Tag Archives: Rush the Court

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PacHoops Power Rankings: The Newsroom is gone

When the rains subsided and the sun peaked out again, it was SantaCon in my neck of the woods. For me that meant the bar seemed full of Arizona and Utah fans – red galore. That’s why I was there, at least. For everyone else it was… well in New York, this guy mixed parties. In other news, I’m all about the news right now. I crushed All the Presidents Men and The Newsroom series finale last night. The latter of which I might be spoiling in the next paragraph:

A few thoughts on Charlie Skinner’s funeral: 1) Inordinate number of mega babes , 2) His grandson is always in the garage to play standup bass by himself? 3) Was Neal’s return the most triumphant return of all time or ever? 4) Seriously Jim? That’s your first move in that role? 5) Charlie stood for a renaissance of decency. That’s what Sorkin said. I’ll miss that show.

12) Washington State

DaVonte Lacy is taking 67% of his shots from deep which seems like an exorbitant amount of three pointers. He’s shot 68 treys and made them at a 35% rate. Hoop-math unfortunately doesn’t do individual rankings but in my poking around, I built a hack-of-a-list of some of the most voluminous bombers around:

  1. Jonathan Gilling, ASU, 85% of shots from deep, 46 total treys shot
  2. Naz Long, Iowa State, 81%, 60
  3. Isaiah Zierden, Creighton, 80%, 66
  4. Tim Marshall, VMI, 72%, 98
  5. Hans Brase, Princeton, 67%, 68

11) USC

With 5:24 remaining in their game against Army, the Trojans led 63-54 and had about a 95% chance of winning. They lost, yielding an unfathomable 31 points over those final five minutes plus overtime. Army shot 95.45% eFG% over those final 10 minutes.

10) Arizona State

9) Oregon State

Before this season started I’d considered having an OSU tracker, noting on a regular basis how close to the major conference cellar these guys were. Turns out, they’re not going to be that bad and they’re a pretty good defensive unit. They’re limiting teams to the twelfth lowest eFG% in the nation and just this week picked up their first non-conference, high major win since beating Purdue on November 12, 2012.

8) Colorado

I had a few things to say about Colorado last week and I said them in the following places:

  1. All Buffs - Written prior to their home loss to Colorado State
  2. Rush the Court – Written following their home loss to Colorado State

7) Stanford

How does one oversleep on the day of your first game in two weeks? Anthony Brown reportedly did exactly that Saturday morning which baffles me. Maybe he was exhausted from finals? Nevertheless, after sitting briefly he managed to score 17 points as the Cardinal had to comeback from an 8-point halftime deficit against Denver.

6) Oregon

In conversating about the RTC Team of the Week, Andrew Murawa was trying to make the argument for Oregon as such. I ultimately talked him into picking Utah for the honor as I’m a sucker for road games. With that said, however, the Ducks did collect the best win (by KenPom rating) of the Pac-12 week. They knocked off KenPom’s #38 team, Illinois, in the less-than-triumphant return to the Pac-12 for Ahmad Starks. Also, for just the second time this season, Joseph Young did not lead the team in field goal attempts.

5) UCLA

UCLA has almost no depth and it’s going to hurt them on occasion. You perhaps know my feelings on the overrated nature of depth, but the Bruins lack both depth and experience and that can often be a lethal combination. Four Bruins played 35-or-more minutes while the Bruins rank 333rd in % of bench minutes. UCLA didn’t lose to Gonzaga because they didn’t have enough players – Gonzaga is really good – but it didn’t help, either.

4) California

Wyoming is perhaps the most deliberate team in the country. They’re more contrived than a Newsroom monologue. So when they marched into Haas and exacted their style all over the Bears – a snail’s 55 possessions – it was impressive that Cal beat them at their own game. Cal is not one of the more offensively gifted teams in the conference so with the Cowboys trying to force Cal into long possessions and a slow pace, Ty Wallace asserted himself as the best player on the court (17 points, 8 boards, 5 assists).

3) Washington

Against what I’m told is a pretty good Eastern Washington team, the Huskies began raining threes late prompting this tweet:

for this play:

2) Utah

Ya know, just some Delon Dunks:

1) Arizona

I’m a little bit tired of the RichRod-Arizona-Michigan narrative but it seems to be a significant one. A recap of events from the McKale Center and Arizona’s most complete game of the season, an 80-53 drubbing of the Wolverines:

  • RichRod in attendance
  • Drops by locker room and wishes basketball team “good luck”
  • Miller says he could tell there was a “twinkle in his eye”
  • Football team is not introduced as South champs at halftime of Gonzaga game, Greg Byrne calls it #Strategy
  • Entire football team is brought onto the court at halftime as South champs, Rodriguez addresses the crowd
KU Hoops rs 100214 093f

Utah is Playing in Kansas and I have Questions

When a Pac-12 school schedules a game against the Kansas Jayhawks, I’m going to pay attention. But, because I’m the preeminent Pac-12 blogger, I need some help. I can’t know this conference and, say, the Valley. So I brought the questions to Brian Goodman,  the lead writer for Rush The Court’s Big 12 microsite. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

Questions and answers:

Kentucky made Kansas look really, really small and lots of other things. But Kansas isn’t actually that team. They’re quite good, right? What does this team do that makes them elite?

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34bart2

THREE FOR BART: Goodbye, Trolls, Dictatorial

  1. Journalism professor’s lesson lives on – A Thanksgiving message from Plaschke and a good one. It’s unfortunate that a passing often highlights for us that we didn’t tell those who meant something to us exactly that. Just prior to Thanksgiving we lost my first little league coach and dear friend’s dad. He taught us baseball, the game we’d play into college. He drove us to games and watched me play probably at least one baseball game a year (and many many more than that) from the age of 4-through-19. He was at nearly every practice. Traveling to every tournament he could. Maybe he wasn’t calling the pitches, but he was still Coach Chuck. He’ll be missed.
  2. How to Get the Biggest Stars in the World to Insult Themselves - I found this article to interestingly not note the Supreme Court’s current hearing of online threats in which Justice Elwood went so far as to cite Eminem during hearings. I imagine Kimmel isn’t having celebrities read their death threats or anything that extreme, but as our digital personas are being drawn out from behind their keyboards by Late Night television hosts, so too is the Supreme Court. Both serve as a warning to think twice before you click ‘send/tweet/post.’
  3. Pac-12 Burning Questions: Ideal Non-Conference Opponents – In which Andrew leads with:  “…Adam Butler could not be contained and, given his dictatorial powers and what-not, he prescribed almost entire non-conference schedules for all of the teams in the conference.”
Chasson Randle Mugging

2015 Pre-Season All-Conference Ballot

Below you will find my submission to the Rush The Court Pac-12 All-Conference Voting. I’m not sold on this being a great Pac-12 but it isn’t 2012, either. Furthermore, run through that list of All-Conference performers. There’s plenty of heat in there. I had to keep Askia Booker, Shaq McKissic, Brandon Taylor, Andrew Andrews, Xavier Johnson, David Kravish, and other quality ball players off of that list. Nevertheless, here’s how I see things shaking out.

Wanna talk about it? COME AT ME BRO!!!!! [twitter link]

Predicted standings

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Drexel Arizona Basketball

The Perception of Kaleb Tarczewski: A Poll

There was a comment left for our AZ rebounding piece that alluded to Kaleb Tarczewski being a soft player. It was evidently the perception of a Duke fan and subsequently got me thinking more about the perception of playing soft.

So I wrote all about it for my weekly column, Marching to Vegas, on Rush the Court.

Beyond that link you’ll find that there are a lot of numbers that suggest Kaleb is not soft but that perhaps there are some other bigs in the conference that are “soft.” Ultimately softness is a subjective title and I respect opinions. I think I dispel some of the rumors around Josh Scott as well. And I look at the Wear family.

My thoughts on the matter is he’s received a somewhat bad reputation because he has the bad habit of dropping the ball too low. This has allowed opponents to strip him more easily and when the ball goes flailing out of bounds as opposed to violently through the hoop, the perception is that Tarc might be soft. I think the fact he leads the Wildcats in free throw rate begins to suggest otherwise. But you tell me.

I want to gather a little more on this. I need to know what the general perception of this big boy is because I’ve heard the gamut of opinion on the matter. Let me know:

What is the perception of Kaleb Tarczewski's game?

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Pac-12 media Day

Pac-12 Basketball Media Day: What I Did

I appreciate the opportunity to attend Pac-12 Basketball Media Day (#pac12hoops) provided to me by Rush the Court. It was a great experience and a fun day. To be honest, absolutely nothing was said the day long but – and you get the feeling everyone senses it – there’s a hovering excitement that this whole thing’s about to start. Like JENGA, no one is  going to come close to that linchpin block, sliding out a bunch of middle pieces and passing to the next. The boat shall not be rocked before the journey.

Except, I suppose, for Spencer Dinwiddie who dropped the saltiest line of the day when he said, “But we don’t view Arizona as the top, the cream, and everybody else in the rest.  We view ourselves as the cream and everybody else can fight for the rest of the spots.” SHOTS FIRED! Eh, not really. I actually appreciated it from the standpoint of leadership and culture and I’m going to elaborate on that later (next week amongst a lot of my previews).

HERE ARE MY TEAM-BY-TEAM CAPSULES FROM MEDIA DAY WITH RUSH THE COURT

And speaking of next week and all of my previews (and in the coming weeks leading up to 11/8),  I’m going to drop my team-by-teams, top backcourts and frontcourts, my predicted finishes, a new podcast with @spencerbsmith, and I don’t even know what else.

But for now, quick thoughts on each team after spending a little time with them yesterday:

Washington State: Ken Bone went in on just how deep the conference is and how the conference perhaps deserved the lashing it took for being so awful in year’s past but that those days are over. Well now his team is projected to finish last, so…

Oregon State:

Hey Dana….

ItWasme
Utah: Larry Krsytkowiak said that playing hard is a talent and while I really appreciate what he’s doing at Utah, saying that playing hard is a talent means you’re still not good. They’ll be better. But still not good.

USC: I didn’t realize there’s a little bit of twang to Andy Enfield. He played everything correctly in deflecting his UCLA comment but he’s sparked interest in USC basketball and, if nothing else, JT Terrell tells us that there’s “lot’s of people getting dunked on in practice.” Well practice does make perfect, JT, so carry on.

Washington: Lorenzo Romar was asked about impact newcomers to the conference and he talked about Aaron Gordon and Mike Moser. #AWKWARD. Aside from that he seemed very encouraged by Perris Blackwell – the transfer out of USF – who LoRo says is going to give them a low post presence they “haven’t had in years.”

Stanford: I asked Johnny Dawkins “You mentioned returning a lot of players and talent to this team, yet last year you finished 9‑9.  What might you see different this year, if anything?” I’ll mention that he’s returning 84% of his 2012-13 minutes played. He basically told me that they’re thinking about things differently. Dwight Powell told me the same thing, later. They went through SEAL training (like the Navy) and used the word synergy (so startup Stanford). My point here is…we’ll see, I might be selling.

That is me.

That is me.

ASU: Jahii Carson was much more thoughtful and articulate than I expected. Struck me as much more together than I expected and had some very high compliments to drop on his new running mate, Jermaine Marshall. I was also blown away by Herb Sendek’s hyperbole and quickness to jump into the national conversation. Dropped a lot of “best ofs” in the country/nation/game lines. Company man award for sure.

Colorado: Like I said, Dinwiddie dropped the bomb on Media Day by calling his own team the cream rising to the top. Why the hell not? It’s a shifting culture in Boulder and as my high school baseball coach taught us, once you start hoping, you’ve already lost. Sounds like Spencer’s a believer.

Cal: Someone asked Mike Montgomery how he would apprehend a thief if he were faced with a similar situation as Larry Krystkowiak when he tackled a bike snatcher. Montgomery said nothing about a two handed shove to the chest. And he talked a lot about how he likes having veterans (Solomon, Cobbs, Kravish) and tried to taper the expectations of Jabari Bird.

Oregon: Dana talked about a lot and even said he and his team should be practicing right then and not at Media Day. But he was there and someone asked a seventy-five word question about whether or not Oregon has a competitive advantage with Uncle Phil. Dana slowly, like only a mid-westerner can, said, “Well, we updated our arena.  I think we had the second oldest arena in the country.  We built an arena that’s very nice.” Really fair point there, Dana. He continued, “I think every university has benefactors that benefit their programs, athletically, academically.  Ours just happens to be someone that runs Nike.” That’s right! Everyone has boosters, how is this any different? He came full circle, “You know, we had an update because Mac Court was just really old.” Dana Altman, you are a smooth cat.

Arizona: One of these days Sean Miller is going to jump out of that humility suit of his and just throw down some heat…wait, he already did that:

UCLA: I think I got a good idea of what the Steve Alford era at UCLA is going to be like. He’s going to be a touch understated, predictable and solid. He looked the part in the sleekest suit of the day and he didn’t rock the boat. He dropped a Wooden reference and the word excellence. Like going down a checklist of how to be UCLA’s coach and not screw it up. He did just fine up there and he’s going to be a fine UCLA head coach. Is that enough?

SeniorsGoodbye

Waxing Seniority: They’re Gone

I’ll miss them. You will, too. And with the wrap of this season, reality has sunk in that some of our favorites will move on. Cue the Vitamin C, it’s graduation time.

And this crop of seniors saw some stuff. They endured but did not define one of the worst stretches in Pac-12 hoops there’s ever been. By way of historical context I have none. But anecdotally can you tell me I’m wrong? These seniors saw the winner of their conference not play in the NCAA tournament. The Pac-12 was bad.

But they won’t be defined by this period of ineptitude. They’ll be defined by the fight we saw and the resilience we cheered. As a slew of fantastic writers boasted of their favorite seniors’ careers (all below), I was reminded that we’re not always fans for the wins and losses. We’re drawn to the human components of this game, the universal truths that we all struggle in an effort to succeed. Which is why it was so rewarding to see EJ Singler in his first Big Dance. And Solomon Hill lead down the home stretch. And see Brock Motum score 79 points in his final three games. And see the career transformation of Larry Drew II. And Joe Burton play the role of cultural ambassador.

Maybe they didn’t win any titles and reached just a single Elite 8 collectively, but they were the seniors of our teams and sometimes that’s about all we need to be a fan.

The 2012-13 Pac-12 Seniors – or at least those who were so kindly discussed by those who follow them closest for the Waxing Seniority series:

TipOff

Some Pre-Season, Post-Non-Conference Picks

With Conference play tipping off tonight last night, the fellas at RTC and I compiled what I would call our Pre-Season-Post-Non-Conference-Schedule predictions. With a twelve-to-thirteen game sampling from each team and player, we made new-ish predictions on how the league is going to shape out. Here is the aggregation of our picks.

As for me, I don’t think I went particularly crazy here. I really think CU edges UCLA out of the second slot and I’m not buying ASU’s hot start. It’s worth noting here that I will forever be sad that Brock Motum won’t realistically win the POY award. Just a bummer cause he’s really good and fun to watch. I just might have a Foster’s in his honor.

Anyhow, here’s how I picked the league and some other All-This-That-and-the-Other Teams:

Conference Standings:

1.     Arizona

2.     Colorado

3.     UCLA

4.     Oregon

5.     Stanford

6.     California

7.     Oregon State

8.     Arizona State

9.     Washington State

10.  USC

11.  Washington

12.  Utah

All-Conference:

  • PG  Jahii Carson
  • G Allen Crabbe
  • F Shabazz Muhammad
  • F Solomon Hill
  • F Brock Motum

All-Freshman:

  • PG Jahii Carson
  • G Jordan Adams
  • F Shabazz Muhammad
  • F Jordan Loveridge
  • C Josh Scott

All-Defense:

  • PG Dominic Artis
  • G Nick Johnson
  • F Josh Huestis
  • F Arsalan Kazemi
  • C Jordan Bachynski

Coach of the Year:

  • Dana Altman

Player of the Year:

  • Allen Crabbe

Freshman of the Year:

  • Shabazz Muhammad

All-Surprise Team:

  • PG Dominic Artis
  • G Jordan Adams
  • F Josh Huestis
  • F Jonathan Gilling
  • C Jordan Bachynski

All-Disappointment Team:

  • PG Jio Fontan
  • G Ahmad Starks
  • G Chasson Randle
  • F Aaron Fuller
  • C Josh Smith

All-Improved Team:

  • G Nick Johnson
  • G Roberto Nelson
  • F Dwight Powell
  • F Carrick Felix
  • C Jordan Bachynski

All-Upside (most room for improvement into conference season):

  • PG Aaron Bright
  • G JT Terrell
  • F EJ Singler
  • F Brandon Ashley
  • F Tyrone Wallace

Game of the Year (to this point):

  • Florida at Arizona: the game was hyped as the biggest of the OOC schedule and lived up to the billing. McKale was rocking as if the ‘Cats were a top-10 tea— wait, they are. OK, so it appeared as if things were back to normal in Tucson until Arizona spent much of the game playing catch-up. With the final possession and the ball in their fearless, gamer’s hands, the Wildcats managed to knock off the Gators.

Game of the Year (in conference):

  • Arizona at UCLA – This should be the game of the year in the second to last weekend with Game Day in town and a whole lot of talent on the floor. I think it’s safe to assume Arizona will be a contender but no one seems to know what we’ll get out of UCLA. If recent history serves us well, this will indeed be a ball game.
Ship

Righting the Ship that Hasn’t Sailed

Yesterday, over at Rush the Court, I snapped a little bit at the Washington Huskies. I’d just watched them lose to the University of Albany, a team that hadn’t beaten a BCS team since before the Washington administration. Do you get that reference? There was no presidency prior to George Washington. There’s been no prior Albany over BCS school moment.

OK, so it happened. Amidst the fire there’s plenty of truth to what I said about the Huskies not the least of which is that there’s still so much time left in this season. I could talk to you about their opportunity to right the ship but their ship’s barely out of the marina so why bother?

I bothered because this is what happened last year; early and significant losses to insignificant opponents cost the Huskies a spot in the dance. Once is a mistake, an arguable anomaly. Twice? That’s a habit and habits are bad when they consist of losing to teams in the America East.

And it appears that UCLA is doing their darndest to make a habit of struggling, at home, against inferior Southern California competition. Last year it was a losing effort against Loyola Marymount. This year it was a victory (I will not call it a winning effort) in overtime by a single point to UC-Irvine. But here I go again, picking on these teams I expect more of, playing the role of armchair hypocrite who just a week or two ago was sick of expectations and predictions.

How can I help myself? The games have begun and I’m worse than a mean girl judging the new kid. Because there are twelve new kids and that’s part of the beauty of college sports, right? The turnover gives us hope or anxiety and – particularly in the early goings – we begin to develop the true expectations of this year.

And that’s what’s bugged me about the UW hiccup and UCLA struggle. I don’t want to see these two struggle anymore. I’m a fan of the game and if I’m watching some one hundred Pac-12 games this year, I want to see the best quality product. And the brand new immediacy of that product – a combination of the season beginning and P12 Networks’ access – has me overwhelmed and, frankly, disappointed in these two programs for the time being.

But as we began, the ships have just raised anchor and are raising their sails. The wind has yet to blow and there’s only a course planned out, not yet traversed.

Advancing in the RTC Pac-12 Fantasy: On to the Semis

I just rolled through my opening round matchup against a very good Murawa squad.

Not many people have beaten John Wooden (DO NOT ASK DIGGER PHELPS ABOUT THIS or you’re liable to get enough highlighter to get four engineering, three pre-med, and eight law students through college) but Team PacHoops handled this group who at least had their socks on just right.

The Thunder kids (Westbrook and Harden) still couldn’t handle the likes of an Arizona backcourt. Ok, ok so those two were a combined 9-0 against the ‘Cats but Bibby and Dickerson flashed their rings while the Stoudamire family smoked them out rained threes and ran circles around beard-o and Sir-Shoots-a-lot. Jason Terry couldn’t crack the starting roster while up against Bibby and Dickerson and this time he couldn’t crack the lane with them locking down. The game was never close so Tyus Edney never had a chance to pull-a-Minnesota and was rendered irrelevant.

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