Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fiesta Bowl Super Scandal

Well if there was evidence for getting rid of (the/a) BCS bowl this political donation super scandal that goes to the CEO of the Fiesta Bowl would sure be evidence. Personally I think this is just evidence for why Arizona is an awful place but maybe I'm drawing the wrong lessons....

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Most Unlikely Final Four Ever

It's one thing to have one party crasher at the Final Four... it's another to have two party crashers... and it's yet another to have two party crashers along with a 3-seed and a 4-seed!

My favorite things about this year's final four is not just that either VCU or Butler will be playing for the championship... it's that only 2 people out of over 6 million got all four right on ESPN.

Check out some of these other awesome stats:
Less than 7% of brackets actually had these 4 teams winning their first game!

In terms of handicapping the Final Four, I actually predicted the entire Elite Eight incorrectly, so I don't believe that my analysis means much. I tend to believe that VCU's magical 3-point shooting has to end because Butler plays better defense than anyone else. I also tend to believe that the evil Kentucky Wildcats will prevail against UConn and then win the championship because teams I dislike usually win. I actually am starting to believe that Butler has a decent chance to win the whole thing... without last year's NBA pick Gordon Hayward. I'm not a big Hayward fan (he doesn't translate well to the NBA), but last year on Butler, he was a defensive force and bailed them out offensively quite a few times with his rare combination of size and speed. If Butler wins it all this year?!? Coach Brad Stevens is coach of the universe... and the refs from the Pitt game should receive Christmas cards every year!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tournament Openning Round Thoughts

After 2 (well technically 3) rounds of tournament play we are left with 16 teams. Here are my deep (well not so deep) thoughts

1. To Call or Not Call - In the round of 32 there were a number of games were ref calls (Butler -Pitt) and non-calls (Arizona-Texas) shaped the outcomes. Personally I prefer the ref swallow his whistle under 5 seconds unless it's horribly obvious. The bigger issue I think is the inconsistency. Whatever the standard is, it should be communicated pretty clearly what the standard is....and stick with it.
2. Conferences - I find it fascinating the difference between conference pride and national fascination for college football and college basketball. Yes, there's a few notes and trash talk (you suck Big East) but it's nowhere near the level of solidarity or press fawning that bowl season has.

3. Favorites - I tend to avoid saying anyone is really a favorite as one bad game, one injury, one fluke and a school chances disappears. So how a team looks really is inconsequential..generally. tOSU wins were impressive but competition gets much tougher. Duke barely escaped the Wolverines but the only thing significant about that is Kyrie Irving doesn't exactly look himself...yet. Meanwhile KU kept rolling. Those seem to be the favorites but anything is possible.

4. Overall Quality - After all the complaints about the lack of quality teams I've generally been very happy with the tournament. Some very good teams, some fun upsets, and some great individual performances. Worrying that the tournament won't be great is much ado about nothing....

5. Wonderwoman (Adrian Palinki) will be starring on NBC this Fall....Great idea but it's on NBC so it'll fail. If only one could combine the tournament's awesomeness with wonderwoman... Come on CBS I'm looking to you...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sweet 16 - It's been interesting... for the Big East

The Big East had a rough weekend. It started with, "Oh, look at us! We got 11 bids! We are the best conference ever." It ended with "Ouch. We didn't do too well." 11 entered. 2 survived. Granted, the Big East does have a genuine beef in that 4 teams matched up in the 2nd round (i.e. Cincy vs. UConn and Syracuse vs. Marquette). Granted, Marquette was an 11-seed who wasn't expected to make the 2nd round. Nonetheless, even if those teams were separated into different spots, the Big East still had a disappointing weekend, mainly because 1-seed Pitt lost a nailbiter to 8-Butler, 2-seed Notre Dame got demolished by Florida State, and 4-seed Louisville lost to Morehead State in the 1st round. The best part about my bracket this weekend was my confidence in Notre Dame losing in the 2nd round... but I didn't get any credit for that because I had Texas A&M beating Notre Dame!

Anyways, there really has been a lot of carnage this weekend... but the most interesting thing about next weekend is certainly Ohio State vs. Kentucky and Duke vs. Arizona. All four are perennial powers... and all four have loads of NBA talent. After those two games, the more interesting thing will be who will come out of Pitt's region: Butler, Wisconsin, BYU, or Florida?

1-OSU vs. 4-Kentucky
11-Marquette vs. 2-UNC

1-Duke vs. 5-Arizona
3-UConn vs. 2-SD st

1-Kansas vs. 12-Richmond
11-VCU vs. 10-Florida State

8-Butler vs. 4-Wisconsin
3-BYU vs. 2-Florida

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Submit Your Brackets

Shannon Marie says "remember to submit your brackets". Unless you were assigned to a play in game , in which case you should have submitted your brackets last week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Idiocy of the Selection Committee

Disclaimer: whereas 10 years ago I could name 2 or 3 starters on most every Tourney team, this year I can't even name one player on two of the #1 seeds.

But I can do math, and I'm not stupid - which apparently disqualifies me from being a member of the NCAA's Selection Committee. Explain this to me: why are the four play-in games for two #16 seeds, a #12, and an #11? What is the logic behind that?

As I see it, there's only two ways to handle a 68-team field: all of the play-in games must either be for #16 seeds, representing the 8 worst teams of the field, or for whatever seed number represents the 8 worst at-large entrants (i.e. the last 8 in). It would be most logical to have the 8 worst auto qualifiers - but I could understand the Committee not wanting to totally crap on those conferences by making them earn the right to get slaughtered by Duke, so I could understand having a play-in for the UABs and Clemsons of the world to fight it out for a #12 seed.

But what makes ZERO sense is to have the play-ins staggered as in this year's bracket. Why is it that SE #11 seed Gonzaga only has to win 6 times to win the title, but in the Southwest, USC or VCU must win a 7th game - and they're #11 seeds, too?!?! Consider that in '06, George Mason made it to the Final 4 as an #11...so we can't say "Oh, it doesn't matter, these teams will lose anyway." It does matter; these at-large teams and these #11/#12 seeds are fully capable of making a run into the Sweet 16 or farther. The inequity in allowing three #11 and #12 seeds a pass into the true first round, while forcing 4 other teams to play an extra game as the same seed number, is absolutely illogical and indefensible.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness: First Thoughts

First thoughts on March Madness....

1. East and West Picking Difficulties - For very different reasons the East and West regions should be very hard to pick. The East is my region of death...tough match-up after tough match-up. The West on the other hand, is Duke and big question marks...Yeesh no idea.

2. Star Power - There's always some player or players that emerge in the tournament. However usually they are semi-known going into the tournament. Star power is pretty dim. Sure there's some stars: Kembya, Nolan, Jared, and Jimmer...but relative to previous years it seems like the star power is a little low.

3. Tourney Snubs - No matter how much they expand the tournament there will always be snubs. So frankly it's a much ado about nothing. If push comes to shove I'd have yanked USC or VCU and put in Colorado but I can't get all worked up. Well maybe a little. You suck tourney selection committee!

Some Tourney Advice
4. Use Random Facts - Teams that were unranked but ended the season ranked in the top 10 are 0-41 in making the final four.

5. Use German Animals - Paul the October and Heidi the Cross Eyed Possum have proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt random German animals are good at picking things. Purchase one before your brackets are due.

6. Submit Your Bracket - Yes the annual Back Seat Driver brackets is out. Please submit your bracket. If any of your friends, significant others, children (Hitman we're looking at you) , pets (Laz looking at you), etc. want in - let me know and I will add them to the list.

March Madness 2011 - Instaneous Analysis

In 2009, 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).
In 2010, I adopted Baylor, and they did make the elite 8 (finally, did something right!)
This year? I'm adopting Washington and Belmont. Yes, Sports Illustrated already wrote two (yes, TWO!) articles adopting Belmont as a Cinderella before the tourney began... so they will be my darkhorse profile. Washington will be my more serious profile.

Best 1st round matchup -
Butler vs. Old Dominion - These are the two mid-majors I was most excited to see the tournament... so of course they are playing each other... then they have to play Pitt in the next round.
Wisconsin vs. Belmont - Wisconsin's been in some kind of swoon... and now they have to deal with Belmont who shoots great 3s, has a great backcourt, and uses 11 players to run as much as possible.

Most anticipated 2nd round matchup -
So far, only 3 of my 8 anticipated matchups have happened.
In 2010, my anticipated matchup was Georgetown vs. Tennessee. It didn't happen because the Ohio Bobcats, seeded 14th, absolutely demolished Georgetown in the 1st round.
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'm going with 5-Arizona vs. 4-Texas. Texas was supposed to be a 2-seed everyone thought, but they've been punished severely down into the 4-spot. This should be a great game though, assuming both teams make it there.

Darkhorse - Temple! - One of these teams has to go to the Elite 8: Cincy/Missouri/UConn/Temple/Penn St/SD state. If you would have told me that a week ago, I would have laughed. So... I will go with Temple.

Region of Death- East Region (Ohio State's). Just brutal. George Mason vs. Villanova in the 1st round... and both were ranked last week, but one has to win then play Ohio State afterwards. We could have Ohio State, Kentucky, Syracuse, and UNC all in the sweet 16... plus we still have possible cinderalls in Xavier (who has made the Sweet 16 for the last three years, no joke), and Washington, who's computer profile is amazing (as said above).

Cinderella Final 4 Team - I'm historically bad at this... (2010 - Baylor (lost in Elite 8); 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: 4-seed Kentucky... if Ohio State were to fall, this would be a team to pick as a Cinderella.

Now, on to the applicable rules of engagement!
Rule #1: All (4) 1-seeds will NOT make Final4 (except in 2008)-
Sadly, Ohio State has the most hoops to jump through, as stated above. However, the next one-seed that looks like they could hit some trouble would be Pitt. They will have tough games in their 8-9 (Butler-Old Dominion) and they could face any of Kansas St, Utah St, Wisconsin, or Belmont who have all had fantactic seasons. This is before the elite 8 even occurs, so it could be troublesome.

Rule#4: A 12-seed always beats a 5 (except in 2000 and 2007)-
West Virginia is susceptible... they get the winner of UAB/Clemson. The UAB/Clemson winner should be excited (and they should be excited because neither of these teams were probably going to even make the tourney!). Kansas State vs. Utah State could also be really interesting.

Rule#6: There always is one conference w/ multiple teams in the final4 (except in 2007, 2008, and 2010) – It hasn't happened much lately, but here are some options:

Ohio St, Duke, Purdue, Pitt (Big 10)
UNC, Duke, Kansas, Pitt (ACC)
Syracuse, Texas, Notre Dame, Pitt (Big East)
Kentucky, Texas, Kansas, Pitt (Big 12)

Rule#9: If you win your power conference tourney and you are NOT a top-10 team, you won't do well in the NCAA tourney:

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).
In 2010, one team qualified (Washington)... and they went on a sweet 16 run as an 11-seed.

That's a total of 12 teams qualified... and only 4 made it to the sweet 16 or further, with 5 losing in the 1st round. When I crunched the numbers for the years going all the way back to 1992 (for those conferences that had tournaments): 30 teams qualified, 1 won the championship (11th-ranked Florida in 2006), 1 went to the Final 4 (Miss. St in 1996 in a major surprise). 4 made it to to the sweet 16 or Elite 8, with TWELVE losing in the 1st round (though 5 of those were unranked conference tournament winners).

This year, we have these teams qualifying as conference tournament winners: Kentucky (SEC), Washington (PAC-10), UConn (Big East).

Rule #10: The favorite almost NEVER survives the “Region of Death” (UNC in 1998, UNC in 2005, Duke in 2004 made the Final 4, UNC in 2008 made the Final 4), and certainly will never win the whole tournament.
I went back through 1997 and tried to determine what my “region of death” was (a subjective assessment indeed). Out of the years I analyzed, only 4 #1 seeds made it through, and only 1 won the whole damn thing (UNC – 2005). Funny, because this year, Ohio State has drawn the "region of death"... but they could be the second team to possibly pull it off.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


On the one hand there's a certain sadness that somebody could self-destruct to the point of trying or purporting to try to get back into football. On the other hand, the key word is self-destruct as in he caused his own problems.....

Monday, March 07, 2011

Eve of Madness

Ok 1 week to go before the greatest sporting event of the year...March Madness. Hooray. Fortunately or Unfortunately conference tourney's are weighed heavily so it's probably best to wait until Sunday before making grand proclamations on who is seeded what and where they are going (Houston?). I will say given the regular season outcomes Ohio State and Kansas appear to be locks for number 1 seeds. Ohio State will start the Madness in Cleveland...a nice home field advantage.

A few games to watch this week for those thinking about bubbles...Butler v. UW-Milwaukee. Butler is potentially an at-large bid no matter what so those bubblicious schools (MSU, Alabama, V-Tech, etc.) will be praying for a Butler win. A similar type match up is happening in the Colonial league at Old Dominion is tournament bound no matter what so bubble teams are rooting hard against VCU taking a bid.

Random Congratulatory Note
  • Hats off to Jantel Lavendar..of tOSU's women's basketball team. Jantel won Big 10 player of the Year for the fourth straight year this year. That's an impressive feat in any sport....
Recruiting Problems
  • Apparently Oregon is not only USC's heir apparent at winning the Pac-12 but also it's heir apparent for recruiting violations. It turns out Oregon is embroiled in a bit of scandal in which it paid off recruiters to steer players it's way. Congrats Oregon...you have officially hit the big time.
Random Hottie

It's been awhile...but it's a Monday so we all need a little pick me up..As such Nicole Pissari

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Pot Luck - Facts, Stats, and Attempted Analysis 2011

This is the last preview, potpourri-style!

Sag #12, kenpom offense #39, kenpom defense #3, 1st in conference at 14-2, 24-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Kentucky, Clemson (twice), Duke (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Minnesota, Vandy, Illinois, Texas, Geo Tech (all with the PG who has since left)
3P% - 32.3%, 3Pt defense - 31.6%, Reb. Margin = +6.5, FT 66.0%, FG 45.2 %, Opp. FG 39.9% –
Led by Harrison Barnes (6'8" freshman, 14.1 ppg, 32% 3p%, 5.6 rebs), who is playing much better over the second half. Tyler Zeller is an awkward 7 footer (junior, 14.6 ppg, 54.1FG%, 7.1 Rebs). His skills may not translate well to the NBA, but he's good in college. Most importantly, Kendall Marshall (a 6'3" freshman, 5.9 ppg, 5.6 assists, 38.2% 3p%) has been incredible. According to kenpom.com, his assist rate is 8th best in the nation. This is considerable, considering the PG who started the first half of the season was much worse offensively (but probably better defensively). Tough team to gauge, since half the stats are with a different PG and before Harrison Barnes started playing well.

Duke, Sag #4, kenpom offense #7, kenpom defense #2, 1st in conference at 13-3, 27-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Marquette, Kansas St, Mich St, Butler, UNC (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Fla. St, St. John's, Va. Tech, UNC
3P% - 37.9%, 3Pt defense - 32.1%, Reb. Margin = +2.9, FT 74.8%, FG 46.7%, Opp. FG 40.1% –
Duke is led by Senior PG Nolan Smith (6'2", 21.6 ppg, 5.2 assists, 36% 3p%) and Senior 6'8" Kyle Singler (17.1 ppg, 6.6 rebs, 33.5% 3p%) . Seth Curry (6'1" sophomore, 9.4 ppg, 43.8% 3p%) has started to play more in the 2nd half. The big man is 6'10" sophomore Plumlee who is a great rebounder (7.1 ppg, 8.7 rebs, 57% FG%, 1.7 blocks). I just dislike Duke so much it's hard for me to judge them.

Utah St, Sag #21, kenpom offense #48, kenpom defense #6, 1st in conference at 15-1, 28-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: St. Mary's
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: BYU, Georgetown, IDAHO!
3P% - 36.1%, 3Pt defense - 30.6%, Reb. Margin = +8.2, FT 73.2%, FG 47.2%, Opp. FG 38.3% –
Classic small-conference team who hasn't played anyone. After they beat St. Mary's, St. Mary's went into a tail-spin, so they may not have any good wins. They are led by Tai Welsy (6'7" senior, 14.5 ppg, 7.9 rebs, 59% FG% ) who is very efficient, and junior Bockeith Pane (11.3 ppg, 3.5 assists, 43% FG%). 6'7" junior Brady Jardine ( 7.9 ppg, 7.4 rebs, 54% FG%) and Nate Bendall (6'9" senior, 6.4 ppg, 5.6 rebs, 49%) clean up the glass. They also have three 3-point specialists (46.8 and 37.7% and 36.4). It will be interesting to see who they are matched up against. However, notably, they were outrebounded 35-32 by BYU (BYU!), and outrebounded 28-21 by Georgetown.

Arizona, Sag #22, kenpom offense #17, kenpom defense #61, 1st in conference at 14-4, 25-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UCLA (split), USC (split), Wash (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Kansas, BYU, Ore St!!!, Washington (split), USC (split), UCLA (split)
3P% - 39.7%, 3Pt defense - 28.0%, Reb. Margin = +9.5, FT 75.2%, FG 47.3%, Opp. FG 43.9% –
I kept thinking this team might be dangerous... but they only beat good teams at home, then lose to them on the road. That is a bad sign I'm guessing. They have a top-5 NBA draft pick in 6'8" sophomore Derrick Williams (2nd in nation in true shooting % (70.3!?!), 18.8 ppg, 8.2 rebs, 61% FG%!). After that, not much else going on with this team. Seriously, everyone else is below 10 ppg, below 5 rebounds, below 3 assits, and three bench guys shoot over 42% from 3. The most interesting thing is how well they shoot 3s (though no one person does all the damage)... and how well they defend 3-pointers. What's weird is that they don't defend 2-pointers well at all... in fact they are a poor defensive team overall.

UCLA, Sag #39, kenpom offense #76, kenpom defense #23, 2nd in conference at 13-5, 22-9
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: BYU, Arizona (split), St. John's
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Washington (sweep), Nova, VCU, Kansas, MONTANA, Cal (classic let-down game, after beating arizona by 20)
3P% - 32.9%, 3Pt defense - 34.1%, Reb. Margin = +4.0, FT 68.4%, FG 46.0%, Opp. FG 41.4% –
It's a very young team, hence the uneven play... though they've played better in the 2nd half. They are led by Reeves Nelson (6'8" sophomore, 14.2 ppg, 8.9 rebs, 58% FG%), Malcolm Lee (6'4" junior, 13.2 ppg, 43%FG%, 29% 3p%), Tyler Honeycutt (6'8" sophomore, 12.4 ppg, 7.4 rebs, 2 blocks, 40% FG%, 35% 3pt%), and PG Lazeric Jones (6'0" junior, 9.5 ppg, 3.6 assists, 36% 3p%, 39% FG%). It's a balanced attack... but as evidenced by their wins over BYU and St. John's, they can elevate their game. Also of note, they only lost to Kansas by 1. Their lack of rebounding could be a problem.

Washington, Sag #35, kenpom offense #9, kenpom defense #48, 3rd in conference at 11-7, 20-10
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: USC (split), UCLA (sweep), Arizona (split)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Kentucky (by 7), Mich St (by 5), Texas A&M (by 1)
3P% - 37.2%, 3Pt defense - 32.4%, Reb. Margin = +13.7, FT 66.5%, FG 47.2%, Opp. FG 41.6% –
All the computers love this team... probably because of the close losses early on. Led by the 'lil 5'8" Isaiah Thomas (16.6 ppg, 5.6 assits, 34% 3p%), who is still trying to clear his name from the evil Isiah Thomas. They also have Bryan-Amaning (6'9" senior, 16ppg, 8.3 rebs, 1.7 blocks, 56% FG%) and Justin Holiday (6'6" senior, 11.3 ppg, 5.2 rebs, 39% 3p%). They also have a 7'0" center, sophomore Aziz N'Diaye (4.8 ppg, 5.7 rebs, 1.3 blocks, 56%FG%). So... they are really just a large team with a little PG.

Belmont, Sag #33, kenpom offense #34, kenpom defense #20, 1st in conference at 19-1, 30-4
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: n/a
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Tennessee (twice!), Vanderbilt, Lipscomb
3P% - 38.1%, 3Pt defense - 32.8%, Reb. Margin = +3.5, FT 73.6%, FG 46.2%, Opp. FG 40.5% –
Classic small-conference team who hasn't played anyone. This is worse than Utah State, because they really haven't beaten anyone. Led by Ian Clark (12.4 ppg, 43.6 3p%), big-man Hedgepath (10.6 ppg, 6 rebs, 53% FG%), and big-man Saunders (10 ppg, 5.4 rebs, 51 FG%). They also have a 3-pt specialist in Jordan Campbell (8.4 ppg, 46% 3pt%). Interestingly, they have a 9-player rotation, where no one plays more than 25 mpg, and they are one of the best teams at creating turnovers, as well as being excellent 3-point shooters. The poor rebounding margin is not a good sign. In their 3 games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt, they were outrebounded 36-21, 39-25, but did outrebound Tenn 47-40 in the last game. So... bottom line, super 3-point team, super team at stealing, but no big men.

Geore Mason, Sag #26, kenpom offense #25, kenpom defense #39, 1st in conference at 16-2, 26-5
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Old Dominion (split), VCU (split), No. iowa?
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: NC St, Wofford, Dayton, Hofstra
3P% - 40.4%, 3Pt defense - 30.8%, Reb. Margin = +2.4, FT 69.6%, FG 47.5%, Opp. FG 40.5% –
This team has 3 3-point shooters, with a fourth coming off the bench. They are not good at rebounding though. They are led by Cam Long (6'4" senior, 15.1 ppg, 4.6 reb, 43.7% 3p%), Ryan Pearson (6'6" junior, 14.5 ppg, 6.8 rebs, 40.5% 3p%), Luke Hancock (6'5" sophomore 10.9 ppg, 4.4 assists), and Andre Cornelius (5'10" junior 10ppg, 39.7% 3p%). They are very efficient on offense, and play good team defense. The lack of a non-conference schedule makes them hard to predict.

Old Dominion, Sag #37, kenpom offense #78, kenpom defense #42, 2nd in conference at 14-4, 25-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Clemson, Xavier, Richmond, Dayton, G. Mason (split), VCU (split), Cleve St
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Georgetown, Delaware!, Missouri, Drexel
3P% - 32.6%, 3Pt defense - 36.9%, Reb. Margin = +11.4, FT 66.7%, FG 43.4%, Opp. FG 40.3% –
This team is the opposit of most any mid-major... they are one of the best rebounding teams in the country... and they suck at shooting 3s! They are led by F. Hassell (6'8" senior, 14.5 ppg, 9.8 rebs, 55%FG%), Kent Bazemore (6'5" junior 12.5 ppg, 5.1 rebs, 40.5% 3pt%, 2.3 steals). This team's performance will depend on the matchup, because they can get torched by good guard play (i.e. Georgetown, the running-style of Missouri). Interstingly, they knocked out Notre Dame last year in the 1st round... so be mindful of this team. It's also almost all seniors and juniors this year.

Xavier, Sag #31, kenpom offense #32, kenpom defense #54, 1st in conference at 15-1, 24-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Butler, Temple, Richmond, Georgia, Duquesne
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Old Dominion, Gonzaga, Florida, Cincy, MiamiOH!, Charlotte!
3P% - 33.3%, 3Pt defense - 33.2%, Reb. Margin = +4.8, FT 75.0%, FG 46.3%, Opp. FG 39.9% –
They are led by super junior, Tu Holloway (6'0", 20.1 ppg, 5.5 assists, 5.2 rebs, 34.6% 3p% , 43%FG%), Lyons (6'1" sophomore, 13.8 ppg, 41% FG%), big man Kenny Frease (7'0" junior, 11.9 ppg, 7.2 rebs, 54.7% FG%), and a 2nd big-man in Jamel McLean (6'8" senior, 10.8 ppg, 8.5 rebs, 54.6 FG%). Intestingly, against Gonzaga, Florida, and Cincy they were outrebounded 35-21, 38-30, and 34-24. Of course, Old Dominion also outrebounded them 33-23, but ODU, as said above, is awesome at rebounding. The more I see these numbers, this Xavier team may be the one that can't continue the streak of continuous sweet 16s (Xavier has made the sweet 16 3 straight years going into this one).

Temple, Sag #30, kenpom offense #53, kenpom defense #40, 2nd in conference at 14-2, 24-6
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Georgia, Maryland, Georgetwon, Richmond
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Cal, Texas A&M, Nova, Duquesne, Xavier, Duke
3P% - 35.1%, 3Pt defense - 34.5%, Reb. Margin = +3.4, FT 69.0%, FG 44.8%, Opp. FG 40.8% –
They are led by Razor Ramone Moore (6'4" junior, 14.8 ppg, 4.3 rebs, 39.8% 3p%, 43% FG%), Lavoy Allen (6'9" senior, 11.8 ppg, 8.2 reb, 48% FG%), and Scootie Randall (6'6" junior, 11.6 ppg, 5.1 rebs, 37% 3p%, 49% FG%). I'm not sure what to make of this team. They are not bad at anything, not terribly great at anything. They do play great defense though, and I love the great non-conference wins on their resume.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

This is not a story from the 18th Century

I know I haven't posted in a while. Been overwhelmed with work and underwhelmed with most of the stories in sports.
As most of you know by now, BYU has suspended their top player for the rest of the season and the tournament. It surfaced today that it is because he broke the honor code, but having "relations" with his girlfriend.
At first glance, I was outraged that in this day and age a player could be punished for boning his girlfriend. I mean, this isn't "The Scarlet Letter" and Hester Prynne doesn't play small forward.
But, then I started thinking about the whole situation and started to reconsider. While I think its a fair bet to say my moral compass is at odds with BYU on a number of issues, and I would never attend that school, this Brandon Davies chose to go there. In attending that school and playing basketball, he knew what he was getting into. He knew this school was tough on these types of moral issues and had to know the consequences when he chose to attend.
Now, I'm not naive, freshmen ball players at other schools drink, which is a violation. That is true. However, I think BYU is different and Davies knew that. I'm still not even 100% convinced that is the right opinion either.

All in all, I think this is a VERY interesting story, and raises issues that really make you think.
Also, it is somewhat refreshing to hear about a player "getting in trouble" for this, and not for stealing a car, assaulting a woman, getting into a drunken fight, or even accepting gifts from boosters. Actually, refreshing isn't the right word, but its good to know there are some college athletes where even on their worst day, they aren't committing the criminal acts listed above.

I would be interested to hear what the rest of you think. In the words of Ned Flanders, "As melon-scratchers go, this one's a honey doodle."