Break Out The Slide Rules

A regular reader (and college professor) just figured out who’s going to win the ACC Tournament. He took Pomeroy’s ratings, applied them to the Log5 prediction method and PRESTO! – we have a champeen!
Actually, it just spits out the percent chance of each team winning, but going by the seedings if things ended today (and he put UNC as the 1 see, VT as the 2 and UVA as the 3), Carolina would be the overwhelming favorite. While their rating isn’t that much higher than Duke’s, they have a three times greater chance of winning the ACC Tourney. Check the results:

Fri Sat Sun Champion
North Carolina 1.00000 0.85970 0.63850 0.51400
Duke 0.93910 0.70350 0.26100 0.17110
Maryland 0.91280 0.68110 0.43280 0.14700
Georgia Tech 0.82730 0.45320 0.21980 0.05710
Virginia Tech 1.00000 0.51200 0.22560 0.05130
Boston College 1.00000 0.28660 0.05180 0.02060
Virginia 1.00000 0.29980 0.11270 0.01810
Clemson 0.54830 0.08260 0.02980 0.01300
Florida St. 0.45170 0.05760 0.01850 0.00720
North Carolina St. 0.17270 0.03480 0.00630 0.00050
Wake Forest 0.08720 0.01910 0.00280 0.00020
Miami FL 0.06090 0.00990 0.00050 0.00010

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ACC Video Of The Day

This one comes courtesy of StateFans Nation. They have a piece up about what they call “The worst call in NCAA Tournament history,” when Rick Hartzell whistled Chis Corchianni for a phantom traveling violation. The video they include is pretty damn conclusive – no travel. Not even close. It wasn’t even one of those times where a guy takes long, awkward strides that looks like a travel until you see the replay. No, this one looked legit the first time and everytime thereafter.

Of course, you already know my feelings about Rick Hartzell.

One sidenote about this game is that it marked Jim Valvano’s last NCAA Tournament game. The NCAA placed the Wolfpack on probation for the 1990 and 1991 seasons, barring them from postseason play. Valvano was fired in March of 1990, leading to a decade-long slump for NC State basketball.

Virginia Is For Leaders

Bob Lipper of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a great article today on Virginia and Virginia Tech and their big game coming up on Thursday.
Not only is this by far the most important game in the history of their basketball rivalry, it might the be only important one ever. Let’s face it, until a couple of years ago, UVA didn’t really care much about this basketball rivalry. Tech wasn’t in the ACC and they just weren’t good enough to get fired up about. Cavalier fans were much more concerned about Carolina, Duke and Maryland. On the Hokie side, they just didn’t really care that much about hoops at all. Sure, they always enjoyed beating UVA because they knew that hurt the Cavs, but if they lost, it didn’t matter.
This could be one of the few really good things about ACC expansion – Virginia Tech might start caring about hoops and their rivalry with UVA might blossom.
Regardless, right now it’s a hell of a big game and that’s pretty amazing.

More Human Than Human

ACC fans have known for a few years now what a special athlete Calvin Johnson is. He’s big, he’s fast, he has fantastic hands and he seems like a great kid. He tore up the ACC in his three years in the league, setting all kinds of receiving records at Georgia Tech.
Well, now you can add NFL Combine Legend to his resume. Johnson showed up in Indianapolis this weekend planning NOT to workout. He wanted to wait until Georgia Tech’s NFL day in a few weeks, so that some of his teammates could workout in front of the mass of scouts who would show for Johnson. He did agree to weigh in though, and when he tipped the scales at 239, some scouts got worried. Was he out of shape? Was he going to balloon as he got older?
Johnson took care of those concerns. He found a pair of running shoes to borrow (from ECU QB James Pinkney) and blazed through a 40 in 4.35. The man is 6’6″, 239lbs and ran a 4.35! Only two receivers ran faster. Top-rated running back Adrian Peterson helped his standing by running a 4.38, slower than Calvin’s time.
Incredible.

Bubble Watch – 2/26/2007

Can you believe it? We only have one week left before the ACC Tournament! Where has the time gone? The season’s always so fast. You better believe Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson think so. Bet they would like some more games to help them shine up their resumes. Actually, Clemson would probably rather the season was about three weeks shorter. They were in great shape a while back, but just can’t stop losing these days.
The Tigers are still a fascinating case study. They couldn’t possibly be playing any worse and have lost 9 of 11 games. But if you ignore when the games were played and look at their overall results, they are NCAA Tournament-worthy. 19-9 with and RPI of 41. Not sensational, but those numbers will normally get you in. The Dance Card agrees, putting them at #37, about 10 spots above the cutline. But the Dance Card relies mostly on empirical numbers and power ratings. The RPI doesn’t care when games were played, but humans notice. There’s no question that Clemson’s recent struggles will make the committee round them way, way down. If they had to pick today, they’d likely be out. Unfortunately for Clemson, they don’t have an easy way to help their cause. They should beat Miami at home this week, but Miami’s so bad that win or lose, that game will hurt Clemson’s RPI (just like beating NC State actually hurt Florida State this weekend). Put that down as one of the many reasons why the RPI sucks. Clemson could win by 60 and still be damaged just for playing the game. Their only other regular season game is on the road in Blacksburg against a Hokie squad looking to finish on top of the league. Senior Day, no less. That would be a HUGE win, but I seriously doubt it will happen. No, the best bet for the Tiggers at this point is to win at least two ACC Tournament games. Do that (and beat Miami), and they’d have 22 wins. I just can’t believe an ACC team could win 22 and not get in. I could be wrong, but I don’t think a 20-win ACC squad has ever been denied.

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Tarred and Pumiced Heels

After reading this article about how many North Carolina Tar Heels like to get frequent pedicures, let’s just say I wasn’t that surprised when the Heels blew a late lead against Maryland. Pedicures. The men’s team.
So, maybe they lost a tough road game, but man those feet were beautiful! Soft as a baby’s bottom and smelling of lavender.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Rock Chalk Spreadsheet

The good folks (or is it folk?) at the Phog Blog paid a little visit to Ken Pomeroy’s stats, fired up Excel, tippy-tapped on a few keys and cranked out a few nifty graphs that are worthy of your perusal.
What they looked at was the offensive and defensive efficiencies of the top ten (using Big Tenleven math) teams in the country over the course of the season. The graphs exposed some very interesting trends. As a whole, it is clear that the best teams get better and better offensively as the season goes on. No surprise there. What I wouldn’t have guessed is that the defensive efficiencies showed no such clear trend. Some teams have gotten better, some have gotten worse and many are all over the place.
Interesting, huh?
My theory is that the best coaches put a strong focus on defense in their early practices. By the time the season starts, all of the defensive packages are in place and are already effective. Once the season starts, then they start focusing more on offense. As teams master sets, they add more and they figure out which players are the most effective.
Ken Pomeroy has talked about just how impressive Georgetown’s offense is (and when have you ever heard that about Georgetown before?) and this graph really shows that. The Hoyas are WAY better than the other squads. Defensively, Carolina had a similar gap over its peers, but that has gone away. If I had to guess, I’d say they lost it in Raleigh.
The only other ACC team reviewed was Duke. You might not be surprised to see that the Blue Devils started out as the best defensive squad, but have gotten progressively less effective as the season has gone on. Lucky for them, their offense has made up for that. Still, Pomeroy’s Pythagorean rating shows them as the weakest of the top teams, while UNC is the best (just barely).

Bubble Watch – 2/23/2007

With things so tight for so many ACC teams, it’s worth checking on the standings after each game. While it wasn’t a good week for the bubble teams – BC, Virginia, Florida State and Clemson all damaged their standings – things are quite as bad as most would have you believe. If you listen to the TV folks and read what’s being written in the papers, you might think that UVA, BC, Clemson and Florida State are all out of the tourney right now. Not so.
From what I’m seeing, only Florida State has played their way out of the tournament at this point. Georgia Tech, Clemson and UVA are all iffy, but still in, while Boston College is in perfectly fine shape. Obviously, each of those teams needs to win another game or two, but they will. They pretty much have to, since some will play each other both in the regular season and in the ACC Tournament.

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Best Freshman Classes

Surely you’ve heard the talk (Washington Post, Mike DeCourcy, Rivals.com) – this year’s freshmen class is one of the best in college basketball history, comparable to the legendary 1980 class. Greg Oden. Brandan Wright. Kevin Durant. Spencer Hawes.
Just in the ACC, we have an impressive crop – Wright, Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Brandon Costner, Javaris Crittenton, Thaddeus Young, Jon Scheyer, Grievis Vasquez and a few others.
But how does this class rank with some of the great ACC classes of the past? Is this one really the best ever?

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Who’s Your Daddy?

Terry Bowden tells a great story about recruiting against his daddy, Saint Bobby. I don’t want to steal his thunder, because it really is a great story.

As we walked back out onto the front porch, before I said goodbye, I turned to his mom one last time, hugged her neck and reminded her how much I loved her. Then, with all the sincerity I could muster, I looked that young man directly in the eyes and said, “I have never told anybody this before, but you’re gonna win three Heisman trophies at Auburn. You’d win four, but you’re gonna be in the NFL by then.”

Nice find by FanBlogs.com.