Hi everybody! Thanks again for stopping by to chat. Feel free to throw questions at me fast and furious — I'll try to get to all of them. It's a big week for the Arizona Wildcats, and for the dozen or so Pac-12 teams fighting for a legit NCAA tournament berth
Good question. Currently it's being called an indefinite leave. He'll stay with the team, but, according to the Salt Lake Trib, his return is dependant on coach Larry Krystkowiak's approval.
The UA is currently fourth in the RPI, which is a formula used by the NCAA to pick participants in the tournament. However, that's not the entire equation. It'd be highly unusual, I'd say, if the Wildcats failed to win the league or the league tournament and were still placed among the top 4 teams in the nation as a no. 1 seed
Pretty well, I'd say, as evidenced by the fact they beat a sneaky-good Washington team without guard Dominic Artis. Here's the amazing thing — the Ducks currently lead both UCLA and the UA by 1.5 and 2 games, respectively, in the Pac-12 standings. Because UO owns tiebreakers against BOTH teams, that's more like a three-game lead. It's early in the year, but a lot would have to go wrong for them to not win the league.
Second, for reasons outlined below. That doesn't mean they're a worse team than Oregon, though — as we discussed, the UA only played them once, and it was up there.
YES! And totally better than games at Vanderbilt. Raised courts are just weird. So is the bench in the end zone. The UA played their Sweet 16 game against Louisville on a raised floor at the football stadium in Indy. I sat courtside and was genuinely bewildered. I was looking up at guy's shoes. Crazy
No. It's No. 20 — which is better than, say, Ohio State. But I wrote about this in today's Star — Colorado is actually ranked ABOVE the Ducks in RPI and strength of schedule because they played tougher non-con games.
No. 8 in both polls. The RPI's got 'em fourth. I think they're somewhere between 8 and 12 in my book, as of this second. But, and this is worth repeating, their freshmen class' ability to improve makes them a stock with the ability to rise fast.
Both. The Bruins start three freshmen — who, as amazingly talented as they appeared to us at McKale Center, are still freshmen. Add that to woeful depth (they play 7 1/2 guys, and didn't have Travis Wear at ASU) and it's safe to say UCLA is flawed. However, who's got a better group of 7 players? Not many teams, anywhere.
I don't know. Miller hinted yesterday, and our own Bruce Pascoe wrote about it, that York could see some time. But after York's hot shooting in garbage time Saturday, Miller stressed that York has a place in the rotation ... when it opens up next year. So who knows? His defense still isn't where it needs to be, but he's probably more of a Microwave Guy than Jordin Mayes. It's worth stressing that there's a GIANT difference between nailing a couple shots up 25 against USC and playing at a hostile Hec-Ed.
That's about right. What I think he needed to stress MORE was the fact that Lyons' free-throw shooting has also pulled the Wildcats' butts out of the fire a few times too. Combine the two — big shots as the clock expired and free throws when they matter — and maybe I'd put Lyons in the top 3 of that list
LOVE IT. Someone give that man a few Schrute Bucks
More a rant than a question, but a good take. Lyons isn't a great defender, but on the whole, he'll give you far offensively (when you consider his offense) than Mayes does. And with Nick Johnson around, the UA has the option of letting him defend the better opposing guard.
Depends on if there are any bad losses. I think — and I've been saying this here for weeks — that the UCLA road game will be, by far, the toughest game the UA plays the rest of the regular season. Win at Pauley, finish the league at, oh, say, 14-4, and then rattle off three league tournament wins, and the Wildcats are 29-4. That could do it.
I was a bit surprised by Ben Howland complaining about charters yesterday. Fact is, the big boys use charters. The Pac-12 is starting to do so, too. Get over it. I don't think there will ever be a resolution to the unbalanced schedule; no one wants to play 22 league games. Here's one thing I'd love to see, though: rig the league schedule so that, each week, the opponents have the same number of days off. So this week, Arizona-Washington and ASU-Wazzu would each play Wed-Sat, or Thurs-Sun, or whatever, giving none of the four teams an extra day to prepare. I think that'd be fair.
I have no idea who John is. I'm Patrick. Nice to meet ya. :) I think Lyons is exactly how you described him, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Comparing him to pass-first guards like Larry Drew is apples-to-oranges. I think both Ashley and Jerrett are improving, and that their growth will ease a few of the offensive issues. I wouldn't be surprised to see one of them have a huge game this week, maybe at Wazzu.
WONDERFUL question. RPI is reached by the following formula: 1/4 (your winning percentage) plus 1/2 (your opponents' winning percentage) plus 1/4 (your opponents' opponents' winning percentage). Strength of schedule is your opponents' winning percentage and your opponents' opponents' winning percentage.
You know, they've been pressing a bit more. I asked about that the other day, and the players said it wasn't necessarily a new focus. I love a press, and think it would be one way for the Wildcats to exploit their depth, assuming they'd be willing to play Chol and even York. But if they WERE willing to play Chol and York, they'd be playing already.
Here's what happened: Miami turned out to be a world-beater (their RPI today: 3! Seriously), and Florida lived up to its billing as a really, really good team (RPI: 5). Other league outcomes — UCLA beating Mizzou, Colorado beating Baylor — helped the rest of the league, too. As for transfers, I'm not going to speculate. But you're right in saying that the rise of transfers throughout the NCAA makes each season more unpredictable, and preconceptions a lot more inaccurate
I don't see either of the freshmen leaving early — in part because they haven't proven to be more than decent college guys so far. And Tarczewski, especially, could use 2-3 years, minimum, of seasoning in college. As for Mr. (Aaron) Gordon, I don't know a star recruit in the world that backs down from competition.
According to Bracketology, Florida, funny enough. Remember, under the (relatively) new NCAA tournament rules, teams don't have to fly West to play their first two rounds in the West regional. So Bracketology, for example, has the Gators playing two games in Lexington, Ky., and then heading to LA for the West regional. It's also why I stress this: Arizona fans should root for the UA to be seeded in the West regional, rather than worrying about whether it's ranked 1, 2 or 3. A path to the Final Four that goes through LA would help the UA greatly.
I think he's a tad redundant with Nick Johnson playing, and that the two probably couldn't team to form a starting backcourt because neither's a point guard. As for transferring, allow me to rant here: Fans seem to be worried about York's playing time based on the fact that the UA is risking offending him and inducing a transfer. That kind of talk drives me nuts. He's a freshman in college. Trying to guess his emotions is a fool's errand.
Schrute Facts! That's actually true.
Yes and no. The Pac-12 is ranked fifth by the Sagarin Ratings this week, below the Big Ten, Big East, Big 12 and ACC. The Mountain West fell BARELY below the Pac-12. But, according to Jeff Sagarin, yes, the Pac-12 is better than the SEC
Who knows? It's a matter of who's hot in the tournament. But if the UA can be a top-2 seed in the West, that's a pretty nice path
I say this every week: not in the score prediction business. Ken Pomeroy, who IS, has the Arizona Wildcats beating the Huskies, 73-65, and guesses that the UA has a 77 percent chance of winning. Then again, his odds that the UA would beat UCLA were even higher than that — and we saw how that worked out.
And that'll do it for this week, guys. Thanks again for sending in the questions, and for stopping by. I'll take questions all week on Twitter at @patrickfinley, and we'll meet back here at noon next week. See you then.