- Pac-12 Networks announces talent assignments for “Full Court Friday” November 14 – This means that everything is getting real. Or at least a whole lot real-er. The talent we want to see was announced a long time ago (schedule release if you need a reminder of what I’m referencing) but just in case you got lost amidst college football voting shows, Madison Bumgarner hyperbole, or my birthday, the season starts next Friday. Your team will bounce a ball and it’s going to count against (or for) their record.
- Gregg Doyel on Tom Crean: It’s Not Personal – It seems it is because Doyel is new to the Indy Star and has already inked a few ‘Creans gotta go‘ articles. If you haven’t followed the IU incidents outside of their on court success (or otherwise), there have been a number of underage alcohol related events including one drunk teammate hitting another drunk teammate with a car. Doyel called it an epidemic. This relates to Pac-12 basketball. What if Doyel’s right and Crean is gone? He gets fired and then, let’s just say, UCLA has a solid season. They make the tournament and maybe even the second weekend. That’d be great for Westwood. But now Steve Alford’s alma mater has a vacancy and Alford has some high major success under his belt. Just some food for November thought.
- Why the etiquette of college basketball hiring and firing has changed – I thought this would be great placement for this piece considering the above blurb on complete and irresponsible speculation. It’s a storyline? Whatever the case, Nicole Auerbach outlines how and why coaching hunts have changed from a courtesy call to an Athletic Director to tracking speculative flights. I’ve heard stories about body doubles. But it also raises the question of how do you discuss big news? Is it through traditional communication means? The way we interact with one another is evolving and so too are the acceptable means to convey varying messages varying in significance. Tweet me your thoughts and I’ll facebook message ya back.
- Zach Clark and I discuss Arizona Hoops – Let’s start a campaign to get ESPN Tucson onto streaming. I dunno how we start this. Do we start a petition? Storm the studios? Let’s not get carried away but maybe the people demand PacHoops?
I didn’t have the opportunity to dive deeply into watching the Washington game. But even peripherally it appears that our concerns about Washington’s front court were affirmed by Tom Crean and company. The Dawgs yielded 102 points to Indiana despite trying to slow them in a zone (in stretches) and coughing up just nine turnovers. By most accounts, nine turnovers is a recipe for victory. The catch, is on the glass. Or otherwise said, a lack of catching, and this is where our front court hypothesis is affirmed
You see, while Washington only forfeit nine turnovers, they were out rebounded 50-29. Of those 50 boards, the Hoosiers snatched up 20 offensive boards and subsequently 20 additional possessions by which to approach the century mark. A mark they achieved.
We knew that Washington was going to miss the presence of Jernard Jarreau, but this much? Shawn Kemp Jr. joined us for nine minutes; or just long enough to commit five fouls but not long enough to grab more than one rebound. Giles Dieroidsajflkxvlkjasgcxz grabbed 100% more rebounds than Kemp (2). As I explained on a Daily Dose of Dyl (I start at the 4min mark) this week, Washington is still learning itself. JJ was to be a big piece of what they were doing and Nigel Williams-Goss is still getting his feet wet. CJ Wilcox is fantastic but he doesn’t necessarily create his own shot. Sure, Perris Blackwell has proven pretty formidable on the blocks (13/8). But if 20% of his offense is coming off of put backs, it suggests he’s still not a threat worthy of letting Wilcox get open.
More on the rebounding. Check this out and search for the patterns:
|Wash Rebs||Opp Rebs||Opp Oreb||Result|
What’d you find? I’ll tell you what I found: get out rebounded and you’re likely to lose. In UW’s case, they’ve suffered this punishment twice and lived to see another day, once, when they danced with the Devil in Cameron Dollar form.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins isn’t soon going to run out of the seven win tunnel to remedy this. He’s got an NFL draft to prepare for and Jon Brockman certainly isn’t on the way.
We knew the Dawgs were going to need some front court help. Who’s going to do it?
When Florida enters the McKale Center Saturday, they’ll be the first ranked opponent on Lute and Bobbi Olson court since the 2010-11 #21 BYU Cougars, uhhh, beat Arizona. I was at that game and vomited four times. Literally.
Alright so I had food poisoning and that shall not be the premise of my Florida-Arizona commentary. No, I’d like to revisit the upset surrounding scheduling. How the departed Jim Livengood, knowing full well the program was in moderate shambles could arrange for such a home-and-home to happen. To allow a mid-major to embarrass the Wildcats in McKale – then a year later on the road.
I’m not pointing a finger at Livengood. He wasn’t dribbling or shooting or letting Jimmer to the rack at will. No, it was a strategic lapse, on to the next. And what’s next has been the Sean Miller show with guest appearances from Derrick Williams, Josiah Turner, Kyryl Natyazkho and Lamont Jones. With special contributions from Tim Floyd.
But this Saturday marks the end of guests and special contributors. This is year four and Miller hand picked this team. He’s built them and developed them and, if we’re to believe he’s as good a coach as we want to, he knew what he was doing. And that’s why he has Florida coming to town. That’s why next year marks the beginning of a home and home with Michigan followed by a home and home with Missouri with rumors of Gonzaga sprinkled in and visits to NYC (preseason NIT) and Maui. It’s the model Lute followed and if you’ll recall his twenty-five seasons in Tucson, it worked pretty well, right?
So what of these Gators? The first top-10 showdown in McKale in eight years? With respect to the aforementioned build up to this crowning season of the Sean Miller era, this is the marquee game. This is the coming out party. This is the how you like me now moment. For all of the cupcakes and walkover games previously scheduled and played, the ones built to set these developing Wildcats up for success, this is the one built to lead them to success. The kind that puts tiny numbers next to your name and the kind that puts you in the national conversation. The kind that makes programs not seasons and the kind that puts rings on your finger and banners in your rafters.
For all the talk of SOS, RPI, etc. this is Miller’s first flash of SOP – Strength of Program. And that’s not to say this is a must win. Arizona could very well lose this game and carry on to have tremendous success; win a billion games and twelve titles. But for the first time, by program design, Arizona will work to assert itself nationally, not just the best amongst a meddling Pac-12.
Now when discussing this stance I’ve put forth, my buddy Jamie (who once unofficially procured a triple-double in HS) was quick to cite my hyperbole. And he’s got a point. This is a scheduled contest, part of a contract signed maybe two years ago. How could anyone have known Florida would be a sultry 7-0 in 2012? I see his point. Big schools schedule big schools. This is just another in a series of games that will be added to the schedule.
But just ask Tom Crean about the three years of beatings he took from Kentucky before finally dropping them last year. Think that meant something to him? Think that meant something to Hoosier faithful? How about this year’s team? WE ARE INDIANA HEAR US ROAR!
Maybe I get a little carried away in the magnitude of this game, swept up in the romanticism of perhaps getting to witness a catapulting victory. But you can’t tell me there isn’t something bigger than Gators at Wildcats here because it’s been a spell since Tucson could taste it. There was that moment in Anaheim but it never quite felt real, lasting. Don’t get me wrong, taking Duke to task was remarkable but deep down there it was all too unexpected. Special to be sure, but this is the time. This is why players come to Arizona. It’s why Sean said yes and it’s why there will 15,000 people inside that arena just off Campbell Ave.
So yeah, Jamie, I’m swept up in it. But I just think we’re supposed to be.