Hey everybody! Thanks for stopping by. I just raced to my computer after spending a couple hours watching Bill Walton speak to a UA journalism club. He recommended Neil Young's newest album, even quoting lyrics, and said the basis of sport is surfing. Consider my mind blown. Love the Big Redhead.
Post as many questions as you can, and I'll try to get to them in the next hour.
That's actually a great question. The tights are supposed to keep the muscles warm. Remember, Nic Wise wore them a few years ago — there was actually an issue about what color they were allowed to be. I have no idea if they work, but some guys swear by 'em. Nike also makes padded compression shorts, and that saves some bumps and bruises when players crash to the floor.
Ha. I think Miller was still hacked off about the UCLA game when he said last Tuesday that WhiteOuts might be a thing of the past. Then he realized that the decision was more Greg Byrne's, I think, so he backed down a little bit. The Wildcats' RPI turned out wonderfully this year, but, yes, I'd love to see them play marquee games the way Lute used to. It makes basketball so much more fun than, say, Sonoma State.
Those teams can really, really defend. I think the Wildcats would struggle with both on a neutral court. But remember — the Wildcats' great hope is that they're a better team March 20 than they are today. Also, I thought it was stunning how few fouls were called in overtime. Maybe Pac-12 refs should take note.
I think it's greed on the part of everyone involved. They're businesspeople, and they're looking for the best deal they can, on both ends. The Pac-12 Network wants to prove to Direct TV that their network is vital for any sports package, and Direct TV wants the Pac-12 to know how much it will benefit from being on their dish. I've said this before: the majority of my friends who have Direct TV bought into it specifically for the NFL package; asking sports fans to abandon the world's most popular sport in favor of the Pac-12 is an uphill climb, even in this part of the world.
Nope. The league will show every single game live. That's hard to do if you only play Thursday-Saturday. What I would LOVE to see, however, is a system in which the two teams playing the weekend game have the same number of days off. Arizona will have one more extra day to prepare for Cal, who's playing tomorrow night. And Cal's the one that has to travel. (Also, Stanford playing Sunday night, then forced to fly to a Wednesday game doesn't seem incredibly fair, especially when, in theory, everyone must take a day off each week.)
The UA flew on a small Allegiant airline charter to Washington. I'm not an airplane geek (my wife is, actually), so I don't know makes and models or anything. And yes, totally more restful. One of Sean Miller's great surprises (and outrages) when he took the job here was the fact that, when they flew commercial, it'd take all day to get home from Washington and Oregon
Stanford's staying in Arizona before playing in Tempe on Saturday. So yeah, that's a TON of class missed. Like I said before, I'd be in favor of making the nuimber of days between games consistent between traveling partners. (So, have ASU-Cal and UA-Stanford Wed and Sat, or Thurs-Sat, or whatever). The problem, though, is that, to fit both in the TV schedule, one would have to start LATE — like at 9 MST. And fans would not like that, either
I think he's erring on the side of caution. No need to risk anything the first week of February
Ed Rush is the new officiating coordinator. He spoke to us reporters at Pac-12 media day in the fall, and said that they were focusing on low post battles for position. It seemed that the old regime was too quick to blow the whistle there. Also, block/charge is always a debate. I haven't heard a coach yet this year — at least on our weekly talks with all 12 — mention any other specific differences
Depends on the team. I've thought all year that 14-4 would probably do it. In Arizona's case, that would require going 7-2 the rest of the way. (Same for the Ducks). But remember, if they have the same mark, Oregon wins the tiebreaker.
A good question. Arizona was 4 in RPI when the week started, and are still sitting there today. I think Miami's surge more than makes up for UCLA's loss the other night. I'd pay far more attention to the out-of-conference teams than the in-conference ones, as the Pac-12 schools (well, most of them) all will play each other again. If that makes sense.
"When we've had success, we haven't handled it very well." Which is probably an understatement
Right. Both teams can claim a share of the Pac-12 title, and I'm sure they would. But the true No. 1 is settled by the tiebreaker for purposes of the tournament
One of my favorites is back when Momo Jones played, and Miller told the story about how he told Momo to stop telling people he was from New York. As in, "we get it, we get it, Momo." That made me laugh. He's not a jokester in the press conferences, but he's really, really sharp. In terms of analysis, might be the best guy around. In terms of funny, though, Kevin O'Neill had him beat
It's not always about scoring. He doesn't need to score 15. Or maybe even 10. But the Wildcats lead the league in defensive rebounding percentage and are second in offensive rebounding percentage. They've got to keep that up
YUP. I feel your pain, though I'm a Cox guy. Tonight's is on ESPN News, though, so you're good there.
Tonight at 7 MST on ESPN News. Sunday at 5 p.m. MST on Pac-12 Networks
I wouldn't be so quick to make that kind of generalization. I think Hill's turned himself into a very good shooter, and Johnson's improvement from last year in that regard is impressive. York's supposed to be a good shooter, too, but it'll be interesting to see how that translates in games.
I thought the buzzer-beater set them back a bit, yes. The Buffs then lost to ASU, which, in retrospect, wasn't as bad of a defeat as we thought at the time. (ASU is 6-3, after all). CU won three-straight, and I thought they were back on track. Then lost at Utah last week. I still think they have a VERY good chance at making the tournament if they can go 5-4 on the backstretch to finish 9-9 in league play. Even if they go 8-10, they might sneak in if they can win a Pac-12 Tourney game or two. Their RPI and SOS is so strong; all they're missing is wins
Solomon Hill is the most frequent guest at UA press conferences, has a sharp basketball mind and a knack for explaining things. I'd bet Hill has been the most-quoted UA player for the last two years. That said, expect more of the career retrospective stuff as the regular season comes to a close.
My stock answer when asked for predictions, as you guys know, is this: I'm not in the prediction biz. Ken Pomeroy, who is, gives Arizona a 83 percent chance of winning tonight and a 90 percent chance of winning Sunday. If the UA sweeps this week, they're tied for first regardless of what anyone else does. As for the UCLA game, I think that's the toughest contest left on the schedule (just ahead of the Colorado road game.) That'd be tough to win. If you think UA might go 7-2 the rest of the way, the two losses, one might guess, would be at Pauley and Coors Events Center
Firstly, I like spelling favourite with a "u." It classes up this little chat. My favorite McKale Center memory is, when my brother went to school here and we both were 19, sneaking into the gym at 1 a.m. after a women's basketball game and playing 5-on-5 fullcourt with his friends until a security guard threw us out 2 hours later. (Sorry, UA operations folks who I've since gotten to know well). On the court? The Houston chest stomp on Budinger that led to a comeback was pretty memorable. Loved when Russ Pennell had the team run through the student section before the UCLA game. And that Chen finish was pretty memorable
A said the same thing. York's supposedly a good shooter. But there are no "shooting-threes-is-my-specialty" guys, in the vein of Brendon Lavender or Zane Johnson
Don't think so. You are the tallest Australian. I know the UA and Joe Burton seem to have beefed over the years, though. Also, Joe Burton is the most fun player in the world to watch. The OSU center is, to quote Cedric the Entertainer, a "bit husky," but has the feet of John Belushi and is a willing passer.
Dunno if you're off, but folks forget this: Miller needs a backup PG. Mayes is one. York is a freshman, and not a PG.
The media contingent here is all very cordial with each other. There are always funny stories, though, be it covering basketball or any other team. One of my favorite stories happened during the second time Lute Olson announced his retirement. During the few hours when no one quite knew what was going on, I approached a UA basketball player at McKale. He saw me coming, started laughing, and said, "We don't know (expletive). And you can print that!"
Stanford's hot shooting doesn't becoming wildfire.
Oh, it's wonderful. (Though I'm admittedly a Walton guy; I know many don't care for him). I think it works for one reason: it's uniquely Western, and his personality is certainly cut from the Pac-12 ethos. It wouldn't work in the SEC, y'know? The Pac-12 did a great job of not only getting him on board, but branding him with college tours (he did the UA one today, and I"ll post that story today) and embracing all the quirks of him
That'll do it for today's chat. Thanks again for the great questions. We'll meet here next Wednesday the same bat time, same bat channel. You can find me on Twitter at @PatrickFinley, where I'm happy to answer and all questions, and to say hi.