Tag Archives: Jon Wilner

Week 9 Pac-12 Hoops Review

If something really nuts happened pop-culturally or otherwise I’d usually reference it right here and make an obscure analogy to Pac-12 basketball or talk about Jennifer Lawrence (though I did fall in love with Kelly Reilly this weekend). And I’m no doubt certain something to that effect did occur but I was marvelously busy driving up and down the coast and missed everything except for briefly seeing a snippet of the Dennis Rodman comments on North Korea and there’s literally nothing to be said about that beyond it being bat shit crazy. Interestingly enough, we gobbled at least 25 miles of highway discussing the genesis of that very phrase “bat shit crazy.” Other topics discussed: religion, sociology, the Holocaust, upcoming concerts, the UCLA-Arizona game, sexual failures, future road trips, utter nonsense, the UCLA-Arizona game, conquests, how to infiltrate another school’s homecoming, owning a ranch, the UCLA-Arizona game, other people’s business, the UCLA-Arizona game, and how good In-n-Out was going to be once we got there.

The weekend:

Leader in the Clubhouse: First place lies in the balances between Westwood and Eugene as we head into the final weekend of the conference season. However, as this is a review, we won’t look too far down the path of which of these teams is best suited to sweep their final weekend roadie. No, I’m asking the question who the leader in the clubhouse is and while UCLA’s work this weekend was markedly impressive, the Oregon Ducks, A) Got their guy back, B) Beat Oregon State, C) still hold the tie-breaker. But let’s focus on the fact that Artis is back and that it’s sorta, kinda, semi huge. His impact hasn’t quite yet been felt and he certainly didn’t go all Ryan Kelly on us, but with the Ducks already holding the lead on the 1-seed, getting their most used player back is a major benefit.

Biggest Loser: The Arizona Wildcats officially lost any intangible edge they held by being the top ranked team in the conference. Well, clearly that had already become the case as USC showed no such fear in shooting 61% while manhandling the Wildcats. And then, in the conference’s Game of the Year, they were further exposed as a team with erratic and poor guard play and a reeling defense. Ok, again, maybe we already knew this but it all came to a giant and alarming head this weekend. Arizona is flirting with dropping out of a first round bye in Vegas and appears to have a lot more questions than answers with just one game and two tournaments remaining. Niet good.

What We Learned: I learned that new Pauley looks like it’s really new and re-confirmed that I-5 is really as boring as you’ve heard but that road trips with your friends are never a failure. I’m also pretty certain Cal is better than just a hot team. It’s time to consider them more than that and while they’re indeed en fuego, this spade is a spade as they’re dangerously close to winning the Pac-12 regular season title. I liked the way I heard Jon Wilner put it on a ESPN 1490 with Jody Oehler, to paraphrase, “Five months ago we could wrap our minds around Cal as a title contender but just two months ago it seemed absurd.” Well they’re here and its real and should either UCLA or Oregon slip up next weekend, the Bears are in greater than striking distance.

The YouTuber: I just really thought this was pretty clever considering it’s basis in reality.

Prompt Pontification: On the unpredictable Pac-12 while glaring at the Big East (briefly)

When the buzzer sounded at Gill Coliseum and Thursday’s Pac-12 slate was complete, I noticed a lot of buzz, once again, surrounding the ups and downs of the Conference.

Yes, yes. Washington State had an explosive second half and UCLA lost, but ask yourself: were you really that surprised? Was UCLA losing to a hungry and beleaguered Oregon State team who’d previously beat the same Texas Longhorns that UCLA was handled by? Was it that upsetting that a Stanford team that struggles offensively couldn’t quite keep up with the 38th most accurate shooting team in the nation (47% FGs for WSU) and red hot Faisal Aden?

Beyond that, the conference held suit and further beyond that, who wants this stuff to be predictable? Sure, we’d all appreciate a better brand of basketball on the Left Coast but there’s a reason the games are played.

You want to talk unpredictability? How about UConn’s 4-3 Big East start or Pitt’s 0-6 run? Those Huskies were once ranked 4th in the nation and the Panther’s 11th. For a “basketball conference” the BE sure could be more “predictable.” 11-8 South Florida is tied for third? And don’t get me started on two-for-eleven into last year’s sweet sixteen.

But enough finger pointing.

Unpredictable is the nature of sports and I say carry on Pac-12! For all its roller coaster faults, there is still a definitive team to beat (Cal), a large group of contenders nipping at their heels (Stan, UW, UO, CU, UA, UCLA), and an upset minded duo (OSU, WSU). Nice little recipe for an enjoyable conference season.

So while it may be an easy complaining point, the reality is, you’re going to tune in to the games, especially if they unfold like the OSU-UCLA game. That was a very well played, fun game to watch. Both teams shot 58% from the field and outside of Howland spending his last timeout with 11 minutes remaining and a few stretches of back-and-forth slop, it was solid. Bravo Bruins and Beavers.

When discussing the nature of the conference and last night’s games, a buddy of mine coined Saturday’s games “moving day” for a lot of teams. Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington are playing each other in critical games. That’s the six, aforementioned teams nipping at the heels of Cal. And they’re playing eachother!

Moving day indeed. And then of course there’s just going to be next weekend.

Unpredicatable, crazy, awful, painful, embarassing. Call it what you will but I’m going to watch because when it’s all said and done, someone’s gotta win this thing and subsequently go dancing.

And dancing is what it’s all about.

Andre Roberson and Jordan Bachynski (courtesy of @jlucas4092 and the team at allbuffs.com. Good CU stuff):