Tag Archives: Spencer Dinwiddie

WANE: The Mayor Takes Leave

Spencer and I rekindled WANE and – on the air – declare to record weekly. In this return episode, we talk a lot about Colorado as their bad news filled the news cycles and why Josh Scott needs all the touches. Spencer (not Dinwiddie) discusses his love for the now blown-out-by-Cal-Huskies and we probably get some statistics wrong. There’s an awkward pause in there for effect; not for lack of organization. It’s worth a listen because it’s great. I diatribe briefly about Utah. Seriously amazing stuff.

 

Now that you’ve maybe clicked on the audio I’ll apologize for two things:

  1. We recorded during/before Wednesday’s games
  2. Not enough time – technical difficulties – to post this AND get you a sweet chronological table of contents. My bad

Week 3 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

Well for the first time in awhile the medical news out of Colorado had nothing to do with marijuana. Which isn’t good but it’s what filled the headlines when we weren’t watching Aaron Gordon dunk things behind his head. Twice. Moving forward of course, this is a big weekend. Scroll up and down the schedule and I challenge you to find a game that doesn’t  have significant long term effects. Maybe that’s hyperbole but I find genuine intrigue to every game this weekend. Making this a great weekend for my parents to come to town and my dad to schedule a Segway Tour (I can’t currently confirm this but it’s heavily rumored. I’ll keep you posted). The weekend:

GotW: We must ignore, to an extent, a top-25 match up. As noted in previous previews, a top-25 tilt is a big deal in the Pac-12 of late because there just haven’t been many. Like actually hooking up with someone via Tinder, it’s rare. But similarly to that app, we’re going to have to swipe #25 UCLA @ #21 Colorado to the left in favor of a night on the town with Washington at California. This one doesn’t have particular national implications but it’s a Wednesday night contest featuring the league’s two most surprising stars. The Dawgs have played fantastic through four games with a solid split in the desert. Meanwhile, Monty’s road warriors are 3-0 with nary a game atop the giant bear. And where this diddy spices up aside from the standings implications, is in the contrast of styles. Or, perhaps more succinctly said, what Washington can’t do. They have almost no interior game. The percentage of shots they take at the rim (30.9%) ranks 315th in the nation. The ball does not go into the lane when Washington has it. Often, they let CJ rain. LET CJ RAIN. But these front court issues aren’t exclusive to the offensive side of the ball. Teams shoot the third highest FG% at the rim against Washington 🙁 That’s 72.1% shooting which, in lay terms, is not-missing-much-percent. All of that said, Richard Solomon will be an obvious key here for the Bears as he’s a game changing big man and Justin Cobbs gets crazy buckets at the rim for a PG or anyone for that matter. Kid gets more than 30% of his offense there. This isn’t the game of the week we deserve. It’s not even the game of the week we need. But it’s the game of the week we’ve got so LET CJ RAIN. (read on for more about Washington as this preview somehow became commandeered by Dawg stats)

Game to Avoid: Scrolling through this week’s Pac-12 schedule like I told you I already did lead me to not one game I wasn’t interested in. This is probably why I’m the world’s preeminent Pac-12 hoops blogger but that’s a different story. Here’s where I net out: Oregon @ Oregon St. First I love this game because no one knows what you’re going to get out of Oregon State or a rivalry game. This is the Civil War on the hard court. Anything can happen and if you know what I mean by anything can happen then what the hell are we going to do with a 1-4 Oregon squad? Alas, this becomes a game to avoid because of geography. That’s a strange proposition considering I declared my love for this game based on the geography of its participants. I’m thinking bigger picture here, guys. You see, Oregon is uniquely located between the states of Washington and California. More specifically it’s located between Seattle and San Francisco. And even more specifically it’s located between the Seahawks and the Forty Niners. See where I’m at now? The population center is Portland which is just stone’s throw from Seattle and probably defines much of the State’s Hawk allegiance. Nonetheless, all across the Beaver State there is a vested interest in the NFC Championship that kicks off at 3:30. If you’re going to avoid the 5pm Civil War, this iteration would be the one to skip. Besides, the Ducks’ defense isn’t about to stop you.

Something to Prove: It’s the Colorado Buffaloes. Here’s a team that has developed a reputation for playing  emotionally over the past two years – winning the big game, losing to the lesser travel partner. But they find themselves now with their greatest and easily most emotional challenge yet. The loss of Spencer Dinwiddie is a major blow. One any team would struggle to absorb but a challenge nonetheless. And then they found out, just hours later, that Tre’Shaun Fletcher would miss the next 6-8 weeks with a knee injury of his own. Shit on shit on shit. But this cannot define the Buffaloes. It is a challenge they must rise to and accept. They’ll need to make adjustments – you don’t replace a Spencer Dinwiddie overnight – but there are enough talented players here to carry on. They’ve been dealt a tough hand, I want to see how they respond.

Something to Lose: It’s a surprising 3-1 but not as if they’ve used a herculean effort to get here. They haven’t necessarily blacked out from the field (aprox same FG% in four conference games as their overall FG%, 46% vs. 45%). Their ORtg has taken a near ten point dive so they’re technically less effective on offense. But for these Washington Huskies, their in conference defense ranks second amongst the Conference of Champions. Context? It’s more than ten points per 100 possessions better than their overall defensive efficiency (92.3 vs. 103.5). It’s a similar drop to that of their offensive efficiency (noted above). And so I ask: Who are these Dawgs? Are they the effective offense of their non-conference slate with a porous defense or the inverse they’ve shown us through four conference games? What do they have to lose, you might ask? Sweet momentum and their winning identity, of course. The Dawgs are riding high but a tough trip to the Bay could derail the Dawgs and normalize this trend. Or it could not.

The YouTuber: Slight deviation from our traditional final segment but it’s a pretty long GIF so it shall fly. Enjoy, it’s called “picking up chicks at the gym” and it’s really weird:

VdfKTH8

Week 2 Pac-12 Hoops Review

I had a joke all lined up. I subtle jab to get our review going and remind everyone it’s just sports. But then Spencer Dinwiddie’s knee moved in a manner that would break his heart – and ours – and I didn’t feel like joking anymore. Because on the tail end of that bench, in Spencer’s red eyes, was a tragic reminder of why this is our favorite game. Sure basketball is grand but the collegiate version calls to us because we know what we have is brief – four years at best – and then it’s over. On to the next crop of kids wearing familiar colors and left to tell tales of the old days with delusions of grandeur. So when that brevity is cut further short by the body’s failures – sudden and unforgiving – it sucks. We selfishly lose out on the joy of watching our team be the best version of itself in their tiny window for success in that iteration. And then there’s the kid. The one who’d worked his ass off to get into the school, to get into the lineup, to get into the lore of this sport. The one with a mom. Maybe it is just sports but that’s not what breaks your heart about Dinwiddie’s tumble. It’s not that we won’t see him jump, pass, or shoot. It’s that he doesn’t get to.

Leader in the Clubhouse: Arizona remains the number one team in the nation and unblemished on their record. They are the definitive leader. But let’s talk about someone else this week namely the California Golden Bears. Here’s a team everyone except Doug Gottlieb has slept on and perhaps rightfully so. They then lose Jabari Bird and Ricky Kreklow heading into conference play where their first three games are on the road. So naturally they win all three of them. They are tres-and-oh and Justin Cobbs is the man. He’s scoring 19.3 conference points per game, grabbing 4.6 conference boards, and assisting on 8.3 conference baskets for his teammates. And one of those teammates is Richard Solomon who is playing like a man possessed by his seniority. This is his last hurrah and so he’s grabbing all of the rebounds (8th best DR%) and making all of the baskets (56.2% eFG up from 48.1% last year). In case basketball is new to you, when you have a point guard and a center playing well, you have a recipe for success. And Mike Montgomery has a degree from Hogwarts.

Biggest Loser: You can’t drop home games. I mean you can, it’s competition and so anything can happen but if you’re trying to win things like the conference you can’t lose at home. And winning on the road is really important because it’s really hard. Those red letters on the left link to an article I wrote about this very subject. We judge teams based on where they win or lose. I’m judging Oregon. They have not defended their homecourt or anyone for that matter. The points per possession they’ve given up in conference: .89, 1.28, 1.19, 1.21. They have little problems getting the buckets (7th best offense per ORtg) but if they’re going to be taken seriously on a national if not conference level, they’re going to have to start getting some stops.

What We Learned: Well not a whole lot more about Stanford who split their Oregon trip the way few teams will (lose in Corvallis, win in Eugene). Of course if this team’s season long improvement play (what they were going to do differently this year vs. last as told to me by Johnny Dawkins) was to think about the year differently, I’m curious what’s on their mind. They’ve started conference play 1-2 for the second straight year and have almost an identical 15 game record as last season (10-5 now vs. 9-6 then). Not so different as their ORtg and DRtg are also almost identical to the past, too. They’d also mentioned being mentally tougher (part of thinking differently) and thus winning close games. Well that’s kinda working as they squeaked out wins by 2 points at each of UConn and Oregon. Maybe we start a new segment in here that’s just called WHAT DOES THE STANFORD SAY? and then I just write or link to whatever I want and it’s wildly unpredictable and completely upsetting but you’re attracted to that instability by some unintelligible force that keeps telling you that they’ll change. Did I just describe my ex-girlfriend?

In Defense Of: I’ve been all over Utah lately and how interesting what they’re doing has been. What have they done? Well lost 3 of 4 conference games. That doesn’t sound all that interesting but perhaps lost amongst the excitement of their 11-1 start and their thrilling loss to Oregon is that the Utes never really were there. That’s to see, I wasn’t annointing them title contenders or March dancers but rather noting their marked improvement, their progress and the promise of what could be. They’re definitively not there yet. But like previously noted, winning on the road is difficult. Utah took to Oregon and left with two black eyes. But their eyes are blackened because they were in a fight, not because they got their asses whooped. They’ve now lost by a combined seven points and have held a second half lead in every one of their conference games. There’s a measurement on KenPom that looks at luck because sometimes you can’t win them all. I wrote about it with regards to Utah last year. Basically, the Utes are the 345th unluckiest team in the nation right now (see: Dotson, Damyean). They’re 1-3 but that doesn’t yet mean they’re bad. Utes, defended.

The YouTuber: Have you ever seen so much in 82 seconds?

 

Week 1 Pac-12 Hoops Review

Hey welcome back to me and the weekly reviews, huh? The first weekend has wrapped and because of the new year holiday and no Wednesday games, it went as fast as a USC offense speeding bullet. And while the Polar Vortex annihilated the rest of the country, most of us out here were in shorts. At least I was. A Vortex of Comfort if you will. Anyhow, let’s get this going like a Colts comeback.

The weekend:

Leader in the Clubhouse: The obvious choice would be the number one Arizona Wildcats. We’ll hold off on glowing about them because everyone else is. I’m going to give this award to the Colorado Buffaloes this week. They sustained a great effort from the Transfer Monsters (48 points from Moser, Young, and Calliste after their 16 point collective on Thursday) and held court at home (also worth noting is that Booker and Dinwiddie combined for 50 and I read a flurry of “Dinwiddie the pro!” tweets). I liked that because for many intents and purposes, Oregon was headed to Boulder with the taste of a loss on their tongues. They of course did win on Thursday, but beyond that they had every desire to come into The Keg for blood. Sounds obvious but the external motivators beyond a scoreboard and competition were there. And the Buffs absorbed that and endured. 13-2.

Biggest Loser: Toss up here. What do you say? I’m deciding between ASU and Stanford and I’m going to pick the latter because the Sun Devils still come out of the weekend with a win. Washington would go on – following their ASU stomping – to show quite competitively in Tucson so I’ve become a touch more of a UW believer. Point being, Stanford dropped a home game to their arch rival and former coach who was short two of their best players and propagated the dialogue about the health of their program and heat of their coaches seat. Yes, all of that on a Thursday night.

What We Learned: There were some nice contests to kick things off and I think we were all reminded of the enigmatic nature of conference sports, but Utah. Sure they lost on a last second steal-n-dunk – you know, just the way Dana likely drew things up – but they played like the winners for all 45 minutes. Prior to the game, Utah was interesting, at best, to me. I gchatted all about it and ‘interesting’ was literally the only thing we could come up with (we meaning me, James, and Jason). Such a conclusion made that game Thursday night all the more, well, interesting. AND THEN THE GAME ACTUALLY HAPPENED! I loved Jordan Loveridge’s night and the way Utah played and conducted themselves. And I still think full credit is owed to Oregon. Winning conference road games is to be celebrated. Losing conference home games is a tough pill to swallow. That’s why I think Utah’s effort was a moral victory but not necessarily one they have to like. Oh, and then they kicked the hell out of OSU. Utah’s legit.

In Defense Of: I conjured this new segment up while on a run Sunday morning. Figured it was a good spot to play devil’s advocate, ruffle some feathers, or rant a little bit. Namely this came to mind because I think Kaleb Tarczewski gets far too much criticism for bad hands. He’s like the giant second grader who gets picked on but is expected to handle it because he’s a behemoth. I know because I was that kid. But I don’t want to do that because I kinda already did that. So here is the segment where I defend Steve Alford! I don’t think he needs to be defended necessarily. More I just needed a reason to discuss UCLA in this piece. 107 points on your little brother nemesis who’s already accused you of being the slow ones? That was awesome. It was this:

So yes, I was a big fan of what UCLA pulled off this weekend. Also, just to note, amongst 107 points just 17 came from a combined four post players. Interesting nugget to watch as we head into Thursday’s Arizona @ UCLA tilt.

The YouTuber: This is just kinda nuts.

Jordan Adams Makes Layups Not Jumpers

I’ve long felt that Jordan Adams is a tremendous basketball player. And then yesterday afternoon happened.

I was meandering through KenPom, looking at the percentage of minutes played lists. I was curious which players were getting run into the ground by their coaches. This endeavor lead me to the discovery that there are only 3 players taller than 6’6″ on the top-100 of %min played list. Big men can’t run. But back to Adams.

The primary Player Stats page defaults to ORtg and I saw Jordan Adams at the top of it. I didn’t think too much of it as I spend a lot of time around Pac-12 stats and he tends to be at the top of a lot of lists. What’s more, he’s alphabetically inclined to top lists. But as I dug down my %min worm hole, I realized that Jordan Adams was atop the national ORtg list.

 

My oh my that’s impressive. I’ve said it in many places but Jordan is one of my favorite players in the conference and it came as no major surprise that he led in this category. Last season he put up a highly respectable 114.9 ORtg which out ORtg’d even the great Shabazz Muhammad.

Now quickly let us be clear that he leads in ORtg amongst players with at least 28% of possessions used. Which is to say that he’s the best offender amongst the players making the most offense.

But here’s where things begin to get interesting.

We’ve all raved about Adams’ mid-range game. And it’s good. He built last season’s formidable 114.9 rating by taking 39% of his shots in that range. Like we said, he’s a sound mid-ranger and one would expect that talent to continue into this season. Let’s take a look:

JordanAdamsShooting

First let’s confirm that in 2012-13 Jordan was a good mid-range shooter. He took 39% of his shots from there and hit 45.1% of them. It was the highest 2pt FG% on the team aside from Josh Smith’s 1-of-2 shooting and Sooren Derboghosian’s 1-of-1. Mid-range, indeed.

But here’s where things get really interesting.

We expected Adams to continue to hit his pull ups and floaters. Knock down jumpers in Alford’s pro-style sets. But look at the size of the red slice in 12-13 versus 13-14. He’s halved the number of two point jumpers he’s taking. A season ago he wow-ed us with 39% mid-range offense and now he’s taken that two-fifths of offense to the rack!!!!

We spent the entire off-season talking about how slashing guards like Carson and Dinwiddie would benefit from rule changes intended to “open the game up.” Well those two continue to do their thing. Not a ton has changed, the rules just supplemented their game.

But what we’re seeing with Jordan Adams is the game actually opening up. Perhaps a step slow last season, he now has the freedom to get past a defender and connect at the rim. His ORtg sky rockets and he gets easy buckets.

Further demonstrating Adams’ transformation and genius is that his FTA/FGA rate has improved by a gaudy 21.9 percentage points (41.5% –> 63.4%). Carson’s is actually down 13.3 points and Dinwiddie is just stupid. Last season he had the 19th best FT rate at 76.7% and he’s now 16th at 102.6%. Holy charity stripe.

What Pac-12 teams must concern themselves with, however, is that while Adams is taking fewer 2-point jumpers – which are traditionally considered a “good shot” for the defense – he’s currently connecting on 52.5% of them. From three he’s upped his FG% to 37% and I suppose it goes without saying but his FG% at the rim is high. How high? He shoots 67% at the rim which leads me to the question:

What can’t Jordan Adams do?

Note: This piece would not be possible without the glorious insights of hoop-math.com. Go there and have your mind blown.

Ranking the Pac-12 back courts

This was no easy task. Back courts across the Pac-12 are loaded this season and a major reason why the Pac is Back. Thus, not coincidentally, this list most closely resembles how I think the conference will shake out. There are big guards and small guards and quick guards and shooters. Veterans and pups. I’d pit this group against any in the country. Alas, they’re just going to pick on each other like Miami Dolphins.

  1. Oregon – Sure the Ducks just lost Dominic Artis to entrepreneurship, but they replace him with the 2013 Pac-12 Tournament MVP. Oregon has guard depth as deep as this guy is drunk. Joseph Young (18ppg), Damyean Dotson (11ppg), Jason Calliste (11ppg), Johnathan Loyd (5ppg), Dominic Artis (9ppg). [somewhere Mike Moser smiles].
  2. Arizona – You can try and tell me that TJ McConnell hasn’t played at the highest level but I’m not about to knock him for that. I’ve watched mid-major talent the last four years in the Pac-12. I know what good looks like when I see it. He’s joined by the ever improving Nick Johnson with Jordin Mayes backing each of them up. I like these pieces.
  3. Colorado – Came very close to being second on this list. While Dinwiddie vs. McConnell is not a draw (Mayor wins out), Askia Booker’s propensity to shoot and to pull up and to fire as compared to everything Nick Johnson does….well I’m giving the collective nod to the Cats. But man, Spencer Dinwiddie is good.
  4. ASU – This might be too low of a ranking for the Devils. Carson is one of the nation’s best and the addition of Jermaine Marshall is an upgrade over the departed Evan Gordon. Did I mention Jahii Carson is good?
  5. California – Aside from Loyd (who will be filling in for Artis) Cobbs is the first senior to make this list (and I’m not counting Marshall, either). He’s joined by Jabari Bird, a McDonald’s AA who isn’t getting near the love he might deserve because of Commissioner (Aaron) Gordon. But the wildcard here is Ty Wallace who I think could have a monster year for the Bears.
  6. Washington – I’ve heard mixed reviews on Nigel Williams-Goss and that’s OK. Another burger All-American, he’s an incoming freshman so there’s going to be equal parts question marks and hype. I get it. But CJ Wilcox. CJ Wilcox. CJ Wilcox. Perhaps the best shooter in the conference is now a senior and very well could have the dynamic, distributing PG to get him even more touches in ideal spots. The rules changes should also help to get him even more open looks. BOMBS AWAY. (Andrew Andrews mention)
  7. UCLA – Their point guard is 6’9″ and goes by the name of slow-mo. That would seem inauspicious but Kyle Anderson is one unique talent. The Bruins are going to miss LD2 but Anderson’s play making and size will make UCLA a tough out. Oh, and that Jordan Adams kid is my favorite.
  8. Stanford – Last year I was very high on the prospects of Chasson Randle who I loved watching slash into the lane and get buckets. He could shoot it, too. His trajectory plateaued last season and he hit a cold streak from the field (44% from 3FG to 36%). This came inopportunely at the same time as Aaron Bright’s cold spell (44% from 3FG to 32%). So what’s the norm, I ask?
  9. Oregon State – Roberto Nelson is a fine player who can score with anyone in this conference. It appears, however, that he’s a one man show with Ahmad Starks (who was really high on him anyways?) departed. Challe Barton will get a crack at PG duties and there’s one more thing I want to mention: Malcolm Duvivier. Why you might ask? Because he’s definitively not Andrew Wiggins. But he is a Canadian prep star who reclassified from 2014 to 2013 to play American College Basketball. Ya hoser.
  10. Washington State – I’m a sucker for veterans – perhaps above talent? No – and the Cougars, for whatever their season will become, feature DaVonte Lacy and Royce Woolridge. These two are nice players for Ken Bone, adding to the guard depth of the conference more than wins for WSU.
  11. USC – JT Terrell should benefit greatly from Dunk City as he’s an athletic guard who wants to get up and down the floor. Or at least get his shots up. Additionally Pe’Shon Howard is a nice pickup for ball handling duties as Enfield’s offense has a tendency for turnovers.
  12. Utah – I’m relatively high on Brandon Taylor. I liked his work down the stretch for the Utes but he’s a sophomore guard with little experience leading a team full of even less experience. His learning curve is steep and I wish him luck swimming in the deep end.

Getting to know Colorado: Altitude the dog

Did you know that these Buffs return four starters from an NCAA tournament team? Google translator will tell you that means high expectations. And indeed expectations are high in Boulder as I think they’re now wearing a target. But interestingly, despite this gaudy number of starters heading back to The Keg, Tad Boyle’s opening statements at Pac-12 Media Day were to call these accusations of experience a “misnomer.” Ten of the thirteen players on this team are freshmen or sophomores. It’s a youth movement out there but one of those non-yougins’ is Spencer Dinwiddie. And he has a mustache.

Why I love them: It’d be easy to sit here and tell you how great Spencer Dinwiddie is. That he represented USA basketball at the World University Games and that he gets to the free throw line than faster than a co-ed to The Sink for dollar wells (more later). Spencer Dinwiddie is good and it’s going to get boring how good he is. And so I love the Buffs because of Xavier Johnson. The athletic wing is versatile and the kind of matchup that causes havoc. Remember that Roberson guy? Think of him with a legitimate shot at legitimate outside shot. He shot 44% from distance a year ago and had a 57% eFG. That eFG compares favorably to the following 2012-13 performances: Anthony Bennett, Jeff Withey, and Seth Curry. Maybe you’ve heard of them. And if we’re talking about loving the Buffs, I must mention that an improved Josh Scott makes for a frightening team. There isn’t much depth after him but he’s a game changing kind of player – especially if Askia Booker is shooting well. Much gets made of Booker’s volume shooting. The fact of the Colorado matter is they get things done defensively. They had a top 20 defense last year (90.9 AdjD was 19th in the country). That’s how Tad butters his bread: with your bricks. I also just need to go in on Dinwiddie and the free throw line real fast. 76.7 FTRate from last year and it was the nineteenth best rate in the nation. He was just one of a handful of guards to have such a high rate and with this season’s rules changes and a presumed increase in whistles, expect to see Dinwiddie imposing Hack-a-Mayor on the opposition.

Why I hate them: Well all that inexperience exposes an evaluation of the Buffs to a lot of question marks and last year – even with “seniors coming off the bench” as Boyle reminded us – they played like a youthful group. Remember when they beat Arizona in Boulder? Then they lost to ASU in Boulder. Remember when they beat Oregon in Boulder? Then they lost to Oregon State in Boulder. To the untrained eye, maybe the Buffs just lose to State schools? But you and I understand that these guys play emotionally, they recognize the given “magnitude” of a game and seem to have the gift/curse to play to their opponent. Now to be clear, I’m judging this group off of last season’s performance which may or may not be fair. But if Boyle wants to make it clear that this team is inexperienced, then maybe he has another thing coming. Also, ASKIA BOOKER TOOK 29% OF HIS TEAM’S SHOTS A SEASON AGO WITH THEIR FOURTH WORST ORTG. THIS CAN SERVE AS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER. That is all.

Stat you need to know:

10.5

This is the number of points that home court advantage at altitude is worth. Playing at altitude is a bitch. Seriously. You click that link and you’re getting a face full of data that boils down to that conclusion: 10.5 points. For comparison’s sake, the normal home court advantage is just 3.5 points. Boulder’s Keg is 5,430 feet above sea level where UW, USC, UCLA, Cal, and Stanford play and practice. A group that has combined for just two wins in Colorado. Yeah, it’s a bitch.

In their words: From @CUGoose, an admin at AllBuffs and a damn fine Buffalo, man, and interwebs presence.

Adam has just spent 500 words going over the brilliance that is The Mayor. And he’s not wrong. But while I will be enjoying The Mayor’s last year in Boulder this year, I will also be keeping a close eye on the best big man in the Pac-12 – Josh Scott. While Arizona’s horses up front may be a better unit, there’s not a better talent than the man known as Jelly. He’ll get some help this year from redshirt freshman Wes Gordon (who will do his best to replace Dre’s defense in the post) and a group of four true frosh who all bring different things to the table (keep an eye out for Jaron Hopkins, who could have a Dinwiddie-esque career in Boulder when it’s all said & done). But Jelly will be leading the pack. Expect a breakout year from the sophomore as he and the Mayor lead the Buffs to a top 3 finish in the Pac.

Quotable:

“Spencer has emerged as a valuable point guard for us. He can play three different spots and is able to get his shot. He could be the catalyst for setting the tone for our defense.” – Bob McKillop, Head Coach, USA World University Games

Outlook: I like this year’s Buffs. Spencer is practically that senior guard I love as he’s darned near gone to the League. Josh Scott gives them a legitimate threat on the post and I love Xavier Johnson’s motor. The culture they’re touting heading into the season gets me heated as a Wildcat fan and appreciative as a bystander. Askia Booker has just enough DGAF to be the instant offense this team needs when they’re shooting turns abysmal. I can’t say it enough: playing at altitude is a bitch. And despite this being a roster of newcomers, if they aren’t going to be relied upon for offensive output (I see you Scott, Dinwiddie, and Booker returning your respective 22, 22, and 29 percent of shots) then Tad – with depth for one of the first time’s in his CU tenure – can throw defensive bodies onto the floor for as long as the flat irons are beautiful. Dancing Buffs.

The Dancing Colorado Buffaloes

The Buffs are playing in back-to-back NCAA tournaments for the first time since the ice ages. This is an impressive feat by Tad Boyle and his staff and kudos to them. Amongst all of the contenders in the conference to jump into that upper echelon of programs, Colorado was amongst the least likely but don’t tell Tad that. They’re right there as one of the toughest outs. The team they’re dancing with this year has some terrifying pieces that I believe few staffs out there want to prepare for. I mean – as I’m about to get in to – who wants to deal with a 6’6″ point guard? And we’re not talking about Cedric Bozeman.

Why I like them: At this point, who doesn’t like Spencer Dinwiddie? He gets to the rim with ease and draws fouls at faster rate than Marshall Henderson draws haters (17th highest FT rate in the nation). His game is supported by the best role player in the nation in Andre Roberson who may be underrated but certainly not on this blog. I’m also becoming an increasingly big fan of CU’s X-factor, Xavier Johnson. He brings energy and size off the wing that the Buffs miss with Chen on the floor. He’s definitely a difference maker as it’s no surprise they roll when he’s on.

Why I don’t like them: They’re young. Oh so very young and it shows in their inconsistent play. The roll Oregon then lose to Oregon State. They have some great, convincing wins but some frustrating and discouraging losses. Which team will show up in Austin?

Poetic Justice: The Buffs manage to knock off fellow enigmatic-crew, Illinois, and advance to the second round for the second straight year. Facing a very tough and veteran Miami squad, the Buffaloes manage to linger til the waning moments. Down a pair and with the ball, the clock swiftly approaching zeros, Sabatino Chen heaves a three. It drops. Monitors are not reviewed. Buffs to their first Sweet 16 in half of a century.

Best Case Scenario: The Buffs play their sound style of defense and out B1G the Illini. Spencer Dinwiddie indeed gets to the line because Illinois has a propensity to do such defensively. Roberson boards the hell out of the offensive end alongside Josh Scott and they Buffs roll. Against Miami, the Buffs tap their inner, youthful naivety while the veteran ‘Canes lock up under the pressure and immediacy of their fleeting careers. Dinwiddie has an OK game but disrupts Shane Larkin enough to spark offense from defense and awkward-body, Kenny Kadji, has a horrible game with P12 dPOY, Andre Roberson, all over him. The Buffaloes advance – as I said – to their first Sweet 16 since 1963 to face the once again Cinderella Butler Bulldogs. Well this time it’s Askia’s time to shine as he out Rotnei Clarke’s Rotnei Clarke and shoots the Buffs into the E8. The Elite Eight. But this is the unfortunate part of our story where the Buffs run into the Indiana Hoosiers and their depth of talent Colorado just can’t contend with. It’s a glorious run and Tad Boyle kills another bear.

Not So Pac-12 Awards: Best Mustache

The mustache has long been a staple of creepiness manliness and a demonstrated propensity for greatness. To adorn such facial design is to exude elements of blind confidence and favorable swag. A brief of hair so poignant it has been reserved to hipsterdom royalty.

Yes, the mustache is a grand aesthetic and but a handful of greats can rock such a coiffure.

The candidates for best mustache:

Spencer “The Mayor” Dinwiddie, PG, Colorado

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This oversized (for the best) point guard wears an undersized (for the best) mustache. It is subtle in appearance only; for its stature is far greater than The Mayor’s nineteen years. By PacHoops voting he wore it en route to POY and is arguably the conference’s top PG prospect. Alas, it’s for his mustache that he owes this candidacy as well as the swag by which he owns the look.

Arsalan Kazemi, PF, Oregon

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For but a single night, the Iranian-born Duck adorned one of the best handlebar ‘staches I’ve ever seen. It was the night Oregon lost to Cal on the Cobbs buzzer beater. Following the loss – and understandably so – the look was retired. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t epic. Like a dress at the Oscar’s, the Kazemi ‘stache sends waves far greater than one night. Damn, it was impressive.

Adam Butler, Blogger, UCSD

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Sup?

Not So Pac-12 Awards: Best Mustache

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The Pac-12 Awards as Voted On By You

Before we dive too far down this rabbit hole, let’s look at the actual results from the Conference HQ:

  • POY: Crabbe
  • COY: Altman
  • dPOY: Roberson
  • FOY: Carson/Muhammad

No major surprises and that’s a formidable list. I was surprised by the co-FOY awarding but not that shocked considering ASU’s current four game skid compared to UCLA’s outright ‘ship. Alas, all were great.

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Perhaps my favorite part of the lists was the damn depth up and down the All-Conference teams. I’d be pretty stoked to go to battle with that Honorable Mention crew: Jio, Arsalan, Nelson, Washburn, Wise. Damn.

But back to you, the voters. Here is what you came up with:

  • POY: Dinwiddie (174 votes)
  • COY: The Field (11 votes)
  • FOY: Scott (15 votes)
  • dPOY: Roberson (38 votes)

Well it looks like a Colorado sweep. Kudos to that crew and the virality of the web and the depth of fandom from that crew. Sincerely a dedicated group.

But while this list drips with homerdom, it’s worth noting that these Buffaloes are a force to be reckoned with. They’re scary with that talent and should he stay another year, Spencer Dinwiddie could be a legitimate POY candidate.

And again, I can’t say I agree that Josh Scott or Tad Boyle are their respective “of the year” winners, I’ll most certainly hat tip the talent.

Boyle, in short order, has proven his proven his mettle as a program changing and developing leader. Josh Scott has proven similar. He’s been the consistent man in the middle, helping to spread the floor and keep defenses honest. Josh Scott has been great.

But not Shabazz or Carson-great. And Boyle’s work was sound but I’m inclined to say Dana Altman did more with less. I was really impressed with his work this season. Alas, these are the fun awards. The one’s built for discussion and mantles that make us feel good about the accomplishments of the teams, players, and coaches we support.

My favorite awards are the ones that hang in rafters.