- 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.
- Adam Butler on Friday Night Live – The good guys at Radio 1190 in Boulder had me on this past Friday night to talk about CU and Pac-12 basketball. Jake Shapiro was kind enough to invite me and you won’t soon find me passing up an opportunity to talk hoops. If you want more, WANE is coming…
- Connelly Q&A: Editor-in-chief on what went right, wrong with Grantland – If you want to get really deep into the ESPN stuff, this is a really good Q&A with the man who took over Simmons’ title for the last few months. He’s as candid as I think he can be, being honest without being an asshole – particularly to his current employer: ESPN.
- The Young Man, The Myth, The Legend – Amdist all of this Grantland talk, let’s not forget that the internet – and even BIG BAD ESPN – still has a bevy of phenomenal writers. Take Wright Thompson, for example, and this linked story about Leonard Fournette.
Grantland was shutdown last Friday afternoon. It wasn’t the most college basketball-centric site which is OK. CBB doesn’t draw gross amounts of eyeballs. And while we can be upset about the end of this site because we’re selfish consumers of their great product, I think I understand this move from ESPN. When have they ever been dedicated to digital media? There have been just nominal changes to the ESPN homepage and UX (amongst my favorite subjects) in the past 15 years. Universally, we’re still trying to figure how to monetize digital journalism. And while Grantland delivered some of our favorite, it wasn’t necessarily in line with the ESPN-way. Of course there’s the Simmons-Skipper dick measuring competition that needlessly cost us great content. But if ESPN is indeed losing market share and their direction is to cut costs at the “talent” level, then I get this. And talent endures. You’ll still read your favorite writers as their careers and digital journalism evolves. For today’s #34B, a few of my all-time favorites:
What an awesome couple of years, though.
— Andrew Sharp (@andrewsharp) October 30, 2015
- The consequences of caring – Because #SPORTS
- Confessions of a former die hard – Particularly relevant as Lowe’s Met’s fell last night. Always care.
- The Life and Death of Fandom – As much as Lowe wants you to think he’s a soulless, carefree sports abosrber, he’s not. Can’t be. You don’t write like he does without hope.
- Daring to ask the PED question – Happy to take this one offline. Lots of thoughts on the PED conversation but when it comes to baseball, no amount of needles in your ass will help you hit a 98mph sphere.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Future of Basketball Is Here, and it Looks a Lot Like James Harden – Excellent look at how the Houston Rockets have engineered their roster and the manner in which they play basketball. It’s interesting to read how NBA teams work so hard to maximize their offensive potential while the college game is so widely centered on defense. The talent discrepancy can’t be ignored and defense often allows you to mask those gaps. But it would be interesting to see a college team try something along the lines of what the Rockets are doing.
- Art of the Alley-Oop – This was evidently pieced together by students at the Washington journalism school. It’s well done and tells a good story of one of our favorite plays. Also some unique design elements.
- Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter – There is a hidden brilliance in this counter-trolling effort by the Frederick News-Post. I encourage you to read this and note the first letters of each of the article’s paragraphs. I think you’ll like this one.
- 2014-15 NCAA Basketball Preview: The Pac-12 – If after reading this you’re worried about me having to rehash the last thirteen years of Arizona’s NCAA tournament heartbreaks, I appreciate it. Titus is right that a flask was needed in hand but we endure. Such is life when your favorite team has only not been to two big dances your whole life. Sorry that I am not sorry. Alas, here is Mark Titus’ preview of our favorite conference and he doesn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know. This is probably the latest preview we’re going to see, because, ya know, the games have started. But he says it more entertainingly than any of ’em. So read this one and don’t feel too bad for me.
- Spy Gadget Guy Sells Airbnb Party Kit – I’ve never rented out my place but I have partied at an Airbnb. Never irresponsibly but we most certainly had more people than we said we would in the place. Please don’t hold that against me. We cleaned up. Anyhow, I think this is a really cool idea, a building upon an already very good idea.
- Death to Ringz: Chris Paul and the NBA’s Broken Narrative of Success –
@offensivelyfoul that was a narrative itself but an educated one. The modern annoyance is the click bait, speaking in unfounded absolutes
— Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) November 19, 2014
- To Siri With Love – She may frustrate us and we may find her utterly useless. She doesn’t always come up with what we need. One time, following an impassioned speech by one of my bosses to our entire marketing department and every agency we work with, from my pocket, Siri noted, “I’m sorry I don’t understand what you just said.” It was perfectly ill timed. Siri isn’t perfect. But sometimes she is (this is all just a lot of words to say read this for a heartwarming tale)
- ‘Friends’ and Enemies: Netflix and HBO battle for the future of TV – Over cigars and scotch, I’ve discussed this topic deep into many nights. Television, as we know it, is poised for a monstrous overhaul. We’ve watched as nearly everything in our lives has been made increasingly convenient. From Uber and AirBnB to the above mentioned Siri, everything is being brought to us as we want it and need it. Convenience is the way of today. So when I don’t want to own a Bravo subscription, I shouldn’t have to pay for it. When all I want is a handful of movie channels (HBO) and live sports…oh wait. Live sports is the only thing keeping this while thing alive. That and decades old relationships between providers and producers and a lot – a whole lot – of money. Excited to see how all of this unfolds. Also, keep an eye out for Aereo.
- How Rebounds Work – Isn’t this the beauty of advanced tracking? We can understand, on a deeper level, such simple things as the rebound. And it makes great sense, right? The average team shoots – I dunno – 44%? Means greater than half the shots are drawing iron. Nevertheless, I greatly appreciate the conclusion here that, no matter what, there will be randomness. And that is why we play the game.