The Pac-12 tournament isn’t so much an exercise in basketball competition (that was great) as it is an event. A destination for hoopniks to congregate in a city that allows them to stay up past their bedtimes and participate in all manner of fandom. I watched eleven basketball games. Some of them were close and others were sharpied at the second media timeout. I met Ken Pomeroy and completely froze in the moment. I wish I’d asked if he could tell when exactly his numbers were predictably significant. After all, the college basketball season is only about 30 games long. That’s brief. Is that sample size significant to predicting a team’s performance? Similarly it’s been just three tournaments in Las Vegas. What do we really know about it? Is the fun we’ve had the shiny newness? The experiential equivalent of Washington being ranked 13th in the nation. It’s a small sample size and very few would be quick to celebrate the tournament’s Los Angeles iteration. Continue reading
We were a three pointer by a struggling if not disinterested first teamer from having the 10, 11, and 12 seeds advance. That’s contrary to the norm. The least tightly contested game featured the two most closely ranked teams. That’s contrary to the norm. Dan Kingma had nine points. That’s contrary to the norm. Of course we didn’t come to Vegas expecting chalk or things to go precisely according to plan (although I did remember to bring my ID to the airport for this trip. Big win.).
So what was Day 1 like? Maybe we call it a practice run? The MGM Grand Arena wasn’t quite bubbling to the top but – and this needs to be said – the PA guy called 4 games with unwavering enthusiasm. And he’ll be back at it again for Day 2. As for the basketball?
We have The Pac-12 Pundit, Zack Rosenblatt, back on the Pod to monitor the bubble, dole out awards, knock on given awards, and discuss VEGAS VEGAS VEGAS. Let me tell you – this is a whole lot of Pod. There’s Wildcat love, Dawkins hate, Duck and Dana love, Bruin indifference, and some Tinkle adoration. We agree, disagree, laugh, and I don’t think anyone cried. Good season, we March on.
WANE (and on SoundCloud):
Because we’re honest with each other, Spencer and I really weren’t sure what to Pod-out this week. Arizona had wrapped the conference, Stanford was Dawkinsing, UCLA is just letting things play out, and – well – Oregon has impressed. But then 30-minutes of Pac-12 basketball pre-tournament-and-everything-we-love-about-college-basketball was discussed. The madness may have already begun, but now is the calm before the Vegas. Before the Dance.
WANE (and on SoundCloud):
The combined score differential yesterday was 75 and no one saw that coming. Noting such would suggest that it wasn’t a great day. Ben told me he felt gypped. Free throws aside, Utah didn’t score for 692 seconds. Oregon missed all of the threes and the Pac-12’s defensive player of the year? Good job and good effort. Stanford posted the highest offensive efficiency against the Sun Devils of anyone this season. You can also read that as ASU’s worst defensive effort.
Point being, yesterday was March. We asked for the unexpected and we got it. Utah had lost 10 games prior to Thursday by a combined 41 points. Then lost by 32. Oregon and UCLA had previous battled to the tune of even double overtime and last second Wear. Wasn’t Thursday’s case. Oregon had been shooting 47% from three in their previous nine games. Shot 30% last night. ASU’s defense.
College basketball. Where the unexpected becomes the ordinary.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 14, 2014
And with that context, our worst game was Cal-Colorado (not our worst game). These two played almost the identical game as they did on Saturday, so much so that Colorado scored the exact same number of points in regulation (59). Cal couldn’t quite get there so, naturally, they lost. Justin Cobbs had two chances at Cobbsicles but missed. I hate watching seniors lose.
So we asked for the unexpected and we got it. We asked for the dramatic and the final shots and we got it. Pretty nice little Thursday.
There are two games before it comes to fruition and I’m a big fan of this:
This RT @AMurawa: UCLA by 19. The basketball gods are going to make sure UCLA/Zona play at least twice every year.
— Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) March 14, 2014
But there are two games. Arizona will attempt to achieve the double trifecta – defeating a team three times in one season – which I cannot confirm as a first or not. However you slice it, the assumption is that it’s difficult but then Arizona beat Utah by 32. I suppose there’s a precedence both ways. However you slice it, Colorado has won three of four (all wins coming by a score of 59-56, odd) and is playing about as Colorado as it gets: effective and opportunistic offensively (transition, Josh Scott, and hot shooting), solid defensively (0.91 ppp allowed in Vegas). But solid and effective aren’t enough to beat what appears to be the most focused Arizona has been all season. Utah looked the Wildcats in the eyes and Medusa turned them to stone. Colorado tried that once, too. Didn’t work out too well (-27 at home).
The evening slate pits Stanford and UCLA. They split the season series, holding home court in both instances. We could rattle off more speak of Stanford’s seniors or UCLA’s transition game, but these are topics we’ve exhausted. What we need to note here is that the games they split, were both rather lopsided. In Westwood, the Bruins won by 17. In Palo Alto, the Cardinal won by 9. Now margin of victory doesn’t always tell us much but – as we noted at the top of this page – it may be fair to expect something lopsided. If these two have played two games that they each ran away with, who’s to say we won’t see a tight one tonight? I’m not opposed. KenPom predicts it at as a 76-75 game, Bruins edge. Tony Parker went off in blowing out the Cardinal. Can he do that again? Stanford shot 62% to beat the Bruins. Can they do that again?
I predict more of exactly what we want: college basketball in March.
Conference play will tip tonight. That’s a fun fact to let sink and now’s a good time to let your loved ones know that Thursdays and Saturdays are booked (and the occasional Wednesday. And the occasional Friday. And the occasional Sunday. And all of March). I love conference play because it means something. A “good win” doesn’t just carry a nice perception, it moves you up the ladder. And we know that college basketball is all about getting to the top of ladders. With scissors.
Fourteen things to watch in this 2014 Pac-12 season:
- The Games and Stories – An elementary opening point for a ‘must watch’ list, but as we head into this most anticipated of Pac-12 conference seasons, I am acutely aware that I don’t want to watch Southern University play a ton of games. I’m not that stoked on seeing Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Weber State, or Evergreen State (St. Katherine, for that matter). And I mean no offense. I just don’t know them from Adam and I want the drama. I don’t care if UW and WSU rate outside the top-100 on KenPom. That’s the damn Apple Cup. USC is the 4th worst team remaining on UCLA’s schedule. BUT THEY’RE THE ONLY SCHOOL YAPPING AT UCLA. Suddenly we’re privy to subtext that wasn’t there when the opponents were [Directional] State Tech. Arizona is the top team, but Spencer Dinwiddie has already said he thinks his team is the cream of the crop. I have running bets about Arizona V. Oregon and I love the Arizona-Washington rivalry. Last time Cal and Stanford faced off, STANFORD’S ENTIRE ASSISTANT COACHING STAFF WAS EJECTED. Prior to last season, there hadn’t been an in-conference matchup of ranked teams since 2011. This year we’ve already got one in the first week (#10 Oregon @ #20 Colorado)…with more to follow! It’s conference time.
- Ben Carter – He has just three games under his belt (flipping shoe swag) and really just one of consequence. In that game – against BYU – he managed 4 points, 4 boards, 3 assists. Not quite Arsalan Kazemi yet not even close, either. But he’s long been considered a budding piece of what Dana Altman is trying to accomplish. And now’s the time. From a personnel standpoint, the Ducks can’t quite hit the boards the way they used to. Or rather, the way Tony Woods and Kazemi did. They’ve shifted from a top 10 defense to a top 10 offense. The best offensive team Dana Altman has ever coached. As we move forward, the emergence of a Robin to Mike Moser’s Batman could greatly benefit the Ducks.
- DaVonte Lacy – There aren’t going to be many reasons to watch Washington State so I present this guy:
- Washington’s Front Court… amongst so many other things in Seattle – Maybe there isn’t much to watch here as this team has become decimated through recruiting failures and injury (RIP Jernard Jarreau). Perris Blackwell is a fine player, but he’s one man. This is Romar’s worst defensive team since – well it’s literally the worst defense he’s ever coached. They rank 287th in defensive efficiency giving up 1.09 points per possession. Woof. Teams are shooting a 54% eFG against them, otherwise known as 318th best nationally. Double Woof. And that front court that doesn’t necessarily exist? Allowing 70% shooting at the rim. Teams are shooting 56% from 2-point range and I could go on but I won’t because as the Dawgs allow more and more points it raises more and more questions I don’t want to discuss about the health of Husky Hoops. So why watch? Because it could be something of a last hoorah.
- Oregon’s SOS – It has to improve. Or perhaps better said: it’s going to. They’ll play all of Arizona (State and the good guys) and UCLA twice while only escaping a visit from Colorado. Amongst KenPom’s top-25 teams, the Ducks have the 5th easiest schedule. Completely to their credit, they’ve handled that schedule. But as the going gets tough we’ll get to see whether or not this team will Win the Day.
- Cal’s Injury Bug – First they dropped two tough games without Richard Solomon in the lineup at the Maui Invitational. Then Kreklow and Bird sustained injuries and it’s pretty wide open as to when either of these two is coming back. You don’t need me to tell you that’s not good. I love Bird’s skill set and he carried the Bears through a few games earlier this year. They’ll now rely even more heavily on seniors Cobbs and Solomon as well as soph Ty Wallace and junior David Kravish. That’s a nice foursome, but nothing close to what this team is with Ricky and Jabari. Will their absence cost the Bears a chance to dance?
- The POY Race – I wrote really early in the year about this because why not? This is going to shake out to be a really great race because there are so many players that will be worthy of the title for so many different reasons. From Joseph Young who gets points like a Fuel Band to Kyle Anderson who does everything like a Swiss Knife, how will voters (Pac-12 coaches) evaluate? Value (Nick Johnson, Anderson, Delon Wright, Mike Moser)? Skill (Young, Jahii Carson, Jordan Adams)? Whatever the case, it’s not going to be Jorge Gutierrez.
- Arizona’s Depth – Or lack thereof. They’re a damn talented team who then ranks 312th in percentage of bench minutes. The Pac-12 season is a grind and getting into the Yorks, Pitts’, and Korcheks of this lineup could help alleviate some of stress on the core-six. But it’s a really good core-six. One thing I’ve long been interested in – ever since he started the first game of the year – is the development of Gabe York. He wasn’t expected to be getting much tick – his defense a liability and a thorn in Miller’s side. But he’s shown some ability to defend but it’s his shooting ability (42% 3FG%) that I believe could make Arizona the hands down favorite to win this whole damn thing. But he’s not quite there yet. Conference play will be his chance to cut his teeth in some big games.
- Hot Seats – I hate this topic but it’s going to come up and as a given team maybe does worse than we might expect, there could be some seats warming up all over the conference. The influx of coaching talent across both football and basketball in the past 3 years has been impressive and if you’re not keeping up with the Joneses then you’re just losing sporting events. There are going to be a few ADs with tough decisions in the coming months. You already know which ones they are and so do they.
- Dunks –
- Delon Wright and the Scorin’ Utes – Larry K’s team has exceeded the 120-point mark twice this season and they’re third in the nation in points per game (87.4). They’ve also played nothing short of a middle school schedule but that’s a whole different topic. Delon Wright has been an incredible addition to this team. He’s doing almost everything for them: 15/7/6, 138.3 ORtg. The obvious here is that I’m intrigued to see how he fairs against better competition; which begins tonight as he and the Utes host #10 Oregon and all of the guard talent in the world. The other thing to note about Utah here is that they have the fifth highest eFG% in the nation. Again, the schedule stuff, but at a certain point we have to appreciate that what Larry K’s team is doing is simply efficient. Excited to see how it translates. They’re 11-1.
- Jahii Carson – Because he’s Jahii Carson.
- #20 Colorado – The lede here is that they’re ranked and Tad’s making a name of this program and Spencer Dinwiddie is likely league-bound and then something else about Askia Booker putting up shots like a Tri-Delt. It’s all true. But let’s take a moment to think about Josh “Jelly” Scott as we head to conference play. The guard play in this conference is obscene. The Arizona bigs have been getting their love but how about Scott? Here are his numbers in Colorado’s last four games: 15 points and 11 boards. That’s a lot of everything you’d want from your big. He takes just 7 shots per game to get his points, which is grossly efficient. And this is the point in the blurb that I mention his free throw rate: 88.2. That’s a 147% increase over last season’s FTRate. He’s drawing greater than 6 fouls per forty minutes. Once perceived as soft, he’s banging his way to the free throw line and offensive success. Such a post asset is going to bode well for the Buffs as we make our way towards March.
- Vegas – Things happen there that should stay there. You know this and I know this and the Vegas travel bureau markets that. Certain things should stay there including the Pac-12 tournament. This will be year two of the three year contract that I fully expect to be renewed. But I don’t expect many teams to be sticking around Vegas. What I mean is I think there’s going to be a hearty number (seven) of Pac-12 teams leaving Vegas for the big dance. I also think this Pac-12 tourney is going to be as fun as it gets. Hoops on basketball on baskethoops.
If you’re not familiar with Grantland’s Year in Holy S***!!!, familiarize now. In a swift Bart ride back to my house I was taken out of the stat holes of KenPom and hoop-math and reminded that SPORTS! Watch that Steph Curry highlight reel and tell me you don’t get goosebumps as he drops trey on the Nuggets, turning to their bench before net.
Alas, this is a Pac-12 blog and holy shit happens here, too. We’re about to dive into it. But to further preface this reactionary and sudden expulsion of disbelief; before unveiling the moments that had as out of our chairs, jaws gaping, eyes wide, SMHing all over; prior to that, I’d just like to say that these are the things that have us coming back. Fandom, for better or worse or otherwise, allows us to get lost. Why we stand and shout. Holy shit. Bravo.
Here are a handful of those times from Brad, Ben, Matt, Jason, and me in no particular order.
The McKale Monitor Mishap
Jason of AllBuffs.com– The Monitors at McKale moment game started late for me. I was in the car in a part of Colorado that severely tested KOA’s claim of “3 countries/38 states” motto. When I arrived at my destination, not exactly civilization, but a place that does have DirecTV, (luckily the game was on ESPN) I turned on the TV and my first “Holy Shit” moment occurred. CU was up, by double digits, in McKale, “Holy Shit indeed”. Over the remaining 15 minutes of the game, the rest of my party arrived, the beers and wine were flowing and then the FT’s started clanking, oh those FT’s. When Mark Lyons made his second free throw with 10 seconds left, I stood up and I didn’t sit down for several minutes. Sabatino Chen ended up with the ball in his hands with 3.5 seconds left, it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t designed, it was….. BANKED, but it did go in. There were high fives and then a “wait a minute, they’re reviewing it”. It was good, it was definitely good was being echoed throughout the room. Then it began, the slow walk toward the TV, the room was hushed, the volume was cranked and everybody was gathered around a 52 inch high-definition TV.
Over and over we watched, angle after angle, hands now ON the TV, “no-it’s out right there, it’s good, the red light isn’t on yet”. Then it happened……”HOLY SHIT” they called it no good. F-bombs were dropped; BS’s thrown around and the air had been let out of the room. I don’t remember the last 5 minutes of the game, all I know was that CU lost, but I will never forget that “HOLY SHIT” moment and that I was in the middle of nowhere, with high-definition TV while the refs standing courtside were stuck with the standard-definition variety
Adam – I’d watched as my Wildcats made a furious comeback from the most three pointers the Buffaloes would hit in a single game all season. Well, it was going to be the most until Chen happened. Head down dribbling out the clock he heaved it up and you know the rest. I was here with friends and had conceded Arizona’s loss. We watched all of the angles and I even broke things down for my houseguests exactly how, if I were one of the officials, I’d bury my head in the monitor, confirm the call with field goal arms and bolt off the McKale floor. I bolted out of my living room to demonstrate. But when I returned, the officials were waving the whole damn thing off and…HOLY SHIT. Hey, Cats win and Mark Lyons doesn’t give a rats ass about how nice Sabatino’s hair is.
He Touched the Ball x5 and Cancun
Adam – From my Vegas vantage point following the UCLA-Arizona game I had this to tweet which, as you’ll notice, when unreplied, retweeted, or favorited. For shame.
Really intrigued to see the Sean Miller presser. Wouldn’t be surprised if L. Scott had to talk to SM afterward
— Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) March 16, 2013
Well then what happened?
AND THAT’S SOME STRAIGHT NOSTRADAMUS ACTION PEOPLE. Anyhow, in our hotel room, we watched that presser another 3-to-fifteen-hundred times because oh my holy shit goodness Sean Miller wasn’t happy. There’s more spice in that presser than an Indian dish. There’s more heat in Miller’s words than a dutch oven under plastic covers. There’s more flame in those eyes than under Ken Bone’s seat. Ask the Pac-12 representative Miller “didn’t” berate but rather who was the closest in proximity as he screamed innocuously down a hallway. And then Goodman’s news broke and maybe this is the true holy shit of it all? We wound up with an officiating scandal that I had to digest in phases. $5k and a trip to Cancun is some watered down Illumanati action. And now replay the presser.
Jahii Drops 40 on The Strip
Adam – Sure it was a career high and sure the Devils needed every one of his double-score scoring output from Carson. That’s undoubtedly some MVP stuff. Carson connected on 16 of his 25 shots inside the Thomas and Mack and that’s a pretty damn efficient 40 points. But wait, there’s holy shit coming. Because the 5’10” Carson made 14 of those 16 shots as layups which basically just says to me that Carson stared down the Rebels and their 7 blocked shots per game to announce to everyone that, “I AM JAHIISUS. I AM SO GREAT THAT I HAVE FORCED HERB SENDEK OF SLOTH PACED OFFENSES TO COMPLETELY BURY THE FOUNDATION OF HIS OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY AND THE STYLE IN WHICH HE BUILT HIS CAREER IN ORDER TO KEEP HIS JOB AND LOCAL TALENT. AT LEAST HE CAN NO LONGER LAMENT JAMES HARDEN’S DEPARTURE. I AM JAHIISUS.” And then he beat Marquette in Tempe to secure the first Sun Devil win over a ranked opponent since before Todd Graham was associated with other coaching jobs. Harden, who?
Askia Booker Doesn’t Give a Jayhawk
If safeties-free, all-balls performances like 17 points as a freshman in the NCAA Tournament, or a sizzling domination of a non-conference run in Charleston as a sophomore didn’t let you in on the secret, let me clue you in: Askia Booker was born to get buckets. Important buckets. Season-defining buckets.
So, when Kansas, dominator of all things Colorado Basketball for generations, makes the mistake of getting into a see-saw affair in the snake-pit-that-Tad-built, who else could CU turn to with the game on the line? Not Josh Scott. He’s too smooth, too nice. Not Spencer Dinwiddie. He’s too conventional, too ‘efficient.’
No, you need insanity. You need a player with no conscience, no understanding of the stage upon which he steps. You need, to be brash, a player who does not give a f***.
Askia Booker does not give a f***. Askia Booker gets buckets.
And so, 80-feet from the basket, with three seconds left on the clock against that team, the under-recruited dynamo from South LA – off-center goatee, and all – was the player in silver getting the ball.
One dribble, two. Still too far from the hoop. Better euro-step to cover some ground. Square up, leap, let fly.
Watch the gif. Count the fucks given by Booker. There are none to be found. After release, he just stands there, as if waiting for the oncoming train of noise. Waiting for us, the fans, to realize what he has just pulled off. He was born to hit that shot. He was born to euro-step into that shot.
Almost four years ago, Colorado was in a similar situation against the hated Jayhawk. Clock ticking down, tie game, ball in hand, CU had a shot to stun the #1 team in the land in the time-before-Tad. In that moment, it was Cory Higgins who was called upon. Higgins, the program’s co-leader in scoring, wasn’t up to the moment, and air-balled his dance with history. Looking back, it all makes sense.
Booker is everything that Higgins is not. Higgins was calm, cool, collected. Indeed, sophisticated. James Bond in shorts. Booker is the junkyard dog, barking at everything in sight. John McClane in Black and Gold. Higgins may have been more talented, but Booker has the want, the need to hoop. The balls to steal headlines from future NBA bonus babies. The grit to walk across broken glass when needed.
I could twist myself in knots talking about how the game, the win, the shot meant something for Colorado, for Booker. In the end, there’s nothing but the inbounds, the euro-step, and the pure, un-adulterated brashness of Ski and his moment.
Mike Moser Leaves Las Vegas, Does Not Suffer Nic Cage-like Departure
Matt of AddictedtoQuack.com – Given Oregon’s lack of depth in the front court this season, the addition of a quality player like Mike Moser was definitely a wanted surprise to Duck fans. Keeping him away from Washington was just an added bonus. Moser brings leadership, talent, and immediate play-ability to a position that was vacated by fan favorite, Arsalan Kazemi. Moser also fits perfectly into Dana Altman’s high-post wheel offense. His ability to stretch the floor, handle the ball, and pull bigger defenders away from the hoop compliments Oregon’s guard focused offense. To say that Moser joining the Ducks this off season was a Holy Shit moment is putting it lightly.
Just this Dunk
Brad of Portland – If you were watching that dunk you were like, HOLY-SHIT-KNOCK-KNOCK-WHO’S THERE-BOOOM-SHAKALAKA-F***-
RHJ doesn’t dunk his nigiri in the soy sauce, he slams that shit down so hard he cooks the fish. He is not a role model. Just because he can dunk a basketball does not mean he should raise your kid. Anyone raisin’ that kid is laughing their way to the bank faster than Earl Woods. The rest of us are just wiping our own kid off the Christmas card and sending a photo RHJ posterizing the entire Aggies basketball team instead.
This set of ball games is wildly appealing to me but sometimes – and I hope you can relate with me here – other things get in the way of even Pac-12 basketball. Be it family, work, or the rotating Pac-12 schedule, I’m not going to go to these games. Now you might ask yourself, How do these differ from The Pac-12 Road Trip: Just absolutely cannot? And that would be a fair question. Those were games that I want to attend but almost literally cannot. Come on, I’m not going to South Korea for an Oregon game that’s released something like 100 tickets to the public. You think anyone not named NIKE is getting those? These are games that I could attend and would attend, but I’m choosing to do something else. Or save money. You know, being a growed up.
- UCLA @ The Bay Area, Wednesday 2/19 & Saturday 2/22, Maples & Haas, Berkeley & Palo Alto – Evidently I don’t hold this game or weekend trip in nearly the same esteem as ESPN’s Gameday. They’ve declared this 2/22 contest (UCLA @ Stanford) as their possible P12 destination that weekend. The other option is Sean Miller and team’s visit to Tad Boyle’s house. I’m making the right choice and heading to Boulder because, you know, great basketball. And Boulder. Alas, if you’re local in the Bay – and if I was I’d be there – these are the games to attend. UCLA is UCLA and will contend for the a top spot as could these Bay schools. Dunk city.
- Arizona @ Oregon, Saturday, 2/8, 2pm, CBS, The Matt, Eugene – In 2008 I was in Eugene long enough to wander on to Mac Court (RIP). It just looked loud. Alas, since my visit, Oregon basketball quickly declined and the school would quit that building. But then they hired Dana the Head Duck and, to date, this has proved a great move. I haven’t been back to Eugene. Dammit. I’m aiming to but this season it just isn’t going to work. I’ve got too many other March travels to make this work despite Allegiant Air’s best efforts (tardy they may be). This is also the final game of the season which holds some sort of intrigue but I also imagine both of these teams will have pretty clear pictures of their post-season placement by this point and my dollars are better spent heading home to Tucson for familial duties a week later.
- Arizona @ UCLA, Thursday, 1/9, 6pm, ESPN or ESPN2, Pauley, Westwood – You know when your day job gets in the way of driving down I-5 to get to the Arizona-UCLA game? So annoying, right? This is the only game scheduled between these rivals in the 2013-14 campaign and so I really wanted to catch it. I’ve also never seen Arizona win inside that building. But like I said, that day job thing is going to get in the way so I won’t be jetting to Westwood at drive time that day.
- Arizona @ Washington, This game is literally not happening. Arizona does not have a scheduled game in Seattle and like I’ve said on repeat: I really want to get to HecEd. Looks like we’ll have to wait another year.
- Opening Rounds of Pac-12 Tournament, Wed-Fri, 3/12-14, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas – Broken record alert! These mid-week games are going to kill my Pac-12 watching soul. There’s an outside shot I make it here but the following week I’m due in Tucson for a big day for Baby Brother. I’m not going to make this one. But you should. I attended last year and it was a glorious. I flew into Vegas at an early hour (or late if you’re going by Vegas time) and soon hit open Bloody Mary’s, the final Big East tournament, and then oodles of Pac-12 basketball. I loved it and I want you to go, too.
These games are happening. Signed, sealed, delivered and booked I’m going to each of the following and if you want to join me you’re welcome to. Alright, not all of them are booked as I’m gonna strategically await that Black Friday SWA sale but I’m on board. Committed like R.P. McMurphy.
- Arizona @ Michigan, Saturday, 12/14, 10am MST, Crisler Center, Ann Arbor – This will prove to be the most single minded Wildcat trip of my career/life. I’ll be flying into the Bankrupt City on a Friday afternoon and storming a college town of significant renowned. I’d request that the Crisler Center prepare itself but I also understand that this isn’t a football game. It’s no doubt a big game but basketball will never be the game in Ann Arbor. That’s ok. It’s the game in Tucson and that’s why I’m going. And to exact some revenge for my man RichRod; and my grandfather who will litter you with stories of his time in an Ohio State fraternity. What’s more, while I have this platform, allow me to ask if you’re drinking all this Mitch McGary Kool-Aid? He’s being cited as an All-American talent but I refuse to drink from that pitcher. Sure he had an All-American dance but on the season he was dropping 7/6 with the court being opened up by National POY, Trey Burke. He’s good but not 1st Team AA good. Enough hoops. I’ll be needing one of these “winter coats” and something about johns that are long? I’m unfamiliar as San Francisco is the coldest place on earth by my calculations. Soft? To be certain. But maybe the fifteen years worth of tOSU hoodies I received were just preparing me for this moment.
- Arizona @ Colorado, Saturday, 2/22, TBA, ESPN or ESPN2, The Keg, Boulder – I want victory. I want blood. I want College Game Day to be there with me to watch as I think this is a damn no brainer to attend. I got into a bit of a heated conversation about whether or not Game Day should be headed to Boulder. The counter argument was that on a national level UCLA vs. Stanford holds greater esteem than Colorado vs. anyone. I argued that while America may name recognize the other two, Texas-UCLA drew 2,797 people last season and those programs have combined to win 3,428 basketball games. Game Day is about entertainment value and CU-Arizona projects to not only be a great basketball game (Arizona leads four games to three since 2009 by a margin of just 21 points) but it will also be hosted in Boulder. A school that has made multiple top-10 appearances on multiple top-party school lists. As opposed to Palo Alto which hasn’t seen excitement since they last had twins manning the paint or some dropout IPO’d. Hell yeah I’m attending this game and I’m missing my ex-girlfriend’s wedding to attend it. In fact, Game Day can have Palo Alto. I’m making the right choice here and my red shirt will shine bright in that blacked out Keg. It’s a run back of Valentine’s 2013 and I’ve recruited Buffs (I see you roommate, Fish) and Wildcats to join. The next Southwest Airlines 48-hour sale can’t come soon enough. [BART SCOTT’S CAN’T WAIT]
- Opening Weekend in Tucson, Fri-Mon, 11/7-11, McKale & Arizona Stadium, Tucson – Bless my dear friend Rachel and her soon-to-be-husband, Evan, for promising to be wed on Sunday, November, 10. The timing of such allows me an opportunity to work from Tucson on Friday and the following consumption: Cal Poly in McKale, UCLA in Arizona Stadium for homecoming, wedding, LBSU in McKale. That’s what I call a weekend. Mom has expressed concerns that she won’t see me but I’ve promised her all non-Wildcat time will be spent with her. But that’s a lot of Wildcat time. It’s the tip off weekend any fan would dream of and maybe – aside from the celebration of Rachel and Evan’s love – I’ll call it the first step to on the road to Dallas.
- Arizona @ Stanford, Wed 1/29, 7pm ESPN2, Maples, Palo Alto & Arizona @ Cal, Saturday, 2/1, 830pm, P12N, Haas, Berkeley – My time in the Bay has treated me well. The alumni association thinks I’m a member (starred on their website) and who really objects to CalTrain, BART or Party Bus to your team’s game? There’s also winning and telling people about it:
This year I’m eager to see Sean’s best Wildcat team against what should be a pair of veteran teams in the Bay. And one perk to living here is you meet the local flavor who has a propensity to either hook you up with tickets or hate your guts. Nah they rarely hate you – and they rarely hook up up with tickets – but they’re always good to tell you about their favorite Wildcat. Love the Bay.
- Pac-12 Tournament Championship, Saturday, 3/15, Fox Sports 1, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas – I’ve got to be honest with you – I’m not entirely positive I can make this one. That aforementioned brother of mine will be learning his professional fate the following week in Tucson and city hopping may not be in the cards. For brother, he’s entering what’s like the draft for doctors. The announcement of his residency – Match Day – is an experience I’ve learned loosely resembles the Hogwarts Sorting Hat. Or that Sunday we love when 68 teams are selected. Whatever the sorting or selecting case, brother’s future will be determined – location, medical practice, happiness – and we’ll be needing to celebrate. I’m gonna be there for that. However, if I can swing both, I most certainly will. Stay tuned.