Hey everybody! Welcome to our weekly Pac-12 and Arizona Wildcats chat. Fire away with questions, and I'll answer every one I can over the next hour or so. Hope you're having a great Wednesday. HUGE Arizona-UCLA game on top tomorrow.
Bob Weir! Loved you with the Grateful Dead. Hmmm, five guys. How about: UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad, Arizona's Solomon Hill, Cal's Allen Crabbe, Arizona State's Jahii Carson and WSU's Brock Motum.. (We're going small). And because I love stuff like this, here's my bench: Aziz N'Diaye (Washington), Kyle Singler (Oregon), Andre Roberson (CU), Roberto Nelson (OSU), Mark Lyons (Arizona), Larry Drew II (UCLA) and Jason Washburn (Utah).
It's MUCH better than last season, but not elite. It's not the best league in the West, actually: the Mountain West is deeper. The Sagarin Ratings have the Pac-12 as the sixth-best league, behind the Big Ten, Mountain West, Big East, Big 12, and ACC.
As of this second, four sounds right: Arizona, UCLA, Oregon and Washington. Colorado has a strong RPI (No. 19, as of Jan. 21), and might get a sniff at the tournament if it can put together a few victories. At 12-6 (2-4), the Buffs need to find a way to finish the season at least 10-8. Home games against the Bay Area schools are a good place to start this week.
I agree with you 100 percent. Wrote about that in today's paper. Because of the league's unbalanced schedule, the Ducks don't have to face UA or UCLA again — and because they won both games earlier this year, they own the tiebreaker. The Ducks' remaining schedule features two games apiece against Washington, Wazzu, Stanford, Cal, Colorado and Utah. They could be favored to win all but two of those, minimum. (I like the Huskies and Buffs at home).
I think UCLA or Arizona has the firepower to, conceivably, get there. Oregon's balanced attack is impressive, though.
A little bit of both. Bachynski is a very limited offensive player, but I thought Tarczewski did a good job with him
Depends on if he gets hot from three-point land. But it's fun to play on the same team, too — we've been playing together our whole lives, so have a little bit of intuition going on.
Altman has surpassed expectations by far. If the Ducks remain near the top of the league, he'd get my vote. He's done more with less. Miller's up there, sure, and Howland might get some begrudging kudos for changing his style from man defense and a plodding offense to more zone and running to fit his personnel
Borrowing a line from one of my favorite chats (U-T San Diego's Padres chat), I'm writing that down as a RANT and not a question
Long-term, I think most every school in the league would trade their coach for Sean Miller. But all Dana Altman has done since coming into the league is surpass expectations. Mike Montgomery is a freaking Hall of Famer. Tad Boyle, I think, will coach at a top-tier program one day. And Howland, let's not forget, went to three-straight Final Fours at UCLA
I think big men take years to develop. Just look at Jeff Withey at Kansas. Tarczewski can only get better. Size isn't a major problem for him right now, but an offseason of weights will certainly help
I've said this before: the whims of a high schooler are not my expertise. Kentucky tends to get what they want in these cases, but who knows.
The easy answer is stopping Shabazz Muhammad. Though the Wear twins will be a tough test for Arizona's bigs, and Larry Drew II is essentially the anti-Mark Lyons: a wonderful assist man who doesn't turn the ball over, but isn't much of a scorer. Arizona must limit its turnovers, though — UCLA will run every time they cough the ball up
I don't know. He was obviously well-thought-of before he came here, and Miller seems to praise him whenever he can. But he's not playing now because Miller trusts others more, namely Jordin Mayes. I don't understand fans' infatuation with the playing time of either he or Chol. Right this second, I don't see whose minutes you'd take away to play them more. Now, the Wildcats haven't suffered an injury or really any kind yet — maybe that opens something up if it happens
Don't know. He's one of the more special guys, personality-wise, to come to Tucson in a long time. Coaches absolutely adore him off the floor. But could he play 30 minutes somewhere else? Would he want to, at a smaller program? These are good questions
My assumption is Solomon Hill. Howeva (said in Stephen A Smith voice), the Wildcats seemed to confuse Carrick Felix a bit by putting Brandon Ashley on him. Wouldn't be surprised if at some point the UA tries the same, in spurts
Yes and no. I think, across all sports, Pac-12 fans are generally a bit more laid back. (The one exception, and this could be a sociology paper, is Autzen Stadium). Does that contribute to attendance/environment differences compared to, say, a Big Ten hoops game? Maybe. The national view of the league and a bias toward its teams? That's a tougher leap to make. I will say this: UCLA is considered one of the best five programs, ever, and is eternally relevant, and it's not because Pauley gets loud.
Ken Pomeroy, the guru or Ken-Pom.com, has the Wildcats with an 85 percent chance of winning tomorrow. So there's that.
Florida absolutely destroyed my alma mater, Missouri, on Saturday. So maybe I'm a bit biased. But Pomeroy has Florida as America's best team right now, and I'm not sure I disagree
As a group, pretty well, I think. Arizona fans are quick to be critical, but I'm not sure that I'd trade Arizona's frontcourt as a whole for too many in the country, because they have room to grow. This will be an interesting week, though — the Wears are tough, but USC also brings in a front line with legitimate NBA size and bulk
I noticed a difference when Arizona played in Hawaii. Seems like there were fewer whistles.
No. That's not his game. Lyons is a proven scorer and an adequate assists guy. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.1, which is 10th-best in the league. Could he inch it up to 1.3 or 1.5? That would be a giant help. But you can't expect him to turn into Larry Drew II (who leads the league with a 4.7 ratio) overnight