Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mighty Mailbag : NFL Draft 3/30

With a little more than 3 weeks to go until the NFL Draft (now for 3 whole days!) a few question and answers. Unfortunately I have to kind of answer my own mail due to economic cutbacks in the mail department.....

Who Will Be the #1 Pick?
The Rams, short a huge change, are going to draft QB Sam Bradford (of OU/Cherokee Nation) Bradford has fully healed from his injuries and his Pro Day has people buzzing. It's hard not to take a QB at #1 and with new ownership the Rams will look for a new face for the franchise.

What About the Other QBs?
Good question. Jimmy Claussen will probably be taken in the top 10 (best guess #4 to Washington). After Claussen there might be a loong wait till the next QB is taken. Colt McCoy is a probable 2nd pick with Tony Pike/Dan Levour (Central Michigan) in the 3rd-4rth round. It's a pretty sparse year for the QB position.

Ok ....Tebow?
Tebow is expected to go anywhere from #15 to sometime in the 3rd round. All bits of quantifiable data/eyes point to the fact that Tebow is at best a big project. However Tebow has hype and athleticism (anyone really want to say the NFL never drafts on upside?). I assume ESPN will have Tebow vision up and running starting mid first round as no one is sure when he'll get picked.

So what is good about this Draft?
Oddly it's a very deep draft at non-skill positions. Offensive/defensive lines and linebacker are supposed to have great value all throughout the draft.

Movers and Shakers?
The prime possible mover might be the Eagles who have been dangling Donovan Mcnabb for a top 40 pick - such a move would reshape the NFC. The Browns have squirreled away 12 picks (3 3s and 3 5s) and could easily trade up. Likewise given the depth look for teams to trade down (ahem Patriots).

As always please feel free to send questions as I'll answer them in next week's mailbag. Assuming we still have a research department....

Monday, March 29, 2010

Manu Ginobili blocks kevin Garnett [HD]

For general viewing pleasure........

Flash Facts: It's a Team Game

Flash Fact #1 Butler Is Just a Great Team As one of the most consistent teams in the NCAA I suppose is was only a matter of time before Butler finally broke through. Owner of the nation's longest winning streaks Butler shouldn't have been under the radar. They play as good team basketball (rotation on defense, making the extra pass to increase efficiency) as it gets. I think what's incredible is that this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Butler - who had lost a lot of talent off last year's laden squad. Once it goes to show great teams can beat great individuals in college basketball.

Flash Fact #2 Bob Huggins Owns John Calipari Bob Huggins, owner of the world's largest collection of leisure suits, is now 9-1 versus Calipari. While Kentucky was more "talented" than West Virginia, the Mountaneers prevailed. While Kentucky's cold outside shooting might be the most eye catching stat, it's hard to argue Huggins didn't out coach Calipari. Huggins ever shifting defensive schemes kept Kentucky off guard and Calipari's odd refusal to use full court pressure until the waning moments were just as important in West Fuckin Virginia's first Final 4 Bid.

Next year Huggins is coaching only in real velour

Flash Fact #3 Turner v. Wall is now the debate With the tournament wrapping up soon (and most people's brackets already wrapped up) college basketball will morph into NBA Draft watching. The only player that might challenge John Wall for the top spot is Evan Turner. Wall is probably the quickest/fastest point guard I've seen in a long time (maybe ever) but his turnover tendency and questionable outside shooting add a few doubts. Turner, who played out of position this year, is more a Brandon Roy type player. I'm guessing the freak athlete freshman will win out over the self-made Junior but it'll be interesting if a New Jersey or Minnesota (which have point guards ) win the draft might go with Turner. Don't cry for tOSU over losing Turner. With the #1 recruiting class next year's Buckeye squad might be even better.

Flash Fact #4 Tom Izzo Might Be the Best Coach in College Basketball - His 6th trip to the Final 4s in the last 12 years might have been his best. Coming off a highly successful year last year nobody would have lamented a step back for Michigan State. A brutal injury to their star player and it was perfectly rational to doubt the Spartans. However yet again an Izzo squad ends up in the Final 4. No other school has matched Izzo's performance and Izzo has done so without any superstars passing through East Lansing.

Denise Milani says Chocolate Martinis are delicious. Not sure how it connects to Tom Izzo -give me a couple of days on that....

Flash Fact #5 Dookies, Not ACC, Are Good

I had a hard time watching Duke v. Baylor. On the one hand a school that really only on the map due to crony political intrigue and on the other a school built on tobacco money. One a school populated by christian fundamentalism (and that's saying something for a school in Texas) and the other a school populated by douchebags (well at least the undergrads). In the end Duke prevailed. The Dookies success though (or Butler's or Michigan State) shouldn't automatically be taken as a sign of a particular conference. Part of the problems with mid-major v. power conference false nomenclature isn't just the lack of dichotomy between the two but that the ongoing question of what a good conference means is rarely discussed or defined. Yes the Blue Devils are an elite team (cough cough easy road) but that shouldn't alter the fact that the rest of the ACC was craptastic this year.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Final 4 of Insanity!

It's been absolute insanity this year... we have two 5-seeds squaring off for what I believe is the first time. We have the weakest #1-seed and a 2-seed joining the party as well. The top 3-most popular choices for national champion (Kansas, Kentucky, and Syracuse) are all long gone.

So, let's take a look at the matchups, keeping in mind that none of these teams have faced any of each other this season.

As shown by my "analysis" the last two weeks... I have no idea what's going to happen. I had Butler and Michigan State as teams that were doomed last week... and now one of them is playing for the championship!

So, instead, let's just focus on some of the interesting stories from this year's tournament... like the fact that Butler is playing in Indy, which is where their school is located... and the fact that their head coach (Brad Stevens) is only 33... and this is his third year coaching!... the fact that Tom Izzo has now taken Michigan State to their SIXTH final 4 in 12 years (as a 1 (three times), as a 2, and now as a 5 (twice!).

My favorite, and scariest, part of this tournament relates to clips of Kansas State coach Frank Martin. a) He looks like an axe murderer. b) He sounds like he's going to physically harm his players. While I couldn't find a good video of Frank Martin, here are some great images of him freaking out.

Even better, is this video of his players describing what he's like and how he calls timeouts just to chew out his players.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet 16 - Upset City!

What's funny? Last year... I was writing how 14 of the top 16 teams made it through... this year? Only 8 of the top 16 teams made it through... including the fall of the heavy favorite, Kansas.

The thing that says the most about this year's tournament... my bracket at work has 10 sweet 16 teams... and that puts me in first place! For perspective, 10 teams is usually average looking back at past year's performances. Flipping coins will get you 8. 11 teams is usually really good, and anything above 11 is sensational... usually. This year? 11 makes you a genius!

Some notes:

Indiana University Transfers
Jamal Crawford - Xavier - Star player in the sweet 16!
Ben Allen - St. Mary's - Role player for St. Mary's... in the sweet 16!
Armon Bassett - Ohio University - Bassett had dominated the MAC Tourney, had shredded Georgetown, but Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl had the perfect plan to stop Bassett... double team him on the perimeter when he gets the ball. Bassett could not get free the entire game and I sadly waited the entire game for the Ohio coach too make an adjustment to get Bassett the ball off a screen (Rip Hamilton style) or run any kind of motion and passing to free up Bassett. Never happened. We were so close to all 3 Indiana transfers making it. It's too bad the IU coach messed up everything. An IU team with these 3 players could have certainly made the sweet 16 this year!

Big East Bubble Burst
In so many ways, it was like the dot-com stock bubble burst. The Big East had a sensational year last year, landing three #1 seeds and two #3 seeds, and four teams in the Elite 8. Before the season began, everyone knew it was going to be a transition year for the entire conference as most of the players from those teams either graduated or went to the NBA. Thus, the conference has very young teams... and most of the teams were maddingly inconsistent. I got sucked into the artificially high ranking of the Big East (2nd according to Sagarin before the tourney). The ranking was clearly due more to its depth (16-team league w/ 13 good teams this year). However, 6 Big East teams got "upset" and crashed out early, including shocking losses from Georgetown to Ohio U., Notre Dame to Old Dominion, Marquette getting stomped on by Washington, and Villanova getting smashed by St. Mary's.

Non-Power Conference Team Notes

Cornell - very interested to see them take on Kentucky. They are disciplined, shoot 44% from 3-point land (as a TEAM!), and have a 7-footer and a 6'8" PF. Cornell & Kentucky were 2 of the more dominant teams the first weekend and their game next week should be a trea.
St. Mary's - 7-footer Omar Samhan's dominance, as well as the beautiful high arcing 3-pointers of McConnell, were a beauty to watch in the 1st two rounds. Baylor, according to SI, has 4 big men that can go one-on-one with Samhan. So... we will see soon enough what Samhan can really do, because honestly neither Richmond or Villanova had competent or even comparable big men to battle Samhan.
Butler - After watching Butler's first two game, I don't believe they have the big men to continue their run. Big man Matt Howard got in foul trouble against Murray State and they barely survived. Against Syracuse??? Forget it.
Northern Iowa - not only did they beat Kansas... but they now get Michigan State who is missing their best player! Pencil them in for the elite 8!
Xavier - Jordan Crawford has been a joy to watch... but they have an insane matchup against a highly skilled tandem from Kansas State.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

7 Mighty Thoughts on the Tournament

1. This week(end) is easily one of the craziest I remember. 3 double digit seeds in the sweet 16? A Robbie Hummel-less Purdue breaking through? The region of death claiming 3 out of the 4 top seeds? The one game format and neutral sites allow the little guy as close to an even playing field that exists in sports. And it's why March Madness is the greatest sporting event year in and year out.

2. Given the one game format and odd match-ups it's hard to make giant claims about what this means. Does anyone think if Kansas and Northern Iowa had a 7 game series that Kansas wouldn't win out? And yet I try. After the first two rounds...Kentucky and Syracuse appear to be the favorites left in the tournament. However given how this tournament has I'm unwilling to stake my life on that....

3. Hats off to the Big 10. At the start of the year this was expected to be a banner year for the Big 10. They backed it up with their first victory over the ACC in the Big 10-ACC Challenge. To top it off they got 3 teams in the sweet 16....the most of any conference.

4. The one thing that I continues to strike me is how badly Indiana screwed itself with Kelvin Sampson. Basset (of Ohio) and Crawford (of Ohio) scored over 27 three times in this tournament. Both are Indiana transfers because of Sampson. For a reference point IU had a player score 27 or more three times the ENTIRE season.

5. The reason I might lean towards picking Kentucky is how athletic they are. Estimates at this point have Kentucky fielding 4 top 15 picks in this year's draft. Worldwide Wes, the shadowy friend to the NBA stars, has pushed the superstars to John Calipari and overflowing freshman talent on Kentucky (and the lack elsewhere) I think is a big reason for the upsets this year.

6. Decent 3 point shooting counteracts great inside shooting. Shooting 40% from 3 point is equal to shooting 60% from 2 pt (do the math is works out). Big Red (aka Cornell) rode the 3 point shooting to a sweet 16 birth (let me just state my biases. I love saying Go Big Red). It's something to keep in mind when the NBA playoffs roll around...good 3 point shooting matters a lot....

7. Lost in all the analyses and predictions and gambling and upsets...is the emotion. The heartbreak the unbridled joy is simply palatable. I think that's what makes college athletics so engrossing is the emotion. Whatever your feelings about Michigan State if your heart didn't break a little when Kalin Lucas collapsed on the court with a probable ruptured Achilles well I'd recommend some serious therapy. The emotions, the career implications, the timing, everything just awful for Lucas. Hopes and prayers that the injury isn't that serious and that he can get back on the court soon

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NBA With One Month To Go

The people over at hoopsdata have an outstanding break down of how the NBA stands (statistically) with one month to go. For those unaware the four factors is the statistical holy grail to winning in basketball (the four factors are efg (shooting adjusted for 3 pointers), free throw rate (free throws made and attempted), offensive rebounding, and turnover rate. Pretty obvious stuff when you think about it.

As of now the four factors shows that Orlando and Cleveland are heads and shoulders above everyone else. Despite the presence of Vince Carter Orlando's defense is the best in the league. The Cavs are the Cavs...great rebounding, efficient scoring, good defense. Grouped below them are the Lakers, Nuggets, Spurs and Jazz. I would note that the stats (as opposed to records) shows that the Mavericks ....suck.

Now the obvious come back is that the current stats are non-reflective of how the playoffs work. The playoffs favor teams with better half court execution. Also the rosters might be different. So let's think how that would play out....

1) Denver - With an ailing Kenyon Martin and poor rebounding rates Denver doesn't have a lot of room to improve

2) LA Lakers - Kobe will be playing more minutes than he has previously would should increase the team's effeciency. However last year the Lakers got large bumps by Trevor Arizia. It's unclear at best which player besides Kobe can step up. As such it's unlikely (but not impossible) that the Lakers can improve to catch the Magic or Cavs

3) Orlando - Orlando's great defense and rebounding should (and did) translate to the playoffs. The outstanding question is about their shooting. At the beginning of the year Nelson and Carter were awful. This past month during their hot streak both are very efficient shooters. It reasons that Orlando is probably maxed out as they currently are (which statistically is best in the league).

4) Cleveland - As noted that Cavs are easily the 2nd best team with a profile that translates well to the playoffs in rebounding, defense, and shooting. Secondly, their profile should improve as both Mo Williams and Delonte West were hurt for large chunks of the season. The big question is about Antwan Jamison, Z, and Shaq. Theoretically all should be available in a series against Orlando. Z/Shaq would present a far more formidable defense against Howard while Jamison could nullify Lewis...both of whom tortured the Cavs last playoffs. In essence, the Cavs have the most room for improvement over their current numbers relative to any of the other contenders.

Bottom Line
As of now it's looking like the Cavs and Orlando are by far the favorites to win it all with the Cavs having the higher ceiling (albeit Orlando currently slightly ahead) .

Madness Almost Here!

Remember to fill out your brackets!

Monday, March 15, 2010

7 Things to Follow in the Tournament

The Madness creates its' own story lines (that is why it is the Madness) but going into it here are 7 things to watch for.

1. The Villain
aka Evan Turner will probably be named National Player of the Year. He is Ohio State. Literally. 4 of 5 starters play 35 minutes or more. There is no fall back position. He needs to be the best player in the country for tOSU to advance. The Villain led tOSU to a Big 10 title, can he lead tOSU to the Final 4?
Evan Turner - National Player of the Year and Master of Magnetism

2. The Freshman
Forget Dicky V's diaper dandy stuff....No freshman since Carmelo Anthony has led his team to a national championship. John Wall has the potential to do that for Kentucky (before it's erased due to recruiting violations by Calipari). The question...will he?
Don't ask what Ashley Judd is willing to do for a Kentucky Championship (you can order the DVD from BSD later this month tho)
3. The Fill In
In one of the weird connections Roy Williams left Kansas for UNC unable to win the big game. Since being at UNC Williams has won 2 Championships. Bill Self who replaced Williams has won 1. Can he tie Williams championship run this year?

4. The Knee
Syracuse has been as good as any team in the NCAA this year. Their destruction of Villanova still ranks as my best win of the year. However questions are circling Syracuse over the injured quad of Arinze Onuaku. If he's healthy it's hard not to think of 'Cuse at least as an elite 8 team, without Onuaku well it might be a far earlier exit.

5. The Pyrite
Since Duke's loss to UConn in the Final 4, Duke has been the equivalent of fool's gold. They look good in the regular season (winner's of 9 of the past 12 ACC tournaments) but crapping out in the Madness (haven't advanced deeper than the sweet 16). With a high seed and senior leadership will they be the year the Dookies live up to their hype?

The Dookies are looking for success

6. The Prospects
Every year some NBA prospects make a big statement in the tournament thereby raising their profile and stock for the NBA Draft. Kentucky's Demarcus Cousin and Pat Patterson, Cuse's Wesley Johnson, G-Tech Favor, G-Town's Monroe, and KU's Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich all have that potential.

7. The Cinderellas
The beauty of the Madness is the possibility/potential for the Cinderella run. With the major conferences as weak as I can remember the ball room is open for some dancing with glass slippers. Potentials range from the A-10 (Temple, Xavier), the MWC (BYU, New Mexico), and the WAC (Utah State)

Scarlette is off to find a quality HD TV

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Madness 2010 - Instaneous Analysis

Last year, I crunched a lot of numbers before the Madness begins, pertaining to the performance of power-conference teams that win or are runner-ups in their conference tournaments.

Favorite team based on profiles -
In 2007, I started doing profiles of the top conferences before the tourney begins.

In 2007, I adopted Maryland as my favorite statistical profile... and they lost in the 2nd round.
In 2008, I adopted Notre Dame as my favorite statistical profile... and they lost in the 2nd round.
In 2009, I adopted BYU (lost in 1st round) and West Virginia (lost in 1st round).
So... this year? I'm adopting Baylor. I hope it's not a death sentence! But, they have a manageable draw at least.

Best 1st round matchup -
Oklahoma State vs. Georgia Tech - The NBA scouts will be at this game for sure with Ok State's James Anderson (projected #20) and G-Tech's Derrick Favors (projected #4 pick) and Gani Lawal (projected #29). The NBA scouts will love to stick around for the 2nd round game against Ohio State and Evan Turner (projected #2 pick).

Most anticipated 2nd round matchup -
So far, only 3 of my 7 anticipated matchups have happened.
In 2009, my anticipated matchups were Syracuse vs. Arizona State (which did happen), and West Virginia vs. Kansas (which didn't happen, because 11-seeded Dayton knocked out West Virginia).
In 2008, my anticipated matchups included two: Indiana vs UNC (where Indiana lost badly in the 1st round to Arkansas) and Notre Dame and Washington State (which actually did happen).
In 2007 my “anticipated” matchup actually happened [Boston College vs. former Big East rival Georgetown], but 2007’s 2nd round matchups were relatively weak.
In 2006, my matchup [Mich. St. vs. UNC] never happened as George Mason wiped out Mich. St. then UNC.
In 2005, I didn’t specifically anoint one matchup, but I alluded to the Kansas-Wisconsin game, but Bucknell took out Kansas in the 1st round to prevent that from happening.
This year, I've got Georgetown vs. Tennessee as the matchup to see. Tennessee has beaten Kentucky and Kansas this year, so they are capable of playing at a high level.

Darkhorse - BYU - A 7-seed this year... last year I also listed them as a darkhorse. This year, I like their chances even more. As proof of their potential, they are ranked #9 in Sagarin ratings (compared to only #23 last year). They are also ranked #7 in Ken-Pomeroy ratings.
Ok. St/G-Tech winner - See above
Texas A&M - I don't know much about them, but I do know if they get out of the 1st round, they probably draw Purdue (missing their best player) and a Duke team (susceptible to good PG play?). A&M has been missing PG Dash Harris. His healthy return could spur a huge run.

Region of Death- No doubt, it's the Midwest region (Kansas's). It's just vicious. As said OkState and G-Tech have NBA players. Ohio State has Evan Turner. Maryland and Michigan State can meet in the 2nd round... as can Georgetown and Tennessee. 2 of the mid-majors that have been ranked this season (UNLV and Northern Iowa) meet in the 1st round... and then get a crack at Kansas! I have no idea what to do with this region. Too bad the NCAA doesn't check that their "S-curve" doesn't screw over the top overall seed... like it did this year!

Cinderella Final 4 Team - I'm historically bad at this... (2009 - W. Virginia - lost in 1st; 2008 - USC - lost in 1st; 2007 - Maryland - lost in 2nd; 2006 - UCLA - 2-seed, made Final 4; 2005 - Utah - 6-seed, made Sweet 16).
This year, I'm going with: 3-seeded Baylor. It's kind of a cop-out because Duke sucks and Villanova has been on a slide the 2nd half.

Rule #1: All (4) 1-seeds will NOT make Final4 -
Duke will not make it this year. I could see the other (3) 1-seeds making it... or absolute carnage happening.

Rule#4: A 12-seed always beats a 5 (except in 2000 and 2007)-
As has become the norm, the NCAA would much rather let mid-majors battle each other as opposed to having a bigger school get taken down. This year, Butler-UTEP and Temple-Cornell are 5-12 matchups where anything can happen. It's really scary, because UTEP was ranked this past week and still landed a 12-seed. Cornell is the best 3-point shooting team in the country (43.4%), which I assume will also translate to the tourney.

Rule#6: There always is one conference w/ multiple teams in the final4 (except in 2007 and 2008) – My favorite options:
Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor (Big 12)
Kansas, Syracuse, West Virginia, Duke (Big East)
Georgetown, Kansas St, West Virginia, Duke (Big East)
Tennessee, Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor (SEC)
Ohio St, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Duke (Big 10)

Rule#9: If you win your power conference tourney, you won't do well in the NCAA tourney. (Exception: top 10 teams):

In 2005, one team lost in the 1st round, the other in the 2nd round
In 2006, all 3 that qualified got bounced in the 1st round.
In 2007, one team qualified [Oregon], but they made the elite 8. I still say Oregon had an easy draw though.
In 2008, Pitt (Big East) and Georgia (SEC) are the only teams that qualified. Georgia only had a 14-seed and got bounced by Xavier. Pitt got a 4-seed and was upset by Michigan State in the 2nd round.
In 2009, 4 teams qualified: Purdue (sweet 16), Missouri (elite 8), USC (2nd round), and Miss St. (1st round loser as 13-seed).
This year, we have: Washington (PAC-10). They are an 11-seed and I expect them to lose to Marquette.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NBA Notes... and buildup to the Madness!

Okay, I'm back on regular programming now. First off, let's tackle notable games from the NBA:

NBA Games of the Week -
Dallas beat ATL on 2/26 in OT behind a triple double by Jason Kidd, and a superior rebounding advantage (50-41). ; The Lakers beat Denver on 2/28 by going 8 for 16 behind the arc with Artest showing old form and hitting 4 of 7; JR Smith went 1 for 7 (but Kobe was only 3 for 17 in the game); Denver destroyed OKCity by 29 on 3/3 as they owned every statistical category; Orlando edged the Lakers on 3/7 by having a rebounding advantage (50-39) and Vince Carter hitting 13 of 14 FTs.

This week:
Lakers @ Suns - 3/12
Boston @ Cleveland - 3/14
Utah @ OKCity - 3/14

NCAA - Championship Week -
-As usual, it's basketball 24-7 from here until Selection Sunday. Let's check in on the bubble teams with something to play for:
Currently, ESPN's last 4 in are: Memphis?, Arizona State?, San Diego State, and Illinois. The last 4 out are: Washington, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, and Ole Miss?. SI.com has Memphis, Ariz State, OUT and instead has Seton Hall and Ole Miss IN. Seton Hall got beat down by Notre Dame tonight... so they will have to sweat it out. It's funny, because I didn't realize they were a legitimate contender so I didn't even analyze them last weekend. Oh well!

-I think the funniest thing is how the PAC-10 is probably going to be... a 1-bid league! To say it's a down year is an understatement.

-One of the strangest phenomenons going on right now? It's Notre Dame... these guys have been playing amazingly since Harangody tweeked his knee. Then tonight, Harangody came back... and they still won. I'm really not sure what to make of it all. His teammates are really good and need to get more involved I think.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Flash Facts : Who Does #2 Work For

Flash Fact #1 Dallas, so far, is the big winner from trades
The additions of Caron Butler and Brendan Heywood have seemingly catapulted the Mavs into "the hottest team in the NBA at this moment" . That's short hand for a 11 game winning streak. Heywood is the league leader in efficient blocked shots (blocking layups/dunks) and Butler has added hard nosed defense to the perimeter. With stories circling of Kenyon Martin needing surgery, the Mavs appear to be the biggest threat to the Lakers repeating as Western Conference Champs.

Flash Fact #2 Orlando Finding Groove
Beating the Lakers yesterday really just confirms what statistically has been apparent...Orlando is the second best team in the NBA right now. They have the #2 defense and are #2 in overall efficiency. Jameer Nelson, appears to be back from his injury, Howard is improving offensively, and Matt Barnes (and oddly JJ Redick) are quality perimeter defenders. Yes Vince Carter isn't playing particularly well, but honestly it doesn't matter. The improvements elsewhere have more than offset the loss of Turkuglu - Orlando is #2.

Flash Fact #3 Bears Biggest Player in Free Agency
Do to a combination of odd free agency rules, the economy, and NFL owners being tight wads free agency has been fairly muted this year. The biggest player by far has been the Bears. They shelled out big bucks for Peppers, Taylor, and Manumaleuna the Slender. I think it demonstrates that the GM/coach think they are on thin ice. While all of the players are good and will certainly help, given the Bears' shortcomings last year at the offensive line and wide receiver I'm not certain now how those holes will be addressed .

Flash Fact #4 CGI Shows why Admiral Akbar Rules
I don't have the first clue how or why this happened but Adult Swim showed used CGI to show an imaginery world where Taiwanese CGI folks showed Admiral Akbar replacing the Colonel. I don't think I can explain it any better. Check it out here

Flash Fact #5 Human S'mores are Messy

At least that's what the research has concluded..

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Big East and Pot Luck - Facts, Stats, and Attempted Analysis 2010

Big East, and Pot Luck!

The Big East -
Syracuse is an elite team. 'Nova is a great team, but has been struggling at the end here. People should also keep an eye on West Virginia and Georgetown.

Sag #2, kenpom offense #8, kenpom defense #15, 1st in conference at 15-2, 28-2
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UNC, Cornell, Florida, W. Virginia, Georgetown (twice), Villanova
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Pitt, Louisville(in both games the Orange had a good number of turnovers and rebounding was about even, and most importantly, the Orange only shot like 41 or 42% in each of those games)
3P% - 38.3%, Reb. Margin = +4.1, FT 67.4%, FG 51.8%, Opp. FG 39.1% –
PF Wesley Johnson leads the way (15.6ppg, 1.9blocks, 8.6reb, 38% 3p%, 49% FG%), Rautins is the PG (11.9ppg, 4.8assists, 2.6turnovers, 41% 3p%), and 3 other forwards pick up the rest of the balanced scoring (6'7", 6'9", and 6'9"). It's a really big team, w/ another bench player that shoots 46% from 3-point land. It's a superior team, that plays great defense and has all the credentials to go all way.

Villanova, Sag #7, kenpom offense #5, kenpom defense #59, 2nd in conference at 13-4, 24-5
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Dayton, Maryland, Marquette, Georgetown (split), W. Virginia,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Temple, Georgetown, UConn, Pitt, Syracuse
3P% - 37.5%, Reb. Margin = +5.4 , FT 75.4%, FG 46.5%, Opp. FG 40.5% –
Scottie Reynolds leads the way (6'2" senior - 18.9ppg, 42% 3p%, 3.4 assists), Corey Fisher (6'1" junior - 13.7ppg, 4 assists, 38% 3p%), and big man Pena (6'8" junior - 11.1 ppg, 7.4rebs, 57% FG%). Defense isn't great... but they are a solid team, for sure.

West Virginia, Sag #6, kenpom offense #6, kenpom defense #33, 3rd in conference at 12-5, 23-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Marquette, Ohio St, Pitt (split), Georgetown,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Purdue (w/ Hummel), Notre Dame, Syracuse, Nova, Pitt, UConn
3P% - 34.8%, Reb. Margin = +6.8, FT 69.6%, FG 43.9%, Opp. FG 43.1% –
They have a powerful front line - Da'Sean Butler (6'7" senior - 17.1ppg, 6.1rebs, 35% 3p%), Jones (6'8" sophomore -13.7ppg, 7.4rebs, 41% 3p%), and Ebanks (6'9" sophomore - 12.ppg, 8.4rebs). This team is dangerous... against Ohio St they were down 15 and won by like 20. Scary.

Pitt, Sag #24, kenpom offense #41, kenpom defense #36, 3rd in conference at 12-5, 23-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Syracuse, UConn, W. Virginia (split), Villanova
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Texas, Indiana!, Seton Hall, So. Florida, Notre Dame
3P% - 34.3%, Reb. Margin = +4.5 , FT 69.3%, FG44.6%, Opp. FG 39.8% –
Maclolm Delaney (20.4ppg, 4.1 assists, 30.3% 3p% ! (he takes 6 per game!); Dorenzo Hudson (14.2ppg, 3.6 rebs, 28.7% 3p% ! (he takes 3.6 per game!);
Ashton Gibbs leads the team (6''2" sophmore -16.3 ppg, 39.9% 3p%), McGhee is the big man (6'10" junior - 7.3ppg, 7rebs, 1.8 blocks), and Wanamaker the PG (6'4" junior - 12ppg, 4.7assists, 5.8rebs).

Marquette, Sag #21, kenpom offense #15, kenpom defense #40, 5th in conference at 11-6, 20-9
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Xavier, Georgetown, UConn
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Florida St, NC St, Wisconsin, W. Virginia, Nova (twice), DePaul!,
3P% - 40.8%, Reb. Margin = +0.4 , FT 74.3%, FG 45.5%, Opp. FG 44.3% –
After losing three guards last year to graduation and/or the NBA, I thought Marquette would be bad. I was wrong. They have a solid team with Lazar Hayward (6'6" senior -18ppg, 8 rebs), Butler (6'6" junior - 15.2ppg, 6.5 rebs,), and Johnson-Odom (6'2" sophomore -13ppg, 48.9% 3p% ! wow!), and Acker (5'8" senior - 8.6ppg, 47.7% 3p%! wow!). They don't rebound well or play defense, but they will shoot the lights out!

, Sag #35, kenpom offense #19, kenpom defense #81, 6th in conference at 10-7, 19-11
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UConn (twice), Syracuse, Notre Dame
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: UNLV, Charlotte, W. Carolina, Kentucky, Seton Hall, St. John's
3P% - 33.6%, Reb. Margin = +2.2 , FT 70.7%, FG 44.7%, Opp. FG 43.0% –
Samuels (6'9" sophomore -15.5ppg, 7.1 rebs,) and Sosa (6'2" senior - 12.9ppg, 4.4assists, 37.4% 3p%) lead this team that doesn't play defense, but did beat Syracuse.

Georgetown, Sag #18, kenpom offense #22, kenpom defense #47, 7th in conference at 9-8, 19-9
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Temple, Butler, UConn, Pitt, Duke, Nova,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Old Dominion, Marquette, So. Florida, Rutgers!, Notre Dame
3P% - 39.4%, Reb. Margin = +2.1 , FT 70.4%, FG 49.9%, Opp. FG 41.5% –
They've lost a LOT of games to end the season (4 out of 5 heading into saturday's game! ); Austin Freeman (6'3" junior - 17ppg, 3.6 rebs, 47% 3p%!), Greg Monroe (6'11", 247 lbs?, sophomore - 15.9ppg, 9.4 rebs, 1.6 blocks); 14.1 ppg, 4.0assists, ), ; Jason Clark (6'2" sophmore - 10.3ppg, 3.7 rebs, 43.4% 3p%). Monroe is an NBA draft pick. These guys are real up-and-down and w/ the right matchups, could do some damage in the tourney.

Notre Dame, Sag #50, kenpom offense #2, kenpom defense #198, 7th in conference at 9-8, 20-10
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: W. Virginia, Pitt, Georgetown
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Northwestern, Loyola Marymount!, Cincy, Rutgers!, Seton Hall!, St. John's!
3P% - 40.8%, Reb. Margin = +3.8, FT 72.8%, FG 47.7%, Opp. FG 43.9% –
Luke Harangody (knee injury) may or may not be healthy for the tourney (24.1ppg, 10.0 rebs). They actually play better w/o him as scary as that sounds - knocking off Pitt, Georgetown, AND UConn! Hansbrough (6'3" senior - 12.3ppg, 4.6 assists, 43.3% 3p%), Abromaitis (6'8" junior - 17.1 ppg, 4.8rebs, 46.5% 3p%!), Nash (6'8" junior - 7.9ppg, 5.3 rebs), have all stepped it up. Their defense is laughable... but it's probably better w/o the slow-footed Harangody?!?

Pot Luck!

SEC - Kentucky is an elite team, but it's hard to get a read on the inconsistent play of Vandy and Tennessee.

Kentucky, Sag #4, kenpom offense #20, kenpom defense #12, 1st in conference at 13-2, 28-2
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UNC, UConn, Louisville, Vandy, Ole Miss, Tennessee (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Tennessee, South Carolina
3P% - 34.6%, Reb. Margin = + 9.1, FT 68.2%, FG 47.8%, Opp. FG 38.2% –
One of 3 teams set for a 1-seed (Kansas and Syracuse are the others). Everyone talks about freshman PG John Wall - 6'4" PG - he's fast as hell w/ the ball or w/o the ball. 17ppg, 6.2 assists, 4 turnovers, but Demarcus Cousins is extremely important (6'11" freshman - 15.9ppg, 10.1rebs, 1.8blocks), as is Patrick Patterson (6'9" junior - 15 ppg, 7.6rebs, 1.3 blocks). Clearly, it's a team that has the horses to go all the way w/ the big men, and the potential #1 NBA pick (Wall).

, Sag #17, kenpom offense #14, kenpom defense #58, 2ndin conference at 12-3, 23-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Arizona, Missouri, Tennessee (twice),
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Kentucky (twice), Cincy, Illinois, W. Kentucky, Georgia
3P% - 36.1%, Reb. Margin = +0.5 , FT 72.3%, FG 47.7%, Opp. FG 40.9% –
Led by 4 scorers in a balanced attack, including 2 3-point shooters. Ogilvy is the big man (6'11" junior) but only gets 6.2 rebs per game. This is an interesting team, but the front line may be a bit soft.

Tennessee, Sag #25, kenpom offense #87, kenpom defense #13, 3rd in conference at 10-5, 22-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Kansas, Ole Miss, Kentucky (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Vandy (twice), Purdue, USC, Georgia, Florida
3P% - 32.7%, Reb. Margin =+0.6 , FT 66.4%, FG 46.0%, Opp. FG 39.3% –
Tyler Smith got booted from the team in January... but they've held up since then including beating Kentucky.. They struggle to shoot and score and rely on defense to give them points. Led by Scotty Hopson (6'7" sophomore - 13.1ppg, 3.5rebs, 36% 3p%) and Chism (6'9" junior -12.8ppg, 6.9rebs, 1.5blocks). Most amazingly, they beat Kansas WITHOUT Tyler Smith and with Chism in foul trouble.

Atlantic 10 Conference - ESPN has them slated for 3 locks... with probably Rhode Island also making it! They are one of the benefactors of the 1-bid PAC-10! However, Temple and Xavier are the class of the conference, I'm not certain either team can make it to sweet 16 weekend.

Sag #22, kenpom offense #95, kenpom defense #5, 1st in conference at 13-2, 25-5
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Siena, Va Tech, Nova, Xavier, Rhode Island (twice)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Georgetown, St. John's, Kansas (by 30), Charlotte, Richmond
3P% - 33.8%, Reb. Margin = +4.9 , FT 68.7%, FG 43.0%, Opp. FG 38.0% –
I'm not overly impressed w/ this team... they struggle to score and that would seem to be a problem in the tourney! One win at most? They play top-5 defense though. Led by Ryan Brooks (6'4" senior - 14.5 ppg, 4.6rebs, 32% 3p%) , Fernandez (6'4" sophomore -12.4ppg, 3.4assists, 45% 3p%), and Allen (6'9" junior - 11.7ppg, 11.0reb, 1.5blocks).

, Sag #16, kenpom offense #18, kenpom defense #38, 1st in conference at 13-2, 22-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Cincy, Dayton (split), Richmond, Rhode Island
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Marquette, Baylor, Kansas St, Butler, Wake, Temple, Dayton (split)
3P% - 37.5%, Reb. Margin = +5.3 , FT 70.8%, FG 46.8%, Opp. FG 40.6% –
The numbers look good... but they pretty much lost to every NCAA team they faced outside the A-10! Only the Butler and Wake games were close...
Led by Jordan Crawford though (6'4" sophomore - 19.6ppg, 3.0 assists, 4.7rebs, 39.6% 3p%), a big man (Jason Love - 6'9" 265 lbs senior - 11.8ppg, 8.6rebs, 1.6blocks, 59% FG%), and a PG (Holloway - 6'0" sophomore - 11.4ppg, 3.8assists, 31% 3p%). Also have two extra 3-point shooters off the bench. Could be an interesting team maybe?

Richmond, Sag #41, kenpom offense #92, kenpom defense #26, 3rd in conference at 12-3, 23-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Missouri, Old Dominion, Florida, Temple, Rhode Island, Dayton
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: William & Mary!, VCU, So Carolina, Wake, St Louis, Charlotte, Xavier
3P% - 34.8%, Reb. Margin = -5.3 , FT 69.9%, FG 44.6%, Opp. FG 38.8% –
Everyone shoots 3s on this team... just not well! They have the worst rebounding advantage out of any team... they seemed to have done well in conference play at least... led by Kevin Anderson (6'0" junior - 17.6ppg, 32.6% 3p%) and David Gonzalez (6'4" senior guard -13.8ppg, 36% 3p%).

Rhode Island, Sag #54, kenpom offense #27, kenpom defense #140, 5th in conference at 9-6, 21-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Ok St, Dayton,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: VCU, Temple (twice), Xavier, Richmond, St. Louis, St. Bonaventure
3P% - 33.0%, Reb. Margin = -1.5 , FT 71.3%, FG 45.5%, Opp. FG 38.8% –
Losers of 4 of 6 entering last game... led by 2 scorers who shoot awful from 3-point land... can't play defense or rebound... i'm not wasting anymore words on them.

Mountain West Conference - maybe slightly below the A-10, but they have 3 solid NCAA teams here! The back end of the conference is terrible. New Mexico gets all the headlines based on sweeping BYU... but BYU's profile is amazing and might be the more dangerous team.

New Mexico, Sag #23, kenpom offense #23, kenpom defense #73, 1st in conference at 14-2, 28-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Dayton, BYU (twice), UNLV (split), San Diego st (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Oral Roberts!, San Diego St, UNLV
3P% - 37.9%, Reb. Margin = +5.9 , FT 66.8%, FG 44.0%, Opp. FG 42.1% –
An incredible record, and the team tends to win all the close games. They don't know how to play defense, but they are in line to be a very high-seed as of now (Stewart Mandel has them in his top-5!). I think their lack of defense will be a problem. Sweet 16 is best-case scenario, one-win most likely scenario. Led by Hobson (6'7" junior -15.8ppg, 4.6assists, 9.1 rebs, 38% 3P%), Martinez (6'6" senior - 14.1 ppg, 6.3 rebs, 43% 3p%) and another PG Dairese Gary (6'1" junior - 12.4ppg, 4.0 assists, 1.7TOs)

, Sag #9, kenpom offense #12, kenpom defense #14, 2nd in conference at 12-3, 27-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Arizona, Arizona St, UNLV (split), San Diego (Twice),
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Utah St, New Mexico (twice), UNLV (split)
3P% - 41.5%, Reb. Margin = +5.3 , FT 77.7%, FG 48.4%, Opp. FG 39.7% –
This team's numbers are great. Haven't played any super teams this year, but they shoot 3s, rebound well, and play great defense. Top-15 in both offense and defense in KenPom means they are very balanced and dangerous.
Led by Jimmer Fredette (6'2" junior - 20.7ppg, 4.7assists, 47.8% 3p%), two other 3-point shooters, and 4 guys who all get 5 rebounds per game, this is a sleeper team I really like!

UNLV, Sag #38, kenpom offense #36, kenpom defense #39, 3rd in conference at 10-5, 22-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Louisville, Arizona, New Mexico (twice0, BYU (split), San Diego (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Kansas St, USC< Utah (twice?!?),
3P% - 33.1%, Reb. Margin = -0.7 , FT 72.0%, FG 46.2%, Opp. FG 39.9% –
They don't rebound well or shoot well, but play defense. They still need help to make the tourneys and/or a deep run in the Mtn West. Led by Tre'Von Willis (6'4" junior -17.6ppg, 3.5assists, 3.9rebs, 29.9% 3p%), PG is Oscar Bellfield (6'2" sophomore - 9.3ppg, 4.5 assists, 38.7% 3p%).

San Diego State, Sag #48, kenpom offense #50, kenpom defense #52, 4th in conference at 10-5, 21-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Arizona, New Mexico (splilt), UNLV (split),
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: BYU (twice), St. Mary's, Pacific, Wyoming,
3P% - 31.6%, Reb. Margin =+7.0 , FT 61.0%, FG 47.4%, Opp. FG 40.3% –
Balanced scoring from 4 players, superb defense and a rebounding advnatage is how they win. The top 4 guys are (6'7" freshman, 6'9" junior, 6'0" junior, and a 6'8"junior). So... if t his team makes it, it will depend on the matchup because they are a big team... and they also can't shoot free throws!

Butler has a bona fide NBA prospect and Gonzaga has yet another solid team.

Butler, Sag #28, kenpom offense #59, kenpom defense #25, 1st in conference at 18-0, 26-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Northwestern, Ohio St (w/o Evan Turner), Xavier,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Minnesota, Clemson (by one), Georgetown, UAB
3P% - 34.1%, Reb. Margin = +3.9, FT 74.7%, FG 45.0%, Opp. FG 41.8% –
No real marquee win, outside of Xavier. The Horizon stinks this year, so I don't know if you should trust these guys at all.
Gordon Hayward is the leader (6'9" sophomore - 15.8ppg, 8.5 rebs, 30.2% 3p%), but Mack is sharpshooter (6'3" sophomore - 13.9ppg, 3.2 assists, 37% 3p%). Notably Hayward is supposed to a late 1st round pick this summer.

Northern Iowa,
Sag #37, kenpom offense #94, kenpom defense #19, 1st in conference at 15-3, 26-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Boston College, Iowa St, Siena,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: DePaul, Wichita St, Bradley, Evansville
3P% - 34.8%, Reb. Margin = +3.4 , FT 75.4%, FG 43.3%, Opp. FG 40.8% –
Played a very soft schedule... aren't a great offensive team. Eesh.
3 players lead the way (Koch - 12.3 ppg, 4.9 rebs, 37.1% 3p%), Eglseder (12.1ppg, 7.5rebs, ) and an INEFFICIENT PG (Ahelegbe - 10.4 ppg, 2.8assits, 3.1 TURNOVERS, 39% fg%). I don't like this team.

Gonzaga, Sag #30, kenpom offense #42, kenpom defense #61, 1st in conference at 12-2, 25-5
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Wisconsin, Cincy, Oklahoma,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Mich St (by 4), Wake (by 2), Duke (by 30!), San Fran, Loyola Marymount
3P% - 36.2%, Reb. Margin = +5.1 , FT 66.3%, FG 49.5%, Opp. FG 40.3% –
Wisconsin win is marquee...
4 players lead way for a team that was supposed to have a "down" year... Matt Bouldin (6'5" senior - 16ppg, 4.7 rebs, 4.1 assists, 37.7% 3p%), Elias Harris (6'7" freshman - 14.9ppg, 7.4 rebs, ), Steven Gray (6'5" junior - 13.5 ppg, 2.6 assists, 4.1 rebs), and Robert Sacre (7'0" sophomore - 10.2ppg, 1.9blocks, 5.3 rebs)

Old Dominion, Sag #39, kenpom offense #73, kenpom defense #23, 1st in conference at 15-3, 23-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Georgetown,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Missouri, Miss St, Richmond, Dayton, George Mason, Northeastern (yuck), VCU, No. Iowa
3P% - 31.4%, Reb. Margin = +7.9 , FT 64.2%, FG 44.8%, Opp. FG 40.2% –
They can't shoot... but their rebounding keeps them in games. Not one 3-point shooter on team. odds of winning a game in tourney... low. Gerald Lee leads way (6'10" senior - 14.1 ppg, 5.1 rebs)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I interrupt our normal sports banter to underline a new threat to our country - vampires - the same threat that Lincoln battled

ACC & Big Ten - Facts, Stats, and Attempted Analysis 2010

ACC - look out for a dangerous Georgia Tech team w/ two NBA 1st ronders... Maryland is relying on one guy and has more wins than they deserve...

Sag #3, kenpom offense #1, kenpom defense #3, 1st in conference at 12-2, 25-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UConn, Gonzaga, Clemson (twice), Maryland
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Wisconsin, Geo Tech (split), NC St, Georgetown
3P% - 39.1%, Reb. Margin = +6.2, FT 75.9%, FG 44.4%, Opp. FG 40.3% –
Jon Scheyer (6'5" senior - 18.8ppg, 5.3 assists, 3.4 rebs, 40.9 3p%); Nolan Smith (6'2" junio - 17.4ppg, 41% 3p%), Kyle Singler (6'8" junior - 17.1 ppg, 7.0rebs, 38.6% 3p%). They have three superb 3-point shooters. Surprisingly, they don't play great defense, though it is adequate. Also surprising, is their relatively weak schedule outside of conference. I'm not totally sold on this team.

Maryland, Sag #14, kenpom offense #7, kenpom defense #33, 2nd in conference at 11-3, 21-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Fla St, Georgia Tech
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Cincy, Wisconsin, Villanova, William & Mary !, Wake
3P% - 38.9%, Reb. Margin = +0.3 , FT 71.3%, FG 47.6%, Opp. FG 38.0% –
This team is completely overachieving. They are in danger of getting upset early. Greivis Vasquez (19.5ppg, 6.4assists, 4.8 rebs, 37.9% 3p%); Eric Hayes (45.5% 3p%) , Jordan Williams (9.1ppg, 8.4 rebs). I don't remember any team w/ such an awful rebounding advantage being able to survive long in the tourney. Remember, season numbers should be boosted from playing a bunch of non-tourney teams, so in the tourney, they may get destroyed on the glass.

Clemson, Sag #20, kenpom offense #43, kenpom defense #9, 3rd in conference at 9-6, 21-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Butler, Maryland (split), Geo Tech (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Texas A&M, Illinois, BC
3P% - 34.1%, Reb. Margin = +2.6, FT 66.3%, FG 45.8%, Opp. FG 41.6% –
Trevor Booker (6'8" freshman - 15.6ppg, 8.4 rebs); Demontez Sitt (10.9ppg, 38.9% 3p%); balanced scoring from the rest of the team. They can't shoot 3s or free throws, so I don't believe in this team either.

Virginia Tech, Sag #34, kenpom offense #102, kenpom defense #10, 4th in conference at 8-6, 21-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Georgia, Seton Hall, Wake
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Temple, UNC, Miami (FL), BC
3P% - 30.4%, Reb. Margin = +1.8 , FT 72.1%, FG42.3%, Opp. FG 39.5% –
Maclolm Delaney (20.4ppg, 4.1 assists, 30.3% 3p% ! (he takes 6 per game!); Dorenzo Hudson (14.2ppg, 3.6 rebs, 28.7% 3p% ! (he takes 3.6 per game!);
This team also seems really messed up. A 30% 3-point shooting team, with the leading scorer taking 6 per game and shooting 30%??? This doesn't seem like a winning formula.

Fla St, Sag #27, kenpom offense #103, kenpom defense #1, 5th in conference at 8-6, 20-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Alabama, Marquette, FIU (take that Isiah!), Geo Tech (twice)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Ohio St, Florida, NC State, Clemson (twice)
3P% - 33.7%, Reb. Margin = +5.4 , FT 64.7%, FG 45.9%, Opp. FG 36.9% –
Six players average between 8 and 11 ppg. Very balanced. They have one 3-point shooter (Deividas Dulkys - 39.9%); a couple of PGs, and a couple of big men (7-1 Solomon Alabi - a top-20 pick on NBA Draft Express and a 6-9 guy). They somehow have the best defense in the land... and one of the worst offenses. I have no idea what that means.

, Sag #35, kenpom offense #89, kenpom defense #24, 5th in conference at 8-6, 18-8
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Gonzaga, Xavier, Richmond, Maryland, Geo Tech (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: William & Mary!, Purdue, NC State
3P% - 32.1%, Reb. Margin = +4.9 , FT 65.5%, FG 44.2%, Opp. FG 37.9% –
Aminu (6'9" - sophomore - 16.4ppg, 11.0 rebs, ) Ishmael Smith (6'0" senior - 13.2 ppg, 6.2 assists, 4.7 rebs); no real 3-point shooter on this team, but they have an NBA-prospect big man and a great PG. This team may have more upside despite the uneven play in conference.

Georgia Tech, Sag #33, kenpom offense #55, kenpom defense #20, 7th in conference at 7-8, 19-10
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Siena, USC, Duke (split), Clemson,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Dayton, Florida St, Georgia, Miami (FL)
3P% - 37.2%, Reb. Margin = +5.0 , FT 65.2%, FG 46.4%, Opp. FG 38.1% –
Lawal (6'8" junior - 13.5ppg, 9.0 rebs, ); Favors (6'10"freshman - 11.7ppg, 8.3 rebs ) - the bench also has FOUR 3-point shooters all above 40%. Lawal and Favors are both slated as NBA draft picks this year. Favors is a top-5 pick, Lawal a top-30 pick. I'd keep an eye on these guys (and this team)!

Big Ten - the top 4 are capable of creating noise so long as Kalin Lucas is healthy for Mich State. Purdue may win a game or two w/o Hummel in the tourney but that's the ceiling. Northwestern blew their chance of going to the tourney, barring a miracle.

Ohio State, Sag #13, kenpom offense #10, kenpom defense #19, 1st in conference at 14-4, 24-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Cal, Fla St, Purdue, Wisconsin, Mich St
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: (Note: lost to Butler, Wisconsin, and Michigan w/o Evan Turner); UNC, Minnesota, W. Virginia, Purdue
3P% - 37.9%, Reb. Margin = +2.2, FT 68.9%, FG 49.4%, Opp. FG 40.8% –
Evan Turner is going to be the #2 pick. If he hadn't missed some games (and 3 losses), Ohio State would be in the running for a #1 seed. Turner is ridiculous (19.8ppg, 5.8 assists, 9.4 rebs, 1.8 steals). They also have Buford (14.3 ppg, 5.5 reb) and Diebler (12.6 ppg, 42% 3p%) and Lighty (12.4 ppg, 4.6 rebs, 39% 3p%). I'll be t he first to admit it - Ohio state doesn't have a bench and they don't have a true PG... meaning they are a really bizarre team and they will be exposed before the Final 4, unless Evan Turner goes Carmelo on us (which I don't think can happen... everyone forgets, but Carmelo at least had two good guards and an NBA forward who was playing center (Hakim Warrick). Evan Turner doesn't have that much help.

Michigan St, Sag #23, kenpom offense #28, kenpom defense #31, 2nd in conference at 12-4, 22-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Gonzaga, Wisconsin (split), Purdue (split),
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Florida, UNC, Texas, Illinois, Ohio St
3P% - 33.3%, Reb. Margin = +9.1 , FT 68.6%, FG 41.7%, Opp. FG 40.5% –
Kalin Lucas (15.1 ppg, 4.0assists, 35% 3p%) must get healthy for them to have a chance. They've been a mess for the last month since his injuries have hampered him.

Purdue, Sag #8, kenpom offense #33, kenpom defense #5, 2nd in conference at 12-4, 24-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Tennessee, Wake, Alabama, W. Virginia, Wisconsin (split), Mich St (split), Ohio St (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Northwestern, Wisconsin (split), Mich St (split), Ohio St (split)
3P% - 32.4%, Reb. Margin = +0.2, FT 74.0%, FG 45.2%, Opp. FG 40.2% –
This team can't go too far as they lost all-world PF Robbie Hummel for the season. They still have Moore (6'4" junior - 16.8ppg, 37% 3p%) and J. Johnson (6'10" - junior - 14.7ppg, 7.1rebs)

Wisconsin, Sag #12, kenpom offense #11, kenpom defense #15, 4th in conference at 11-5, 21-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Maryland, Duke, Arizona, Marquette, Ohio St (split), Purdue (split),
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Gonzaga, Wis. Green Bay, Illinois, Minnesota
3P% - 35.8%, Reb. Margin = +1.9 , FT 74.2%, FG44.9%, Opp. FG 41.8% –
Hughes (15.5 ppg, 4.5 rebs, 39.4% 3p%); Leuer (14.4 ppg, 5.8 rebs, ) Bohannon (12.4 ppg, 41.4% 3p%). They have some great wins out of conference, mainly Maryland and Duke. They are always a hard team to gauge, but this team looks pretty solid, though not as good rebounding as most Wisconsin teams.

Illinois, Sag #58, kenpom offense #67, kenpom defense #40, 5th in conference at 10-7, 18-12
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Clemson, Vanderbilt, Mich St, Wisconsin
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Utah, Bradley, Georgia, Missouri, Gonzaga, Ohio St (twice), Purdue (twice), Mich St,
3P% - 34.1%, Reb. Margin = +2.4 , FT 71.0%, FG 45.2%, Opp. FG 39.9% –
I don't know about this team, the resume looks bad, the stats look bad, this is a one-and-done team, if they even get there.

, Sag #57, kenpom offense #38, kenpom defense #53, 6th in conference at 8-9, 17-12
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Butler, Ohio St (w/o Turner), Wisconsin
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Portland, Texas A&M, Miami (FL), Indiana, Michigan (twice)
3P% - 39.3%, Reb. Margin = +1.9 , FT 69.5%, FG 47.1%, Opp. FG 40.0% –
They shoot 3s and play defense! It sounds like a winning formula. They also have some terrible losses, so I don't know what's up with them. They need to do well in the Big Ten Tourney to have any chance.

Northwestern, Sag #73, kenpom offense #27, kenpom defense #163, 8th in conference at 7-10, 18-11
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Notre Dame, NC ST, Purdue,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Butler, Illinois, Iowa, Penn St (TWICE BY DOUBLE DIGITS!!!!)
3P% - 36.5%, Reb. Margin = -2.6 , FT 71.2%, FG 47.1%, Opp. FG 42.7% –
The team was ranked in January... and then went through a hideous funk once the uber-competitive Big Ten season started. I thought after last season, this would be the year that Northwestern finally made the tourney. Now? It looks like they need to win the Big ten tourney to make it... and that's not going to happen. They have lots of 3-point shooters (who aren't great)... but they don't rebound or play defense. It's sad.

NBA D-League's Elite Arena

An interesting story about the NBA D-League Bakersfield Jam new luxury seating and business plan.


Wednesday Odds and Ends

William Safire once wrote that you should never trust a writer that doesn't stick to one theme for an article. He's right. Before writing this I slashed his tires. Anyway random thoughts on a Wednesday

And we've reached a new low
. At least that's how I'm interpreting their latest attempt to get fans to pay attention to them.
Their latest promotion will be unveiled Friday, when the Nets play the Orlando Magic. New Jersey residents 18 or older who attend the game will get a coupon that they can redeem at a Roni Deutch Tax Center to get their state income tax done free.
Yes, assuming you survive watching the Nets play, you can get your taxes done for free. Apparently Keyon Dooling bobblehead day wasn't sufficient to entice people to their urine soaked hell hole they call an arena.

The Meat Market Known as the Combine - Came and went. Do people watch this? I can think of lot's of things I'd rather watch than the NFL Combine. Well just about anything. That said the combine does hold some magic. I mean you have event that can make Jevan Snead look good. I was convinced that James Cameron, 400 billion dollars, and life size replica of the Roman Coliseum couldn't make this on field wash out look good.

3-Way. With tOSU's victory over the Fighting Alumni of Illinois the Buckeyes clinched the 3-way trophy of winning the Big 10 in football, basketball, and women's basketball in the same year. This has only been done once before but I think it was in the 1970s, coke was involved, and all parties afterwords agreed it was "a huge mistake"

96 Team Pile-Up Stewart Mandel does a very thorough analysis of the economic incentives for expanding the NCAA tournament to 96 teams. I'm with 80% of Americans that thinks it is a stupid idea. I can tell you exactly a better way to improve tv viewership for the NCAA tournament. The return of quad vision - i.e. showing 4 games simultaneously on the same screen. They used to do this (and occasionally dual vision) and yes a few people had sensory overloads and ended up thinking they were petunas but I think it's a small price for the beauty of 4 games going on at once. Bring back quad vision!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Flash Facts: Ah Crap

#1 The Cavs Could Be In Trouble
Unfortunately Glen Davis' attempt to hurt Shaq worked. The Big Cuyahoga will be out for the next 6-8 weeks. While the Cavs have Leon Powe now and will soon get Z back, it will be a much tougher ride for the Cavs. Shaq's presence is necessary for the Cavs to beat the Magic or Lakers in the playoffs so they'll need to hope they can reintegrate Shaq on the fly (i.e., in the playoffs)

Not Again!

#2 Syracuse is #1
Over the weekend the race to the #1 overall seed was all but decided. While KU, Purdue and Kentucky all slipped up, Syracuse had probably the most impressive win of the year. 'Cuse transition offense was too much to handle for the previously #7 Villanova. Short of a major crash and burn, Syracuse will be the #1 seed in the tournament.

#3 Out with the Old
While uncapped is the headline for the upcoming NFL season, the real story is there is no cap floor either. John Clayton has been reporting that a number of teams are expecting to cut $30-40 million off their payroll. The easiest way to do that is replace old veterans with rookie free agents. The trend of cutting old players (Tomlinson, Westbrook, Thomas Jones, etc.) should continue.

#4 The Hard Sell
It's hard to imagine it but coaches are already in fast and furious mode for football recruits for the 2011 class. Texas is King of the hard sell. They already have amassed 14 highly quality recruits. That's 14 for the 2011 class. Mack Brown's has been a recruiting machine the past few years - which should mean Texas will remain the creme della creme of the Big 12.