- China Diary: Amazing scene at historic Pac-12 basketball game in Shanghai – Have you ever followed a regular season professional or collegiate competition on to Chinese soil? Neither has anyone else. Additionally, as you flip through these photos, try your best to not recognize the exploitation of amateurs.
- Updated 351–1 rankings as college basketball tips off – Prior to the season’s tip off, Hanner and Wynn updated their predictions. Take a look and see how the Pac was adjusted for as well as a general understanding into how these two take a mathematical approach to the CBB season.
- The (Not-So) Secret History of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary – As we’ve been deep in the state of sports journalism – what with the shuttering of Grantland and all – I thought I would revisit some classic-if-not-unique sports writing.
- West Coast Bias: Opposing coaches assess five of this year’s top teams – Aside from this being a great series by Jeff Eisenberg, Cal State LA’s Dierter Horton explains to us that UCLA’s most effective lineup looks just like theirs did last year. Which is effectively what we said here on Tuesday. The specific, however, that I didn’t delve in to, was Aaron Holiday’s ability to play the role of Norman Powell – a supersized guard with defensive prowess. Powell was a bulldog, and while I’m not much of one for “replacing” players, if the Bruins can manage to not miss a beat with the losses of Powell and Kevon Looney (Horton says Bolden is great at being a long, versatile PF) then they’re a year up on everyone else.
- On Grantland and Sports Media – I really appreciate this article. It takes a very macro view of the entire happenings with Grantland. As I noted in Monday’s #34B the actions of the Mother Ship are consistent with their other activities. The Grantland product is highbrow in a lowbrow medium. It wasn’t making money and that’s a fact. Of course there are Skipper and Simmons’ proclaimed BSDs and now even stretches that Simmons’ podcast intro song (TuPac’s “Picture me Rollin'”) is a slight at his former employer. My big takeaway: the internet is the greatest mouthpiece an individual has for self-promotion. So please tell your friends about pachoops.com!
- Ranking every team in college hoops from Grambling St. (351) to UNC (1) – Dan Hanner and Luke Winn do it again. This is my favorite list as I believe it’s more comprehensive than the KenPom preseason ratings and more analytical than the AP (who usually isn’t far off in the preseason). Of course what none of the current polls can account for are the injuries to Robert Cartwright (shoulder done for the year) and Dylan Ennis (foot injury out one month). I tweeted this, but between Cartwright (PG), Ennis (combo/PG), Ray Smith (SF), and Xavier Johnson (PF) the All-Injured Pac-12 squad DOES NOT NEED A CENTER. Thanks and take care.
- Welcome to Lopez Land. (You may know it as New York) – There’s Pac-12 splattered throughout this nice profile of the Lopez twins. But my favorite call out is the NYT quoting of friend of the program and over all good dude, Kevin Danna. In related news, the NBA tips on Tuesday night and I’m pretty fired up for that. Think about the NBA right now. It’s as exciting and broadly talented as I can remember. The league’s best player isn’t on a talent contending team – but he might be? I won’t derail this brief into a note the Pellies but Tuesday night is exciting.
- Injury bug hits Wildcats again, this time in basketball – I was going to make Ray Smith the “Stat you must know” for my Arizona preview. He’s a dynamic “modern” basketball player with shooting range, length, and a bunch of other scoutitudes (that’s scout + platitude combined). You haven’t heard a lot about him because the summer before his senior year of high school he tore his ACL. Shortly thereafter he committed to play for Sean Miller and the rest of the 2015 class took to the summer circuits. Smith remained a highly rated recruit but the publicity didn’t swirl. And that was fine. Smith worked hard to rehabilitate and join a his new teammates in Tucson. And then, on Thursday night, he tore his other ACL. And that sucks.
- Sports Illustrated Pac-12 basketball preview – I’m a fan of the numbers. I like when we use past performance to predict future performance. The last few seasons, SI has done a great job leveraging the smarts of Dan Hanner and Luke Winn, to discuss preseason hoops. This year is no different. This preview shares some fantastic insights into the forthcoming season.
- The Worldwide Cheerleader: ESPN and the College Football Playoff – Some very interesting food for thought especially for what I presume is a significant Pac-12 readership (clicking from here, that is). We’ve heard so much of the SEC hype and this spicy article begins to quantify that.
- Ranking the top teams in college basketball: 351 – 1 – Just read the logic behind what these two have developed in projecting this season. It’s a fascinating piece of work that Hanner and Winn have conspired to build here and I’m interested to see what the model spat out as our 2015 season. That said, I’m even further excited to be in New York City this weekend. And I’m even further excited that the season begins in two weeks.
- Being Bill Murray – His son, Luke, was a member of the Arizona staff for a short while. The Murrays hail from Illinois and I remember Bill being shown on TV, in attendance at the fateful 2005 Elite Eight. He was most certainly in an Illini hat. I don’t begrudge him that. I still hate that game, however. Anyhow, Murray attended a handful of games in Tucson and would wear a single, Arizona “A” eye black strip when in attendance. He’d don a visor as he was probably fresh off the golf course. I don’t have a story like the many noted in this article, but I wish I did.
I put a lot of credence in what Dan Hanner writes at RealGM. In his Pac-12 preview, he told us that Johnny Dawkins might have accumulated his best lineup yet (I kinda disagree) and that:
Dawkins actually has the worst track record of developing players on offense.
So if I’m piecing this together, then I’m noting that the Card lose two starters who were NBA draft picks including an All-Defense performer from the second best defensive team Dawkins has ever coached as well as their second leading scorer and is replacing them with two freshmen whom Dawkins will presumably struggle to teach offense? I like the roster, I’m just expecting a lot of…variance. Maybe that’s why Hanner notes that Dawkins has never finished better than 36th in scoring margin. F*cking math.
Why I Love Them: