Monthly Archives: February 2013

For Comparison’s Sake: Nothing

A comparative analysis is a problem solving methodology used to minimize subjectivity and maximize objectivity. Exhibit A vs. Exhibit B. In the instance I was trying to use it last night – a circumstance in which I was trying to find some silver lining, some reason that it was OK for Arizona to have lost to the conference’s seventh place team by allowing them to shoot greater than 60% afield.

I present to you, Exhibit Michigan.

Wow losing to Penn State is bad and while it isn’t quite TCU, it sure ain’t good. And so you see you what I did there? In Arizona losing, I rationalized it – analyzed it comparatively, if you will – to other high major upsets. As if somehow Michigan’s loss from earlier in the night could vindicate the Wildcats.

Well that lasted less than a minute (s/o to my first) and I was brought back to thinking, picking, ignoring, lamenting, and generally agonizing over USC’s victory. On my mind was:

  • 89 points – Most points yielded this season by Arizona
  • -9 – Rebounding margin
  • 61.1% – USC’s shooting percentage, the highest of all-time
  • Cab or Ale – Wasn’t sure if it’d be Red Wine or Beer
  • 1.17 – Trojan points per possession

Over and over again I looked at the box score but couldn’t find much to make the confusion go away. For comparison’s sake, I was lost, and remain lost.

But the fact of the matter is, until that group of men and women sit inside a hotel conference room and pick a handful of teams to dance, comparison does no good. Arizona has got to do Arizona and they haven’t done that. Why has Sean Miller had to discuss defensive effort in his past umpteen pressers? Themes outside of winning are bad and, what’s worse, effort is a completely controllable component of one’s game.

Effort, in fact, has been a central cog to what we’ve seen Arizona face as the Pac-12’s most hunted team since the season began. And we knew that would be the case. They arrived as the hyped team and then won 14 straight, rising to third in the nation, and everyone wants a piece of that. It’s no surprise that teams show up with their best effort to play Arizona.

I’m just wondering when will Arizona show up with theirs?

Kudos to Johnathan Loyd as Artis Returns

And like that, it appears the Johnathan Loyd era is over – or at least soon to return to its supporting role – in Eugene. This, of course, means that Dominic Artis will (should?) be returning to action this Thursday as the Ducks host the Beavers in the Civil War. I know for a fact that this has my Oregon friends excited:

Indeed the return of Artis is great news for Dana’s Ducks but it also begs the question: How well did Johnathan Loyd do in the super freshman’s absence? If quick on the trigger, we’d have to say poorly. They were just 5-4 in Artis’ absence (aka with Loyd at the helm) and averaged 18 turnovers per game for which Loyd was responsible for 2+ of.

But the Ducks maintained their first place standing and that has got to count for something everything.

Because I do not believe any team in this conference could have withstood the loss of their point guard and maintained their conference position, let alone first place. Hell, most of the teams can barely hold their own current place so why would we think that any other team could maintain following the loss of a player handling 24% of the team’s possessions and 24% of the team’s shots.

Without a doubt Arits was Oregon’s primary ball handler and shot taker. Shall I rattle off a few other names? If I do it, you have to promise to imagine that player not playing for his team for nine games and the ramifications of such. The following players lead their team in shot %:

  • Mark Lyons, 15/2/3, Arizona
  • Jahii Carson, 18/3/5, ASU
  • JT Terrell, 11/2/1 USC
  • Shabazz Muhammad, 18/5/1, UCLA
  • Roberto Nelson, 17/3/3, OSU
  • CJ Wilcox, 17/4/2, UW
  • Brock Motum, 18/6/1, WSU
  • Askia Booker, 13/4/2, CU
  • Jordan Loveridge, 12/7/2, Utah

That’s a damn All-Conference team. Which isn’t necessarily surprising but I can’t see many, if any, team maintaining whatever level they’ve played without the above players. But Oregon managed and a lot of that has to do with Loyd’s play.

Additionally, the peripheral benefit of this is the confidence gained by Johnathan Loyd and what he’ll bring to the Ducks off the bench as they head into the depths of March with…well…increased depth. Loyd should be commended for his starting services and, if I’m Dana Altman, I’m making it poignantly clear that he is an invaluable member of this team in whatever capacity he’s contributing. As a starter it was 6/1/4. Off the bench, following his previous nine games? Time will tell.

The race for the Conference Title is about as tight as it can get and just one of the three favorites – and lurking Golden Bears – is coming to full strength.

Week 9 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

Much gets made of this homestretch we’re in. I frankly don’t know when the homestretch began but I’m utterly flabbergasted that Vegas is eerily around the corner as my mom indirectly reminded us.

But we’re not there yet. There’s still some spicy games to be played and this Wednesday/Thursday has about as many traps as a Kevin McCallister house. From Arizona overlooking the previously demolished Trojans; to Colorado peaking at the East Bay before concerning themselves with the Peninsula; to a pair of historically relevant rivalry games (The Apple Cup and The Civil War) that happen to include two squads who are a combined 5-25 (OSU and WSU), there are indeed stumbling blocks galore. And while these games aren’t going to force you to cancel any plans, I’ll guarantee you’re updating some scores on your phone when you’re sitting at a Happy Hour at some suburban Chili’s that doesn’t get the Pac-12 Network. Confessional: last Thursday, when my mom was visiting and my brother and I were sitting down to dinner with her, we were surprised and grateful as she excused herself to the restroom with impeccable timing, allowing us to fire up the Watch ESPN as Justin Cobbs was setting up his dagger into the Ducks and costing us no mom time. She must truly love us. Or vice versa. All I know is she would not have known what sport we were watching.

Alas, give your parents a call and enjoy the weekend:

(more previewing on PacificTakes if you’re into that stuff)

GotW: I coined this the conference game of the year way back in January and by golly I’m sticking to it. In fact, I’m going to attend it. Yes, I’ll be hoping in the Red Dragon (below) and racing down I-5 to catch the Bruins and Cats inside Pauley alongside Game Day and UCLA’s maybe second sell out of the season. Los Angeles is a city that indeed recognizes big moments and captures them. Hosting the Wildcats in the brand new Pauley is one of those moments no matter the feelings surrounding the UCLA program. And Ray, people will come. I’ll come from San Francisco for reasons I can fathom (/Field of Dreams). But beyond name recognition, this game has some major, direct, Waterworld-budget-sized title ramifications. These two currently stand tied for second with the tie going to the Bruins. Assuming no forthcoming stumbling Ducks, this is a battle for second place and perhaps a top-6 seed in the Dance for UCLA and a two-seed for Arizona. Big game.


The Red Dragon

Game to Avoid: We are just two weeks removed from season’s end and so it’s hard to find any game to avoid. However, your Sunday afternoon is likely best spent at a bottomless mimosa or bloody brunch than watching the Apple Cup. Washington State is two-for-the-conference season and Washington ain’t playing for a whole lot more than an NIT birth which I now know from personal fan experience is a far less exciting tournament to watch during the year’s third month. Unless of course Ray Lewis pops into your locker room.

Something to Prove: Cal is as hot as a pistol and hosting Colorado and Utah. As a Pac-12 contender they should sweep the weekend, right? The answer is yes but I’ll be curious to see how Cal suddenly plays the role of the hunted. They haven’t exactly impressed against lesser competition (they beat Oregon State twice by a combined 4 points) and all five of their losses have come to teams behind them in the standings (save UCLA). And now they’re definitively wearing a target, hosting a hungry group of Buffaloes looking to seal up their own run to the Dance. Not to mention they’ll also play host to Larry K’s tough Utes who manage to stay in a whole lotta ball games. The Bears will need to prove their mettle as conference elite if they too want to dance with the big kids.

Something to Lose: The Colorado Buffaloes have a lot going for them as they sit alone in fifth place with four games remaining – two of which involve teams ahead of them in the standings, which is to say that their remaining schedule allots them the challenge and opportunity to climb. They’re also amongst the Top-25 RPI teams which grossly behooves their tournament chances. Aside from the computer stuff, their situation reminds me of ASU’s but A) Colorado is in the dance as of today, and B) They’re better suited to close their season hot. But what if they don’t? I did mention that this ending would be a challenge and to struggle would be, in a word, bad. Traveling to the Bay is about as tricky of a trip as the conference provides and the Buffs are approaching that very challenge on this homestretch.

The Jam: **NEW SEGMENT** Encouraged by my man Zach, I thought I’d toss in whatever current song I’m really in to. It’s a questioned I’ve proposed to a number of folks I’ve Q&A’d and I’m always open to discovering new music. So send it right back my way. The inaugural The Jam is “You – Ha ha ha” by Charli XCX. A little synth pop for your Wednesday morning with a nonsensical music video but plenty of energy. Let me know if you know a better music sharing strategy than YouTube links.

The YouTuber: Go say shuttlecock to someone without laughing. Do it.

Week 8 Pac-12 Hoops Review

It wasn’t the most exciting weekend of Pac-12 hoops. We knew there wasn’t much by way of sexy matchups but this time of year has a way of magnifying even the most nominal of moments. And so when the Beavers took Cal to wire, we watched. And when Washington took it to the Devils, we stared. And when Justin Cobbs stepped back, we awed. And when Jennifer Lawrence slipped, I dove at my television to catch her fall. Alas, things are starting to take shape in this thing we call “title chase” even if that shape is a goddamn mutilated Play Doh ball.

The weekend:

Leader in the Clubhouse: Arizona swept the weekend while Oregon wore a home loss but I’m still picking the Ducks here as they avenged that shellacking in Palo Alto. So much has been made of the absence of Artis but I’ll say that the collective parts that remain in his absence made quite an impression against a talented albeit quitting Cardinal crew. The Ducks’ impressive win over Stanford was an assertion of dominance as the sole holders of their destiny. With the easiest remaining schedule amongst title contenders, it’s impossible to consider anyone else the conference’s leader. But it’s close.

Biggest Loser: There once was an under achieving team from Tempe that won its way to 20 games against less-than-impressive talent but it was 20 nonetheless. And as they approached selection Sunday, they discovered that maybe they’re fighting an uphill battle as they did themselves no favors in losing, at home, to the 76th RPI rated Washington Huskies. In general, not an abysmal loss; but with the calendar approaching March, we find ourselves in an excuse-less vacuum of do-or-die. The Devils, with the schedule they enlisted, have put themselves in position to win their way into the Dance. The unfortunate part is they didn’t win this Saturday – their final home game of the year – which may have cost themselves a chance to dance.

What We Learned: It was just brought to my attention that Colorado can finish anywhere from second to ninth in the conference which is to say that perhaps we learned absolutely nothing from this weekend aside from the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is equal parts talented and beautiful and that Craig Robinson’s sister awkwardly hangs out with tuxedo-ed service people. So with nothing still little to report by way of solid findings, one thing remains certain: You need a ticket to Vegas. See you there.

The YouTuber: It’s going to start happening at a faster rate…

Entertaining the Idea of Optimal Entertainment

They never made a movie about Maximus’ reign over Rome. Because there is no fun in foregone conclusions. It’s the same reason the petulant Commodus drops a blade into his ribs prior to the final battle: the outcome, for optimal entertainment, must be in question.

Which is precisely why we love March Madness. Sure, there are favorites but the brevity of a single game and the immediacy of defeat – or victory – are the most thrilling of events. We love one and done (see the aforementioned Gladiator).

Well Madness cometh early this year as we examine the Pac-12 Standings:

P12StandingsArizona and Oregon sit atop the conference (Oregon holding the tie-breaker) with UCLA on their half-game heels and Cal/ASU a game out. Which is where things get interesting.

Cal holds the tie-breaker over UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona. They’ll need some help in holding ASU off but what I’m ultimately getting at is we have arrived at one and done time. It’s a race a race to four wins (five if you’re UCLA) and by the looks of it I don’t think we’re going to get to escape the rulebooks here. Neither Oregon or Cal has any games remaining against these contenders, letting Arizona, ASU, and UCLA beat up on one another right until the final day.

Lose a game down the stretch a bid your title hopes, sayonara!

Of course should Oregon win out, the conference title is theirs. But this is no foregone conclusion which, as stated above, is the precise recipe for optimal entertainment. And the question therefore becomes: Of these squads, who do you most like to win out? For my money, it’s Arizona. But I can’t dismiss UCLA and I’ll reiterate that Cal has a fighting chance to win the Conference of Champions. And Oregon is ultimately still holding their own destiny in Dominic Artis’ boot.

So, while every game remaining is key, here are the remaining contests with the greatest title implications:

  • UCLA @ USC, 2/24. 12:30pm, FSN – Rivalry.
  • ASU @ UCLA, 2/27, 8:30pm, P12N – Revenge.
  • Arizona @ UCLA, 3/2, 6pm, ESPN – I’m going.
  • Stanford @ Cal, 3/6, 8pm, ESPN2 – Rivalry.
  • Oregon @ Colorado, 3/7, 6pm, ESPN2 – Revenge.
  • ASU @ Arizona, 3/9, 1:30pm, FSN – Pure spice.


Capturing Their POY Momement: Crabbe, Carson, Others?

We are entering awards season and while I’m not about to make too many picks, I do think Argo and Silver Linings Playbook will be announced frequently this coming Sunday.

But just as these films get some late sprucing as Oscar Sunday is approached, some late hoopla and for your consideration moments, so too do the candidates for Pac POY. As sports fans, we’re fully aware of moments and celebrate those who capture them. While Derrick Williams was walking away with the POY award, his depositing of Darnell Gant’s shot was a POY moment. I suppose for Jorge it was some charge he took.

But here we are at the homestretch, the final time to showcase one’s goods for award consideration and as I see it today, we have just a handful of POY contenders. The field:

  • Allen Crabbe: 20/6/3
  • Jahii Carson: 18/3/5
  • Spencer Dinwiddie: 15/3/3
  • Shabazz Muhammad: 19/5/1
  • C.J. Wilcox: 18/5/2

Other names could be dropped into that list but then we’re just building out an All-Conference team and we’re not here for that. We’re looking for the one and even this list feels long. But the Academy is now dropping ten films into consideration so I figure we can extend ours to five.

Now I haven’t the slightest clue what the voting criteria are. I don’t know if this is an award given to the best player or the most valuable one but as it were, looking back historically, it appears the award is given to the conference’s best player which tends to also be the most valuable. An easy overlap. Just rattling off the last few winners’ names you get that sense: Williams, Randle, Love, Harden, Afflalo, Roy. All very recognizable names.

Team success often plays a part which is why Brock Motum didn’t win last years award and the coaches decided to give Jorge a career achievement award.

But this year, as is clear by the above list of studs and their output, there’s a legitimate battle for the award. Interestingly, Arizona and Oregon have such balanced production that their best players have played their way out of POY contention (though I think they’ll be OK with a conference title or a nice March run in its stead).

Diving into that list, I’ll say that I really like Spencer Dinwiddie’s game. I think he’s a complete guard with tremendous size and a league future. I don’t think he’s going to win this award. That’s not to drop him from this list, he makes it in my mind as an MVP-type, but as POYs go, he’s not yet there. And while CJ Wilcox is one of the smoothest players in the league, 13ppg against the conference’s top three teams (AZ, Ore, UCLA) doesn’t exactly do it for me. One thing that definitely does it for NBA scouts is Shabazz’s mid-range game which is lethal considering his size and athleticism. But his game is relatively mono-faceted – scorer – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just would seem to eliminate him from the POY race. His team does sit near the top of the conference but their collective success seems to have them in that position.

And so we’re left at two: Carson and Crabbe.

The former is a super freshman. He’s the centerpiece of ASU’s transformation into possible dancers and has been equal parts fantastic and valuable. Crabbe too has been great and perhaps overlooked until recently as his team has catapulted back into the top half of the conference standings.

So facing what appears to be this two man race and returning to the aforementioned moments, who will capture theirs?

I think Allen Crabbe is going to have a big chance tonight as his red hot Bears travel to Eugene to take on the first place Oregon Ducks. A big game here and Crabbe maintains POY-mentum. And this is really his biggest opportunity for a statement game. It’s the last team the Golden Bears play ahead of them in the standings; though big games against Colorado and/or in The Big Game (3/6) could go a long way in securing the award.

Last night, Carson did nothing to hurt his chances of POY-dom with 21/4/5 against the lowly Cougars. He’s vying to become just the third freshman to ever win the award, joining the likes of Kevin Love and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. Good company and his closing arguments could come in the form of big games on the road. A place the young man is learning to thrive. Remaining are contests at UCLA and at rival Arizona by which Carson could find his name etched onto the POY cup – or whatever it is they give the player.

But the overarching excitement here is that we are having a POY talk which means we’re remarkably close to what’s shaping up to be one of the maddest Marches in awhile.

As my buddy Jamie recently asked, “How do we get this sport year ’round?”

Week 8 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

Here I sit. Sickly and playing semi-nurse to my roommate who’s just had his ACL reconstructed and who – in his post-surgical, in home state – has accumulated a viewing list the size of Washington State’s RPI (188). As I mentioned, I am under the weather and took a half-day from professional life to rehabilitate and help the roommate with nominal tasks suddenly turned difficult without the function of two knees (he sponge bathes himself).

And so, 181 PacHoops posts, two-seasons on, 3/4 of a season on PacificTakes and Rush the Court, and 1/4 season on AZDesertSwarm I’ve finally turned the corner into true sportswriter-dom. I’m three episodes into The Wire. Yes, in this day and age it would seem one cannot truly comment on sports without having experienced this Home Box Office tour de force. I’ve just met Omar and I find McNulty equal parts frustrating and endearing, a confused character, flawed like and broken like so many cop protagonists before him (looking at you, John McClane). And while it is HBO programming without Allison Williams, it didn’t take long for us to get hooked.

All of that said, the chances that I make obscure references to this now dated show are slim so rest assured I will not go Whitlock on you. I have, however, thought seriously about likening each of your favorite Pac-12 teams to a GIRLS character. It’s going to happen.

Alas, as we hit the homestretch, like drug ring in the projects of Baltimore, teams will begin to rise to the top of the game while others…well…others will begin to drop like flies.

The weekend

GotW: Like Sex and the City this weekend doesn’t necessarily have any stunners, but there’s plenty of substance and couple of pretending divas. Take Washington @ Arizona. This game screams Samantha as it’s the two sexiest names squaring off on the slate but it’s really not attractive at all. Woof. Nah, the best looking of that cast was Charlotte, a simple beauty, nothing overwhelming but certainly good looking. Our simple beauty of this weekend? Cal’s visit to Eugene. The Bears are hotter than a Mike Montgomery timeout which actually deserves some additional commentary. While the shove worked and all the right things were said afterward, could the national commentary and hubub have turned to distraction? It’ll be interesting to see how they react as they take to the court in what will undoubtedly be a hostile environment. And, for the record, I’m not Miranda fan.

Game to Avoid: You ever seen Enlightened? It’s on the half-hour before GIRLS and each week we catch the final three minutes and it’s the most dramatic moments of the show but no one’s actually into the show and none of us have the slightest clue what it’s about or an interest in getting further involved. Sounds about how my Wednesday night is going to shape up as I’m not going to dedicate too much time the 7pm WSU @ ASU game while awaiting the 8pm tip of UW @ AZ. The lone Husky invited over to watch has already asked that we garner burritos during that hour.

Something to Prove: Slowly growing his worth as a Hollywood star, Vincent Chase finally made a name for himself as the centerpiece of Aquaman. This mega-blockbuster role is the career maker Chase had been searching for. Or was it? He wanted more, preferring to find his dream gig in Medellin; seeking to prove he was an artist and not just a pretty face. Well few are about to say much about the Sun Devils being a pretty face (maroon and piss), but we can consider their inflated win total appealing. Wins are sexy to the committee just as starring in a James Cameron movie is star igniting (Chase, Sam Worthington). But regardless of what your resume states, if it doesn’t have staying power it doesn’t have staying power. The Sun Devils have a key opportunity to prove their worth as a tourney team by holding court at home this weekend, taking greater steps to becoming the stars they want to be in March.

Something to Lose: As Larry David putzes around Los Angeles (and New York in his most recent season on Curb), he acts as if he has nothing to lose. Not a man on fire but a man devoid awareness to the greater context of social accord. It’s been with a similar disinterest for public opinion that the Cal Bears have played their way into Dance consideration. But as I said in the GotW preview, there’s growing opinion about all things Monty and his basketball program as some (if not many) are thinking he should not be coaching on the sidelines. This national conversation could quickly spiral into a distraction for a hot team, particularly considering he was “surprised at the legs” the story got. The fact of the matter is that there are TV cameras everywhere and anytime a 60+ shoves a twenty-year-old, it’s going to become a pretty, pretty, pretty big deal.

The YouTuber: I don’t even know…


Week 7 Pac-12 Hoops Review

Two hands were abruptly thrown onto Allen Crabbe’s chest before he rallied his team to victory over ASU. And the college basketball universe went nuts about the Mike Montgomery shove. Understandably so.

Such actions have cost greater coaches their jobs and while maybe their strikes have occurred with more severe intent, there’s really no place for that. We could celebrate Crabbe’s rally and the motivational tactic but why does it have to boil down to a shove? Was that really the best possible move? A lost moment amongst the emotion of competition? Whatever it was, Mike Montgomery is better than that and I trust the situation was handled internally and appropriately.

In other news, I’m hoping that my body is internally and appropriately handling whatever this bug is that I’ve inherited so I can get back to full strength for the final three weeks of this season!

The Presidential weekend:

Leader in the Clubhouse: Oregon stands alone and if they’re not standing on concrete then it’s at least setting. They hold a game lead over the next two teams chasing them and they hold wins over both those teams. You know this. And you also know they garnered a road sweep against the Washingtons without Dominic Artis. I’ve already likened  his pending return to a deadline trade and with essentially a 1.5 game lead for the one seed in Vegas (who’s stoked for Vegas??) that incoming talent should behoove them. That said, I’m going to need to give a shout out to the Cal Bears for the run they’re on and their late rally into Dance contention.

Biggest Loser: When I headed down to The Farm on February 3, I witnessed the best version of the Stanford Cardinal that there could be. Damn they were good. And now they just got swept at home. They’ve dove under the .500 mark in conference and while the LA schools are proving tough, the home court is to be defended. At least as a team with aspirations of The Dance; a fleeting sight in Palo Alto.

What We Learned: As I was settling in to Saturday night, and Evan Gordon’s shot was circling the tin and another Top-5 team had lost, I got to talking about the absurdity of this college basketball season with Matt and Dave. “This college basketball season” we began as an excuse for anything, including Dexter Kernich-Drew’s late foul, a speeding/texting/rolling stop ticket, working late, performance issues…hey, this college basketball season! Indeed it’s becoming increasingly less predictably who will win week in and week out and what more could you ask for? Unless it’s your team, an oligarchy doesn’t befit the masses. Do you realize just how crazy this March is going to be? Vegas, too? The absurdity of this season will roll its wild self on into tournament play and we’re going to be the benefactors of, well, this college basketball season.

The YouTuber: CU pulled off a fun one of these mid-game on Thursday and as I went on a Harlem Shake bender the next day, this was the most impressive:

No Fool in Colorado

I hesitated but continued on, weathering the risk of judgment for passing too much time studying the gendered bathroom signs. After all, there was a significant crowd in the general restroom vicinity and I was in opposing colors. I did not need to look the part of a fool. But when I turned to the man who’d followed me in and questioned the abundance of stalls and lack of urinals I almost immediately knew I’d screwed up. And when I heard a voice, distinctly a female voice, question, “What are you guys doing in here?” my face swiftly turned the color of my shirt as I beelined back to the entrance of the women’s restroom I had mistakenly just entered. And the aforementioned crowd in the general restroom vicinity? Well to them I delivered a brief bow as I noticed each of the restroom doors had the gender opposite their inhabitants painted on them within the greater context of an arrow. A fool I’d been made.

But this alone was the greatest gaffe of my trip to Colorado. Some might cite my bravado and irreverence to the host’s blackout. Others would draw attention to the performance of my team, their own bravado behind the veil of miniscule national ranking and a tidy 20-3 record, and the loss they would incur. And yet another couple – specifically the couple seated before us at the contest – would reference a perceived “lack of respect” we were showing to an unnamed source which evidently merited a tooth flicking. Yes, you read that correctly, someone flicked their tooth at us.

None of that holds a candle to the foolishness of waltzing into The Dark Horse’s women’s restroom.

Because I am a fan; not an enemy.

Ask the young man at The Sink who held nothing back in letting our group of three Wildcats know what idiots we were for cheering Arizona and that the Buffs were now “officially 2-0” against Arizona this season. He’d continue on, making somewhere between little and no sense, in ensuring that we knew we were in the wrong. And then I bought him a $1 shot of well whisky and I had a new best friend.

An enemy I am not. A grand time I had.

From the new friends I made to the old ones I joined, hitting the Pac-12 road was as great as ever. Sure the outcome was less than satisfactory and the mile trek to The Golden Buff hotel amidst a four-inch snow storm was the coldest damn thing ever; but this was unchartered territory and adversity was foreseen. Did Sir Edmond Hillary expect a red carpet to the top of Everest? Was Neil Armstrong thinking the anti-gravity think would be a cakewalk? You can rest assured that Adam Butler did not jaunt into the Coors Event Center thinking life would be easy. No, he expected cold and anger and battle of a basketball game. And he jaunted away impressed. The production and the show-up of Buff Nation was commendable. While UCLA struggles to get its own fans to support their 19-7 program, I met Buffalo upon Buffalo who drove 30+ miles (Denver-Boulder) through snow and construction for an 8pm tip to get rowdy, return home, and go to work the next day. Consider my beanie, earmuffs, and hood tipped.

I enjoyed The Buff and college town drink prices and not going to work for two days before a three-day weekend. I had a five-day weekend.

No, I am not an enemy because I went there for the experience and I got exactly that. And now I’ve recruited others to return to Boulder next season when Arizona is likely to still be a Top-15 team with the Colorado Buffaloes looking to beat them like they did this Valentine’s. I’ll be there again as a fan, perhaps an intrinsically foolish role we’ve subscribed to. So while The Dark Horse may have misled me, my fandom did not.

And it never will.

Game Day: Happy Birthday Arizona

On February 14, 1912, the territory known as “Arizona” was signed into statehood thus completing the continental United States. Happy Birthday, home state.

As it were, the University of the Valentine State, has a good basketball team headed to Colorado (an August baby) and I’ve taken a growing interest in this kitty corner rivalry. Because here I am: on a gracious couch in Denver awaiting a bus to Boulder for a raucous evening of fandom.

Get up to date with the funtivities and other things around the Pac:

And if you’re looking for the specific goings on in Boulder:

  • A letter of purpose to Buffs Nation. Just making sure everyone knows
  • Got to talking all things Pac-12 with the guys at Addicted to Quack
  • Perhaps getting away from McKale is a good thing?
  • When Ben asks you questions on his CU hoops blog, you answer them
  • What is this Keg place?

Whether you read any of that or not, just be sure to call your Grandma today.