Someone out there with more intimate knowledge and feelings for football can perhaps wax about last night’s sports. It was pure sports. We asked for a championship and we got a championship. Legends were cemented. Hyperbole can be tossed around with the Brady name like a goal-line play call. Sports. And in the interest of brevity – with plenty of moments in our week of Pac-12 hoops from Askia’s 43 to Singer’s step back – I’m drawn to this old clip from Don Cheadle.
In three overtimes and between two players, USC scored 65 points. They lost that game. Then, in regulation and between eleven players, USC scored 39 points. They lost that game. What a difference two days makes? Or maybe that’s just what happens when you’re the 349th least experienced team in all of college basketball and your cross town rival really upsets one of the best defensive teams in the country. Toss up.
If Sam Singer is hitting step backs FTW, then we can certainly note that sports are here for us to believe in the unbelievable. Here’s a kid criticized for not taking enough shots.
Look at that. I mean, we’re looping it here so you can’t not keep watching. Sam Singer ladies and gentlemen. Of course this isn’t even noting that Cal scored a cumulative 94 points at home against the Arizona schools a week ago. Then went to Washington and scored 166 points and swept. Which leads me to:
Cal wins on a Sam Singer step back and so now I understand subprime mortgages — Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) February 1, 2015
10) WASHINGTON STATE
You’ll read more about what the Cougars did to Stanford and how it was historically relevant. But basically what we can do here is tease out that if you play any semblance of defense against the Cougars, you stand a chance to win. Because they will not be playing any defense themselves. They rank 309th in defensive efficiency and even allowed Cal to achieve 1.17 ppp.
This is Askia Booker as father time leans in on his waning career:
Booker is shooting his way out of every situation and will leave no bullets left in the chamber. His homecoming weekend featured a 43 point performance. Katin, were you taking notes? You fouled out. Askia endured, exceeded 40 like he was Klay. For which I start the official campaign for Askia to set the shot percentage high of the last decade. At 37.8% of possessions resulting in a Booker shot, he has some work to do if he’s to surpass Jermaine Taylor’s 43.4% in 2009. But shooters gonna shoot. Askia gotta shoot.
A look at what’s happened in the absence of Robert Upshaw. First, the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl. Then, on the basketball side of things, we’d previously raved of Washington’s defensive revival. Washington had ranked second in 2-point FG%, allowing the 27th lowest percentage of shots at the rim. This weekend, with Upshaw dismissed? The Dawgs allowed 58% shooting from within the arc and were swept, at home, by the Bay schools. And, in case you’re curious, I am not related to Malcolm Butler.
Let’s revisit the genius of Herb Sendek:
“When you’re open. Shoot! Now here’s the flip side of that. When you’re not open, you don’t shoot.”
And that’s exactly what happened in the final seconds of the Sun Devils’ home loss to Oregon as multiple Devils frantically ran around, not shooting, until Bo Barnes took a desperation heave that ultimately is better described as an alley oop to no one. The flip side of that would be in destroying Oregon State. They were open seemingly the whole damn time and destroyed one of the more formidable defenses in the conference.
6) OREGON STATE
I’m so glad that last week I prefaced my commentary on Oregon State as possibly an NCAA tournament team with:
Look I’ll be the first to tell you that Oregon State is not an NCAA tournament team.
It’s like the fine print of a pharmaceutical. Legal-ese so we can say whatever we want. Lipitor: If it’s hard for more than 4 hours… The Beavers were outscored by a margin greater than their total points scored in Tucson. I don’t care how slow you make the game – a point Sean Miller was passively critical of throughout his game commentary – 34 points is poor. It’s flirting with Washington State’s 27 from a season ago. Alas, it generally feels cheap to criticize the Beavers considering this is a season in which they can do whatever they want. It’s just more convenient to note when they’re winning.
The are having the kind of season where they’re doing just enough to be relevant but not paid attention to. Maybe that’s just a byproduct of being one of the better teams in a pack of teams that aren’t very good and not having the expectations of – say – eleven national titles versus just seven scholarship players (see: Bruins, UCLA). Nevertheless, a road win is commendable and the Ducks captured precisely that.
Did UCLA’s win over #12 Utah feel extraordinarily Lavin to anyone else? It was all that came to mind for me but perhaps I’m too densely looking at the Bruins as a constant evaluation of whoever their leader is. The Westwood Condition, I suppose. Nevertheless, the Bruins pulled off the second biggest conference win of the season in knocking off the Utes Thursday night. And while the win was great, the best part of the Bruin weekend was their Saturday night attire:
Just when we begin to think the Cardinal are on the alpha side of things, they go and do something like lose to Washington State. I know that the road is a tough place to win and a Wednesday to Saturday trip in the Pacific Northwest can drag some. If you’d like for me to quantify this I’d be happy to. Washington State’s 1.37 points per possession (that’s Super Bowl shark comically bad defense by the Cardinal) was the Cardinal’s worst defensive performance since March 7, 2009 (1.42 in Tucson). Stanford’s defense:
Effort, as it were, was questioned by Larry K when his team lost in Pauley Pavilion. They responded by allowing USC to do almost nothing. So what do we take from the Utes’ trip to Los Angeles? I suppose it’s really just a confirmation that Larry K has a strong grasp of this team and they respond to how their coach leads them. Which isn’t to say he told them to lackadaisically arrive in SoCal, but that when that is the case, K2 can demand better and get it. In the long term view of a season, that’s an encouraging prospect for the Utes.
“He loves drama,” Sean Miller recently said about TJ McConnell. So is the senior point guard you might love to hate really in the running for Pac-12 Player of the Year? Two columns I read this weekend (this one and this one) suggest he should be and Wayne Tinkle said TJ would be getting his vote for POY. Nine ppg gonna win this thing? Is Wayne just taking note of McConnell’s eight steals in a game that saw his team with 17 TOs and 14 FGs? There’s something to it. And then he did this:
A video posted by APlayersProgram (@uaplayersprogram) on