Tag Archives: Ken Bone

ONE AND DONE SEASON!

I really don’t want to dive deep into a preview of this tournament. Or any post-season for that matter.

I could tell you that I really like Arizona’s talent or that Shabazz, Jahii, Askia, Crabbe/Cobbs, or Powell are terrifying in single elimination. We could touch on which Stanford team we think shows up in Vegas and whether or not my buddy Matt is right when he just says, “Dammitalltohell! Oregon State’s gonna win it!”

How healthy or unhealthy is Dre Roberson? Can Brock carry a big run? Will the Huskies play their way out? Is Oregon in a breakable slump? Why has “Judo Ken Bone” twice been Googled this week in arriving at PacHoops.com?

All things to ponder.

Right now I’m ecstatic that we’ll be treated to a rivalry game and a 5-12 matchup that features a twelfth seeded Oregon State Beavers squad that just beat the fifth seeded Buffaloes. And all the rest of it.

But come this time of year, I prefer the Billy Beane school of thinking. Have you seen or read Moneyball? The entire story centers upon the agonizing work Beane and his staff put in to creating the best possible baseball team they can on a limited budget. They are painstakingly trying to win. But when asked about the playoffs, what Beane’s approach to the most critical time of year is when legacies are cemented and legends born, Beane says, “My job is to get us to the playoffs. Everything after that is fucking luck.”

Well my job isn’t really to get anyone to the playoffs. It’s actually completely unrelated and if you’re ever interested email me and we can discuss it but I guarantee you it’s a complete tangent from college basketball or Moneyball or really anything remotely pertaining to a final score.

I spend the working months of the season trying to rationalize every piece of the year. I want to fathom just what effect Shabazz will have on his team or Arizona’s three bigs on their squad or whether Ahmad Starks really can spark the team defense Craig Robinson so glaringly lacks. I rationalize that some of these teams aren’t as good as expected and others are better. Basically I try my best to meld the summer’s recruiting gossip, the preseason’s practice hype, and then actual game play into some rational argument for whatever the hell is going on.

Until now.

Similar to how Beane said it, all bets are off. This is tournament time and we’re in the midst of one game seasons. While “anything is possible” is an overplayed phrase this time of year…anything is possible.

It’s to this hope that we cling and there’s a reason for that hope, a rationalization of irrationality I suppose. No longer are we seeking the best over the course of 30-games. Because that’s when luck – as Beane puts it – can be diluted. Across 30-or-more-games, the cream is going to rise to the top. The aberrations and anomalies will be weeded out.

But now this is where we thrive, the fans. This may be Billy Beane’s nightmare but it’s a fan’s dream. It’s why we’re fans.

That finite peek at some semblance of hope that our team, on this night, on that court, might have a shot to make the shot and win a game they might otherwise have no business competing in.

At this point in the year we know every bar that can broadcast the Pac-12 Network. And the ones that don’t. We know the spot we can watch an FSN broadcast and we all have an opinion on Bill Walton. And we know our own team inside and out and that isn’t about to stop us from picking them to win this damn thing and Dance.

Somewhere across these great interwebs I will and have made some rational prognostications. But here, in this moment, know that my favorite part is the fucking luck.

Waxing Seniority: Brock Motum

With the regular season now wrapped and the Pac-12’s seniors having played their final home games, we’re taking a tour across the conference and bidding this group of seniors farewell.

Jeff Nusser is a writer and editor at CougCenter. He’s a long time fan of the Cougars’ program and a tremendously knowledgeable basketball mind.

Brock Motum was one of those players who seemed to blow up onto the scene. After nominal freshman and sophomore campaigns, Motum entered his junior year with modest expectations. And then went on to have one of the most productive and efficient seasons we’ve had the pleasure of watching.

His senior year wasn’t quite at the same level as last year, but Motum had another very good year and will be remembered as one of the All-Time great Cougars.

It’s a shame he didn’t get more recognition for his talents as he was often overshadowed by WSU’s general mediocrity and inability to win significantly.

But that should not serve as a deterrent to celebrating Motum’s productive career and the joy it was to watch him play.

Read Jeff Nusser’s wrap up of Motum’s career.

College Basketball is Here. Right?

If we were to have a preseason montage in the mold of One Shining Moment it’d be full of dudes lifting weights and sprinting and sweating and academically qualifying and shooting mundane jumpers against brooms.

And I’d watch the hell out of it.

Ok so that’s not going to get produced unless Kickstarter makes an accounting error and my grandma’s $25 dollar check gets deposited as $25k. If that does happen, can someone please drop me Vandross’ digits? I got a montage to make.

It’s here. Your team will soon be practicing like a Rich Rodriguez off-season workout and you couldn’t be more upset with the pundits’ preseason evaluations; you’re higher on your freshman class’s upside than Vitale on Duke (unless you’re Washington who’s devoid any pups); you’re scrounging the interwebs for sources on team chemistry and you’ve evaluated the best road games to attend and booked a hotel block in Vegas for early March.

But I struggle with this Friday.

It’s practice. Bounce passes and defensive drills and whistles and laps. There isn’t a scoreboard telling me my team is better than yours; the ultimate reason I’m a fan. Sure, I could attend a practice and tell you that guard X looks tough on defense and forward Y appears really bulked up. But until whatever happened since the last buzzer sounded in March manifests itself in Novermber, it’s all speculation. Because even Yi Jianlian’s chair looked filthy in practice.

And I’ve thought a lot about what this Friday means. Is it the beginning of the season? Sorta. I’m still going to be watching football all day Saturday. In moments of off-season jubilation I’d hashtag question #IsItNovemberYet – a meme I didn’t realize had political connotations. So there has got to be a reason I wasn’t curious whether or not it was October.

Well my curiosity rests around November because I want ball games and competition and all of the storylines to unfold. I want to see Sean Miller and Ken Bone in suits, not sweats. I want to see Ben Howland call a timeout. I want to see Tad Boyle killing large game animals. God dammit, I want to see Johnny Dawkins smile.

I get none of that on October 12 (but my birthday is the 14th so I’m definitely getting new clothes – thanks, Mom – and the sappiest damn card – love you too, Pops).

But you know what we do get on 10/12? We get a taste. Just the slightest morsel to chew on for one more month but it’s finally something tangible. It’s like shaking your gifts the night before Christmas to see what’s inside (someone confirm this for me? I’m Jewish). That first official practice is our first opportunity to stop reading about 2016 recruits and start fathoming real things like tempo-full and tempo-free stats. Oh, and wins. Because that’s all that really matters, right?

We’re not there yet. We’ve just arrived at Oz’s emerald gate and now the little guy’s just got to let us in. But that’s pretty damn close.

And I’ll be sure to let y’all know if my Kickstarter funding comes through.

 

Round 2 Takedown Shakedown: The Results & onto the Semis

Round 2 is in the books. It was ferocious and it appears that some of our contestants are growing stronger like this season of The Wire (that’s a complete fabrication as I have not yet dabbled in the show; yet making Wire references in sports columns is en vogue so please understand that was my attempt at a contemporary simile). Frightening.

Bozo stumbled out of the gate which, to the untrained eye, appeared to be a rope-a-dope but in reality it was just a vicious hangover. Per the typical KO aesthetic, this was a grind it out defensive bore that he won on underwhelming things like technical jabs, timely stoppages, and crazy hair. And, if you’ll recall our match preview, we likened this bout to Voldemort v. Potter and how Harry was channeling all that love from his family to overcome the pure evil of He Who Must Not Be Named. Remember? Well LoRo couldn’t channel enough Seattle basketball love what with KD5 and Westbrook scoring a combined 57 in the All-Star game and Durantula taking MVP honors home. Salt, meet wound.

The round’s second fight featured Whooping and K. Know that Sean Miller does his homework. He knew what he was up against and knew it would take great effort to upset the fourth seeded, 6’9″ beast of Montana Grizzlies-lore. In this tilt, Miller was undersized and understrengthed. He was essentially destined to lose. But he didn’t. Despite all of K’s confidence, preparedness, and viciousness, he forgot one very important fact and Whooping leaves no stone unturned. Whooping discovered, following extensive research, a home visit, and lots of bribery, that K once, on his seventh grade B team, dropped a pass from a teammate the resulted in a turnover. Sean doesn’t like dropped passes. Subsequently Sean rolled K, 254-76 (most votes single round votes, all-time).

Our third bout kinda breaks my heart because maybe he can’t help it? Maybe Johnny Dawkins wants to smile but he just can’t? Alas, the beating Tad put on Johnny (229-53) would be enough to make anyone never smile again and I imagine the Cruel Cardinal is now legitimately incapable of such. The meat paws of the Colorado Cranium were once again overwhelming to a Bay Area head coach as Big Boyle advances. Plus you must keep in mind that this is a “no holds barred, rule-less, lawless” tournament so it should come as no surprise that this is happening. Eff ’em up, eff ’em up, GO CU!

The closing match of Round 2 featured a peripheral, side-battle of sidekicks. The Capacious Corvallian, with a suspiciously large entourage of stoic square jaws with impressive GPAs from renowned universities, found a way to do what the Headless Horsemen could not: defeat Ichabod. It wasn’t easy – or pretty – but big Craig came out the winner. I don’t want to know what or how the secret service handled Miyagi but he was rendered a non-factor in this match. It’s one of those DADT situations we don’t need to meddle in. Congratulations on the win, Craig.

Next up? The semifinals open 3/5.

Round 2 of the Pac-12 Coaches Death Match

Round 2 voting has closed. Read about the fights here.

Michael Buffer already said it. Rumbling is upon us and that means Round 2 is here. Last time in the cage, the top seeds advanced, handling their opponents with varied levels of ease or otherwise.

But now we found ourselves at Round 2. The top seeds enter. WHO. WILL. SURVIVE?

(Voting closes 3/2)

#8 Lorenzo Romar vs. #1 Kevin O'Neill

  • #1 Kevin "Bruisin' Boozin' Bozo" O'Neill (51%, 138 Votes)
  • #8 Lorenzo "HecEd Hammer" Romar (49%, 130 Votes)

Total Voters: 268

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The HecEd Hammer rolled in his first round victory but now faces the Bruisin’ Boozin’ Bozo. The man who hasn’t given a rat’s back end since, well, never. Problem for KO is that LoRo does nothing but care. It’s kind of like when Voldemort swiftly kills Harry in HP7b and he finds himself dead in that white-on-white-on-white train station talking to Gandalf with that weird fetus thing under the bench but manages to come back to life because he’s so damn loved. LoRo is Harry. KO is Voldemort. Could these two re-write the Greatest Story Ever Told?

#5 Sean Miller vs. #4 K

  • #5 Sean "Whooping" Miller (76%, 254 Votes)
  • #4 K (24%, 79 Votes)

Total Voters: 333

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Our second matchup involves Whooping and K. The first year guy at Utah has been called intense and why not? He’s an unsettling 6’9″, sports that goater and made the league out of the University of Montana. HAM no doubt. But he will be fighting Whooping:

Please catch the ball when it is passed to you, Angelo.

 

#7 Tad Boyle vs. #2 Johnny Dawkins

  • #7 Tad "Colorado Cranium" Boyle (81%, 229 Votes)
  • #2 Johnny "Cruel Cardinal" Dawkins (19%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 282

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The huge dome served Tad well in Round 1 but now he faces the smileless-wonder, the stone grilled assassin, the Cruel Cardinal, Johnny D. Considering his Cardinal just lost to the worst team (Utah) to ever join a major conference until USC’s 2011-12 season, I’m guessing the Cruel Cardinal is vying for blood. But Boyle isn’t about to roll over and surrender to the frown. He’s the coach that killed a bear after all and has hands the could choke a blue whale. We’re in for blows.

#6 Craig Robinson vs. #3 Ken Bone

  • #6 Craig "Capacious Corvallian" Robinson (56%, 114 Votes)
  • #3 Ken "Ichabod" Bone (44%, 89 Votes)

Total Voters: 203

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He’s been described as unassuming, simple, and soft. He’s also defeated a haunted horseman who rides around carrying his own goddamn head. Are you kidding me? I ain’t messing with that guy and he so clearly DGAF that this happened. The Capacious Corvallian, with the help of lil’ sister and her husband’s bevy of ear pieced aid, may (or may not) have their hands full with the crazy eyed gangle-body from Pullman.

Round 1 Takedown Shakedown: The Results

Swift blows, heavy hits, judo chops, piledrivers, closely contested bouts. Whatever verbiage you’d like to use here, four men are moving on. Four are gone. Eight remain. [insert the striking of Zeus’ bolt, here]

The 8/9 matchup opened tight. Altman and the Nike brass threw all they could at sweet LoRo until they became just another moment that MJ will list as a failure for his post-third-retirement This is Why I Succeed poster. Reality of it is that the HecEd Hammer ended Dana; slapping him up and down the ring with a stack of Uncle Phil’s Benjamin’s until he cried “uncle” because Altman looks like a dude who needs to surrender by saying “uncle.”

Soon after the cleanup crew scraped the neon out of the mat, Boyle and Monty took center stage and this one went the distance. The eno-weathered veteran used his tact, wit, and GSW mandated self-defense to stay close to the thunder paws of the Colorado Cranium who never quite controlled the match but does appear to have the ability to kill a bear (see below). Alas, Tad advances.

Courtesy of SkidMark at allbuffs.com

And then the Westwood Wailer and Capacious Corvallian decided to go ahead and take it to another level. Or was it a match no one wanted to win? However you slice it, this bout was decided by three votes. Three votes. Or roughly two fewer halves than Reeves Nelson was suspended for prior to being ousted not unlike his maligned coach by the biggest of Beavers.

The final tilt was not your classic case of saving the best for last as it was indeed the worst for last. Whooping took the Tempe Terror to task and didn’t look back. He received the most votes (110) in annihilating the Herbivore who received the fewest (35) then curled up in James Harden’s beard for a soft cry.

Be ready, get ready as Round 2 begins tomorrow and you know the top-4 seeds are itching to battle.

In fact, Bruizin’ Boozin’ Bozo just ate the entire backside of a cow and washed it down with a bottle of Jack while doing his clown makeup and staring down Ichabod who was simultaneously juggling (borrowing Bozo’s flaming juggling daggers) and holding crane posses for Miyagi in a fruitless effort to get the Cruel Cardinal to smile while he watched the Worst Cry Ever on repeat utterly stone faced. Of course K was just in the corner chewing metal.

Tomorrow.

The First Ever Pac-12 Coaches Death Match

Update: The battle has begun. Start voting.

Introducing the first ever Pac-12 Coaches Death Match. This is a no holds barred, rule-less, lawless tournament style bout to the heart stop in which we’ve diligently seeded the twelve coaches of the Conference of Champions and pitted them in respective bouts. Winners advance based on your voting and the tournament format mirrors the Pac-12 tournament.

Vote, comment, share. Often.

The Rules:

  • Round 1: Voting is open from 2/23 – 2/27. The opening round bouts will feature the 5-12 seeds as the top 4 seeds received a first-round bye.
  • Round 2: Voting is open from 2/29 – 3/2.
  • Semifinals: Voting is open from 3/5 – 3/7.
  • Finals: Voting is open from 3/8 – 3/11 and the winner will be announced on 3/12.

The seeding process was extensive and executed by James of allbuffs.com and myself via gchat, gmail, and the consult of Google image search.

Finally, the contenders:

  1. Kevin “Bruisin’ Boozin’ Bozo” O’Neill, USC – Anyone who has fought a booster – the backbone of all things collegiate – is fearless. It wouldn’t surprise me if school giving saw a spike soon after his tiff with that AZ booster but this ain’t about old money. It’s about one crazy man who looks like a red faced, psycho clown with a tremendously biting wit throwing Trojan crosses and haymakers. Plus he has the look of a man who can handle his bourbon. Bozo brawling.
  2. Johnny “Cruel Cardinal” Dawkins, Stanford – Have you ever seen him smile? One time the left side of his mouth lightly curled when Trent Johnson took the heat for not recruiting Jeremy Lin but then he remembered that his starting PG was Aaron Bright.
  3. Ken “Ichabod” Bone, Washington State – It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the crazy in the dog. Ichabod got a lot of crazy, significant reach, and Miyagi riding shotgun.
  4. K, Utah – Dude’s 6’9” and you can’t pronounce his last name which is the same qualifications as that guy Jason Bourne killed with a ball point pen. And sure that dude may have died, but he took Bourne to the brink. Savage.
  5. Sean “Whooping” Miller, Arizona – Don’t let the incessant cough fool you, Whooping is tough as nails and loves to fight. Do you want to come after a guy who was proud of the XU-Cincinnati melee? Me either and bear in mind that he has Joe “Pele” Pasternack in his corner.
  6. Craig “Capacious Corvallian” Robinson, Oregon State – Not only is he a big dude but he’s backed by the Oval Office. It was hotly debated whether or not the Secret Service was permitted but ultimately their activities are secret so how would we ever know? Toss in the fact that he isn’t the tightest body and lil’ sis runs Let’s Move to fight childhood obesity so clearly he DGAF.
  7. Tad “Colorado Cranium” Boyle, Colorado – Disrespected in the preseason hoops polls. Disrespected here. Sleeper? Dude’s also 6’4” with a dome that looks like a place jabs go to die and hands the size of Andre The Giant’s torso.
  8. Lorenzo “HecEd HammerRomar, Washington – Don’t let the smiles and sweetness soften you. It’s rumored he doesn’t even swear. But it is in fact this very sensitivity to his community that makes him a contender. He’ll be channeling the anger of disenfranchised Sonics fans, growing in strength with every Harden, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Durant basket.
  9. Dana “Nike Knuckler” Altman, Oregon – It’s hard to take someone in a fight named “Dana” seriously (unless there’s Jell-O/KY/poles involved in which case bet the farm), but when you have full access to Uncle Phil’s checkbook, the narrative tends to shift. Plus he’ll probably come out in something more advanced than Bruce Wayne could ever conjure up – although it’d still be matte black (Note: during seeding we did not succumb to a significant opportunity at financial gain which I am not at liberty to discuss further).
  10. Mike “Bay Hopper” Montgomery, Cal – Having coached every relevant team in the Bay Area (Stanford, Golden State, Cal) has Monty grown soft like a Napa Winery? Never. Do not discredit the now longtime Bay Area local. After all, he was the head coach of the Warriors – the same position held by PJ Carlesimo – and excelled in his mandatory self-defense coursework.
  11. Ben “Westwood Wailer” Howland, UCLA – He has the scowl, the bark, the crazy eyes, the look. He also has a 2011-12 season in which he’s seemingly lost the will to live. You might too if your boss was Dan Guerrero and your fan base UCLA’s. The most exciting thing about the Westwood Wailer’s involvement in this tournament is when he disrobes we’ll finally see that he had been going tattoo for tattoo with Reeves Nelson. Gnarly.
  12. Herb “Tempe Terror” Sendek, ASU – OK, so he’s roughly 4’11” and 90lbs sopping wet. And looks like your accountant. And tweets things like this, this, and this. He clearly doesn’t have the look of a killer, but maybe that’s exactly how he’s about to roll you?

Q&A with AllBuffs.com: Fights, Bids, & Tempe

The good group over at allbuffs.com had a few questions for me heading into Colorado’s visit to Tucson Thursday night. We talked a little about kicking coaches, a little about a school in Phoenix, touched on the Buff’s chances to win less than a mile high, and broached a few other hoops related topics. As open conversations go, we learned I’m still not over Derrick Williams’ presence at Arizona.

Now I have no personal experience with this but you know how when you first get into prison you have to pick out the biggest, baddest MoFo in the joint and fight him? Yeah, everyone knows that. So you pick him out, pop him a couple times and likely find yourself abused. But it immediately gets you respect and out of trouble so long as you’re not a complete idiot.

That’s sort of what the AllBuffs guys have done. Check out their rivalry manifesto. I love it. They’ve picked the Arizona Wildcats and why not? New to the conference, they’re coming after the cream of the crop, the leaders of the Pac, the belle of the ball, the bee’s knees, the team with the most going for them. I mean, take a peak at this picture, which of these coaches do you think has the biggest, baddest, most MoFo of a program?

Yeah. I’d say you picked right Colorado.

Best of luck and thanks for talking Pac-12 hoops with me. I have got to get out to Boulder for a game soon because you may not be able to win at altitude, but you sure can party.

Week 5 Pac-12 Basketball Preview

This post can also be found at ryanrecker.com. His latest podcast is with ESPN 1490’s Jody Oehler, who makes a very fair criticism’s of Sean Miller. Check it out.

The unfortunate reality is the Pac-12 is gaining steam as a one bid league. Woof.

We head into hump weekend as we’re half way to the Staples Center and some sort of separation needs to occur. It just has to. Someone must assert their place atop this conference. It’ll happen? Right? And now I’m begging.

Allow me to spell out a feasible weekend scenario for you. Stanford beats Cal in Berkeley; OSU beats Oregon in Eugene; UW and Colorado split on the road (Arizona and LA, respectively); Arizona sweeps at home. It could occur, yeah? Two rivalry games in which anything can happen, road splits, home sweeps. Feasible.

That scenario would leave us with a six-way tie for first place. I bold and italicize that because I only have three  font options here and the third is strike-thru. There is no other way to demonstrate the absurdity of a six-way tie halfway through conference play.

Alas, the schedule.

TV Complaint: This week I’m going to dish some broadcast props. Colorado’s visit to USC will be shown on USCTrojans.com. For $5 you can watch the game or sign up for an extended plan and subsequently more games. This certainly works for a growing and excitable CU basketball community and no doubt for the entirety of Arrogant Nation. Not all of us necessarily have uber-dishes are exuberant cable packages, but we do have access to the interwebs and whatever it can broadcast. Thinking free-er picture, the worldwide leader is headed to Tucson. The doors of McKale will open at 6am PST as Jay, Rece, Digger, Hubert, and the College GameDay crew host their weekly show and game of the week. The Wildcats are putting on their second annual whiteout against UW aired on ESPN prime time. Any publicity is good publicity and the worldwide leader is amongst the most self-serving. For such, expect to hear a lot of great things said about some not-so-great Pac-12 teams in order to garner some interest in the prime time tip.

Game of the Weekend: Well if ESPN is going to call it theirs then I have to call it mine. The Washington Huskies travel to Tucson for the national broadcast, a battle of two teams that continue to search for their identities. UW may be the more talented group – Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten can be filthy good – but Arizona is deeper. With the Wildcats returning to the friendly confines and a raucous crowd, freshman Nick Johnson will be looking to get back on track. In conference play, the pup is shooting 50% at home compared to a putrid 38% outside of the 520 and he seemingly disappeared inside of the Coors Center last Saturday. Of course the freshman to pay attention to is Tony Wroten. The Husky lefty can fill it up and undoubtedly plays a vital role in the Dawgs’ success but has an unfortunate knack for turning the ball over. His 78 turnovers are the eighth most in the nation. This is a terrific rivalry game and Arizona AD, Greg Byrne, has done a tremendous job in promoting it as such. While we can toss out the idea that both teams need this game to be taken seriously (no Pac-12 team received even a single vote in either poll), both teams need this win to take themselves seriously. Arizona is 4-3 without having beaten any of the top eight teams in the conference (pending tonight’s WSU game) and UW hasn’t A) won in Tucson since 2006 B) won much of anything outside of Seattle under Romar. If nothing else, like I said, UW-AZ is a terrific watch. Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

Game to Avoid: Maybe the best part about the aforementioned six-way tie scenario is that seven of this weekend’s ten games involve a “contender.” That leaves us Utah @ UCLA, WSU @ ASU, and Utah @ USC as the only meaningless ball games. I hate that this section is quickly becoming a rain-on-USC/ASU/Utah section but these are three of the worst teams in all of college basketball. That said, let’s not lose track of the truth that UCLA is mentioned here. Their 2011-12 woes are well documented and there’s no need to rehash. My latest Westwood/Anaheim/Watts concern is stemming from Ben Howland’s press conference. Read his quotes on Josh Smith (here and here). All I hear are excuses and for a kid who already struggles to get it together, Howland sounds like an enabler. I don’t like that. I don’t agree with that and for such I think we can finally stick a real fork in the Bruins’ season. Hosting the woeful Utes (despite coming off a blowout win) is not worth your time considering it wasn’t worth Smith’s time to get in shape.

Something to Prove: Stemming from that little UCLA rant I think it’s the Colorado Buffaloes who have the most to prove this weekend. I’m fascinated by this team and truly think they’re legit contenders. As such, the Buffs should be expected to sweep this weekend in Los Angeles. USC is awful and UCLA has a fork in their side making it arguably the easiest weekend for any of the “contenders.” But these are also only the third and fourth road games for Boyle’s Boys – a team that is just 2-5 when not playing at the Coors Center. I’m high on Oregon right now because they’ve been winning road games and for a conference whose home teams are 33-11, winning on the road becomes the un-equalizer. CU is playing as good as anyone at home, let’s see what they can do on the road. Vegas doesn’t think much of them as they’re just a half-point favorite tonight (at USC) and I can’t imagine they’ll be favored on Saturday. But Vegas, Shmegas. The trick is believing you’re good and I think Tad Boyle has Spencer DinWiddie and the rest of the Buffs believing.

Something to Lose: They’re not holding on to much but the Arizona Wildcats are hosting and really cannot afford a split. Their 4-3 record is nothing short of disappointing but, what’s worse, it’s starting to look fitting. If everyone else is winning at home, so too should the Wildcats if they want to win this up-for-grabs conference. As we’ve already put a fork in UCLA , a split or worse this weekend – while no one is technically ever out of this race – would probably take Arizona out of serious contention and nowhere near the bubble they’re lingering on in some discussions. But, because they are still on some bubbles, this weekend is huge for the Wildcats. It was in fact this very ESPN, whiteout, UW game last year that catapulted Derrick Williams into the national spotlight – perhaps costing Arizona his presence on this roster. The UW game is no doubt recognized as significant. But – like I just did – Arizona cannot overlook a suddenly sultry WSU Cougar team. Faisal Aden can’t miss – or is at least shooting FTs like he’s Derrick Williams – and Brock Motum can cause problems for that small AZ roster. I can’t imagine Ken Bone’s team would have a problem playing spoiler. Bear down or bow out.

Weekend YouTuber: I keep saying it along with everyone else: the Pac-12 is not good and if our six-way first place scenario plays out, well … oh man. It’s like the Pac-12 barely knows what it’s doing. It’s bad. But it’s not this bad:

 

 

What to Watch for in the Pac-12 Conference Season

Conference play is here and while there are many legitimate basketball related things to watch for – like games and such – here are some under-the-radar stories to keep an eye on. Enjoy.

Is Utah going to be biblically bad?
Sure, the eyeball test tells us that the Utes are bad. As do the RPI rankings, scoreboards, statistics, and probably Krystkowiak himself. But isn’t that the fun of it? While we all root of eternal greatness, why can’t we eagerly anticipate a defeated season – in fact the second since 2008 (Oregon State). The Utes could be biblically bad but unfortunately so too is the conference, lessening the odds of an oh-for-eighteener. But hey, like that little kid in Angels in the Outfield kept saying, “It could happen!”

Will Kevin O’Neill try to fight another booster?
With all eyes on Matt Barkley, Lane Kiffin, and the now uninhibited Trojan football program, will KO go buck wild and fight anyone he wants? Odds are against it but again, we’re talking about this guy. A good quote and a coach who can get a lot out of his players, he does tend to leave a trail of destruction in his path. I recommend not getting in his way but then again, he probably stands to lose a lot more than you.

Joe Burton – Josh Smith: The Big-off
Read the following in your best Michael Buffer voice: in the Los Angeles corner, standing six-feet, ten-inches tall, and a soft three hundred and ten pounds…JOSH SMITH. From the Corvalis corner, a six-feet, seven-inch two-hundred and eighty pound baby face, Joeeeeeeee Burton! These two, hefty as they may be, manage to toss around the weight for good. Smith is still looking to find some semblance of conditioning and when he does he’s capable of big things. Burton has been a serviceable center, capable of putting up formidable numbers while also playing a facilitators role in Craig Robinson’s Princeton offense (3.8 apg). These two will rumble off just once this season, January 19 in Corvalis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Sean Miller clear whatever is in his throat?
If you’ve ever watched Miller patrol the sidelines, you know he’s a pretty fiery dude. That said, he also is constantly hacking and coughing away, an assumed attempt to clear his throat. With another edge-of-your-seat-this-ain’t-gonna-be-easy type season in Tucson, Miller no doubt needs all of his voice to convey his message to the youthful Wildcats. Perhaps try some lozenges, Coach?

 

 

 

 

Will Ken Bone finally be caught by the headless horseman?
Ichabod. Ken. Ken. Ichabod. Discuss.

 

 

 

 

 

Who will be the first to posterize someone?
The hoppy Nick Johnson?

The powerful Jared Cunningham?

The stretchy Andre Roberson?

The acrobatic Terrence Ross?

Or someone else?