Tag Archives: Coors Event Center

wane

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.
march

Week 9 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

This week I’ll be taking in zero live Pac-12 action. As in not attending any games. I’m not all too happy about it but I’ll get mine. Attending games – particularly as March is so close we’ll experience it this weekend – is as exciting as it gets. And March is perfect. Therefore, if you’re in Salt Lake, Westwood, Tucson, or Tempe, I implore you to get to the nearest Pac-12 arena, yell for your team, and buy an enemy a drink. You’ll be a better person for it and someone on the east coast will be jealous as you exit to sunshine and Spring. And while that reads pretty happy-go-lucky, the reason you need to get to these arenas is because the play will be anything but. These guys are fighting and clawing for the sport’s most coveted invitation. YOU GUYS IT WILL TURN MARCH THIS WEEKEND. THIS IS WHY WE WATCH AND THIS IS WHY WE CHEER AND THIS IS WHY WE BLOG. MORE IMPORTANTLY IT’S WHY THEY PLAY SO LET US SIT BACK, IGNORE THE NICE WEATHER, AND ENJOY.

BRING ON MARCH. GIVE ME THE BRACKETS.

GotW: Without hesitation, and with all eyes on Thursday and Westwood, it’s Oregon‘s visit to UCLA. We breifly discussed the Ducks and their stance amongst it all in the review but now it’s time to preview. A season ago the Ducks won both matchups between the two (in LA and in LV). Of course last year the Ducks were one of the best defenses in the country and, as it were, defense travels. Flash forward to this season and we saw a Wear family member shovel in the game winner just ahead of the buzzer in Eugene. With all of that said and under the pretense that I was previewing, let’s move to Thursday. The Ducks are winners of three straight and just might be sneaking back onto the bubble (if they’re not already there). The showed some propensity to defend against WSU but honestly that doesn’t count. This spade is indeed a spade and tomorrow night the Ducks are going to need to rely on their offense to knock off the Bruins. These are the conference’s top two offenses so if you like points – and you’re a Pac-12 fan so of course you do – this is your kinda game.

Game to Avoid: I’m quick to say that you should avoid Oregon State at USC because it airs at the exact same time as our GotW. But if you’re watching UO-UCLA then you might as well simulcast the Pac-12 hoops. It’s ESPN2 and FS1, respectively, so it won’t be too tall an order for the barkeep. Glancing through the schedule you’ll notice that there are some spicy contests on every single night of the Pac-12 slate (Wednesday: Stan-ASU, Thursday: GotW, Saturday: CU-Utah, Sunday: Stan-AZ). You’ll notice, however, that I missed Friday’s Apple Cup battle in Seattle. You have better things to do on Friday than watch KenPom’s 95th and 199th best teams duke it out for pride.

Something to Prove: My reaction is to call out the Oregon Ducks here. They’ve been trying to prove themselves since quacking all over themselves the first half of conference play but winning in Pauley is not an expectation. It’d be a really nice thing for them but the realist in me says a 1-1 weekend for the Ducks is a success. The burden of proof, this weekend, falls on the Bay Schools. They seem to be flip flopping as to who the hotter team is and while I recognize the magnitude of their road task this weekend (in the hateful State), the team that can fly home with a 1-1 mark is a big winner. Right, Mikey? Conversely, the Arizona State Sun Devils have got a little something to prove. They got swept on their Ski Trip on the heels of their big win over Arizona. The friendly confines can be a season saving spot but Stanford and Cal are no joke and a pair of hiccups is not out of the realm of possibilities. Spencer and I discussed all four games in Arizona this weekend on WANE (posting soon) because it’s the center of the Pac-12 universe.

Something to Lose: This late in the season it’s hard to say that anyone really has anything to lose. Everyone is vying to look pretty for the selection committee and wants to prove themselves worthy of an invite or a better seed. Thus, the teams with the most to lose would be the teams that have already proven something. Arizona‘s sweep of the Ski Schools last weekend was only the second such occurrence of a Ski Sweep in three seasons of ski schools in the Pac. It subsequently also earned them Lunardi’s number one overall seed in the latest bracketology. I mean, such a distinction suggests that the Wildcats literally have nothing further to prove, only things to lose. They’re hosting the Bay Schools (Cal tonight, Stanford on Sunday) with revenge on the mind. It was Cal, after all, that handed Arizona their first loss and Stanford that gave them all they could handle.

The YouTuber: Episode one has aired – it’s a Sunday night show so it’s up against GIRLS and LOOKING and True Detective -  but rumor has it that yours truly makes an appearance in that first episode. And so believe you me, I will have that clip on here. For now, the teaser is strong:

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Big Pac-12 Weekend So I Preview it and an Anniversary

I don’t love doing game-by-game previews as there are smarter and better basketball analysts out there. But this weekend is a big one for the Pac. Today also marks the 16th anniversary of my becoming a man. Mazel tov. photo(5)

But enough about me and more about the Conference of Champions. Big weekend.

ASU @ DePaul, Friday 4pm PST -  The Devils are hobbling into this one as they’ve lost two of three and then kicked the hell out of Arizona to host the Pac-12 Football Championship game in which they are a 3 point favorite over Stanford. What the f***. Look for DePaul’s Oliver Purnell to be wearing an oversize light colored suit

Cal @ UCSB, Friday 7pm PST – Both Cal and UCSB ranked lower than my alma mater – UCSD – in a recent list of smart as hell schools. Basically I shouldn’t waste my time here. But I once played 3/5 of the UCSD starting five in pickup and won. So I do care and I want to note that Cal is undefeated when Richard Solomon is in the lineup. He projects to be in tonight’s lineup. Interesting note brought to my attention by @jgisland, these are the lines of UCSB’s games against P-12 opponents in sequential order: -14 at Colorado, -11.5 at UCLA, pick ‘em hosting Cal.

UCLA @ Missouri, Saturday 930am PST – UCLA’s first test! They’re heading across the country to play Frank Haith fresh off a five game suspension. Both teams are undefeated and only one is ranked. If you’re not yet on the Zach LaVine train, I suggest getting on board. And while there’s definitively not a Kyle Anderson express train, get on the boat. He’s good. Also, holy Walter White, Missouri.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff @ OSU, Saturday 12pm PST – Arkansas – Pine Bluff isn’t Arkansas – Little Rock which is the birthplace of one of our Presidents? Another fun fact is that the Golden Lions rank 333rd in KenPom which isn’t last! They also yield the 5th worst eFG% to their opponents while Oregon State has the 7th best eFG%. I don’t often gamble, but when I do, I pick OSU in this one. I think?

Kansas @ Colorado, Saturday 1215pm PST – Rock chalk Ralphie oooooeeeee we’ve been anticipating this one in the Keg. No one likes anyone in this one and Andrew Wiggins is a bust. Or has the flu. Or is overrated. Or is Canadian. Whatever the case, Spencer Dinwiddie had to bow out early from last year’s 54-90 contest in Lawrence. Is he a difference maker? Me thinks yes.

Fresno State @ Utah, Saturday 2pm PST – The other day I was talking with the Addicted to Quack guys and I said that Fresno State was a good challenge for Utah because it’s a school we’ve actually heard of. And I wasn’t kidding. The Utes of run out to a 6-1 record with a win over The Evergreen State Geoducks. Read about it. Throw in the Grand Canyon Antelopes coached by Thunder Dan Marjerle and you’ve got a regular RPI buster. Alas, Fresno’s KenPom rating isn’t in the 300s so it should pose some semblance of a challenge. And get to know Delon Wright 15/7/6.

UNLV @ Arizona, Saturday 215pm PST – Arizona is hosting this game as their Whiteout 4.0. Hate is a strong word and I don’t hate this idea but I’m not a huge fan of it. I’m of the “act like you’ve been there before” ilk and Arizona was last there on March 13, 2003 if you know what I’m talking about. Arizona wins this game and you’ll be hearing from me on Monday.

WSU @ Idaho, Saturday 7pm PST – Tabacco Road ain’t got shit on this Cougar-Vandals rivalry. These campuses are 6.7 miles apart. And unlike K vs. Roy you actually have to cross state lines to attend this game. There could be steep legal ramifications to that as I don’t know what the liquor laws are in these respective states. Or other weird laws like the fact that in Idaho: “You may not fish on a camel’s back.” How am I doing in hyping this one?

Washington @ SDSU, Sunday 12pm PST – Boise State head coach Chris Petersen holds up the trophy after his team defeated Texas Christian University (TCU) in the 39th annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale

Oregon @ Mississippi, Sunday 2pm PST – The only thing louder than Marshall Henderson in all of college sport is Oregon’s fashion. Additionally, on the theme of challenges, this will be Oregon’s first big challenge since South Korea and Georgetown. I love it when teams go on the road to face good teams so I’m proud of you, Ducks.

Boston College @ USC, Sunday 4pm PST- Steve Donahue played basketball at Ursinus College. Andy Enfield played basketball at Johns Hopkins University. They are both in the Centennial Conference. Now Donahue is a touch older than Enfield (another point I’m sure Enfield has talked shit about) so they never played one another, but I’m curious how vitriolic and deep the Ursinus Bear-Johns Hopkins Blue Jay rivalry runs.

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Andre Roberson is About to Thunder Up

For three seasons in Boulder Andre Roberson did nothing but grab rebounds and defend. Thursday night, the talents he’s been showing off at the Coors Event Center went recognized as first round worthy. The 6’7” athlete was picked twenty-sixth and will suit up for the Oklahoma City Thunder this upcoming season. He was the third Pac-12 player selected in the first round.

NOTE: I’M NOT ENTIRELY SURE AND NOT BOTHERING TO GOOGLE WHETHER OR NOT “THUNDER UP” IS AN ACTUAL OKC PHRASE. OK, TURNS OUT IT IS BECAUSE I DID GOOGLE IT AND THE FIRST SEARCH RESULT IS THIER NBA SITE.

For Roberson, the pick has to come as somewhat of a surprise as many draft boards did not include the CU departed.

For Colorado fans, the pick may come as no surprise considering they watched the young man lock up each of the Pac’s other draftees. Which is exactly the versatile and dynamic talent that NBA teams – particularly ones set in their scoring – need in order to succeed.

One needs to look no further than the success of Kawhi Leonard who found his way into the Spurs’ lineup by defending and boarding (Roberson qualities), while letting the offense come to him as it may.

Alas, this helter-skelter draft is full of “the next Kawhis” but as it were, it seems Andre has a very good shot at legitimately becoming such. The Thunder clearly have a scoring nucleus and could greatly benefit from the defensive versatility Roberson could provide. What’s more: HOLY-BIG-LENGTHY-ATHLETIC-LINEUP, BATMAN! I mean seriously, imagine a lineup of Westbrook, Martin, Roberson, Durant, and Ibaka. Sounds like a dunk contest.

I’ve long been a Roberson fan and I’ll continue to be as he heads to Chesapeake Energy.

Thunder up.

CoorsEventCenter

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.

Valentines

Game Day: Happy Birthday Arizona

On February 14, 1912, the territory known as “Arizona” was signed into statehood thus completing the continental United States. Happy Birthday, home state.

As it were, the University of the Valentine State, has a good basketball team headed to Colorado (an August baby) and I’ve taken a growing interest in this kitty corner rivalry. Because here I am: on a gracious couch in Denver awaiting a bus to Boulder for a raucous evening of fandom.

Get up to date with the funtivities and other things around the Pac:

And if you’re looking for the specific goings on in Boulder:

  • A letter of purpose to Buffs Nation. Just making sure everyone knows
  • Got to talking all things Pac-12 with the guys at Addicted to Quack
  • Perhaps getting away from McKale is a good thing?
  • When Ben asks you questions on his CU hoops blog, you answer them
  • What is this Keg place?

Whether you read any of that or not, just be sure to call your Grandma today.

Boulder, Colorado

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.

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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:

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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.

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BB: Saint Valentine’s in Boulder & Your New Facebook Cover

I’m heading to enemy territory.

From day one I’ve made it clear that I am an Arizona Wildcat fan. I’ve been such since day one and I lament the two years of my life in which the Cats didn’t dance. Those were rough and I recognize that such an existence is rare. Believe me, I do not take this for granted.

And as a fan of both this team and this conference, it’s about as fun of a road trip as there is. From Seattle to Eugene to San Francisco, LA, Phoenix and now Boulder and SLC, there are few if any conferences that offer that sort of  road power. I mean, Lubbock, Manhattan, Stillwater, Morgantown? Good grief no thanks!

And so I’m heading to Boulder. I’m going for a game coined the #ValentinesDayMassacre by a fan base conducting a “wear black” game. Not a blackout. They can’t be trusted with such verbiage. And to be honest, neither can I but that’s irrelevant. Your next Facebook cover photo is relevant:

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Your new Facebook cover photo.

Right click, Save Image As, Edit Cover Photo, Upload Photo, add that one because that will be me and Sarah and Spencer and Matt and Peter and relatively countable others amongst the black. Shining through in the colors of Bear Down on Saint Valentine’s day of love.

And let me tell you I cannot wait. I’m going to see some of the best Cats I know and since starting this here house of narcissism I’ve grown to know a good group of Buffs. This is going to be one helluva weekend in the greater Denver area.

I’ve addressed the Buffaloes on this matter which lead to some fun message board banter (jump in here). Evidently their 2012 Conference Tournament Title (sincere kudos) affords them a thirty year eraser. That’s cool (sarcasm font). The spark:

Dear Buffalo Nation,

I’m on my way.

I’m flying to Denver International Airport in my red shirt and when I land I’ll look deep into that crazy blue horse’s red eyes and it will know exactly what’s up. Because this is the week you host a Top-10 team. And I expect a Top-10 treatment: That Keg had better be black as night so that everyone knows exactly where the Wildcats are. Because I know exactly where they’ll be.

They will be so locked into the chests of Ski and The Mayor that those two will think they wore the wrong jersey. You think Nick Johnson is about to let someone go Crabbe on him again? No and I just called Kenny Boynton about it and he vomited. Puked. Probably has something to do with his 2-10, 3 turnover night in Tucson.

They’ll be coming at Josh Scott with so many big bodies he’ll forget he’s ambidextrous and defer to the three-named kid who will also get chewed up and spit out just in time for Roberson to rebound it. He does that well.

And they’ll go right at Sabatino. He is not scary. We could watch video of him banking his fifth career three-pointer that no one wanted to let count but all we’d really focus on is that pristine hair. Unflappable, glorious locks.

This is the program you asked for and this is the game that you wanted. And now you’ve got it. But do you really know what you got? This is a program that doesn’t play for invitations or eleven seeds or first weekends. Wildcats play for one game on a Monday night in a football stadium to hang some cloth in a gym that we call McKale. This is Arizona.

So we’ve indeed got our Saint Valentine’s treat: A trip to Boulder and a whole lot of fun and the Buffs chance to make a mark on this conference and this budding rivalry. A Top-10 moment (and believe you me, I too wished this was a Top-3 team you were facing). I’ll see you there because it sure beats dealing with the fallout of the girl you’re doing nothing for who you mistakenly took on date two on 2/7 (rookie move). Get your popcorn ready…

I’m on my way.

Adam

PS. Seriously, I will see you guys there and I’m really looking forward to meeting you. Not entirely sure where I’ll be pre-game but post-game, let’s do Boulder.

 

So I’ve grabbed every sweater, jacket, scarf, beanie, hoodie, wool sock, and glove I could muster (not much for a kid from Tucson) and I’m set. Let’s do this. If you’re going and I don’t know yet, let me know: @pachoopsab. Let’s get undergrad on Boulder.

ColoradoCEC

Q&A with some serious Buffs: They Love Josh Scott and The Lumineers

Last year, Arizona went 3-2 against the Pac’s newest members. Those two losses both came at the hooves of the Colorado Buffaloes who – per my man, James – have picked the Wildcats as their team to beat, the Red Letter Game he calls it. And oh do I dig that. I love competition. You, I’m going to play and beat YOU. That’s the sorta stuff that gets me to turn any game on. Why else do we revere Joe Namath’s guarantee, Ruth’s called shot, and Duke losing? Bravado and rivalry drives sport and I’m happy to welcome the Buffs into the realm of teams I want my ‘Cats to wallop.

But I’m also really enjoying watching their program evolve. Tad’s done tremendous work in short order and this is indeed a program being built to contend. And contend they will.

Leading up to Thursday’s showdown in Tucson, I asked some of my favorite and most trusted and wise CU pals their thoughts on…well, lots.

James (JL), is an admin at AllBuffs and the first ever devout Basket Buff I’d ever met. He’s a loyal gchatter and man of great knowledge.

Jason (JG) is another AllBuffs contributor to whom I owe lots. He’s the man who convinced me into the world of KenPom and we have great discussions concerning the balance of advanced stats and the romanticized story of sport. I look forward to discussing Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise with him. Join us? He also crunches numbers – namely win shares – that have encouraged me to be a more holistic observer of the game.

And Ben (BB). This dude runs a dedicated blog to CU athletics – The Rumblings of a Deranged Buffalo at Rumblin Buff – and I really like his work. He’s the sort of fan that keeps enough perspective to know that a 1-11 football season calls for game previews surrounding new beers. My man.

Converse with these men in basketball dialogue as it will be worth your while. And…without further ado: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS!

You gentlemen know your Buffs inside and out, something sparked that interest in sports: What’s your greatest athletic achievement?

JL: Probably getting two different players thrown out of a game for throwing punches at me in an AAU game.  Apparently my opponents weren’t fans of my tactics (because when you lack talent, you have to find little things to make up the difference).

JG: I used to be able to play a little golf, when I was 15 I set the course record on a 9 hole course.  I shot 29 (par 36); I was 8 under through 7 holes and limped in with a bogey, par finish.  While I was never as good at basketball as golf, I can’t get enough hoops.

BB: I was co-captain on my high school’s scholastic bowl team.  We won the conference title my senior year, does that count?  No?  You’re probably right. My life is generally light on athletic “achievement.”  I usually played the “Ben Mills” role on teams growing up, leading me to expand my talents in other areas, i.e. playing the tuba. More recently, I’ve become more than decent at beer-league softball, and my solid play at first base helped my team to 11-straight championship game appearances.  So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Greatest sporting event ever witnessed?

JL: In person it’d probably be the Nugs home playoff game in Melo’s rookie season.  The team had been out of the playoffs for almost a decade and the fans were delirious. We curb-stomped the #1 seed Timberwolves that game in what was probably the loudest sporting event I’ve ever been at in my life.

JG: This is a good question, one I waffled on and my answer may be an odd one.  I have lots of memorable sports watching moments (Tyson ear bite fight, Jordan crossover/push-off on Byron Russell, the OJ car chase but one stands above the rest.  Under a month after September 11th I was in Vegas on Fall break when Bonds hit his 71st home run.  I was in the sports book at the Mirage (a month away from my 21st birthday) when he hit it.  I have never been a Bonds fan, but the shear pandemonium in the sports book at that time in US History I will never forget. Steroids be damned, that was a good moment.

BB: All-time would probably be the 2007 National League play-in game between the Rockies and the Padres.  Incredible atmosphere, incredible game, and a night I’ll never forget (even though the Rox aren’t my #1 team). If you want something CU-ish, the 2003 upset of KU in Boulder is up there.  Somewhere Kirk Hinrich is still missing layups.  Another fun one is the Big XII tournament win over K-State from that same year.  It was one of the more bizarre finishes in the history of college basketball, with CU wining on a buzzer-beater to essentially send us into the Tournament.  (*cough* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFItSuuy3dU *cough*).  That win got those of us in the band another free night in Dallas, and $115 cash in per diem.  K-BOOSH!

Whether you have a commute or cube, I know you’ve got headphones droning something out: Favorite song of the moment?

JL: I hate admitting this, but I begrudgingly like the Lumineer’s “Ho Hey“.  I’m a sucker for songs that have random yelling of “hey” in it.  This is why Cake might be the greatest band of all time. (PacHoops endorsed!)

JG: I am a sucker for the Lumineers “Ho Hey” song that is incessantly on the radio right now.  I can’t get enough of those 2 minutes and 42 seconds. (PacHoops endorsed!)

BB: Childish Gambino, “You See Me.” (NSFW) (PacHoops endorsed!)

Onto the hoops. Ten-and-two. That’s where your Buffs stand. So, in a word, are you: happy, disappointed, ecstatic, sorrowful, [insert your own word]? Why?

JL: Underwhelmed. Had you asked me pre-season, I would have said 8-4/9-3 would be a successful non-conference schedule. However, for some reason, the 10-2 record has left a little to be desired. I’m probably nit-picking because we’re light years ahead of last year, but I question whether the team can peak like they did last year. That said, I never rule out Tad.

JG: Can I be happy and disappointed?  It’s impossible not to be happy with the overall record but I am certainly disappointed about the way those two losses came.  The Kansas loss was just a poor effort from the tip and the Buffs never really seemed to get into it in Laramie.  There is a lot to be happy and disappointed about in individual players as well.  Obviously I am happy with Dinwidddie, Dre and Scott but disappointed in SHT’s lack of pretty much everything and XJ’s inability to get anything going this year.

BB: They’ve beaten my preseason expectations, so I’ll go with “impressed.”  Despite six freshmen and only one senior, and saddled with the sixth toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, they emerge with only two understandable road losses?  I’ll take that.

My Wildcats are sans loss and deep like Lake Tahoe, what, if anything, scares you about them?

JL: Their size. There’s a lot to terrify there, but I like how our guards & forwards match up. The question is, can the Buffs keep Zeus/Ashley/Jerrett off of the boards and out of the low post? Scott & Roberson are good, but can Simba step up?

JG: You said it, but it isn’t just their deepness it is the overall talent that resides in that deepness.  They have a handful of guys that can beat you on any given night.  CU doesn’t have enough horses to bounce back if things go south early.

BB: Senior leadership. The additions of Tarczewski and Ashley are nice, and Nick Johnson is obviously a stud, but the inside-outside combo of Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons will win you the games in March. My Buffs just don’t have that experienced foundation to lean on in crunch time.

Does Spencer Dinwiddie’s mustache make him better?

JL: Damn right. Just wait until next year when Chris Jenkins is out there rocking the stache too.

JG: It has too right? Anybody that rocks the stache has to have some swagger; I think Dinwiddie feeds off that. You can’t be some chump on the court rocking it; you have to have some skill to not look like an idiot with it.

BB: Of course.  Based on absolutely nothing, I figure it’s worth an extra 2.3 points per game.

Can the Buffs win this game in Tucson? If so, how or what gives them their best shot?

JL: Can? Yes. Will they? No. Best chance is if they play the D that won the Charleston Classic and kicked CSU around in the first half of that game. If the Buffs can play that type of lock-down D, they’re dangerous.

JG: Can they win? Sure they can, but a lot has to go right. Dinwiddie has to come out in first half CSU beast mode fashion, Booker has to take good shots within the offense, Dre has to grab boards like he can, Scott is going to have to battle on both ends of the court and the bench has to show up.  So it can theoretically happen, but I have to agree with my friend Ken Pomeroy in giving CU a about a 1 in 5 chance to win. Too much has to go right to win a road conference game and that just doesn’t happen in college basketball very often.

BB: No. Road games are still an issue.  As awesome and praise-worthy as he is, the Tad Boyle era has been peculiarly devoid of solid wins in true road games (9-18 on the road since his start in 2010).  After shocking K-State in Manhattan in 2011, our best true road victory is probably the win over Fresno St from this year.  Even that took a 17/20 night from ‘Dre to secure.  Nothing is easy when the Buffs go on the road. Is this going to be a disaster on the level of Kansas?  God I hope not, but if you guys want to move this to a neutral site (12-6 in the Boyle era), we’d be more than happy to oblige.

I’m allotting you 140 characters (a Tweet in modern vernacular) to glow about Josh Scott and/or Andre Roberson…GO!

JL: Josh Scott is already good, but will be All-Pac-12 next year and possible All-American. Get in the weight room!

JG: I don’t need 140 characters: Every possession Josh Scott doesn’t touch the ball in the post is a wasted possession.

BB: ‘Dre recently learned how to pull off the Euro-step.  Your move, Rodman.  Josh Scott?  The Big Fundamental v 2.0.  Duncan is Jealous.

Who is your favorite Wildcat, present, past, or future?

JL: The one that Tad kills with his bare hands a la the Bear from last year.

JG: This is an easy one, Damon Stoudamire.  I always stayed up late as a kid and subsequently I became a West Coast basketball fan and Arizona was my team.  I owned not only a #20 Arizona jersey but also his Toronto Raptors jersey as well.

BB: As a Bulls fan, Steve Kerr is an obvious #1.  As for someone I actually think of as a Wildcat, Miles Simon, and the “Simon says: Championship” run in 1997, happened at the right time in my youth.  His play in the title game still rattles around in my head.

The prediction question, not brought to your by Nate Silver. Tell me what happens Thursday night?

JL: I think Arizona has too many weapons, and it’ll be a little too much for the freshman to deal with, as Zona wins this one and CU starts planning to get their revenge in the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

JG: I expect Arizona to come out tough, go up early before giving a few back before the half and up end by 5.  Stretch the lead to 10 in the first 5 minutes of the second half and the score to stay right about there for the rest of the game.  At home and having a battle tested pre-conference schedule Arizona is going to be too much for CU to handle.

BB: An Arizona win. CU keeps their heads afloat for the first 25 minutes, mostly because Dinwiddie has a big game.  As Carlon Brown revealed last year, Spencer grew up an Arizona fan, and he lights it up to spite them.  ‘Dre drops a ‘Dre-esque 13/12, but is limited in the 2nd half with foul trouble.  Hill and Johnson blow it open between the 16-min and 12-min timeouts, and CU struggles to get back into the game the rest of the way. ‘Zona 72 – CU 65

/Questions

So there you have it, insight from the faithful. I appreciate their time and their program and their efforts for the greater good of Pac-12 hoops. Additionally, I’m really hoping to make it out to Boulder on Valentine’s Day for Arizona’s visit but time will tell. Who’s got airline miles?