On November 9, 2011, the sixteenth ranked Arizona Wildcats committed 21 turnovers. They would win that basketball game, 67-59, despite their starting backcourt combining for 2 assists and 8 turnovers. Including guard efforts off the bench, the backcourt numbers balloon to 5 and 11. That was the last game TJ McConnell would lose in the McKale Center. He was a sophomore guard for the Duquesne Dukes and six months later he would transfer to the University of Arizona. Continue reading
We were perusing the upper bowl of the Coors Event Center during halftime of Saturday’s Arizona-CU game when what I can only assume was an undergraduate encouraged me to “leave [my] f**cking stadium.”
But to say I was mistreated in Boulder would be a gross exaggeration. Quite the contrary. In fact, my favorite team in the world won by 27, shot 60%, garnered 1.32 points per possession, yielded no baskets for more than 10-minutes, held Xavier Johnson to 1-10 shooting, Jacob Hazzard got involved, and Aaron Gordon:
I had little to say to that kid. I declined his invitation carried on to my seat and then the rest of the night transpired. We’ll skip the basketball for now and I’ll go straight to a big shout out to the fine gentlemen who recognized me at Absinthe. I can only hope that the DJ has changed tunes by now and I thank you boys for the drinks.
And I thank you, Boulder, for another glorious trip. I beg an answer as to how I entered the Dark Horse (and its appropriate bathroom) in a T-shirt and jeans and exited to snow? Do the Wildcats bring the snow? We all know they brought the heat but was it snow, too? Alas, I saw old friends and new and a loud, involved crowd. On the latter, speaking bluntly, that crowd had little to cheer Saturday night. The aforementioned successes of my Wildcats gave them nothing to make noise for and Tad Boyle himself said they deserved more. But the effort those fans gave was impressive. It was deafeningly loud and while the Wildcats had an answer for each of their roars, the loyal Buffaloes responded with great support for their seniors, sending Ben Mills and Beau Gamble off in deserving senior fashion. Furthermore, Ben Mills’ family lead the Harlem Shake.
I booked things at the wrong Marriott but we got little else wrong that weekend. Once again the Shady Pony (I like this nickname) treated us right and then it was off to The Sink and a conglomeration of drinking establishments that saw us have a ball and a dance event. It’s what running around a college town is about. And when the night was down and the sun up, stories were shared, the game relived and brunch was had with the most dense number of attractive people I may have ever seen. Bravo, Highland Tap and Burger. The DJ was a heavy touch but the clientele made up for the noise. Good burger.
If I rode in your car, thanks for that.
As for the basketball, I’ll take the perspectives of two people. First, Tad Boyle. From his seat and in his shoes I’m torching that game tape. There’s nothing to look at and nothing to learn. An opposing team shot 60% in your house, there was poor effort, poor execution, and a general abandonment of the game plan. Address these items (defense on screens, 4 transition shots, general effort, etc.) and move along. No sense in dwelling.
Our second perspective shall be my own. I’ve already discussed some of the more impressive notes from Arizona’s game above and in yesterday’s review. Arizona’s tour d’force was an announcement of sorts but I was most impressed by the Wildcats’ bench. As I walked the upper loop, dismissing vitriolic requests of departure, I overheard rather valid commentary about CU’s position (down just 6) considering the half they’d just played. I mean, they’d started the game 0-14 from the field and to be down six was something of a miracle. Or at least a whistle. Because in a span of twenty game seconds, each of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (5:12), Kaleb Tarczewski (5:04), and Aaron Gordon (4:52) picked up their second fouls. The Buffs were down twelve and Arizona was left to a lineup with a local from Tucson (Matt Korcheck) and a kid named Pitts. Before you could say CUnit, Colorado had rattled off seven straight. Five point game. Arizona timeout
Gordon and Tarczewski wouldn’t play the rest of the half if memory serves me correctly but the Wildcats would give up no further real estate during that final 4:37 of the half. It was this critical juncture, a moment when the most hostile crowd was itching to blow the Keg’s roof off, when a multitude of infrequently used players responded to their coaches plea to defend and opportunistically score. They did, like a set up man getting the ball to Mariano, they weathered that storm. And when the closers came in – again, after it was requested I get the f*** out – well they only missed four more shots.
Of final note, a closing observation, I saw a familiar application in use in front of us about mid-second half. The game was getting out of hand but in this young patron’s hand was a phone and an app and photos and swipes. Yes, I witnessed in-game-Tindering and the most notable was a a photo peruse of what appeared to be rather attractive lady. Photo 1 seemed adequate so he sauntered to the second. Attractive women plus child. Right swipe. App closed. Back to the game.
For you, Boulder, I’d swipe right.
A good friend of mine, who unfortunately does not get mentioned in this WANE, is both a Broncos fan and an Arizona basketball fan. He also lives in New York and went to the Super Bowl. Needless to say, Matt felt this was the worst sports weekend ever.
In this WANE we discuss how Arizona adjusts moving forward and Spencer has something of a pep talk at the tail end of it all. The Wildcats are going to be fine, don’t read message boards or ESPN comments, listen to WANE:
0:00 – First musical intro. Thoughts?
0:54 – Spencer inadvertently admits that we recorded another WANE prior to this one.
0:58 – Positivity! “Let’s talk about things going forward!” And then Spencer shows some East Bay love to Elliot Pitts.
1:59 – Adam’s debut in this WANE and he drops the term “macro” and discusses Arizona’s program and Miller’s body of work. Also a complete WANE moment when he dives into Big 12 hoops. Big mistake. But who drops “macro” outside of a corporate office. Comeonman.
4:00 – A weird noise occurs.
4:20 – Aaron Gordon’s role seemingly moves from the three to the four where many think he’s best suited. He moves closer to the basket which could help him considering he’s 9-37 over the past three games.
5:25 – TJ McConnell the scorer?
6:40 – Some effusing on Brandon and how good he is and what a bummer not getting to play is including some awkward talk about things that get Adam sad.
8:45 – Team chemistry conversation. It’s referenced, but don’t go watch the Kevin Ware video.
10:19 – Adam egregiously butchers the names of two different Jewish sports journalists. It’s really effing brutal.
11:33 – A budding conversation on how Arizona is still the conference favorite. But different.
12:07 – Is Arizona still a national title contending team? (hint: Yes.)
14:07 – What direction do the Wildcats take from here? A discussion of Matt Korcheck.
15:20 – SHOUT OUT TO TUCSON’S SABINO HIGH SCHOOL (who I once beat, 7-2, with 10Ks)
15:56 – Are the reserves reserves because they’re not good, they’re just not as good, or what? They’re going to play now.
16:56 – Grant Jerrett?
17:29 – McDonald’s AA bragging.
17:49 – Smaller Cats: what’s that like and more Elliott Pitts, East Bay love.
19:04 – Another weird noise…
19:25 – Was the panic button tickled? An eventual PSA from WANE to not read the comments. Plus, Spencer with a phenomenal pop-culture analogy.
20:14 – The first mention of an actual game in the post-Ashley era. Adam wishes the Ducks good luck
22:36 – A STAT!
24:19 – ANOTHER AWESOME STAT!
24:47 – Spencer forgets his last point then goes on again about Pitts
25:26 – Public Service Announcement
25:29 – THE SPENCER B SMITH PEP TALK TO WILDCAT NATION!