We’re finally previewing the Pac-12. This week, the last before games actually tip, I’ll post two previews of travel mates (i.e. UW and WSU will appear in the same post) and, in the interest of being fully prepared for Friday’s hoop joy, I’ll post two-a-day. Thus the title. Although it’s 4 previews-a-day. Regardless. Enjoy.
The Ringer debuted its college basketball coverage with a thorough breakdown of Lorenzo Romar’s employment. That surprised me and if it didn’t surprise you then I imagine you follow Chris Hansen’s every funding move. Alas, the Huskies bring a team to the Dawg Pound that probably isn’t going to look a lot different than last year’s. They just played an 80+ possession game and yielded 103 points to a D2 school. Two of those D2 players achieved greater than 20 points and to this I shout out to Derrick White. Husky hoops is pace.
Last season on “The Fast & The Furious: Seattle Drift”
Without a doubt, this was the most difficult Power Rankings I’ve had to complete. Considered foregoing it. I dropped teams with noteworthy showings (Colorado, Stanford), while others made huge jumps because – yanno – last week’s second through fifth ranked teams went a combined 0-6. Standard stuff. Begging the question: Is the Pac-12 full of parity or parody? The former would suggest that good teams are losing on the road to equally challenging opponents. The latter, however, suggests we’re in for a season of laughable outcomes, an opportunity to perhaps enjoy our Western anonymity.
But before you go diving onto the season’s panic button or attempt to rip your shirt off as you’re being escorted from the final minute of a rivalry game, remember that the Pac-12 is a historically difficult road game. Last season, home teams won 67% of the games – the third highest mark amongst conferences. This – my Utah and UCLA, friends – should have a calming affect. I think we can rest pretty well assured that this conference is full of champions! Parity.
As you gander this week’s Power Rankings, I encourage you to take your criticisms directly to me. Comment on Facebook, Tweet at me, or email – let’s talk it out. 2016: the year of the discussion.
While Pac-12 football was cannibalizing, removing itself from CFP contention, Pac-12 hoops (the central topic of this blog) got under way! Indubitably you were paying attention. Friday’s hoops mele resulted in zero Pac-12 suspensions but ample upsets. Is that ok? I’ll just say, UCLA losing at home to Monmouth is generally not OK.
A brief overview from my perspective of this weekend’s Pac-12 ignition:
Because everyone loves Lorenzo
Some of you might be thinking, “Isn’t it time we read about a new head coach at Washington?” And your feelings would be valid (they’re always valid here, guys). He’s coached four progressively worse teams, had character (Robert Upshaw) and transfer/departure issues (Nigel Williams-Goss, Jernard Jarreau), has seen a steady decline in attendance, and hasn’t recruited at nearly the level he once did (ya know, like NBA players). That opening question is valid. But Lorenzo Romar is still the head coach at Washington. And this season he’s bringing…optimism? We have to be future thinking but Romar has a Top-10 class on campus right now, and another lined up for next season. You can’t tell me that anyone other than Lorenzo Romar would have Markelle Fultz – a Top-10 recruit – committing to move to Washington from Maryland. He’s a summer commit to the class of 2016. That is rare. Arizona only just got their first 2016 commitment. And Romar swooped him from Kentucky, Arizona and Louisville. In a day and age when CBB rosters are fluid, when roster management is a year-in-year-out endeavor, Romar appears to have set himself up for some annualized success. Something he hasn’t had in nearly half a decade.
Why I love them
The season is freshly over. The moments shined and while we have a long ways until November – as well as a significant news cycle in the immediate future including: ASU coaching hunt, Ivan Rabb and the Cal(?) Five Stars, NCAA’s head of officiating change, NBA decisions.
But maybe we can take a second to reflect. In January, I noted 12 things to watch during this Pac-12 season, let’s revisit.
Reading instructions: The headlines are as written in January. The blurbs are today’s insights.
1. The reintroduction of Jordan Loveridge
If this is 2015’s last PacHoops Power Rankings, is it kind of like our Senior Day? I’m coming back but this still marks the end. Let’s start the walk-ons, kiss the floor, and beat Utah.
There are six teams separated by two wins in the MIddle Amoeba of the Pac-12. And then Washington (not separated by two wins from #5) beats Utah on the season’s final day. The Power Rankings are here to help make some sense of things but why? have an idea. Let’s have a tournament where teams are seeded based on their 18-game records against an unbalanced schedule of conference foes? We can hold the event in Vegas and we can start it Wednesday. Who’s with me?
I’m ecstatic to be headed to HecEd for my first Washington-Arizona game. Allow me a litany of reasons: Some of my favorites are Seattlites; this is my favorite Macklemore song; I once brought a Husky (best friend) to the second row of the McKale Center (Cats by 17 if you were curious); I like coffee; the Kid’s kid catches passes for Arizona. All of which is to say that I’m bummed the Dawgs are struggling because I’d like to see HecEd (and whatever Airlines) on full tilt. The Dawg Pound is revered.
Alas, so too is Jack Follman. We’ve worked together on a multitude of AZ-UW pieces, he’s a contributor across the internets; most specifically: Pacific Takes. I had some questions for him to catch us up on all things Washington (five game losing streak), Seattle, and this rivalry.
I’m going to Seattle. What must I do to capture the entire University of Washington basketball experience?
Between Brian Williams’ impending job status, John Stewart stepping down, and the fact that I watched Junior Varsity basketball last night, I’d say the world is in flux. I don’t own any The North Face clothing and I’m going to Seattle on Friday. Maybe we can find clarity in a week of Pac-12 basketball?
Game of the Week