Pac-12 M5: 02.01.13 Edition

Posted by AMurawa on February 1st, 2013

pac12_morning5

  1. If things weren’t going bad enough for the Utah basketball team, what with a 1-7 start to Pac-12 play, they got worse news yesterday when leading scorer and rebounder, freshman Jordan Loveridge, was held out of practice with a hyperextended knee suffered in practice on Tuesday. The good news is that the results of his MRI showed no structural damage or any issues with ligaments, but Loveridge is considered day-to-day and may miss Saturday’s game with Colorado.
  2. Following UCLA’s home court loss to cross-town rival USC on Wednesday night, Ben Howland says his team has a lot of soul-searching to do in advance of the back half of the conference schedule. And, according to senior guard Larry Drew, the Bruins had guys who weren’t “all the way into the game on the defensive end.” There is still plenty of time to turn things back around, but after fighting off rumors of his impending demise earlier in the season with some big wins, once again Howland finds himself in need of stringing together several wins in order to feel entirely comfortable about his job. Or, as Bruins Nation puts it, in typically understated fashion, “pathetic, delusional, dumpster fire, disgraceful.” I’m beginning to think those people aren’t enamored of the direction of the UCLA program.
  3. You know how you always hear announcers talk about how a shooter who is struggling might suddenly right himself if he gets to the foul line and gets a couple unhampered looks at the hoop? Well, maybe that is what has happened to Stanford. On Sunday night, they played a Utah team that was completely uninterested in playing basketball and, as a result, the Cardinal got to roll to a blowout win, turning in their best offensive performance of the year against little more than brother-in-law defense. That was the equivalent of the shooter in a mini-slump getting to the free throw line and having a chance to see the ball go through the hoop. Repeatedly. Because on Wednesday night, they continued that hot-shooting and took it to previously unbeaten Oregon. And now that we’ve all of a sudden seen the type of offensive explosion out of Stanford that we had hoped to see all year, we’ve got to wonder if this is the start of a run. Oh, and the Ducks still haven’t swept a trip to the Bay Area since, like the Garfield presidency.
  4. Thursday night was another wild night around the conference, highlighted by Sean Miller’s first win at Washington in his fourth season as Arizona’s head coach. Still, despite coming away with a road win, it was yet another underwhelming win for the Wildcats. Turnovers, poor shooting and uninspiring offense were the order of the night, and while wins are always better than losses (now there’s some hard-won wisdom for ya!), this ‘Cats team isn’t scaring anybody lately.
  5. Lastly, the newest selections for the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor, to be inducted prior to the conference championship game in March, were announced on Thursday. Washington’s Nate Robinson is the most recent player to be selected, with the other big names including UCLA’s Lucius Allen, Utah’s Keith Van Horn, Cal’s Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Arizona’s Jason Gardner. The full list is here.
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Pac-12 Basketball Fantasy League Voting: Semifinal #2

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 26th, 2012

Our last semifinal pits two seed Adam Butler (Pachoops) up against the fourth seed, Connor Pelton. Below are the rosters, followed by commentary from the respective owner:

Adam Butler

  • Head Coach – Ralph Miller, Oregon State
  • Guard – Damon Stoudamire, Arizona
  • Guard – Mike Bibby, Arizona
  • Guard – Michael Dickerson, Arizona
  • Guard – Salim Stoudamire, Arizona
  • Forward – Sean Elliott, Arizona
  • Forward – Ed O’Bannon, UCLA
  • Forward – Shareef Abdur-Rahim, California
  • Forward – Chris Mills, Arizona
  • Center – Todd MacCulloch, Washington
  • Center – Bison Dele, Arizona

Adam’s Take:

Oh, pardon me! I was still chuckling at Connor’s lineup. Allow me to explain.

Indeed, a team centered by Steve Johnson is a formidable one. Anyone who shoots 75% from the floor for a season must be taken seriously. Conversely, anyone who looks like Sideshow Bob should not. That’s Robin Lopez. Besides, Todd MacCulloch just set the high score on The Simpsons: Pinball in Springfield at six different Canadian bars, and somewhere a piece of Lopez dies.

Moving our way out of the deep frontcourt we can look at the forwards on Team Pelton. I’m inclined to dismiss Jon Brockman because hustle only counts in real basketball. In fantasy drafts, hustle is just cute. Which is why I suppose Klay Thompson gets a fantasy nod because numbers count in fantasy ball and softness is cute. Please, Chris Mills just sneezed to block a Thompson jumper. I of course have love for Richard Jefferson, but if you’re a forward from Arizona and your name isn’t Elliott, you’re still not going to win this one. The fourth opposing forward’s name is Kiki, in which I rest my case.

Guard play, as you noticed, is Team PacHoops’ strength and not Team Pelton’s. Sure, there’s some talent, but no rings. I thought college hoops was all about solid guard play. You’re telling me none of these guys could garner one championship? Wait, wait, between these four guards they mustered at best a Sweet Sixteen? Woof (not for you, IT). Reggie and Chauncey appeared in the NCAA Tournament just once each? Does Spike Lee know this? None of that sounds fun. Fun sounds more like never missing an NCAA Tournament and winning it all. That’s who I like on my team. Got ‘em.

At the helm, Ralph Miller Court sits inside of Gill Coliseum. I can give that and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s indisputably the most badass possible thing to have a coliseum with your name on it. But look, I know you saw Batman Begins and if you didn’t, well, you’re missing out. Point being, Bruce Wayne didn’t just become Batman. He needed mentorship to become the fearless defender of Gotham he would become. Enter Ra’s Al Ghul, the sensei who salvages Wayne from a Chinese prison. Protégé, meet mentor. But the relationship goes sour and the two part ways; Wayne to his seemingly playboy life, Al Ghul to what appeared to be his death (theme?). Alas, the end of the film gives us Al Ghul’s villainous return to Gotham and Batman’s heroic and final takedown of the mentor. In the ultimate flipping of the script, Al Ghul and all his wisdom and skill is no match for the noble monster he created.

So, what the hell am I getting at? I’m saying that if the greatest hero (or certainly superhero trilogy) of our time could defeat his mentor, so too can Ralph Miller and defeat his Oregon State predecessor, Slats Gill. Miller won more games and was twice National Coach of the Year. Goodness I love me some Ws.

Have I made a stretch here? Perhaps. But you also just got to read college hoops and Batman so you’re welcome. Vote PacHoops.

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Pac-12 Basketball Fantasy League Voting: Round One, Game Four

Posted by Connor Pelton on July 10th, 2012

Our final matchup of the first round pits the two seed, Adam Butler (Pachoops), up against seventh seeded Andrew Murawa. The winner of this one is off to the semifinals, where it will meet Connor Pelton’s team in the semifinals.  Below are the rosters, followed by some commentary from the respective owners:

Adam Butler

  • Head Coach – Ralph Miller, Oregon State
  • Guard – Damon Stoudamire, Arizona
  • Guard – Mike Bibby, Arizona
  • Guard – Michael Dickerson, Arizona
  • Guard – Salim Stoudamire, Arizona
  • Forward – Sean Elliott, Arizona
  • Forward – Ed O’Bannon, UCLA
  • Forward – Shareef Abdur-Rahim, California
  • Forward – Chris Mills, Arizona
  • Center – Todd MacCulloch, Washington
  • Center – Bison Dele, Arizona

Adam’s Take:

My team. Well they call it Point Guard U for a reason so I went ahead and gobbled up three of the great ones and one of the best off-guards they produced. Yes, I have an all Arizona backcourt and you can go ahead and call Team PacHoops a group of homers. Do it. And that backcourt is supplemented by three more Wildcats and a dallop of other insanely talented Pac-12 players. Know that Team PacHoops houses seven Pac-10 Player of the Year Awards; six NBA lottery picks, three NCAA titles; two Wooden Awards; and a HOFer.

Look at you, you’re impressed already and I haven’t even told you that Salim Stoudamire is practically at the end of my bench, or that Chris Mills is going to struggle to get minutes; or that the worst my starting forward could be is a ninth pick in an NBA Draft; or that our coach, Ralph Miller, is one of just 73 men to win more than 600 games on a college basketball bench.

Need more? Todd MacCulloch not only was twice named First Team All-Pac, but he’s also a pinball champion. That’s right, the big Canuck has long been a pinball wizard and last October he won his first tournament (the Pinball Expo in Chicago), earning his bad self $3,000. Sean Elliott – the two time Pac Player of the Year, Wooden Award winner, and the first golden child of Arizona – roundhouse kicked debilitating kidney disease right in the jaw and said, “Nah, bro. I’ma go ahead play again.” The first major athlete to return ever from a kidney transplant.

After all, this team wasn’t built on talent alone.

But there’s plenty of it. And so I’ll toss the rock to Mike Bibby or Damon Stoudamire – whoever coach Ralph feels is going to be better suited to start – and let them deliver it (or score) to the silky smooth likes of Michael Dickerson and Elliott or the power and grace of Mills, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and Ed O’Bannon. Holding down the lane will be big Bison Dele right along with Todd the pinball maestro. All beautifully orchestrated by coach Ralph.

Vote for Team PacHoops because you know it’s the right team to vote for and it’s going to make you feel good to choose a winner.

A pinball champ.

(Note from Connor: To see Adam fully breakdown each position on his fantasy roster, click here for the guards, here for the forwards, here for the centers, and here for the head coach.)

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California Week: Q&A With California Golden Blogs

Posted by Connor Pelton on June 24th, 2012

It’s been a fun week of California basketball coverage here on the Pac-12 Microsite, so we’ve decided to close it out with opinions from a couple of Golden Bear insiders. ”Kodiak” and “LeonPowe” from California Golden Blogs agreed to kindly join us for a Q&A on the state of the Cal program. If you’re reading this, you no doubt already know the great work and comedic relief that they do over there covering the Golden Bears, but consider this a friendly reminder.

RTC: With the departure of Jorge Gutierrez, is Allen Crabbe firmly locked into the “main leader” role this season?

Whether By Example or Vocally, Junior Guard Allen Crabbe Will Be In Some Sort of Leader Role Come October. (credit: AZ Central)

Kodiak: From a personality standpoint, Crabbe seems more of a lead by example type. However, when he was a high school player, he took control as an upperclassman and led that team to a state championship. It may be that he’s deferred because we’ve had such strong leaders in MSF (Markuri Sanders-Frison), Jorge Gutierrez, and Harper Kamp. He’s very respectful and may simply have been waiting his turn. The guy who is most likely to assert himself vocally would be point guard Justin Cobbs. He’ll have the ball in his hands a lot, so how he responds to Coach [Mike] Montgomery will have a huge impact on team chemistry.  He has a lot of potential, but it’s things like leadership, decision-making, body language, and consistency that are on the wish list.  He improved throughout last year and did very well for a young point guard in his first year as a starter.

LeonPowe: In terms of most talented player – absolutely, but I think in terms of actual team leader, I think he’ll have strong competition from junior point guard Justin Cobbs. Crabbe is our best player and his performance will go a long way in how well or poorly we play this year, but Crabbe has also had a tendency to, well, not seize the game by its throat and play up to the level which we know he is capable of. On the other hand, Cobbs is the point guard and is a lot more aggressive than Crabbe has tended to be in the past two years, so I think a lot of the on-court leadership will come from Cobbs.

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