“FEED ME!!!!” screamed the emaciated college basketball news cycle. The monster, who hadn’t eaten a satisfactory meal since Andre McGee was paying hookers and Rick Pitino didn’t go to ACC media day was starving. The tip-off marathon wasn’t going to cut it. His belly growled as he had nothing for bleary-eyed college basketball nerds watching 24-hours of their favorite sport.
Because, of course, the contests themselves are never enough. There must be narrative beyond ball-in-hoop. The monster must eat. Continue reading
If you’re anything like me (heaven forbid), it’s been a touch of a struggle to get really, way way way up for this season. Last year there was historic greatness! How do you follow that up? This isn’t 2am bar trash but it also isn’t going to be your wife.
Of course as we’re on season’s eve, all of the feels return, excitement bubbles to standard levels, and we college basketball.
But it remains that this is an odd one. Drawing our attention to the premise of this blog – the Pac-12 – I thought we could contextualize the forthcoming events. If prescribing a single word (or phrase for leeway with possible imagery linked for effect) for each of the Pac-12’s four seasons it’d look something like this:
2012-13: He touched the ball
2014-15: Arizona Continue reading
Early in this episode (S3:E1), Spencer and I promise a rebrand. It wasn’t a significant one but here’s the first edition of Spencer and me speaking as the Podcast of Champions. But you might also still find us as WANE. let’s leave the branding for another time, we’ve got hoops to discuss. Here’s the first podcast of the 2015-16 season:
And here’s what you need to know about this podcast.
I wanted to guide our conversation, use some parameters to determine how we’d discuss each team. We talk about it in the podcast but I thought some literature might assist. We took the KenPom predicted rankings (which admittedly don’t include certain metrics like transfers and most recruits) and let an over/under thought drive the discussion. We paid no heed to whether we tracked too many overs and too few unders. I think, by my rough re-listening math, everyone in the conference is going to finish above 10-wins. Nevertheless, every team discussed. Enjoy.
Logistics and requests:
- Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes
- Follow us on Soundcloud
- Follow me on Twitter and let’s talk about the pod
- Follow Spencer on Twitter and you guys talk about the pod
I could note that Steve Kerr first mentioned Lute Olson on the NBA Champion’s podium or that Adam Silver handed Andre Iguodala the Finals MVP Trophy. Could note that Luke Walton is tracking to be the greatest coach in NBA history or that TJ McConnell is the only player in League history to – it’s pretty ridiculous stat and godbless the kid who researched it – record 12 or more assists in 2 or more of his first 4 games. As Nike would have you know, Arizona basketball doesn’t stop (except for Adidas schools from the 30th State). And it doesn’t project to be taking this year off. Sure they’re out of the AP Top-10 for the first time since before Cuonzo Martin knew who Ivan Rabb was (and now they’re teammates!). But this is a notably new team. For starters, there isn’t a projectable lottery pick on the roster. There isn’t a 6’8″ freak that’s soon to be bullying in a West Coast arena near you. This team isn’t going to be the defensive stalwart you watched for the past two seasons. For Tucsonans, it’s going to be a season of change and they’re going to be uncomfortable with that. Embrace it. This is a year in which we’ll see Sean Miller flexing his coaching acumen. I’ll get into his roster options later, but this Arizona team, while not as sexy as years past, just might be the most fun.
Why I love them
This year it was section 106 of the Staples Center. My brother and I swapped seats in that section’s sixteenth row and Arizona outscored Xavier en route to their second consecutive Elite Eight. It was our second annual (but really billionth) seat swap instigating a Sweet Sixteen comeback. Previously I’d called it sorcery. We even tried it again on Saturday but the only sorcery inside the Staples Center that night was exacted by Sam Dekker. The Sheboygan Sorcerer.
And isn’t it all silly?
Four times Kaleb Tarczewski sad these words as he declared his return to Arizona. He doesn’t’ say much so the repeated phrase presumably meant a lot. I know it resonated with me. After all, we were just weeks removed from a devastating outcome in cursed Anaheim. Kaleb, Brandon Ashley and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would join TJ McConnell in finishing the 2014 deed. And that’s how this season began: with the expectations of 2014. Continue reading
The Wildcats are appropriately seeded as a #2. You can’t lose to the 100th, 117th, and 70th KenPom rated teams (104, 131, and 102 by RPI) while the rest of the elites are dropping games like “Duke,” “Georgetown,” or “no-losses-whatsoever.” It’s just how it goes. Besides, the West is what was most important to this group. But let’s also not ignor the fact that since getting that crap out of their system, the Wildcats have destroyed teams. Obliterated. They enter this tournament hotter than any summer-in-Tucson analogy I could come up with. Gander this chart summarizing each of the top eight seeds in their last eleven games:
Yesterday the conference announced it’s awards. These were voted on by the coaches, a means to acknowledge the work of their peers. The same group that competes with one another, tells one another they’re out of their weight class, take all of the California recruits, chastises the pace of another’s play, know nothing about police situations, or whom just simply don’t like each other. I mean, Apple ain’t soon declaring the Galaxy winner of a usability test, are they?
So, yes, this group justly voted for the conference superlatives so you should put a lot into them.
Here’s how I would’ve voted things (here’s how I voted before the season): Continue reading
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
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):