- How data help Duke refine approach on court – If someone can read this and tell me how data has actually helped Duke refine their approach on the court let me know. This makes it seem the Blue Devils are using SportsVU like a glorified FitBit. Seriously. There’s a few other parts to this, however. 1) Duke probably isn’t going to reveal their uses, and 2) This further highlights that just because we have data, doesn’t necessarily mean we know what it means.
- Race Against Resistance: How Bacteria are Circumventing Modern Medicine – And this is why I found Immunology to be one of the more fascinating classes I took in college. The human body is a brilliant machine. Its ability to recognize and destroy foreign agents is remarkable. But sometimes it needs help. The discovery of penicillin was game changing – a sixth man, if you need a basketball reference – in that it helps the body catch up – a spark off the bench. Our bodies sometimes can’t keep up with the foreign pathogens and so enter penicillin. It compromises cellular integrity (I wanted to write that), killing that which the body doesn’t recognize. So what happens when penicillin isn’t able to help at the same rate? When bacteria evolves faster than our bodies (already) or our medicines? Well, smart people get involved.
- The Sony Hack and the Yellow Press – I appreciate Aaron Sorkin’s perspectives on this because he’s named in some of the leaked documents. It gives him a certain connection to the events. Otherwise it seems like perfect timing for him to comment on a major media situation with The Newsroom wrapping up. So if you need one more Newsroom monologue…here it is.
Yesterday I told you about the games I ain’t gonna miss. Things are lined up for me to attend and yell and shout. But you can’t always get what you want. And while I really want to get to these games below – they’re either in great places or feature great teams, the adventure of travel meet the drama of sport – it’s just not in the cards. I want to, but can’t swing it.
- Oregon vs. Georgetown, Friday 11/8, 5pm PST, ESPN, Camp Humphreys, South Korea – OPPAGANGNAM STYLE! Yes I want to go to South Korea and crush noraebang and barbecue. Take in a dynasty and some temples and perhaps rekindle a brief flame that moved out there with her ex-boyfriend to teach English. A boy can dream. I could also get a look at Dana Altman’s revamped squad of graduate students. In this, his fourth Duck season, we’re presented yet again with a brand newish squad – the perfect excuse to get over to Asia. I’d naturally leverage this into a trip to Tokyo and maybe Southeast Asia, too. Worth noting is that this game will be held on a military base which we cannot assume is for marketing or morale purposes so much as a security measure considering Georgetown’s history in Asia.
- Arizona vs. Duke, TBD, ESPN #, Madison Square Garden, NYC – I just can’t swing this thing over Thanksgiving. Too many traditions would be broken along with Grandma’s heart. Can’t do it. My conciliation prize? High school 10-year! Alas, this game isn’t guaranteed to happen. Standing in Arizona’s way is likely a triumvirate of Farleigh Dickinson (this game is definitively scheduled), Rhode Island (I see you ghost of Jim Harrick), and then probably Rutgers in MSG. The Dookies are looking at – as the two-seed mind you – UNC-Asheville, East Carolina, and Anthony Grant’s Rolling Tide. The bracket. Everything goes to form and it’s Arizona-Duke. Goodness I want to be there. The Blue Devils want a shot at revenge and I want to watch Jabari Parker vs. Aaron Gordon amongst so many other match ups (Nick Johnson vs. Rasheed Sulaimon; TJ McConnell vs. Quinn Cook; K vs. Miller). But what’s more is this would play out like Cameron-North. A flame to the flickering light of bandwagondom in a city bereft of college basketball success, NYC hasn’t seen college success since the Red Storm featured World Peace. Duke has been adopted inside that arena and I want it Red. No, I can’t travel there, but I sure as hell wanna.
- Kansas @ Colorado, Saturday 12/7, 1:15pm MT, ESPN2, The Keg, Boulder – It wouldn’t really be fair to call Colorado’s role in this matchup “kid brother” as the Buffs didn’t even sniff that familial level as a member of the Big-12. Boulder was a Jayhawk respite, a welcomed escape from roadies to Norman, Stillwater, Lubbock, Aimes, Waco, and Manhattan. A fact confirmed to me by a former UT hoop star (because Austin is awesome by all accounts). But what I’m getting at is B12 Colorado sucked. P12 Colorado is pretty darned tough but when they went to Lawrence last season they asserted nothing of the sort. The Jayhawks maintained the modus operandi and rolled Ralphie by 36. Well now I want in on this action. It’s a new generation of pissed off Ralphie inside The Keg that used to fill up with Hawks. I’d imagine this thing to be rock chalk full of Buffaloes and I want to see Andrew Wiggins with my own face. Don’t you? Besides, last I went to Boulder for a game with some vitriol behind it, Tad’s team came to play. I imagine they’ll do the same for Bill’s boys.
- USC @ Battle for Atlantis, 11/28-30, ATLANTIS RESORT, Paradise Island, Bahamas – USC projects to be a not so great team but it’s the Bahamas in November. With the means and time I’d go. There’s the Dolphin Cay where I’d swim with sea creatures and a water park to destroy slides. It’s all inclusive so…well so everything would be included. There’s a teaser on the resort’s WHAT TO DO PAGE that says, “When the waters of Atlantis grow dark, the fun is just beginning.” There’s going to be two Andy’s – Wiggins and Enfield – and one of their wives. I challenge you to give me a reason not to go. Oh, it’s over thanksgiving and my grandparents don’t travel well and I’m due in Coolidge, Arizona for the umpteenth consecutive Turkey Day where we pretend that the ham is “pink turkey” so as not to upset my overbearing Jewish mother? I guess I’ve gotta handle that.
- UCLA vs. Duke, Thursday, 12/19, 4:30pm PT, ESPN, Madison Square Garden, NYC – I’m going to see Duke inside of MSG before I die. And before K retires. Have to. I would’ve liked to see Duke-St.John’s there when that match up provided some heat but one can’t really complain about taking in Duke vs. the most successful program in the history of the sport. Granted, UCLA is amidst a transition period that is hard to contextualize or grasp or understand on really any level, but it’s still UCLA and there’s still rhyme and reason to see them. Particularly against the most successful program of the past handful of decades. As previously mentioned, MSG is a second home of sorts for Duke and I just find that fascinating and exciting for a west coast opponent to take on. You wanna talk tournament tune up? Additionally there’s the appeal of being in NYC around Christmas time (said the Jewish guy). I get it. There’s a romanticism to the snow and the giant tree at the Rockefeller Center. Who didn’t become enthralled by that in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York? There’s no guarantee that the Alford version of Bruins – particularly this crew – will be good or even exciting. But they’re going to be interesting because it’s UCLA and a new regime. And it’s Duke, too.
Others receiving votes:
- Arizona @ ASU, 2/14 – Valentine’s in Tempe just sounds awesome
- Oklahoma St vs Colorado, 12/21 – Dinwiddie vs. Smart? Yes, please. In Vegas [devil grin emoji]
- UConn @ UW, 12/22 or Indiana vs UW (in NYC), 11/21 – Dying to get up to HecEd and those Eastern Huskies project to be solid while I think this is a FASCINATING year in the developing history of Tom Crean.
The national polls dropped today and they include just one Pac-12 team, California. The Golden Bears come in at 24 and 23 in the AP and Coaches polls, respectively, while Arizona, Washington, and Stanford received votes in both. View the polls here.
Now that you’ve seen the national rankings once again sparse of Pac-12 teams (or West coast teams for that matter as only Gonzaga, UNLV and Cal make the top-25 from over here) get used to it for another year.
The conference has taken its early season opportunity to shake some of its negative stigmas and, instead, promptly wet the bed. There’s no need to go into the glaring defeats and non-existent quality victories, that’s been discussed ad nauseum. At this juncture, the Pac-12 has so few redeeming games on its collective schedule that this season will once again be devoid of top-25 teams in the conference.
The remaining games of note in the Pac-12’s out of conference schedule:
- Washington vs Marquette (in MSG) (12/6)
- Arizona @ Florida (12/7)
- Washington @ Duke (in MSG) (12/10)
- Arizona vs Gonzaga (in Seattle) (12/17)
- Stanford vs Butler (12/22)
- Cal @ UNLV (12/23)
These are the impact games, ones that will draw a worthwhile national audience, that should boost the conferences wavering RPI and, perhaps more importantly, its appearance. At first glance, however, the only favorite would appear to be Stanford over the visiting Butler Bulldogs. After that, I see a lot of underdogs in Pac-12 clothing.
So with little fanfare already in the polls and few opportunities to squeeze back in, the conference will likely have little to no top-25 representation as mediocrity beats on bad in conference play.
Alas, it may be safe to assume that it will be another bad year for Pac-12 basketball. But let’s look bigger and abstract picture, briefly. Keep an eye on the football coaching carousel. With all of the recent firings in the Pac-12 you’ll begin to notice bigger spending as more TV money is soon to come (thank you Larry Scott). The press to improve football should trickle to basketball operations and demonstrate a need for everyone to catch up.
Then, as programs (football and basketball and every other sport) get increased air time, the obstacle that is having a school in Pullman or Corvalis becomes a progressively smaller obstacle. Ultimately, the more attention one can garner, the better suited you are for success. At least that’s the way it would seem to be in modern college athletics.
Things may not look so good but the aforementioned schedule is a good one. There’s some intriguing match-ups and good basketball to be played. If for nothing else, watch these games because, as a fan of the Pac, you know there’s still talent out here and you’re not going to read too far into upset losses and blowouts. Especially in November.
Ultimately, up or down, good or bad, seasons are defined in March. Let’s withhold overwhelming judgement and see where this 2011-12 campaign takes us.