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Bonus Episode: Freeballin’ Podcast previews Colorado vs. Arizona

Bonus Episode! Tyler Z from Colorado's Freeballin' podcast previews Colorado and talks about Arizona Basketball from a CU perspective. 

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The Wildcats are in the driver’s seat

After Arizona's succesful road trip to the Bay Area, they are sitting in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12. Adam and Ronnie recap the road trip and look ahead to the rematch with the Mountain schools.

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It’s Kevin Sumlin!

The Wildcats have a new head coach and his name is Kevin Sumlin! Adam and Ronnie revisit the crazy 72 hours that led up to the hire. They also talk hoops as they recap the Oregon/Oregon State games and preview the upcoming Bay Area trip.

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The RichRod Scandal, Coaching Searches, & Media Coverage

Bryant, Rick, and Rick breakdown the Arizona Football scandal the encompassed Rich Rodriguez, talk about the likely candidates, and discuss the Tucson media's coverage of a program with multiple controversies. 

Pardon the sound quality, Bryant was traveling and had to use a different microphone but the content is good. 

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A Moderately Uncalled for Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon State Preview

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A Moderately Uncalled for Oregon State vs. Arizona Basketball Preview

Ryan Ringdahl | January 10, 2018

The dirty little secret of the pay-for-play scandal that rocked college basketball lies in the fact that schools like Arizona aren’t under the gun for funneling money to a player’s family. It’s that schools like Arizona are getting raked over the coals for being cheap.

You see, the NCAA has very detailed protocols for almost everything, including how to shovel buckets of money to the families of star players. According to the NCAA, schools can’t just write a family a check, they must provide a real job in addition to the money. At minimum, schools shall provide families of star players one of the three allowed assistant spots.

It’s a fairly new rule, and it’s why Michael Porter Sr. didn’t get the coveted Associate Trainer job at Kentucky while his kid bumped his draft stock via Coach Cal’s weekly ESPN Plug. Trust us, allegedly shuttling an alleged $50k to an alleged point guard is significantly cheaper than the $375k yearly salary, country club membership, courtesy car, four season tickets to men’s and women’s basketball, and access to all other home sporting events that Mizzou threw at Porter Sr to borrow his kid for a year two minutes.

Oregon State doesn't play Arizona’s cheap game. The Beavs know there’s no such thing as halfway a crook so when they found a generational high-school talent that was going to swing the fortunes of their program and steer them back to the promised land of madness they threw the whole caboose at the fam. That’s how you lock up a head coach like Wayne Tinkle for $6.6 million dollars.

Wayne Tinkle looks like a Marvel super-villain who owns an Enterprise Rent-a-Car franchise. Seeing him without a cowboy hat makes people uncomfortable without ever knowing why. His wardrobe is the costume closet for the off-Broadway Guys and Dolls tour. And he happens to have a son, Tres Tinkle, who was in the Rivals top-100 and now averages 18 points, 7 rebounds, and three assists per game for the Beavers.

But wait, there’s more. Wayne Tinkle’s assistant, Stephen Johnson Sr., has TWO sons in the Rivals top-100 who now play in Corvallis. Oregon State pays Johnson $135,000 a year. He had no Division-1 coaching experience prior to joining Tinkle’s staff.

Okay, okay. So perhaps this is a bit unfair. Wayne Tinkle was a respected head coach at Montana before taking the Oregon State job. And Stephen Johnson was the head coach of Cal State Los Angeles for nine years before arriving in Corvallis. But still, if a lower-tier, Power Five school wanted to institute some creative accounting to allow for an influx of talent it would look similar to Oregon State’s recent actions.

Wayne Tinkle has also pioneered a bold and innovative two-man system that we won’t say isn’t built to maximize his large adult son’s stats and tease him a spot in the League.

Usually in basketball, a two-man game is a moment where two players manipulate one side of the opposing defense through repeated interactions, but Tinkle has supercharged that concept into an entire system. Instead of just leveraging a momentary advantage, OSU has developed their entire attack around two guys: 6’8 Tinkle 2 and, guess who, 6’4 junior guard Stephen Thompson Jr. Between the two of them, Tinkle and Thompson are responsible for 46.3% of all shots, 48.1% of all makes, 50% of all points, 66.6% of all 3pt makes in conference play. They never come out of the game (averaging 37.5 minutes per game in conference play) and are the only players introduced during pregame.

Okay, again. Perhaps a bit unfair. Tres Tinkle is good and he's a natural for the two-man game. Also, we can’t actually verify that pregame bit. In our defense, no-one has ever watched the pregame intros -- they are busy staring at Wayne Tinkle, who looks like the romantic fanfic version of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The Beaver’s hopes for this season took a hit when starting point guard Jaquori McLaughlin went down with an injury. Seth Berger, a 6’7 graduate transfer from UMass, averaged 7.7 minutes a game through the first 7 games and 16.6 minutes since McLaughlin’s injury. He has added some needed juice to the slowest paced team in the PAC12, attacking the offensive boards with vigor. Coach Thompson’s younger son Ethan hasn’t missed a beat, starting every game as a freshman and looking ready to step into his brother’s role as half of the Tinkle Twosome next season. But turnovers are a problem. Yes, this team has some talent but they don’t take care of the ball.

On the inside, 6’10 junior Drew Eubanks brings the rim protection, upping his blocks per game from 2 to 3 in conference play so far. 6’11 junior Gligorije Rakocevic trades that rim protection for a little more stretch on the offensive end, but that eats into the limited 3s Tinkle 2 gets to jack, so the magnificently monikered Montenegrin only sees about 10 minutes of the court per game. Eubanks will be the X Factor in this game. He’s talented and has an outside shot of joining the NBA as a free agent. But if Oregon State is going to win they will need to bang the boards. The Beavs are 212th in the nation when it comes to defensive rebounds and they face a tall Arizona team that just got taken to the woodshed by Sean Miller for poor play in Boulder.

Conclusion

Oregon State isn’t as good as their record suggests, that’s not a good sign. Their record suggests that they are pretty mediocre. The Beavers really hoped to survive their cupcake early schedule (the 341st toughest schedule according to the inestimable KenPom.com) with fewer than 3 losses. It didn’t happen. That’s not a promising sign for what isn’t a kind conference schedule featuring 2 games against Arizona, ASU, USC, UCLA, and Oregon. OSU has gone 8-2 at home this year, split their neutral-site games (beating Marist and St Louis; losing to St Johns and Long Beach State), and lost the only true road game they have played at the mighty Kent St. Golden Eagles.

Still, the Beavers recently beat Oregon, Colorado, and they took Utah to the wire. They can be frisky and, for all our sarcasm, Wayne Tinkle is a good coach who will employ the dreaded Zone defense against Arizona. But road trips are a dangerous mistress. And Oregon State's previous road games involved losing to schools from the states of Long Beach and Kent, so a visit to the desert to meet Sean Miller’s most recent collection of lottery picks in the most hostile environment west of Kansas is a daunting task.

Arizona Basketball: The Wildcats return home to host the Oregon schools

After a 1-1 split on their most recent road trip, the Wildcats return home to host the Oregon schools. Adam Green and Ronnie Stoffle breakdown the Utah/Colorado games plus preview Oregon State/Oregon.

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A Moderately Uncalled for Colorado vs. Arizona Basketball Preview

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A Moderately Uncalled for Colorado vs. Arizona Basketball Preview

Bryant Conger | January, 6 2018

When Tad Boyle, Colorado’s head basketball coach, was asked about the looming FBI investigations that have rocked programs like Arizona he responded, “I’ll sleep well at night.” Clearly. We know there are no shenanagans in Boulder because this Colorado team is not good. That’s what we call getting what you allegedly pay for.

KenPom lists Colorado as the 126th best team in the nation. They field the 179th best offense in the country and are 9-6 on the year with losses to San Diego, Oregon State, and Colorado State.

With that said, Colorado boasts one of the most experienced guards in the country in Xavier Johnson who returns for his 7th season in Boulder. Johnson’s mature, senior leadership makes him the anchor of this team. Just kidding, Xavier Johnson finally graduated. He’s 45 years young, and will still cross you up while telling you to get off his lawn.

Tad Boyle’s team is all about guard play. And he will play a lot of them. Eight guards average more than 12 minutes per game on this Colorado team. “Yes.” You ask. “But are they good?” The answer is relative. They are certainly better at basketball than you are, and if defeating a random team comprised of general internet readership were the goal, they would have a solid 60% chance. But it will be next to impossible for the Buffs to matchup with Arizona’s talented roster.

The Guards

McKinley Wright can ball. Colorado’s 6’0 freshman guard is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists per game. And he can play some (some, let’s calm down) defense. Look for Wright to take the initiative against Arizona. He’ll need to have a strong game for the Buffs to stay competitive.

6’6 senior guard George King has developed into a solid player. He is one of the better Colorado shooters and he’s snatching 8 rebounds a game. If you’re an Arizona fan look forward to tearing your hair out when King to steals at least three rebounds from Dusan Ristic.

Missouri transfer, Namon Wright is the only other Colorado player that averages more than 10 points per game (12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist) he plays average defense and his stats mirror “Joseph Q. Generic,” a 3-star, computer generated player on Playstation’s NCAA 2009 (RIP).

The Big Guys

Arizona is going to win this game by 15+ points. Why? There is nobody on this Colorado team that can guard DeAndre Ayton or Dusan Ristic. 6’10 sophomore Lucas Stewart is Tad Boyle’s best shot to slow down Arizona’s skilled, offensive-minded bigs. Stewart is an above average defender but he’s only putting up 4.6 points in limited minutes. If Boyle steps on the gas and keeps Stewart on the court for prolonged periods of time it will be to the detriment of his offense, which will be one dimensional. The same goes for 7’0 foot freshman Dallas Walton who is averaging 4.2 points per game. Outside of these two guys, that’s it for Colorado. This could get ugly.

Conclusion

This is a classic letdown-game for a team for Colorado. The Buffs got hot and beat a good ASU team that isn’t used to, you know, being good. This Arizona team is better, more balanced, and their major weakness doesn’t match up with Colorado’s strengths in a way that would indicate a likely upset. Arizona struggles to defend the 3-point shot, Colorado only has one player that averages more than 1.5 shots from downtown (George King) and he only averages 35% from deep. Arizona will field better talent at every position. The Cats are favored by -9.5 points in this game. The line should be higher.

Also, Sabatino Chen's shot was no good. 

The New Year’s Bombshell

What is going on in Tucson? Ronnie Stoffle and Adam Green dive into the current state of Arizona's football program. They also give their thoughts on the ASU game and preview Colorado. 

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Arizona vs. Utah Basketball Preview

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A Moderately Uncalled for Utah vs. Arizona Basketball Preview

Ryan Ringdahl | January 3, 2018

The Utah college baskeball fanbase is one of the most perplexing in college sports. Conventions for fidget spinners, hoverboards, and “smart toasters” are the only other places one can find a collection of so many people so very excited about something so very…okay.

In the last four years, Ute head coach Larry Krystkowiak has lost in the first round of the NIT twice, lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament once, and lost in the Sweet Sixteen. But talk to any Ute Fan one would think the guy won 5 national titles.

Utah’s natural retort is “well, at least we don’t cheat.” That’s fair, Utah fans. Just know that we here at Arizona can’t hear your well-reasoned argument over the slurping sound our straw is making at the bottom of our double margarita as our train lurches towards the edge of the cliff.

Don’t get us wrong. It's refreshing to find passion for college basketball in the Pac-12 and Coach Alt-K is very good. He is doing regular and brilliant work in varied and complex ways with unheralded and overlooked players. He’s also pumping out NBA talent like Lorenzo Romar in his prime.

Take this game, for example. This will be Arizona’s 3rd toughest matchup in Pac-12 play even though Utah has a simple game plan. The Utes put the student in student athlete and have built an entire tactical identity around the basic mathematical principle that 3 points is more than two points. They slow the game down, making each possession matter more. They defend the three-point line with intensity, and they field literally only two (healthy) players in the rotation who take more low rent shots than they do from Curryland.

6’9 junior Tyler Rawson, a transfer from Southern Utah, is key to the Utes’ success on both ends of the court. With 19 of the teams 48 blocks, the bouncy forward brings about as much rim protection as the rest of the roster combined, and Rawson’s ability to both score and make plays from beyond the 3pt line on offense (38% on 4.5 3’s & 3.8 assists a game) is what frees 6’8 David Collette to feast at the rim (60% from the field) as the finisher in Coach K2’s whirling flex offense.

The Utes front court is desperate for the return of 6’7 frosh Donnie Tillman (foot) to add some depth to the rotation. Tillman helps with the floor spacing when Rawson rests. He is at least willing to jack an open trey and hits them at a decent-enough rate (37%). 6’8 freshman Chris Seely could bring some more rim protection to the rotation, that is, if his gall bladder ever lets him ball gladder.

Until either one of those guys is healthy enough to go the front court Utah’s depth is reduced to 7’0 sophomore Jayce Johnson. Sure, Johnson brings some much-needed size to this Utes team, he is also shooting worse (57%->51%), fouling more (2.1->3.1), and turning the ball over more (0.9->1.5) than he did in his freshman campaign, which is pretty much the opposite of development.

5’8 senior transfer from Long Beach State Justin Bibbins is like a tinier Isaiah Thomas, raining threes on everyone that stays of him and blowing past anyone who gets in his face.

Next to Bibbins is “shooter” Sedrick Barefield. The best thing about Utah’s back court is that they are like the Splash Brothers, both jacking over 5 treys a game but with a fun twist: Bibbins (47.8%) is literally twice as good at shooting from distance as Barefield (23.4%). Not that Captain Casaba Melons lets that slow him down at all; Barefield was chucking even more in the first weekend of conference play.

6’5 frosh Kolbe Caldwell and 6’6 junior Gabe Bealer split the wing minutes, and the young Kolbe is Kobeing his way into a larger and larger share, shooting a torching 55% from distance over the Utes’ last five games.

HOW DOES UTAH MATCHUP WITH THE WILDCATS?

Utah’s only player on their roster taller than 6’9 is a foul machine who racked up five hacks in 13 minutes against the intimidatingly diminutive front court of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. So if you are a Utah fan, there is nothing more terrifying on this planet than the prospect of trying to defend 7’2 Monstar Deandre Ayton.

Nothing.

Ask the kids on this Utes team which they would rather experience: 1) Sitting through an aggressive time-share presentation -OR- 2) having to guard Ayton on national television in front of their friends, family, and that cute girl from Comm101. They buy that questionable condo in Cabo everytime.

“5’8” Arizona senior Parker Jackson-Cartwright has waited his entire life to be the big guy in the point guard matchup. After PJC swallows up Bibbins, Barefield will need to channel Trae Young to keep the game close. The Utes don’t have a Plan B at the point: Bibbins is averaging 39 minutes a game in Utah’s first two conference games.

The high-low passing game between Rawson and next-level cutter Collette is where the Utes will cause problems against this Arizona defense that struggles against subtlety on the inside, as neither Ayton nor Dusan Ristic have developed the discipline to track cutters consistently yet.

But Utah’s defense isn’t much better than Arizona’s and the talent disparity on offense is…daunting. Even in a tough Huntsman Center Arizona should win this game handily unless Utah gets hot from the 3 or if DeAndre Ayton gets in early foul trouble while trying to contain Rawson and Collette. Expect a quality game planner like Coach Other K to go straight at Arizona’s bigs and dare them to guard the basket. If Ayton and Ristic play disciplined defense expect Trier’s 15 points early in the second half against a pedestrian Utah defense to ice this game away and invite Miller to get some minutes for the middle of his bench, maybe even unlocking the doghouse he’s been keeping Emmanuel Akot in ever since Arizona returned from the Bahamas.

 

 

ASU Sucks, Bowl Review, & Arizona vs Utah Preview

Wildcat Radio recaps Arizona's win over ASU at McKale, previews the Arizona Basketball's upcoming game against Utah, and talks about the future of Arizona Football following the loss to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl. 

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