Today in the bag, I'm wrapping the crappy weekend in Oregon, taking a look at how the rest of the Pac-12 fared, and giving my outsider view of the Super Bowl whether you want to read it or not.
Click below for the bag...
Buffs cough up ball, chance to beat Oregon State -
Following a rough showing in Eugene, the Colorado Buffaloes needed a bounce-back game in Corvallis if they had any hope of staying on the path to a top-four seed. Simply, they needed to play well, and handle a reeling and inconsistent Oregon State Beavers squad in hostile territory. Instead, they turned the basketball over a season-high 24 times, squandering a +18 advantage on the boards to fall into a 60-56 loss. As a result, they slide out of the lead pack in the Pac-12, and into a 5th-place tie with Utah. Oh, and Josh Scott tweaked his ankle, missed the entirety of the second half, and is a question mark this week. Just about as bad of a Saturday as you can get, right there.
|Too. Many. Turnovers. From: KGW.com|
In the light of those damning numbers, I find it hard to grab at the few scapegoats available. I could blame the refs, who were at their #Pac12Refs worst, but the Buffs were, once again, their worst enemy. I could blame the injury to Josh Scott, but CU actually played better without him on the court (an aberration, don't get hasty). I could even blame that first half, as ugly as it was, but they slumped into that halftime scoreline, and still turned it over 11 times in the second. No, at it's core, this was just another example of the bad Buffs owning the narrative. Colorado, through their play, did not deserve the win. Oregon State may not have deserved it, either, but someone had to claim the 'W,' and it might as well not be the team that turned it over four more times than they hit a shot.
|OSU may not have deserved it, but they were all smiles Saturday. From: the Statesman-Journal|
Looking forward, beyond the basic concerns over Josh Scott and his ankle, I'm really interested to see how the team responds. Collier, in his second year and still developing, is especially concerning. What does he take from that performance, and how does he put it into improving his play over the final seven games of the regular season? Does he, in fear of making even more mistakes, clam up and play overly conservative? Or, does he use it as a jumping off point for better, craftier performances? I think we're going to learn a lot about this sophomore over the next two weeks, especially as it pertains to his growth as a point guard and, more importantly, a leader.
Around the world of Pac-12 hoops -
- Oregon 76 - Utah 66 -
Oh, those Ducks. With this win over the Utes, they finished off a demonstrative sweep of the Ski Schools, and sprinted out to a commanding lead over the rest of the conference. 1.5 games up on USC with a game in hand, and at least two games up on everyone else, they're now the odds-on favorite to claim the Pac-12 crown. I may loathe their coach, and have a sour view of their program as a whole, but there's no denying the joyous way they play ball, and the purity with which they are ripping their competition right now.
|When Brooks is on, he's one of the best in the country. From: the Register-Guard.|
- Arizona 77 - Washington 72 -
While the Ducks were flying high on home territory, the Wildcats were keeping pace in Washington (albeit two games back). In one of the better games across the country over the weekend, they clipped UW in the final minutes, surging ahead thanks to a monster 22/15 game from Ryan Anderson. Combined with some good defense on the lead Husky guards, Andrews and Dejounte Murray (combined 9-28 from the field), it was just enough to help the UofA overcome 20 turnovers on the road.
|Ryan Anderson, yo. From: Tucson.com|
- USC 80 - UCLA 61 -
But, while Arizona surged in the Evergreen State, the Trojans still sit a half game in front of them in the league table, thanks to this seemingly effortless win over the rival UCLA Bruins. Jordan McLaughlin lead the way, posting a ridiculous 9/3/10/5 line. Those 10 assists aren't a miss-print, either. Just the latest in a display of that Dunk City Magic that coach Andy Enfield is finally starting to spin in the City of Angels. Such a fun team to watch, a fact the Southern California faithful are starting to catch on to, as the 10,258 in attendance for this one can attest.
|McLaughlin was so good that he was able to complete passes with his eyes closed. From: CampusInsiders.com|
- Cal 76 - Stanford 61 -
The bottom seems to have fallen out of the Stanford express, which is a shame since the win over them has been CU's lone road victory of note. Counting this loss to Cal, they've now lost four of five, and have completely squandered any juice generated by their 4-3 start to conference play. Their next two, at home against the Oregon schools, aren't exactly cupcakes, either, and I could see them losing both. My pick for them to finish 10th seems more and more likely as the weeks go on.
|Cal rolled over the Cardinal, in spite of some inarticulate moments. From: Cal Golden Blogs|
Broncos win Super Bowl; I yawn -
Well, look at that. The little Donkeys that could claimed their trophy. Through four quarters of withering, omnipresent defense, the Denver Broncos smothered and suffocated what had been a very entertaining Carolina Panthers team, en route to a commanding 24-10 victory. Denver carved up Cam Newton and his mighty offense, forcing three lost fumbles and an interception, and turning two of those fumbles into a decisive pair of scores. As a non-partisan, it was a very slow, deliberative process (especially since the Broncos could do next-to-nothing offensively), like watching a python swallow a goat. Still, none-the-less impressive.
|Miller and the Denver 'D' did something awful to Cammy-Cam. From: MileHighReport.com|
There wasn't even a good halftime performance to fall back on. Coldplay? Are you kidding me? A band so beige as to transcend the mere concept of milquetoast? Just the thought of them carrying an entire halftime lead the producers to drag Beyonce and Bruno Mars back to the stage, almost as an apology of sorts. "Yeah, sorry we screwed up and booked these guys, but remember how fun this can sometimes be?" This is the Super Bowl, damnit! If you're going to put someone up on the stage, they'd better be able to command it. Coldplay sure as shit ain't at that level.
And so, meekly, the football juggernaut is laid to rest for another spring and summer. Not that I'll miss it. Basketball, baseball, and hockey playoffs on the horizon? Nope, I won't even miss it for a second.