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 Ducks wear a lot of different jerseys and are famous for it. What do you think a bullseyed Duck looks like, then? Well, Nintendo crafted an entire game around such and it looked like this:
Although in this 2016-17 version of Duck Hunt I don’t foresee too many other anthropomorphized creatures chuckling in the reeds. There’s absolutely nothing funny about the Killer B’s (Brooks, Boucher, Benson, Bell, Borsey and BEnnis). Chris Boucher is on the cover of Sports Illustrated and I think he’s their third best player. Arizona’s best player was just listed as “OUT: Reason Unknown.” There is no anthropomorphic giggling here.
Last season on “Roster continuity”
UCLA achieved 7 points in less than 3 minutes (took them 20+ last year) and they trickled the floor at Pauley as they should have. Teams don’t often knock off the #1 team in the country and – for a school oft criticized for its fan base – it was good to see them celebrate a little and show up. Meanwhile, ASU knocked off a top-25 team (rare) and did it in their new gold attire which I actually thought was sharp (also, rare). Of course for a full run down and the teams ranked by order of power, as well as what I did on Friday night of this bounce back week for the Pac…
The family affair has arrived! The dual duos of head coach Wayne Tinkle + four-star power forward Trey Tinkle and assistant coach Stephen Thompson + four-star guard Stephen Thompson Jr. are great additions to the overarching Beaver family. Without paternal support on the bench there’s also four-star center Drew Eubanks. It’s a nice class we’ve been grumbling about for awhile now. I’m afraid, however, they’re not getting the Beavers over the hump and into the dance. But that doesn’t mean this team won’t cause fits. They did one season ago and while I don’t think this team is going to be sneaking up on anyone, an influx of talent never hurt a roster that featured five walkons just a season ago. If you’ll recall, they projected to be the worst high major team in the country. They weren’t that. This isn’t necessarily a team lining up for a glass slipper, but it’s a program on the rise.
Why I love them
We were a three pointer by a struggling if not disinterested first teamer from having the 10, 11, and 12 seeds advance. That’s contrary to the norm. The least tightly contested game featured the two most closely ranked teams. That’s contrary to the norm. Dan Kingma had nine points. That’s contrary to the norm. Of course we didn’t come to Vegas expecting chalk or things to go precisely according to plan (although I did remember to bring my ID to the airport for this trip. Big win.).
So what was Day 1 like? Maybe we call it a practice run? The MGM Grand Arena wasn’t quite bubbling to the top but – and this needs to be said – the PA guy called 4 games with unwavering enthusiasm. And he’ll be back at it again for Day 2. As for the basketball?
Wayne Tinkle started five walk-ons for Wednesday’s Civil War. Normally that would be senior night but the Beavers have no seniors. This bodes well for their long term prospects considering:
- Top-25 recruiting class
- First winning record in 4 years with a roster that could actually start 5 walk-ons
As for the move, many are questioning whether or not it cost his team a game? The walk-ons (henceforth WOs) played about 30-seconds and coughed up 3 turnovers. They left down 5-0. The Ducks won by 3. Oregon State also held a halftime lead. Does this negate the WOs’ effort? I dunno. Malcolm Duvivier turned the ball over with 13-seconds left and down three. The Beavers had a chance to win the game. The game was tied at 52 with 3:52 remaining. Wayne’s starters – or presumably his closers – lost that 4-minute game, 13-10.
So did the WOs cost Oregon State a basketball game? Continue reading
With the end approaching, I’m curious if that means we begin to see true colors. Careers are winding down and the significance of everything is seemingly magnified. And for as much as we want to believe that a mid-January game holds equal bearing to a late-February contest, we just know that’s not the case. Furthermore, the calendar changed. It’s March, the universal excuse for madness to ensue. So naturally Arizona won another Pac-12 Title. Who’s ready for brackets?
Everything really isn’t awesome. I hate leading each week with what a bummer of a collective we follow but – aside from Oregon – the collective Pac-12 bubble made few strides this week. The NCAA tournament is like a healthy cell and the Pac-12 has three viral proteins evolving – unsuccessfully – to permeate it’s strong cellular membrane. What? I’ve been staring at the Cal slot on this power ranking for a day-and-a-half. All I can conjure is I think Dwight Tarwater has a producer credit on the Lego movie.
I could leverage my slightly delayed DVR recording into a diatribe on provider monopolies. How a la carte entertainment makes more than sense – while not making cents for the establishment – and would likely provide a better product and service. Service. But this is our The Drive recap not lounge chairs around a fire-pit on a San Diego cliff after pitchers upon pitchers followed by overflow Port (I see you, Trevor). Then a cigar. That’s where I dissect cable. Continue reading
We are halfway through this season and it’s evident that 2015 is a tough season to cover. Basketball is being played at nearly two fewer possessions per game with nearly 6% less scoring per game (learn more here). The Pac-12 – the conference that chose me – is playing at nearly 2012 levels. Sure the top of the conference is better and the talent levels far surpass that which we saw in the fateful Pac-12 inauguration. But at least in 2012 there was a multitude of teams vying for a shot to dance. What crap could rise to the top? You can’t look me in the blog and tell me anyone but Arizona or Utah is going to win in Vegas. It’s seemingly foregone in early February. This is increasingly looking like a two-horse race to Selection Sunday. After that, 2015 has been…a rebuilding? That’s not going to stop us. Because Askia Booker has shots to take and so too does DaVonte Lacy. Kevon Looney is going to be the only freshman in the country to average a double-double. Have you watched Oregon State’s zone against everyone but Arizona State? Watch Elgin Cook pursue a shot, Gary Payton II defend, and Ty Wallace play. These are the last nine games you’ll see of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Stefan Nastic, Norman Powell, and Booker. You’ve got plenty of reasons to perhaps quit on this season. But champions never quit. This is the Conference of Champions (plus the page views, comments, tweets and shares make me feel good).
Game of the Week
Spencer and I took to Maples and Haas last week. Live sports are great. We actually don’t delve deep into those experiences but rather turn our attention to how the Utes responded this weekend after being called soft by Titus; we explore 1-seed scenarios for the Wildcats; we postulate on any seeding options for the Beavers; and go on zero tangents about first-floor restrooms.
WANE (and on SoundCloud):