Pac-12 Preseason News & Notes

Posted by Adam Butler on October 20th, 2016

Last Friday night, Arizona freshman Rawle Alkins set his coach on the block, handed him a basketball, asked him to adjust it just so, then leapt over Sean Miller for the dunk. That is how the 2017-18 Pac-12 basketball season begins. Not with letters to fan bases, sixth years of eligibility, early entries, foreign tours, or new hires — which isn’t necessarily to say that the Pac-12 hinges on Arizona’s efforts. By most accounts this is the Ducks’ conference to lose. But following a mostly disappointing end to the 2016 campaign (a really ugly performance in the Dance outside of the aforementioned Ducks, who themselves were bounced in embarrassing fashion), the imagery of fresh blood leaping over his historically serious coach in a fan-, if not recruit driven-, event, felt like the arrival of the season. Of course, if you haven’t watched it, here it is.

Sean Miller Is Looking To Break Through For His First Final Four Appearance (Ralph Freso, Getty Images)

Once again, Sean Miller and crew are expected to be right in the mix of things. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

The teams have been at for a couple weeks now, getting NCAA allotted hours and gym sessions since 42 days before their first game. Heck, your team might have even received a 2017 commitment in the past couple weeks. As Nike has slogan-ed, [program] basketball never stops. But at a certain point it most certainly begins. And that time is coming in hot. So while our teams practice, so must we, right? Consider this post our first practice, the proverbial Wooden sock drill. This post isn’t necessarily to preview what’s coming but to tease out – not unlike an open practice – forthcoming content, features, games, players, and so on. To help you prepare for the 2016-17 Pac-12 basketball experience. Because it’s coming. November 11 will be here soon and while it’s perhaps not the opening day romanticized in prose (that’s left to baseball), we’ve put together some Pac-12 basketball essentials. Here’s the warm-up, before we really hit the wind sprints with team-by-team previews, dives into conference newcomers and the questions burning up West Coast, high-major basketball.

Critical Early News

Dillon Brooks (USA Today Images)

Dillon Brooks’ Foot is Perhaps the Biggest Preseason Question in the Pac (USA Today Images)

  • On Dillon Brooks’ footMike Lemaire dives into what likely amounts to the most burning question in the Pac-12. Sure there are defensive questions in Westwood, talent aggregation in Tucson, a new staff in Palo Alto, and maybe something going on in Berkeley, but the conference’s best team’s best player is out right now. The question burns.
  • Experimental Rules – It’s not going to happen in the Pac-12, which maybe isn’t such a big deal. Seasons past have seen some phenomenal small forwards well on their way to the league bulldoze into the lane, lending their style of play to instantaneous block/charge decisions by officials. In the Big Ten and the MAC, officials will have the opportunity – time permitted or coach requested – to review these calls for accuracy.
  • Pac-12 Networks’ strugglesThis has been a longstanding topic but something I imagine will be continually brought up considering, for example, the Big Ten’s new contract. The Pac-12 seems to be playing not just catch up but is rubbing its eyes and wondering what just happened? They did, however, manage to expose themselves to a few more households through Dish.
  • Is the Pac-12 becoming an elite basketball conference? I’ll tell you, I have my own piping hot takes on both the word “elite” and “Pac-12 basketball” — the latter of which is what has brought me to you. But this is a nice primer as we head into basketball season.

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