Tag Archives: ESPN

Podcast of Champions. Is this Pac-12 Overrated?

Sure it’s a loaded question and yes it will ultimately be judged by the number of bids and then the subsequent tournament success of those bids. That’s well and good. Tried and true. But right now – in mid-February – what direction does the Pac-12 seem to be heading? One metric says this, another that, and Spencer and I were curious if the Pac’s overrated (as some writers have suggested).

Give it a listen (and a subscription):

THREE FOR BART: Managing ESPN, Managing Finances, RTC Podcast

  1. ESPN Tightens Its Belt as Pressure on it Mounts – From a media perspective there is so much to consider when reading this article. First of all, I initially couldn’t read it. I was blocked after a paragraph or two and asked to sign in or sign up. Other avenues allowed me to read in its entirety but I’d like to put it out there: Does anyone pay for online content? I pay for hoop-math and KenPom but not for the letters so much as the numbers. The second thing to note here is the changing means of media consumption. We’ve long known that live TV (SPORTS!) has been keeping cable subscriptions alive and lucrative, but we’re beginning to see the true pull of streaming media. Fascinating. Particularly the part that notes that ESPN can be undercut by its current distributors if they try to go to a direct-to-consumer model.
  2. Before Student-Athletes Earn a Penny, a Course in How to Manage Millions – What are the prerequisites for entry into this class? If I’m not mistaken, most of these guys are “going pro in something other than sports,” which ultimately means money management shouldn’t be any less important. Which kind of gives raise to a greater issue for me: higher education. Do you explicitly use anything you learned in college? I was a human biology major. I work in healthcare marketing and haven’t drawn the organic connectivity of a molecule since 2005. But I’ve had to figure out a budget (not of millions). Similar coursework would be great for the lay student. Alas, for those who are gifted enough to make millions playing sports, and considering the rate at which pro athletes are going broke, this is probably a good move.
  3. The RTC Podcast: Offseason Storylines (and Welcome Back) Edition – Linking here to the RTC podcast hosted by Randy and Shane Connolly. Always good insights here and I imagine the more listeners they have the more likely they are to regularly produce this thorough pod. NOTE: Some pretty serious ASU basketball talk in this national preview.

THREE FOR BART: Louisville, Pac-12 Basketball, Zito

  1. Former Louisville recruit about his visit: ‘It was like I was in a strip club’ – Sportscenter was moved up an hour this East Coast morning to break this story. If that doesn’t suggest that this is a big deal – college basketball moving ESPN programs in the heart of NFL season – then let me tell you its time to start paying attention. Katina Powell, no matter what you think of her credibility, has been vetted by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist (Dick Cady). Even if you think she’s 90% full-of-it, then 10% of her allegations are true and wild at that. Her television appearance begins to name names (we love names, right? Russ Smith, Motrezl Harrell – players with championship rings). Alas, this isn’t about the players, it’s about those at the helm and the age old question: How much did he know? As in, which of these allegations – if true or even partially true – did Rick Pitino know about? Further, who was indeed propagating this? Andre McGee is the most named culprit, a graduate assistant at the time (now an assistant at UMKC). And maybe these aren’t the right questions at all? Sure we’re fascinated by college basketball and scandal in general, but what of a mother shopping her teenage daughters like this? That’s a sad reality amongst all of this as well. This isn’t a good story – for anyone – and its likely only to get worse.
  2. Things we think we know in the Pac-12 – Fellow Pac-12 blogger, Andrew Murawa, takes his first crack at 2015-16. In this post, Drew runs through some of the knowns and unknowns of the Pac-12 season. It’s a great composite of the innumerable questions begging to be answered about this odd Pac-12 season. It additionally begs the question: Don’t we know nothing? Is that why we like college basketball? Is that why other people hate it? I think about these things.
  3. What Baseball Taught Me – A lot of thoughts here but namely that the early-2000s A’s were the reason for the only piece of baseball paraphernalia that I own: A green Oakland A’s cap. Now this Player’s Tribune (a hit-or-miss publication) piece by Barry Zito takes a turn I didn’t expect but it’s thoughtful and bold. In there he writes, “At some point, even in the ethers of their mind, everyone has thought that they could maybe, just maybe, square up a 90 mph fastball.” I’m here to tell you: You cannot square up to a 90 mph fastball. Neither can you throw one.

THREE FOR BART: iPhone, UX, Fast

  1. I followed my stolen iPhone Across the World, Became a Celebrity in China, and Found a Friend for Life – I shared this with a  friend who has intimate knowledge of China. Which is to say he’s lived there, speaks Mandarin, and regularly conducts business there. His response: 1) That’s so very China, 2) That’s f*cking hilarious. I imagine he’s spot on. And if you’re anything like me, you’re jealous – if not inspired – by the adventure. That’s not to say I want my phone stolen but I’m super down to be an international celebrity.
  2. I Paid a UX Expert $100 to Get Drunk and Evaluate Gizmodo’s Design – First of all, if you want to pay me $100 to evaluate anything of yours while I’m drunk, I’m more than happy to do it. Email me at Pachoops25@gmail.com. Kthanks. Secondly, the timing of this linkage is unique as ESPN – my favorite sports site to never visit – just got a redesign. This is ESPN’s first overhaul in five years. What do you think? Considering I haven’t used it much for customization (I’m rarely logged in) I’m not convinced it’ll work great for me just yet. But I can most certainly appreciate change. And I love UX.
  3. The Fast and the Furious: A Postmodern Masterpiece – Endings are always romanticized. Just read what I had to say about Arizona’s loss to Wisconsin. Or Wisconsin. Or Ohio State. Or Bucknell. So as we come to the end of this fascinating series where Paul Walker’s ID in the first iteration puts him living blocks from where I grew up, here’s a look at the franchise and it’s place as art.

Week 8 Pac-12 Hoops Preview: The Jet in Tucson. Harden in Tempe.

Finally everyone’s favorite socks will have their jersey hang in the rafters of the McKale Center. It’s been a long time coming for Jason Terry’s #31 but it’s well deserved. And because we adore a game that celebrates its moments, I thought it fitting to share one of my favorite Jason Terry moments (Stanford game-winner was hard not to link aside from its lack of a web presence).

First, let’s note that The Jet won a national title and was named the national Player of the Year. He was the Pac-10’s 1999 Player of the Year, made the bench cool, wore the socks and played basketball with the enthusiasm of 1000 Sean Miller practice plans.

Pure Terry: Continue reading

THREE FOR BART: Data, Sling, Pack-line

**updated! Just discovered the first link was busted. Here’s the noob:


  1. Dish’s new Sling TV is a huge deal. Here’s Why – I have a great drinking buddy with whom I’ve taken the conversation deep into the night on this subject. Live sports – as this article acutely highlights – is keeping cable alive as we know it. Dish’s latest incarnation, Sling TV, is a first effort to stay ahead of the evolving way in which we consume. Also, take note of the Per User chart. Those are some of the prices the Pac-12 Networks is competing with as they continue to find deals with the providers.
  2. Film Session: How Does Virgina’s ‘Pack-line’ defense work and how do you beat it – Dauster does a very succinct and easy-to-follow breakdown of how the Pack-line defense works. This is the defense that Arizona uses and – as the title suggests – provides a blue-print for how to beat the defense. Does your team have the pieces – the movement – to create the match ups necessary to beat it?

THREE FOR BART: Woj, Development, Buffs

  1. Adrian Wojnarowski: How reporting machine gets his scoopsCompetition is not exclusive to the guys in shorts and shirts. Woj – a nickname I use for simplicity and not based on familiarity – seems to have a real big agenda. But my major takeaway in this is: where’s the money? If Woj is tweeting the juice during this “Trade Rumor Era,” where  are the clicks? Websites make money when people are visiting them so it seems to me, twitter is the big winner here. That said, it would also seem that if you’re big enough, the money follows you. See the statistic on Woj’s twitter following. It’s grown nearly 10x in three years. Woj isn’t a journalist, columnist, or reporter. He’s a celebrity.
  2. On Jimmy Butler and non-linear development – I love the title of this piece and the phrase “non-linear development.” Living in San Francisco, this feels like a very start uppy term. Yet it also applies to fandom. We can’t put the cart ahead of the horse. I’m not certain that this article sheds a ton of light on this subject, but it is a nice reminder that not everyone gets better in the same way. That patience is necessary and every team needs a different something from a different player each year.
  3. Promise Keeper – So this is only Colorado’s fourth year in the Pac-12 so I’m still familiarizing myself with their history. Turns out it’s kinda twisted. I mean, no one’s family is in perfect order but this is a story about Bill McCartney and some odd twist and turns to what comes across as a fully lived life.

25 play-by-play announcers worse than Bill Walton

Last night Bill Walton was in Tucson to do play-by-play for the broadcast of Oakland @ Arizona. And he was great.

Last week, a petition was created – and signed by more than 1,500 lost souls – to never have that scenario play out again. Interested? Here’s the link and know that I did not sign it. I will not sign it. In fact, I’ve come up with a list of 25 people (tip of the iceberg) who would be worse at calling a U of A basketball game. Twenty-five people who wouldn’t compare Gabe York to Ray Allen or tell us about a 67-acre mushroom. A quarter-hundred people who don’t have a Tipi in their backyard; who didn’t nearly walk out on the winningest legend to keep a beard. Because you’d rather hear about the defensive efficiencies (1.31 ppp vs. Arizona) of the Oakland Grizzlies playing a red eye removed from East Lansing.

In no particular order:

  1. Lute Olson – Great coach. GOAT? Yet you never knew how much you liked the Grateful Dead until you heard all of Lute’s “uhhhs.”
  2. Dick Vitale – Do you really need me to?
  3. Jerry Garcia – Couldn’t provide a  quarter of the basketball insight that Walton provides about The Dead.
  4. Jenny Finch – Has many fine features and Wildcat knowledge.
  5. Ernie Kent – Unless of course Arizona is playing Washington State in which case it would improve Arizona’s chances to win. Or would it?
  6. Digger Phelps – Is the devil.
  7. Craig Robinson – The man can charm a room – he’s learned from the best – but he can leave something to be desired on the mic.
  8. Kyryl Natyazkho – The former Wildcat – who once Bernied in the NCAA tournament – dabbled in media which was actually quite an interesting perspective. But let’s keep the big Ukraine of the mic.
  9. BYUTv – The single most homer broadcast that ever was. Jimmer also dropped a billion on the Wildcats so whether you liked ’em or not, you won’t soon be seeing/hearing/experiencing BYU vs. Arizona anytime on the round ball side of a Las Vegas Bowl.
  10. Tim McCarver  – Indubitably the worst. Ever. All time. He’s so bad that when you listen to his broadcasts you don’t enjoy the broadcasts because he explains things so longwindedly and in such elementary terms that he manages to confuse you even about the most simple of things like telling you that Tim McCarver is not the best play-by-play guy.
  11. Kevin Danna And I love Danna! Listen to this call. And this call. But Dannaman didn’t hang banners.
  12. Ed O’Bannon – He was 5-3 All-Time against the Wildcats – destroyed ’em – and now he’s trying to deamateurize our athletes? Wait, the latter’s a good thing.
  13. Spencer Smith – He’s not even an expert. But does have a media medallion on reddit/cfb.
  14. Adam Butler – The self-proclaimed “preeminent Pac-12 blogger” would likely spend the entire broadcast texting his brother and other friends throughout the country.
  15. This Lady – Not a chance she distinguishes between Kaleb Tarczewski and TJ McConnell.
  16. Sean Eilliott – And Boogie Cousins agrees.
  17. Patrick Butler – My father, at the slightest of great plays, does this miserably loud GASPSHOUTYELL that is not only startling but the point of countless familial battles. The things I do for ‘Cats games…
  18. Sarah Kezele – Because it seems she’d only talk about Walton.
  19. Lou Holtz – The master motivator’s motivation would be lost amidst everyone already being so fired up over things like Arizona Basketball.
  20. Steve Kerr – He has the basketball acumen, the Arizona pedigree, and the booth experience. But he’s got bigger fish to fry (21-3, if you need a hint).
  21. Colin Cowherd – Because we can’t commercialize everything.
  22. Craig James – He’s got a senate race to tend to anyhow.
  23. Casey Jacobsen – But big kudos because I’ve heard him admit, on air, that the tip-frosting phase was a mistake.
  24. Ray Lewis – That Stanford locker room tho…
  25. Brian Collins – Or maybe this would be great because – you know – boom goes the dynamite?

THREE FOR BART: ESPN, Rankings, Murray

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

The Rush Interview and Independent Review

“I was trying to make a difference. In the long run, it’s going to take too long to get back to where we were.”

That was the reason Rush resigned and I get that. Beyond that he doesn’t say much in his exclusive frump-off with Shelly Smith. Seriously they look like twins.

In the interview, Rush downplays the entire incident, confirming that what he said was in jest. Additionally, he doesn’t once mention the purveyor of jest, Michael Irving, which I found refreshing considering he’d previously been tossing the official under the bus immediately following his resignation.

As expected, there’s really not a ton to see here but you can watch/listen below.

So while Rush’s interview was the sexy news (and yes, I use the word “sexy” in jest, though it was the more intriguing news) the real news came in the conference’s announcement of an “Independent Review” of the officiating program. This is what I’d been calling for and it’s a step in the right direction. Rush nailed it when he said we’re a long way from getting to a good place – we’ll call it trust – but third parties tend to help in that. Ask any couple in counseling.

And I most certainly appreciated this release above all others from Walnut Creek surrounding The Issue. In this one, the Pac-12 PR team used words like “best possible” and “maintain the confidence of our members.” The latter comment might be my favorite. An acknowledgment that Conference brass let its constituents down. That’s leadership.

Of course this is all pretty language of which action speaks far louder than. But it’s the first action in getting the best officiating product for our favorite game. I’ll buy that during this long road back to trust.