This is our last Power Rankings of regular season basketball. It’s also our first Power Rankings of March, a month that needs no introduction. Considering such, let’s just get right to it (but real Q: How many of these teams are actually going to dance?):
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.
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.
There were stories written that Larry Krystkowiak had initially declined ESPN’s invitation to play Duke. He didn’t want to fly his team cross country with Christmas fast approaching. But he changed his mind, made a business trip out of it, and put the nation on high alert that there’s a new Coach K in town. Not really. But his team did beat the other K’s blue team and now a Merry Christmas to all.
As the year winds down, let’s take note of the Pac-12 kill list: Kentucky, Duke, UNLV, Gonzaga, Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M, Monmouth. The collective winning has been fantastic with two big opportunities remaining in 2015 (Virginia and Oklahoma, tonight). But you know this. You’re a Pac-12 basketball fan. Steve Harvey (for SEO purposes).
Let me begin by noting that this is far from scientific. In the future, I would like to expand on this data. There would probably be a lot of ways to examine it and no doubt some very interesting findings. But for the time being I had this small sample set (everyone loves to make decisions based on small sample sets, right?) and I thought I’d publish some of it.
Taking more shots at the rim would yield an improved offensive efficiency (Ortg). Continue reading
Opened up my tee-shirt drawer the other day. In there I spotted my favorite and slipped it on. Didn’t matter the tattered fabric or faded images, the arm pits’ hue at least suggesting a semblance of hygiene. I like my favorite shirt because it takes care of my essential: makes me happy, is reliably comfortable, and can get me where I need to be (grocery store, Laundromat, gym, warmly into bed) in my own aesthetic. The shirt knows what’s up.
And so I ask: What’s up with Brandon Taylor? Continue reading
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:
Your weekly PacHoops Power Rankings debuts! In all honesty, this one is moderately-to-highly in depth. Let’s consider that this is our first power rankings so it’s kind of like capturing the previous 3 week’s information. Moving forward I can’t promise awesome data realizations or incredible anecdotes about my life as noted in our WSU blurb. The season is young, Stanford is already at .500, Bryce Alford is shooting 28% from distance, and how fly did your coach look in his Thanksgiving week polo?
Power Rankings commence:
If you’re anything like me (heaven forbid), it’s been a touch of a struggle to get really, way way way up for this season. Last year there was historic greatness! How do you follow that up? This isn’t 2am bar trash but it also isn’t going to be your wife.
Of course as we’re on season’s eve, all of the feels return, excitement bubbles to standard levels, and we college basketball.
But it remains that this is an odd one. Drawing our attention to the premise of this blog – the Pac-12 – I thought we could contextualize the forthcoming events. If prescribing a single word (or phrase for leeway with possible imagery linked for effect) for each of the Pac-12’s four seasons it’d look something like this:
2012-13: He touched the ball
2014-15: Arizona Continue reading
If it hasn’t been said yet, allow me: Welcome to the Pac, Utes! From the marked and steady progress of Larry’s program to this year’s football performance, Utah has taken full advantage of its place at the big kid’s table. They’re clearly playing the part on the court. But off the court? Just a brand new $36 million practice facility. Watch the video. Larry Krystkowiak’s office is bigger than my apartment (he’s also taller than me so it’s cool). And his team is probably better than yours. If you’re reading other previews, there’s going to be a focus on “replacing Delon.” In college basketball, if you’re trying to “replace” anyone, you’re in trouble. A college basketball season is a flash in the pan, a shooting star, Josh Rosen’s hot tub. It’s a 30-ish game sample set of whatever you can milk out of immature and budding talents. Delon Wright was exceptional. So, so good. You don’t replace him. You adjust, take inventory of the talent you have and that you’ve brought in, and you coach to that roster. Look at Arizona’s “struggles” last year as they seemingly tried to “replace” Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson. That was never Stanley Johnson’s game. What Utah has going for themselves is a lot more known commodities as opposed to unknowns. Brandon Taylor is great. Brekkot Chapman is a sophomore! Jakob Poeltl might be the best player in the conference and Dakari Tucker – not Delon Wright – was the one who drove, drew contact and hit two free throws while down a deuce with 18-seconds left against Wichita State. He’s back.
And maybe you don’t like my Arizona analogy (relax, it’s my bread and butter). For the record, it’s probably the most optimistic you’ll find. I looked at Delon’s 2015 comparables (the players, according to KenPom, that most closely resembled Delon’s contributions). This afforded us access to just a small sample set (4 players + Jerian Grant who’s Notre Dame team has yet to play a season without him). The results showed that, the season after a Delon comparable left school, those teams achieved 3 fewer wins, about a 6% drop in offensive efficiency, while approximately maintaining defensive efficiency. Is this the hard and fast rule? Hell no. But I also think this serves as a good reminder of the aforementioned fluidity, brevity and immediacy of college basketball. One player does not a team make (except for Spencer Dinwiddie at Colorado). Heading into a given season we have no barometer but those 30-ish games played by a nearly completely different group. I wonder what the average percentage of returning minutes is across college basketball? For Utah it’s 75% which is very high and – considering the past success of that three-quarters – is good stuff.
Why I love them