We’re finally previewing the Pac-12. This week, the last before games actually tip, I’ll post two previews of travel mates (i.e. UW and WSU will appear in the same post) and, in the interest of being fully prepared for Friday’s hoop joy, I’ll post two-a-day. Thus the title. Although it’s 4 previews-a-day. Regardless. Enjoy. (Other school previews)
Has Tad Boyle built a program? There’s a big distinction between programs and individual teams, collections of talent that achieve something nice. Chauncey Billups’ Buffs? Team. Mark Few at Gonzaga? Program. Follow? In the latter half of this post we’ll explore Larry Krystkowiak’s program. It’s a good one. But for now, what do we make of Boyle’s six years in Boulder? At the surface, they’re great. Some readers have suggested statues. That’s a little much but four dances in six years isn’t just unprecedented out of The Keg, it’s – well – statue conjuring. So in considering Boyle’s program, this is a critical year. We could excuse a chunk of the past to Josh Scott; a local talent who blossomed into a transcendent player. He was fantastic. An All-Time Buff. But J40 isn’t suiting up in 2017. And what we’re left with, according to resident CU expert Ben Burrows in his monster CU preview, is:
I get the feeling that this, finally, is what the ideal Tad Boyle roster is supposed to look like.
If that’s indeed the case, we’ll have a really good feel for what the Tad Boyle program looks like and likely further optimism oozing out of Boulder.
Last season on The [other] Rise
On Monday the Pac-12 coaches voted for their conference’s awards and it was without controversy. Which isn’t to say the conference went the way of mundane chalk but rather that it was a season of generally solid things. Nothing rocked the boat.
Alas, this isn’t the post where we pick apart the awards – a fool’s errand. This is the post where I select my own all conference team then look at the actuals. Basically we look at where I went WRONG.
My 2016 Pac-12 Awards
This is our last Power Rankings of regular season basketball. It’s also our first Power Rankings of March, a month that needs no introduction. Considering such, let’s just get right to it (but real Q: How many of these teams are actually going to dance?):
We got together with old friend of the pod and real friend in real life, Jamie, to chat during Utah’s home (shocker) win over Cal. Having noted that fact, be warned that there are asides to discuss Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, Sam Singer, Brandon Taylor as well as the game’s score. No spoilers, the contest is over. We also dove into the impending reality of the Washington Huskies, which unblemished home team will stumble first, Spencer’s heated take on court storming, an aside to the national scope of CBB, and a tangent on court appearances.
Per usual: subscribe on iTunes and feel free to tweet me ANY of your concerns, questions, or dreams.
There were stories written that Larry Krystkowiak had initially declined ESPN’s invitation to play Duke. He didn’t want to fly his team cross country with Christmas fast approaching. But he changed his mind, made a business trip out of it, and put the nation on high alert that there’s a new Coach K in town. Not really. But his team did beat the other K’s blue team and now a Merry Christmas to all.
As the year winds down, let’s take note of the Pac-12 kill list: Kentucky, Duke, UNLV, Gonzaga, Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M, Monmouth. The collective winning has been fantastic with two big opportunities remaining in 2015 (Virginia and Oklahoma, tonight). But you know this. You’re a Pac-12 basketball fan. Steve Harvey (for SEO purposes).
Let me begin by noting that this is far from scientific. In the future, I would like to expand on this data. There would probably be a lot of ways to examine it and no doubt some very interesting findings. But for the time being I had this small sample set (everyone loves to make decisions based on small sample sets, right?) and I thought I’d publish some of it.
Taking more shots at the rim would yield an improved offensive efficiency (Ortg). Continue reading
UCLA achieved 7 points in less than 3 minutes (took them 20+ last year) and they trickled the floor at Pauley as they should have. Teams don’t often knock off the #1 team in the country and – for a school oft criticized for its fan base – it was good to see them celebrate a little and show up. Meanwhile, ASU knocked off a top-25 team (rare) and did it in their new gold attire which I actually thought was sharp (also, rare). Of course for a full run down and the teams ranked by order of power, as well as what I did on Friday night of this bounce back week for the Pac…
Your weekly PacHoops Power Rankings debuts! In all honesty, this one is moderately-to-highly in depth. Let’s consider that this is our first power rankings so it’s kind of like capturing the previous 3 week’s information. Moving forward I can’t promise awesome data realizations or incredible anecdotes about my life as noted in our WSU blurb. The season is young, Stanford is already at .500, Bryce Alford is shooting 28% from distance, and how fly did your coach look in his Thanksgiving week polo?
Power Rankings commence:
If you’re anything like me (heaven forbid), it’s been a touch of a struggle to get really, way way way up for this season. Last year there was historic greatness! How do you follow that up? This isn’t 2am bar trash but it also isn’t going to be your wife.
Of course as we’re on season’s eve, all of the feels return, excitement bubbles to standard levels, and we college basketball.
But it remains that this is an odd one. Drawing our attention to the premise of this blog – the Pac-12 – I thought we could contextualize the forthcoming events. If prescribing a single word (or phrase for leeway with possible imagery linked for effect) for each of the Pac-12’s four seasons it’d look something like this:
2012-13: He touched the ball
2014-15: Arizona Continue reading
If it hasn’t been said yet, allow me: Welcome to the Pac, Utes! From the marked and steady progress of Larry’s program to this year’s football performance, Utah has taken full advantage of its place at the big kid’s table. They’re clearly playing the part on the court. But off the court? Just a brand new $36 million practice facility. Watch the video. Larry Krystkowiak’s office is bigger than my apartment (he’s also taller than me so it’s cool). And his team is probably better than yours. If you’re reading other previews, there’s going to be a focus on “replacing Delon.” In college basketball, if you’re trying to “replace” anyone, you’re in trouble. A college basketball season is a flash in the pan, a shooting star, Josh Rosen’s hot tub. It’s a 30-ish game sample set of whatever you can milk out of immature and budding talents. Delon Wright was exceptional. So, so good. You don’t replace him. You adjust, take inventory of the talent you have and that you’ve brought in, and you coach to that roster. Look at Arizona’s “struggles” last year as they seemingly tried to “replace” Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson. That was never Stanley Johnson’s game. What Utah has going for themselves is a lot more known commodities as opposed to unknowns. Brandon Taylor is great. Brekkot Chapman is a sophomore! Jakob Poeltl might be the best player in the conference and Dakari Tucker – not Delon Wright – was the one who drove, drew contact and hit two free throws while down a deuce with 18-seconds left against Wichita State. He’s back.
And maybe you don’t like my Arizona analogy (relax, it’s my bread and butter). For the record, it’s probably the most optimistic you’ll find. I looked at Delon’s 2015 comparables (the players, according to KenPom, that most closely resembled Delon’s contributions). This afforded us access to just a small sample set (4 players + Jerian Grant who’s Notre Dame team has yet to play a season without him). The results showed that, the season after a Delon comparable left school, those teams achieved 3 fewer wins, about a 6% drop in offensive efficiency, while approximately maintaining defensive efficiency. Is this the hard and fast rule? Hell no. But I also think this serves as a good reminder of the aforementioned fluidity, brevity and immediacy of college basketball. One player does not a team make (except for Spencer Dinwiddie at Colorado). Heading into a given season we have no barometer but those 30-ish games played by a nearly completely different group. I wonder what the average percentage of returning minutes is across college basketball? For Utah it’s 75% which is very high and – considering the past success of that three-quarters – is good stuff.
Why I love them