-Utah “rivalry”.
25:00: We can’t stress this enough, every Pac-12 fan should take note of what Larry K is building in SLC.
26:10: All eyes on the state of Arizona this week.
27:55: Please pardon our “slow-browserage
28:15: Spencer is 1-for-1 for on-air guarantees in the brief history of WANE
29:00: Pac-12 athletes, we would be happy to host you.
29:45: Assuming Arizona doesn’t lose this weekend, someone else is going to get swept. Spencer and Adam differ on who that team is.
30:20: That retched shit Tyler returns to select the winner of our marketing campaign.
31:50: We have a winner!
33:05: All Pac-12 fans should travel more. Do it.

Week 8 Pac-12 Hoops Review

If I was the selection committee of college basketball road trips I’d give the Pac-12 the number one overall seed and then anoint them the champion and let everyone else battle it out. How many other conferences offer Gameday worthy basketball and Olympic worthy skiing in the same weekend? The Pac-12 is a destination. Good weekend.

Leader in the Clubhouse: Just as UCLA was creeping into things and Colorado had rattled off four in a row and ASU knocked Arizona seemingly down a peg, the Wildcats went ahead and flexed everything, destroyed Colorado by 27 on the road and shot 60% in doing such (the highest FG% allowed by CU since 12/22/2010). Their defense was its standard great self, limiting the Buffs to 32% shooting. Colorado didn’t garner a FG for the game’s first 10:07. Meanwhile, UCLA lost at Stanford and ASU won nothing and Colorado was on the wrong end of red Saturday night. But this section is less about others and all about the Wildcats. There are but two weekends remaining and they’ve built themselves a two game lead and could clinch this week. The team’s first goal of the season has been to win a Pac-12 regular season title and sweeping the Ski Schools was a huge step in moving towards that goal. And that’s just the numbers of it. Because those other teams were sneaking into the conversation and because it looked as if the Wildcats were reeling. After beating Utah in overtime on Wednesday, Sean Miller felt that just getting the win would be good for his team’s psyche. Then Saturday night happened and it was as if the Wildcats were reminding everyone exactly who they were: the best team in the country.

Biggest Loser: I’ll struggle to note that ASU was the biggest loser because winning on the road is a very difficult task. Last week we noted Stanford was our BL but it wasn’t really a fitting title for them. This section, however, is beginning to take the form of a power ranking where I’m not soon to rain on a cellar dweller but rather note the team that did the least to A) Impress us, B) Improve their NCAA tournament chances. If we’re taking that approach to dolling out this recognition, ASU would seem to fit the bill. Their three headed monster (Bachynski, Marshall, and Carson) combined to shoot 27% for the weekend (17-62). That’s not a recipe for dancing. Moving forward, expect to hear a lot of talk about that Arizona win when you hear about the Devils’ resume.

What we Learned: We certainly confirmed once again that winning on the road is difficult but we’d learned that a long time ago. So for the second week in a row I’m struggling to realize what it is we might’ve learned we’re 8 weeks into the conference season and nearly four months into the whole damn thing. It’s hard to recognize any new truths. But then, this morning, I saw this tweet and I realized we did have something to learn:

Utah has sustained heartbreaker after heartbreaker. The luck thing (again) but I keep expecting to see this team finally fold. They give Arizona everything they can and more – are a missed free throw away from knocking them off – yet come up short. In some regards it would be excusable for them to collapse. At any moment. They don’t and they haven’t and Larry K has a lot to do with that. After barely eclipsing 50 regulation points on Wednesday the Utes quickly dispelled any semblance of a let down and double up ASU, 51-26, in the first half. That’s an impressive level of maturity, discipline, and focus befit a team possibly capable of a Pac-12 tournament run:

But I’ve also got to make note of this so that it’s on the record: Oregon. That might be all I have to say about that but the Ducks are looming in the 35-45 RPI range (sweet bubble) and still have games against UCLA, AZ, and ASU remaining. They are the winners of three straight and Mike Moser scored 41 points this weekend. So what I’m saying is that I’m just saying: Oregon. Also, Stanford. Third in the conference, winners of three straight, and playing like the group of seniors that realizes they’re seniors. That said, should the Cardinal finish third in the conference with a sound 12-6 record, is Chasson Randle (18/4/2) a POY candidate?

In Defense of: I need an excuse to mention TJ McConnell’s weekend. Because so often, as the calendar turns to this time of year and the games turn to CBS, the importance of guard play gets magnified. They have the ball most regularly and there’s a reason TO% is a part of the Four Factors. Now allow me to show you what TJ did this weekend in a pair of critical road games with his team seemingly in a tailspin and the conference’s top spot on the line:

20 points, 16 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 wins

His running mate, Nick Johnson, also added 35 points on the weekend but McConnell’s play – I mean ZERO turnovers – was the stuff of special. It’s long been said what a critical piece he is to the Arizona puzzle and this weekend may have been the greatest example of just that.

Also, quick defense of UCLA. They stomped all over Cal on Wednesday and it was equally as impressive as Arizona’s win at Colorado. Haas was loud and ready for that game and the Bruins did as they pleased from wire-to-wire. They lost on Saturday but such is travel. UCLA is still a very good, very scary team.

The YouTuber: Oldie but a goodie and if you haven’t ever seen it, you’re welcome:

Week 8 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

Is it just me or is the Wednesday slate absolutely packed? There’s four games and the worst match up is Washington @ Oregon. If that’s the worst game then I think we’ve got what experts and otherwise would call a good conglomerate-o-competition. Furthermore, I’m going to be attending two Pac-12 games this week in two different states and seeing four different teams. Put that on your Southwest credit card and charge it (please?). College Game Day is going to be in Boulder this weekend – as will I – and the weather forecast there isn’t freezing. Things are turning up Adam aside from the fact that my attendance at Wednesday’s UCLA @ Cal game is going to keep me from that mega slate-o-Pac. Alas, I’ll be doing a production behind the scenes report for Pacific Takes. Not entirely sure what it is, but it’s an experience. I like those.

GotW: Arizona at Colorado. I don’t care if there are sexier games or more important games or better attended games or what. I’m going to this game and I’m going to have one helluva time. It’s the game I’m missing my ex-girlfriend’s wedding for (mom, dad, and grandfolks are attending) and, quite frankly, it fits the aforementioned billing of all the items I just said I didn’t care if it was not. Colorado is fighting for the tournament lives but sit in a relatively good place while Arizona is coming into a very important phase of their re-development post-Ashley. Look at Colorado’s “turnaround.” It took them 4+ games to find a groove without Spencer and this Ski Trip for the Wildcats is games 4+ and 5+ without my favorite Wildcat. I’m also not about to toss in the caveat that this game’s significance wanes pending tonight’s results. No matter the case, Saturday is significant for all parties. And I’m going to party. By the way, congratulations are due to the ex. I’m happy for her and she found her kind of keeper if he’s willing to be wed during basketball season.

Game to Avoid: I’d say just ignore Thursday. That’s a little extreme but I imagine we’re going to be a little exhausted after Wednesday’s monster schedule. If you need a little breather, want to catch some ice dancing or the luge, I support you, Pac-12 fan. Plus, WSU @ OSU…tough. Let’s just say there’s a lot more red on that KenPom Game Prep page than green.

Something to Prove: Percy Allen of the Seattle Times jumped the UCLA Bruins into the top spot in his power rankings and I can’t begrudge him that. They’re the winners of three straight and in convincing fashion, Kyle Anderson is playing like the conference POY, and the Wear family is putting up career highs in offensive efficiency. Steve Alford has things clicking in Westwood but here’s this weekend’s catch: They’re not in Pauley. They’re hitting the Bay Area and I’m going to get a first hand (if not behind the scenes) look at them tonight in Berkeley. We’ve discussed at length how difficult it is to win on the road but that’s why the Bruins have such a great opportunity to prove themselves as contenders. This is chest thumping time, a come-at-me-bro moment. I maintain this team has top-15 talent they just haven’t passed any of their challenging tests (@Mizzou, semi-@Duke, vs. AZ). This is their weekend to ride the sweet momentum wave into a wildly easy final four games (did you shutter a little when I wrote “into a wildly easy final four?” they’re good but not yet that good).

Something to Lose: It’s my Wildcats and they stand to lose whatever mystique and aura they built over 21 straight wins. I know their trajectory got jolted with a now bolted foot, but this is still an insanely good defensive team. It’s a skill I’m quick to tell you travels but if your jump shot gets left at baggage claim or – even worse – doesn’t even make the trip, you’re going to struggle. Instant offense, the kind of scoring that comes from blindly giving the ball to the best kid, often becomes a critical piece in winning tight road games. Exhibit: Nick Johnson. In Arizona’s two losses – both of which came on the road and down to the wire – the supremely talented junior is a combined 6-34. That’s not going to cut it. Particularly without Brandon Ashley there to do what he was able to do late. Ashley was this team’s most skilled player but this, unfortunately, is no longer about Brandon. Nick is and always has been this teams leader. As they head into a very difficult home stretch, his team is going to need him to be that best kid to remind everyone else just how good they are.

The YouTouber: This is a 15-year-old song. I bet you know all the words, too:

Getting to know Colorado: Altitude the dog

Did you know that these Buffs return four starters from an NCAA tournament team? Google translator will tell you that means high expectations. And indeed expectations are high in Boulder as I think they’re now wearing a target. But interestingly, despite this gaudy number of starters heading back to The Keg, Tad Boyle’s opening statements at Pac-12 Media Day were to call these accusations of experience a “misnomer.” Ten of the thirteen players on this team are freshmen or sophomores. It’s a youth movement out there but one of those non-yougins’ is Spencer Dinwiddie. And he has a mustache.

Why I love them: It’d be easy to sit here and tell you how great Spencer Dinwiddie is. That he represented USA basketball at the World University Games and that he gets to the free throw line than faster than a co-ed to The Sink for dollar wells (more later). Spencer Dinwiddie is good and it’s going to get boring how good he is. And so I love the Buffs because of Xavier Johnson. The athletic wing is versatile and the kind of matchup that causes havoc. Remember that Roberson guy? Think of him with a legitimate shot at legitimate outside shot. He shot 44% from distance a year ago and had a 57% eFG. That eFG compares favorably to the following 2012-13 performances: Anthony Bennett, Jeff Withey, and Seth Curry. Maybe you’ve heard of them. And if we’re talking about loving the Buffs, I must mention that an improved Josh Scott makes for a frightening team. There isn’t much depth after him but he’s a game changing kind of player – especially if Askia Booker is shooting well. Much gets made of Booker’s volume shooting. The fact of the Colorado matter is they get things done defensively. They had a top 20 defense last year (90.9 AdjD was 19th in the country). That’s how Tad butters his bread: with your bricks. I also just need to go in on Dinwiddie and the free throw line real fast. 76.7 FTRate from last year and it was the nineteenth best rate in the nation. He was just one of a handful of guards to have such a high rate and with this season’s rules changes and a presumed increase in whistles, expect to see Dinwiddie imposing Hack-a-Mayor on the opposition.

Why I hate them: Well all that inexperience exposes an evaluation of the Buffs to a lot of question marks and last year – even with “seniors coming off the bench” as Boyle reminded us – they played like a youthful group. Remember when they beat Arizona in Boulder? Then they lost to ASU in Boulder. Remember when they beat Oregon in Boulder? Then they lost to Oregon State in Boulder. To the untrained eye, maybe the Buffs just lose to State schools? But you and I understand that these guys play emotionally, they recognize the given “magnitude” of a game and seem to have the gift/curse to play to their opponent. Now to be clear, I’m judging this group off of last season’s performance which may or may not be fair. But if Boyle wants to make it clear that this team is inexperienced, then maybe he has another thing coming. Also, ASKIA BOOKER TOOK 29% OF HIS TEAM’S SHOTS A SEASON AGO WITH THEIR FOURTH WORST ORTG. THIS CAN SERVE AS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. That is all.

Stat you need to know:

10.5

This is the number of points that home court advantage at altitude is worth. Playing at altitude is a bitch. Seriously. You click that link and you’re getting a face full of data that boils down to that conclusion: 10.5 points. For comparison’s sake, the normal home court advantage is just 3.5 points. Boulder’s Keg is 5,430 feet above sea level where UW, USC, UCLA, Cal, and Stanford play and practice. A group that has combined for just two wins in Colorado. Yeah, it’s a bitch.

In their words: From @CUGoose, an admin at AllBuffs and a damn fine Buffalo, man, and interwebs presence.

Adam has just spent 500 words going over the brilliance that is The Mayor. And he’s not wrong. But while I will be enjoying The Mayor’s last year in Boulder this year, I will also be keeping a close eye on the best big man in the Pac-12 – Josh Scott. While Arizona’s horses up front may be a better unit, there’s not a better talent than the man known as Jelly. He’ll get some help this year from redshirt freshman Wes Gordon (who will do his best to replace Dre’s defense in the post) and a group of four true frosh who all bring different things to the table (keep an eye out for Jaron Hopkins, who could have a Dinwiddie-esque career in Boulder when it’s all said & done). But Jelly will be leading the pack. Expect a breakout year from the sophomore as he and the Mayor lead the Buffs to a top 3 finish in the Pac.

Quotable:

“Spencer has emerged as a valuable point guard for us. He can play three different spots and is able to get his shot. He could be the catalyst for setting the tone for our defense.” – Bob McKillop, Head Coach, USA World University Games

Outlook: I like this year’s Buffs. Spencer is practically that senior guard I love as he’s darned near gone to the League. Josh Scott gives them a legitimate threat on the post and I love Xavier Johnson’s motor. The culture they’re touting heading into the season gets me heated as a Wildcat fan and appreciative as a bystander. Askia Booker has just enough DGAF to be the instant offense this team needs when they’re shooting turns abysmal. I can’t say it enough: playing at altitude is a bitch. And despite this being a roster of newcomers, if they aren’t going to be relied upon for offensive output (I see you Scott, Dinwiddie, and Booker returning your respective 22, 22, and 29 percent of shots) then Tad – with depth for one of the first time’s in his CU tenure – can throw defensive bodies onto the floor for as long as the flat irons are beautiful. Dancing Buffs.

No Fool in Colorado

I hesitated but continued on, weathering the risk of judgment for passing too much time studying the gendered bathroom signs. After all, there was a significant crowd in the general restroom vicinity and I was in opposing colors. I did not need to look the part of a fool. But when I turned to the man who’d followed me in and questioned the abundance of stalls and lack of urinals I almost immediately knew I’d screwed up. And when I heard a voice, distinctly a female voice, question, “What are you guys doing in here?” my face swiftly turned the color of my shirt as I beelined back to the entrance of the women’s restroom I had mistakenly just entered. And the aforementioned crowd in the general restroom vicinity? Well to them I delivered a brief bow as I noticed each of the restroom doors had the gender opposite their inhabitants painted on them within the greater context of an arrow. A fool I’d been made.

But this alone was the greatest gaffe of my trip to Colorado. Some might cite my bravado and irreverence to the host’s blackout. Others would draw attention to the performance of my team, their own bravado behind the veil of miniscule national ranking and a tidy 20-3 record, and the loss they would incur. And yet another couple – specifically the couple seated before us at the contest – would reference a perceived “lack of respect” we were showing to an unnamed source which evidently merited a tooth flicking. Yes, you read that correctly, someone flicked their tooth at us.

None of that holds a candle to the foolishness of waltzing into The Dark Horse’s women’s restroom.

Because I am a fan; not an enemy.

Ask the young man at The Sink who held nothing back in letting our group of three Wildcats know what idiots we were for cheering Arizona and that the Buffs were now “officially 2-0” against Arizona this season. He’d continue on, making somewhere between little and no sense, in ensuring that we knew we were in the wrong. And then I bought him a $1 shot of well whisky and I had a new best friend.

An enemy I am not. A grand time I had.

From the new friends I made to the old ones I joined, hitting the Pac-12 road was as great as ever. Sure the outcome was less than satisfactory and the mile trek to The Golden Buff hotel amidst a four-inch snow storm was the coldest damn thing ever; but this was unchartered territory and adversity was foreseen. Did Sir Edmond Hillary expect a red carpet to the top of Everest? Was Neil Armstrong thinking the anti-gravity think would be a cakewalk? You can rest assured that Adam Butler did not jaunt into the Coors Event Center thinking life would be easy. No, he expected cold and anger and battle of a basketball game. And he jaunted away impressed. The production and the show-up of Buff Nation was commendable. While UCLA struggles to get its own fans to support their 19-7 program, I met Buffalo upon Buffalo who drove 30+ miles (Denver-Boulder) through snow and construction for an 8pm tip to get rowdy, return home, and go to work the next day. Consider my beanie, earmuffs, and hood tipped.

I enjoyed The Buff and college town drink prices and not going to work for two days before a three-day weekend. I had a five-day weekend.

No, I am not an enemy because I went there for the experience and I got exactly that. And now I’ve recruited others to return to Boulder next season when Arizona is likely to still be a Top-15 team with the Colorado Buffaloes looking to beat them like they did this Valentine’s. I’ll be there again as a fan, perhaps an intrinsically foolish role we’ve subscribed to. So while The Dark Horse may have misled me, my fandom did not.

And it never will.

Guest Blog: A Visitor’s Guide to the Coors Event Center

In case you missed it, I’m heading to Boulder and the only thing I know about the game is that I’ll be in red and cheering for the red and blue team and wearing every jacket I own. So I reached out to Ben Burrows (@Rumblinbuffalo), a great Buffs fan and hoops ambassador and the mastermind behind The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo, for a little guidance. Mind you, Ben’s blog is a daily read and dives deep into the depths of beers to drink during CU football games, fandom, and the state of his beloved HoopBuffs. Enjoy.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Coors Event Center.

The Coors Events Center may not be on anyone’s list of great college basketball venues, but, as I’ve discovered over the years, it can be a great place to watch a game.  Called everything from the Keg to the Foam Dome, what I simply label as the CEC has recently become one of the toughest arenas in the West to steal a road win from.  To whet your appetite for Thursday’s CU/Arizona grudge match, let me introduce you to the “Home where the Buffalo Roam.

Coors_Events_Center

Built in 1979 to replace the antiquated Balch Fieldhouse, the CEC stayed mostly the same for its first 35 years of existence.  A bleak concrete exterior lead many to believe it was the campus fallout shelter.  Quite the contrary, as the CEC has been the exclusive home to CU’s indoor teams, the site of countless tests and finals for entry-level classes, and host for big events like two rallies for the President last year.  The CEC was where I received my BA in the winter of 2006, and I even saw a Cake concert there a few years back.

Recently, the athletic department has decided to put some real money into the old girl, sprucing up both the interior and exterior.  Since the mid 2000s CU has added dedicated coaching facilities (basketball offices used to be located across campus at the football stadium), a new winter sports weight room, new locker rooms, new video and ribbon boards, a brand new media center, new ticketing areas, and, most importantly, an $11 million practice facility completed in 2011.  It’s no coincidence that CU’s fortunes on the court started to perk up as each step of the facelift was completed.  As a result, we got to further spruce up the interior this fall:

CUChamps

Of the 11,064 seats in the building, there isn’t a single one that I would call a bad seat.  There’s no obstructed views, no wasted space around the court, and, much like the Pit in Albuquerque, the seats drop from the entrance level, creating a sweaty cauldron of sound.

The elephant in the room is altitude.  The arena famously sits at 5,345ft of Rocky Mountain high altitude. For the purposes of competitive psychology, any Colorado sports fan is quick to tell you that, at over a mile above sea level, you’re taking in about 17% less oxygen with each breath.  We’ll eagerly spin tales about headaches and lethargy, warning that your favorite team could possibly drop dead simply by running out of the tunnel.

I hate to ruin the surprise, but it’s mostly bunk.

Unless we suddenly decide to start playing in Vail, there’s little risk of altitude sickness effecting play.  In all honesty, you’re probably better off breathing our rarified air than the smog-filled stuff in Los Angeles.  Just drink a little bit more water (my first lesson in the CU Marching Band: water is your friend), and you’ll avoid most of the side-effects.

Then again, maybe there is something to it.  In the #RollTad era alone, the Buffs are 41-5 against all opponents, and all CU sports win at a 70% clip in the CEC.  Call it altitude, basic home court advantage, whatever… the Buffs are just damn good at home.

So, feel free to come up to Boulder.  We’re (mostly) friendly, and, other than your favorite team losing, you’ll have a great time

If you do decide to pop out to Boulder for a game, here’s a quick guide for out-of-towners.

Parking

Just like in monopoly, it’s free.  Yep, free.  CU reserves a few lots for donors, but otherwise it’s fair game.  This fact alone makes CU basketball one of the best sporting entertainment values in the region.  Traffic control on the exit is a little rough, however.  Be prepared to sit for 10-15 min.

Food

I had always been a fan of the hot dogs at the CEC, but I think they changed the supplier.  They’re simply  substandard this season.  In their stead, overall concourse offerings have improved with the inclusion of a carvery station (east side), an asian-esque noodle option (SE corner), and a BBQ stand (west side).  Nothing too special, to be honest.

Alcohol

Not available, unless you can sneak into the club room located in the bowels of the stadium.  For season ticket holders only, the club room serves beer and wine in addition to a rotating menu of pre-game meals.

Bathrooms

Troughs.  I apologize.

In game cheer/band things to look for

The Buff Basketball Band has become semi-famous in recent years for being obnoxiously large and loud.  At a maximum of 125 pieces, they may be the biggest group in the country.  Their “Tuba Cheer” at the 8-min second half timeout has been a staple for years.

The C-Unit.  I may have talked down to them a few weeks back, but they’re legit.  Of their many shenanigans, the “roller coaster” right before the start of the second half may be the best.  Make sure you’re back in your seats for that.  Also, their big heads are getting better every week.  The Spencer Dinwiddie with the spinning mustache is probably the best.

 

Outside Food/Drinking options

The closest and best is the World Famous Dark Horse.  A 15-minute walk away from the stadium, it’s your typical dive, only with “character.”  The dark, wooden, junk-filled interior has seen plenty of craziness over the years, and that place is my #1 recommendation for visiting fans.  Need a few whiskeys to prepare you for the madness?  They’ve got you more than covered.

They also happen to make some of the best burgers in town.  My favorite is the Jiffy Burger.  Topped with provelone, bacon, and peanut butter (yes, peanut butter), it’s much better than it sounds.  For those of you with more traditional palates, try the fried egg and ham burger (what it sounds like) or the royale burger (ham, BBQ sauce, and an onion ring).

Outside of the Horse, there are plenty of options over on Pearl Street in downtown Boulder.  For drinks, check out the Sundown Saloon (cheap beer, pool hall, dive), the Attic (try the “Fat Albert”), and the basement bar at Salt (expensive, but fantastic cocktails).  Johnny’s Cigar Bar is a great place for a cocktail and a victory smoke.  Food?  The best combination of price, quality, and options is at the West End TavernThe Kitchen, and it’s accompanying bistros Upstairs and Next Door, is also great, if a little pricy.

Still haven’t found anything you like, try The Sink up on the Hill.  It’s good enough for the PresidentHalf Fast Subs has an extensive sub list, and great pitchers.  Try the “Strong Island.”

GO BUFFS!

With that, I know exactly what to do at The Keg: wear my red shirt, Bear Down, and eat a buffalo burger. And now I know where and how to do all of that in style.

Big thanks to Ben! Give him a follow and a read.

Week 6 Pac-12 Hoops Review

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.

The weekend:

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…

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.