Tag Archives: Kevin O’Neil

The Weekend That Was: Good, bad, and ugly

I’m not going to go into great detail on this weekend. There were few thrilling games (although Cal-SDSU lived up to its billing), no compelling match ups (although UCLA lived up to it’s train wreck status, more on that later), and not much scoring (only three of the ten participating Pac-12 teams broke the 70-point mark which ain’t gonna earn you free tacos).

The Good: Stanford and Oregon State are good teams – at least by 2011-12 Pac-12 standards. The Cardinal hosted a decent NC State Wolfpack and won, 76-72. It’s become apparent, if you’re following the national scene, that NC State is becoming the token big conference team giving other big conference teams relevant challenges and subsequent W’s. They’ve now played this role for Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Indiana. Quickly, Chasson Randle is good.

Oregon State was particularly tested but did win, handily over Montana. Lately, I’m having to make the unfortunate argument of which teams are good/bad based on their easy victories. The Beavers, more than other teams, are handling the teams they should and are being rewarded for it on pachoops. I’m going to quit this little rant and just say, keep watching Jared Cunningham.

The Bad: For me, the most appealing storyline of the weekend was self-derived. I proposed this question to my nominal but terrific twitter following:While I received no responses, I thought it was a phenomenal question, my failure was in not following up with my own predictions but one had to assume USC would be a good bet. So as you may or may not know, the Ducks beat the hapless but spirited UCLA Bruins in the aforementioned inaugural Pac-12 Football Championship game, 49-31.

That means, per my question, ten teams played gunning to outscore the Ducks’ 49 points.

A little statistical analysis shows us that on three occasions, a Pac-12 team has not eclipsed this mark. ASU put a 44 spot on the Fairfield Stags, Utah lit up Harvard for 47 big ones, and USC – this Championship weekend – blew up for 40 KOs (that’s what I’m going to call USC’s points this season). Not surprisingly, each of these efforts resulted in a loss.

I’m not going to go much further into this statistical analysis because, frankly, it’s not worth delving deep into poor play. I’m more interested in looking at what good, happened.

The Ugly: On Friday, I asked you to tune into the UCLA-Texas game like you were rubber necking on the 405. Early on, the Bruins did their best to prove they weren’t the awkward situation everyone is quickly making them out to be. They were rolling, up 30-19. Then, the lights went out. Sure, that may read metaphorically but I mean it in a literal sense. With just under four minutes remaining in the first half and the Bruins rolling, the lights went out in the LA Sports Arena. For thirteen minutes, the Bruins and Longhorns were delayed (along with a whopping 6,177 fans in 14,500 seats) for 13 minutes. From that point on, Ben Howland’s sorry troupe was outscored 50-29. For more, read this, and know that Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith combined for 6-points, 6-rebounds, and 24 minutes.

POW: As per league headquarters, Solomon Hill was the player of the week. He continues his solid play, a “jack of all trades” who is “playing better than he ever has” according to his coach, Sean Miller. Hyperbole never hurt anyone, but come on...







While They Were Sleeping: Coaching rants and low riders

USC 56, UC Riverside 35: You hate it. I hate it. Kevin O’Neil loves this crap. He’s got his strewn together squad of transfers and misfits playing just how KO wants. Like the low riders of San Francisco’s Mission (follow that link, good stuff from my buddy Trevor Traynor) KO’s got his boys “slow and low.” Slow: 60.4 possessions per 40 minutes is the fewest in the conference and 341st fewest in the country. Low: 57 points per game is the lowest in the conference and 326th lowest in the country. That’s KO ball. If you’re looking for flashy in the Galen Center, watch the sweatered cheerleaders or KO’s red, glistening dome or Lane Kiffin’s wife. But hey, winning is winning and KO can get that done. Somehow this has turned into a Kevin O’Neil review so back to last night’s game. The Trojans held UCR to just 11 points in the second half which is impressive regardless of how bad an opponent they’re playing. Offensively (giggles), the reigning Pac-12 POW, Maurice Jones, scored just 6 points while struggling from distance (0-6 from three) but dished 7 assists. Impressively, in such a defensive struggle, the Trojans committed just 10 fouls.

Washington St 69, Grambling St 37: Perhaps basking in the glory of the hiring of Mike Leach to guide their maligned football program, Ken Bone’s squad took it to GSU (On the topic of Mike Leach, consider this: he’s about to make $2.2M a year in Pullman, WA. That’s a a 360% raise from what Paul Wulf was making. That pay increase is all Larry Scott and his new TV deal. More to come). In this battle of large breed cats, the Cougars held the Tigers to 25% shooting and just 16% from three. That said, maybe the Cougs had less to do with the poor shooting than we’re giving them credit for? Grambling is now 0-6 and shooting a sweltering 27% as a team, the worst shooting percentage in college basketball. But here’s a Grambling fun fact: sophomore guard Rondale Lucas, through six games, has played every minute but eight. He’s the smallest of the Tigers at 5’10” but is second in rebounding (5.7 rpg). But enough about the SWAC, we’re about the Pac and Brock Motum is rolling. Dare I consider a “Brock for POY” campaign? He went for 11 and 10 last night and is averaging 15 and 7 thus far. I’m telling you, keep an eye on the Motum.

Colorado 64, Colorado State 65: Rivalry fail here. The Buffs, just as we thought they were maybe turning a corner, go and lose to their arch rivals. I suppose one could chock this up to the fact that often rivalry games are a toss up, but Colorado really had a talent advantage here and squandered it. Of course, it never helps to shoot 45% on 29 free throw attempts. Think that makes a difference in a one point game? Also, the high flying Andre Roberson scored all of one point in thirty three minutes.  He did grab twelve boards but when there’s NBA hype, you gotta score more than one point. Sigh – this was yet another Pac-12 fail.