We did it! Or rather they did, the twelve teams of the Pac, completed their regular season. And how about those seniors? Andrews for 47, a week earlier it was Scott as the P12 POW, and then Gabe York going full Steph Curry Bryn Forbes for us.
Alas, we’ve come to the end of scheduled play and our last power rankings. If you’ve followed for all 17 of these posts, here’s what it’s tracked like:
Gabe York once dunked over a kid in a high school game. As York was an Arizona commit, I probably watched that moment on loop 1000 times. The poor kid had no idea it was coming. York elevated over the unsuspecting high schooler and made him poster material (although I think it’s time that we update the insult from posterized to Vined or Tubed or something more to the digital effect). Here it is but know that it’s a featured search result for “Gabe York dunk” Continue reading
There’s a story floating around about Kaleb Tarczewski’s AAU days. I can’t recall where I heard it or even if I’d heard or read the tale. I’m not entirely sure I’m not making it up. But the story goes something like this: Tarc takes a shot to the mouth, dislodging his tooth. He finds the tooth – whether in his mouth or on the floor – and proceeds to the bench…where he hands it to a teammate and carries about the AAU contest.
Consequently, Sean Miller called him the toughest dude he’s ever coached. Continue reading
I could note that Steve Kerr first mentioned Lute Olson on the NBA Champion’s podium or that Adam Silver handed Andre Iguodala the Finals MVP Trophy. Could note that Luke Walton is tracking to be the greatest coach in NBA history or that TJ McConnell is the only player in League history to – it’s pretty ridiculous stat and godbless the kid who researched it – record 12 or more assists in 2 or more of his first 4 games. As Nike would have you know, Arizona basketball doesn’t stop (except for Adidas schools from the 30th State). And it doesn’t project to be taking this year off. Sure they’re out of the AP Top-10 for the first time since before Cuonzo Martin knew who Ivan Rabb was (and now they’re teammates!). But this is a notably new team. For starters, there isn’t a projectable lottery pick on the roster. There isn’t a 6’8″ freak that’s soon to be bullying in a West Coast arena near you. This team isn’t going to be the defensive stalwart you watched for the past two seasons. For Tucsonans, it’s going to be a season of change and they’re going to be uncomfortable with that. Embrace it. This is a year in which we’ll see Sean Miller flexing his coaching acumen. I’ll get into his roster options later, but this Arizona team, while not as sexy as years past, just might be the most fun.
Why I love them
This year it was section 106 of the Staples Center. My brother and I swapped seats in that section’s sixteenth row and Arizona outscored Xavier en route to their second consecutive Elite Eight. It was our second annual (but really billionth) seat swap instigating a Sweet Sixteen comeback. Previously I’d called it sorcery. We even tried it again on Saturday but the only sorcery inside the Staples Center that night was exacted by Sam Dekker. The Sheboygan Sorcerer.
And isn’t it all silly?
Four times Kaleb Tarczewski sad these words as he declared his return to Arizona. He doesn’t’ say much so the repeated phrase presumably meant a lot. I know it resonated with me. After all, we were just weeks removed from a devastating outcome in cursed Anaheim. Kaleb, Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would join TJ McConnell in finishing the 2014 deed. And that’s how this season began: with the expectations of 2014. Continue reading
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?
It’s the second to last week of Pac-12 hoops and the NCAA tournament couldn’t feel any further away. As Spencer and I hammered through Tuesday’s WANE, I felt like any declarations made about NCAA tournament invites were as solid as the World Cup in Qatar. There’s so much significant basketball left to be played. Even this week feels like we’re approaching the elimination stages. Of course the beauty of this game is that there is always the automatic bid carrot looming. Ask Colorado about it, maybe not Washington.
What that also means is that we’re headed towards Senior Days and those guys are my favorites. They embody the inevitability of sudden death that we’re so drawn to hopefully avoid in College Basketball. This whole thing culminates in a 68-team death match. We hope our team survives. Seniors are the Maximii of the game. We know we’ll lose them, but we can hope for a last gasp of heroism before they’re gone. So here’s to you, our stretch-run crew:
TJ McConnell, Anthony Brown, Chasson Randle, DaVonte Lacy, David Kravish, Stefan Nastic, Delon Wright, Shaq McKissic, Joe Young, Shawn Kemp Jr, Mike Anderson, Norman Powell, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Bo Barnes, Jonathan Gilling, and Askia Booker
Let’s see what you’ve got. Continue reading
They are Pac-12 basketball. It’s basically the Conference of Champions because of UCLA. For an entire season they alchemized the “C” on all jerseys to commemorate 100 national titles (Internet Fun: find the best line in this confirming article). UCLA – with Arizona on its heels – is the torchbearer of Pac-12 basketball.
But UCLA’s not there right now. And although they’ve fallen on tougher times we won’t let that diminish this rivalry. GameDay recognizes, why shouldn’t we? UCLA may have dropped what appeared to be a quintessential trap game (ASU is actually pretty good even if their student paper concedes on court success for off court fun), but the Bruins are also 4-1 against Arizona in the last five meetings.
A rivalry it is. Everything we need to know about UCLA:
Because I left my ID in my running shorts I was forced to fly standby to Seattle. In order to arrive by the 6pm tipoff, I needed someone also headed to Seattle to pass in the last second on their seat. Turns out that happens a lot. I made the flight. Basketball-wise, have the Bruins really jumped into the Dance? Do the Cardinal not want to dance? Can Zack LaVine fly? Do you think Kevin O’Neill saw 50 Shades? March approaches and it’s going to be tough to find two-and-a-half hours to watch both parts 1 and 2 of the SNL 40 special.