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
While Pac-12 football was cannibalizing, removing itself from CFP contention, Pac-12 hoops (the central topic of this blog) got under way! Indubitably you were paying attention. Friday’s hoops mele resulted in zero Pac-12 suspensions but ample upsets. Is that ok? I’ll just say, UCLA losing at home to Monmouth is generally not OK.
A brief overview from my perspective of this weekend’s Pac-12 ignition:
Because everyone loves Lorenzo
We must begin by saying the Jahlil Okafor is really good. I’m not messing around and neither is he. Okafor scored in single figures only once this season and his team won that game by 43 and he was 2-2 from the field. He played 19 minutes. Here’s what it can look like: Continue reading
So they’re not the hottest team in the country and have slumped to the point that my March 2014 prediction of the Utes being a four-seed was narrowly missed. I’ve been further off on other predictions – I see you 2015 Buffs – so I won’t soon lose any sleep over this. What I might lose some sleep over is how tough these Utes really are. There’s a je ne sias quoi that I’m going to try to sais quoi: They don’t have it. Whatever that gene is that allows you to flush goldfish down the toilet or take the last piece of cake at not your birthday party or win a close basketball game, that seems to be missing for the Utes. They’re just 4-11 the last two years in games decided by 6 points or fewer. Sometimes in a tournament you’ve got to be able to do that. Can the Utes? My hope is that the imminent finality of these fantastic two years instills some of that DGAF in Delon Wright. He’s too good to play just one more time for us.
We knew the games were going to be good. It’s championship time and this was the semifinals. But that? Stanley’s three. Kevon’s three. Both Brandon’s games. Norman’s night. Delon and then Joseph. Let’s have a championship.
Day 3: Continue reading
The second day of Pac-12 hoops was chalk. The day following the near advancement of the 12, 11, and 10 seeds we saw – pretty definitively – the 1, 2, 3, and 4 seeds move to the semis. I suppose that makes sense. The bad teams got beat by the good teams and one of the really good teams brought a whole lotta friends.
Day 2: Continue reading
If this is 2015’s last PacHoops Power Rankings, is it kind of like our Senior Day? I’m coming back but this still marks the end. Let’s start the walk-ons, kiss the floor, and beat Utah.
There are six teams separated by two wins in the MIddle Amoeba of the Pac-12. And then Washington (not separated by two wins from #5) beats Utah on the season’s final day. The Power Rankings are here to help make some sense of things but why? have an idea. Let’s have a tournament where teams are seeded based on their 18-game records against an unbalanced schedule of conference foes? We can hold the event in Vegas and we can start it Wednesday. Who’s with me?
With the end approaching, I’m curious if that means we begin to see true colors. Careers are winding down and the significance of everything is seemingly magnified. And for as much as we want to believe that a mid-January game holds equal bearing to a late-February contest, we just know that’s not the case. Furthermore, the calendar changed. It’s March, the universal excuse for madness to ensue. So naturally Arizona won another Pac-12 Title. Who’s ready for brackets?
When it comes to knowing everything about the Utah Utes, it’s not wrong to note Delon Wright. And while that’s both short sighted and narrow, it’s not entirely inaccurate. He’s just really damn good. But after two double-negatives in nearly as many sentences, credit where credit is rightfully due: Larry Krystkowiak. In my estimation he’s the man with the plan and its come to near perfect execution. He built his program for the 2015 season (and most certainly beyond) and that’s exactly how things have played out.
So more about this team.
Delon is terrific but what else is going on? A 6’5″ point-combo-guard does not alone constitute the fifth most efficient defense in the country. He alone does not protect the rim at alarmingly elite – if not destructive – levels. He alone does not carry a Top-20 3FG% (he actually detracts from it). There are a lot of layers to this Utah onion. Let’s peel:
We know Delon Wright is really good and that he’s uniquely gifted at getting to the rim. Last year it was at insane levels as 62% of his offense was a layup or dunk attempt which he made 71% of the time. He exploded onto the scene and to the rim and we took notice.
Presumably, 2015 wasn’t going to surprise us. Last year he was a JuCo transfer, the kid brother of Dorrel. He could sneak up on you. Continue reading