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.
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.