Basketball season will officially be in full swing following the tip-off against Prairie View A&M on November 11th. In anticipation of hoops’ arrival, here are 3 long-shots we hope come true:
The Beavs will finish 4th in the Pac-12.
The Wild West (and also schools in Arizona which is technically the Wild South West) is a question mark this year, with the exception of maybe two teams: Oregon and Arizona. Even saying that, the Ducks play in the Maui Classic and drew Georgetown in the first round, followed by Wisconsin (pending Wisconsin beats Tennessee). So, in all likelihood, they won’t be a top 10 team by December. The Ducks being ranked 5th in the nation is absurd. The Ducks wouldn’t even be the 4th best team in the ACC (as it turns out, Vegas odds have Oregon at 25/1 to win the title this year, which places them tied with Syracuse for the 4th best odds in the ACC).
Arizona almost lost their exhibition game to Chico State (at times, they were losing by double digits) over the weekend, and opens their season against number 9 Michigan State in Hawaii this week (they will lose by 25). And there you have it. By December, the two “best bets” in the conference have fallen.
Also let me talk about UCLA while I’m on the Hot Take Express. There has been SO. MUCH. HYPE. about a team that went 15-17 last year. Yes, they added two five star recruits. Yes Lonzo Ball looks like the truth. But on a team that didn’t go .500 last year in which their 3 best players have never played a single college game, I don’t buy the hype. All that weight on 3 freshmen’s shoulders? I’ll throw this prediction out there while I’m at it: UCLA will lead the Pac-12 in turnovers and missed free-throws and unfulfilled expectations and then Lonzo Ball will get drafted by the Phoenix Suns. That’s exactly how UCLA’s season will go.
USC, Cal, and Utah are generally being referred to as the Pac-12’s second tier, but in my opinion and purely my opinion with no facts to back it up at all, the entire Pac-12 is the second tier (EXCEPTION: Washington State, Washington, and Arizona might not win more than 10 games combined). It’s a relatively level playing field. Colorado has been picked by a lot of journalists to make waves again this year. Guess what? Colorado has more or less the exact same story line this season as Oregon State. The Buffs lost one of the most prolific players they’ve had in the last decade, Josh Scott, are riddled with under-the-radar talent, and are coming off a season in which they exceeded expectations and made the tourney. Wow that sounds familiar.
And so that leaves me with the 4th place finishing Beavers. Even though I don’t think Oregon, Arizona, and UCLA are “national stage best teams in the country mega hype” good, they are still the best teams in the conference. Everyone else is just okay. So why not us?
Only 4 Pac-12 schools will make the tournament, and the Beavers will be one of them.
See above argument. Looking at the Beaver’s schedule, 20 wins (the tournament selection committee’s magic number for power five conference schools) seems completely attainable. The Beavs have to figure out their line-ups that work. And they have to do it fast. Coach Tinkle does’t seem like the kind of guy who will still be, uh, tinkering (sorry) with his starting five in December. If he quickly figures out a rotation and fingers crossed the injury bug doesn’t bite us again, we could/should make it to conference play undefeated. We have 13 games before USC on December 28th: not a single one of those games is against a team that will be ranked at any point this year.
Bonus tournament prediction: Of the 4 Pac-12 teams that make the tournament this year, not a single one of them will win a tournament game (see: 2016 tournament, sans Oregon).
Tres Tinkle will be first team all-conference.
Tres. Tinkle. Be honest with yourself, would you rather be the President of the United States or have Tres Tinkle’s hair for one day?
Tres is so good at basketball. After the exhibition game at Corban, Wayne mentioned that it didn’t appear Tres was 100% back to his full strength yet. But during the game, it was obvious that he’s going to get there. Flashes of explosive drives to the rim and a couple fast breaks in traffic showed life in the foot that he broke towards the tale-end of last season.
Last year, Tres finished as an honorable mention on the All-Freshmen team. Obviously, his being named all-conference depends on the performance of other players at his position. Given his ability to play inside-out and the fact that he will be the best player on his team by a mile, his odds of making the first team go way up. You can read more about why Tres is so special here.
Prop Bets for the 2016 Season
Amount of times a commentator mispronounces Gligorije Rakocevic this season.
Amount of times the Duck’s being ranked in the top 10 will be mentioned during a broadcast of a Beaver’s basketball game before January 1.
Amount of times Wayne Tinkle will say “gosh” during each post-game presser.
Amount of times I will make up an excuse or invent a statistic to talk about how much I love Ronnie Stacy in an article.
Amount of Wayne Tinkle puns I will tweet during this season.