Adam Butler (@pachoopsab) of Pachoops again will be joining us all year, providing us with his weekly take on our favorite conference, as we begin the March to Las Vegas.
The following are the number of road, in-conference losses for each of the previous five Pac-12 champions: 3, 3, 4, 4, and 3. The first thing to note is that across those five seasons there have been four different champions with Washington collecting a pair of ‘ships in that stretch. What’s more is that those seem like some pretty heavy loss numbers considering this is stemming from just half of a champion’s schedule. Now I know we’re coming out of the most miserable stretch of Pac-12 hoops since before the Internet, but still, I’m not impressed. I’m also further intrigued. Earlier this week I came across a new KenPom blog post in which he explores the fairness of evaluating a quality win as we see it today. He basically cites that our evaluation method is pretty rigid and misguided to use RPI (a point he regularly exhausts). He uses Oregon’s loss at Colorado as the common thread. I think this quote best summarizes the piece: “The problem is that road win over #51 is significantly more difficult than a home win over #50. We can all agree on that, right?” Yes we can, Ken. Which is why I was so surprised to see a relatively harsh reaction to Oregon’s performance that night. What’s more, their entire weekend began to serve as a window into perhaps exactly who these Ducks are. Not so fast, my friends.
Those very Buffaloes, which we watched beat Oregon, were taken to the brink – overtime, in fact – this week, by a Washington State team that wasn’t even seven days removed from a seven-point half. DaVonte Lacy still wasn’t playing and the game wasn’t even an actual home game in that it was played in Spokane. The concept alone of not playing at the Coors Events Center gave the Cougars a fighting chance against the Buffaloes. The same, strangely, held true for Craig Robinson’s Beavers as they held off an I-don’t-know-what-kind-of-effort-you’ll-ever-get-from-Stanford at home. If you didn’t follow, Oregon State beat Stanford in Corvallis and Arizona State handed USC its first home loss. But the biggest tale from the road last night has got to be Cal’s visit to Oregon. A home loss, as we’ve discussed, is inauspicious, and looking further into things, the box score demonstrates that the Ducks have yielded a lot of points in consecutive games. Even though we’ve mentioned that a single game can’t define a team’s fortunes, back-to-back outcomes might begin to do just that. However, this is a conversation about the trials and tribulations of a traveling squad, and not specifically the Oregon Ducks.