ACC Review – 12/22/2006

We’re just now coming out exam period for most schools, so it’s been a pretty thin week of games. Teams either barely played or played weak teams, worried that their players wouldn’t be at their best. Do you think Dave Leitao wishes he had followed this prescription and stayed home instead of taking his team to Puerto Rico? The Cavs couldn’t have had a worst tournament down there.
Wednesday, Dec. 13
Maryland 101, UMKC 50
A little scrimmage before exams. Hope the Kangaroos enjoyed their trip east.
DePaul 78, Wake 63
Who didn’t see this coming? Wake had already lost two straight, so it probably wasn’t a good time to take a road trip, even to play a mediocre DePaul team. Well, the Demon Deacons were just what the Blue Demons needed. They thumped Wake up and down the court.
Now is the point where Skip Prosser needs to be very careful with this team. They completely imploded last year and then their three best players graduated. This squad is inexperienced and the guys who DO have experience probably have shaky confidence. A losing streak at this point of the season could easily put this team into a tailspin. Maybe Skip needs to dig into his Shakespeare anthology and find just the right quote.
The Big East is now up 6-2 on the ACC.

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You Down With PPP?

Last week, one of my readers (Professor Matt) sent me and then published a very interesting spreadsheet. He had calculated a set of temp-free statistics for all the ACC teams as of about a week ago.
The gist of temp-free statistical analysis is that you can look at how efficient teams are on both offense and defense. The more standard methods that most people look at for measuring a team’s offensive or defensive prowess is points scored or points allowed. That’s a crappy way to do it. Teams that give up the fewest points typically do that not because they are great on defense, although they might be, but because they are extremely deliberate on offense. The easiest way to keep your opponent from scoring is to not give them the ball. The same goes on offense. If you play a pressure defense that forces short possessions (layups or turnovers), you’ll get the ball a lot and score a lot. That doesn’t mean you’re any good at offense, just that you play it a lot.

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The Huggins Way

Sometimes I miss a story and report on it a bit late. In this case, I’m waaaay late. This happened last March, but I just heard about it.
You are probably aware of the occasional practice of college coaches hiring the fathers of big-time recruits as “assistant coaches.” It’s shady, but it happens. The most famous case is Larry Brown hiring Danny Manning’s father who was working at the time as a truck driver. And of course, here in the ACC, that’s how Dean Smith landed Scott Williams, Roy’s son.
Well, leave it Bob Huggins to take this questionable practice to a whole new level. Shortly after he was hired at Kansas State, Huggins hired Dalonte Hill who is very tight with top-five recruit Michael Beasley. The twist? Hill was already employed at Charlotte and Beasley had already “committed” to playing there. Of course, Beasley then changed his mind and is now headed to Manhattan to play for Huggy Bear. Needless to say, Beasley was the best prospect Charlotte had ever signed and now he’s gone.
To make the story even better, Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz was a friend of Huggins’ and had stuck up for him shortly after Huggins was run out of Cincinnati.
What a guy.

ACC Basketball Review – 12/12/06

It’s been a while since I went through the ACC games, so I’ll be pretty brief on most of these.
Wednesday, Nov. 22
Providence 73, BC 64
UVa 81, UNC Asheville 65
Gonzaga 82, UNC 74
UCLA 88, Ga. Tech 73

The first bad day of the ACC season, with three teams going down. The Carolina game was particularly interesting because it was the first game to show that they’re having some adjustment problems mixing in all of the new freshmen. Tyler Hansbrough was suspiciously inactive, seeming to defer to Brandan Wright. I think he learned his lesson though. The UNC offense must go through Hansbrough no matter how talented the other players are.

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BrightCar

And now for something completely different …
Way back about three years ago when I started this site, my goal was to find an outlet for my sports passion. I didn’t have many kindred souls at work to have water-cooler chats with and I was bored with what I’d found online. There were (and are) many great sports communities, but the partisanship always turned me off. I couldn’t find a good, neutral place to discuss sports that were interesting to me (mainly ACC sports, but not exclusively), so I tried to create one. It hasn’t really grown into a very big community, but at least I do have somewhere to dump my sports thoughts and interesting links I come across.
But there was another reason. Burnout. You see, I had (and still have) been working nights and weekends on a side project and had hit the proverbial wall. All but one of the guys who had started with me had dropped out and a few more joined to fill the ranks and then they dropped out. So I needed a diversion from my diversion. Dave Sez was it.
My initial diversion didn’t go away. I recharged my batteries and kept plugging along, finding time after “real” work and family duties until finally I (we) got to this point. We are now ready to pull the blanket off our project and show it to the world. BrightCar is ready.
What the hell is BrightCar, you ask? Well, it’s an idea I had many years ago when I realized that I wasn’t maintaining my car very well. I’m a smart, responsible guy and getting regular oil changes and tire rotations and whathaveyou seems pretty straightforward, but yet I couldn’t keep it straight. I was always late with my services and never felt comfortable that I was remembering everything. On top of that, I felt powerless against the high school dropout who’d show me a blackened thingy at Jiffy Lube and say it was time to get it replaced. Did I have that thingy replaced last time? Is it due again? Hell, I didn’t know and figured that I should. So that was my idea – software that could keep track of what services I should be doing and tell me when they were due! It would not only keep the schedule (5,000 miles and 6 months), but accurately tell me when I’m due based on when I got my oil changed or brakes checked last time and how many miles I drive a week. Don’t tell me (like my owner’s manual does) that I need an oil change at exactly 45,000 miles when I just had it done at 42,567!
The idea sat in my head for years. It would pop up in my forebrain every now and then – it should be easy to use, like Quicken! It should track gas mileage and how much your car costs per mile! It should make perfect cinnamon toast and be kind to small animals!
After years of working for the man and getting nowhere, the idea finally jumped from being just an idea to being a plan. Then it became a project. A loooong project. And now, today, it’s a company. It’s still a side project to be sure – I’m not ready to quit my day job (yet) – but it’s a real, honest-to-goodness company with a product for sale.
Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about it.
If you’ve read this far, I’m flattered and more than a little surprised. If you want to see what I and my brother-in-law have built, go check out www.BrightCar.com. Maybe you’d like to buy a copy for your spouse for Christmas! Or maybe get one for your teenage driver!
If you do make that choice, put in DaveSez for a coupon code and you’ll get 20% off the price. You know, for reading this far.

State Steals O’Brien

I’ve had NC State’s hiring of Boston College coach Tom O’Brien on my brain for a couple of days now. I’ve thought of tons of things I want to write about it, but I realize now that I’ll never get all of that typed out. Instead, I’ll just go through a few of my basic thoughts. Maybe I can flush them out more in the comments if folks want to start a conversation about it.
First off let me say that I think that O’Brien will improve State’s program. They will play a more organized, more disciplined brand of football. They may not beat FSU quite as regularly, but they should be more consistent and successful than they were under Chuck Amato.

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Johnson? O’Brien? Bueller?

850 The Blog was reporting earlier today that things were heating up between Paul Johnson and NC State. Later, they updated it to say that now things were cooling and that maybe Tom O’Brien was leading the pack (get it?). The O’Brien thing strikes me as funny because despite having things rolling pretty nicely in Boston, he sure seems to be trying hard to get out. Evidently he lobbied for the Carolina job and now State.
As for Johnson, I’ve gone back and forth about whether I think he’d be good. I think I’m on the “no” side again. While I think he’d do well in the short term, I wonder how he could recruit against Butch Davis (and others) with that offense. Sure, he’d probably throw more at State than he does at Navy, but a leopard doesn’t change his spots. You can win with run-based offense, but if recruits get the idea that what you’re doing won’t translate to the NFL, you’re going to fight an uphill battle.
Frankly, I’m not overwhelmed by O’Brien either. He’s proven to be a very good coach, sure, but he’s pretty clearly defined his ceiling. BC is always good, but never the best. If you hire him, you can be sure your team will compete, but you can be pretty sure that you won’t dominate. On the other hand, he’s never had quite as much talent at BC as State has had. Maybe he’d win more with their talent. Or maybe the talent will start going to Chapel Hill instead.
We’ll see …

Filtering Out Vitale!

Considering his love of Duke, this is probably a bit ironic, but the guys at the Duke Basketball Report have done humanity a great service. They have posted tips on how to watch a college basketball game on ESPN with sound, but without Dick Vitale. The catch is that you have to have to have a surround-sound system and be watching a broadcast that has the sound in 5.1 surround sound. As they mention, that might require HD.

If there were ever a good argument to give the wife for why you just have to have HD and surround sound in the family room, this is it!

Calhoun Is An Ass, Chapter 73

I don’t know how I missed this story. I only heard about from my brother-in-law so Googled it to see what’s up. I can’t believe what I found. After UConn’s opening game of the season, against mighty Quinnipiac University, Jim Calhoun ranted to the press about how Quinnipiac had the gall to use a zone defense. Evidently Quinnipiac used that zone to some success, nearly knocking off the Huskies before losing 53-46.
Of course it’s extremely odd and distasteful for a coach to bitch about another coach merely for using a common tactic (zone defense? No way!), but the part that really caught my eye was that Calhoun basically said that he was under the impression that Quinnipiac would not be playing a zone.

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