Back at the beginning of the football season, instead of predicting the order of finish of the teams, I ranked the coaches. My reasoning was that predicting final outcomes was damn near impossible, but I could weigh the relative strengths of the coaches. It turns out that my coach ranking came closer to predicting the final standings than I would have come by ranking the teams.
Now I’m gonna do the same with the basketball coaches.
Continue reading “Ranking The ACC Basketball Coaches”
This story just boils my blood. Students of Texas A&M (the one in College Station, not the basketball powerhouse in Corpus Christi) were camped out in line for tickets to the Cotton Bowl. Some students had been in line for days. In the middle of the night, while most in line were sleeping, a woman walked by them all, right to the front of the line. When the angry campers awoke, they showed her the signup list that proved that she had not earned her spot. Her response? She ate the list.
Despite the ensuing mob anger, she ended up second in line and got her tickets. She even pressed assault charges against a guy who grabbed her by the wrist.
The woman, who for some reason is unnamed (she should be named and have her picture posted all around) claims that she did nothing wrong and was “right with God.” God refused to comment on the matter. The list-eater did add in her defense, “if they wanted a spot, they should’ve woken up.”
You can actually see her on video here.
Thanks to the Sports Frog for the story.
It was an interesting weekend in the ACC, with the first two conference games, two teams heading out west to play tough opponents and two games against tough Big 12 opponents. The two farthest travelers, Georgia Tech and NC State each lost to Gonzaga and Washington, respectively. Neither loss was terribly surprising as both of those teams are good and it’s just tough go that far for a game and play at your best.
For the Wolfpack, it was particularly unsurprising, as State seems to have problems every year with non-conference opponents. It’s not really December if the Pack isn’t losing ugly to someone like UMass or Temple. In fairness, they played well enough to win this game, but still lost. The biggest problem is that the Huskies are really the only good team NC State has played. It’s hard to really know where the Wolfpack stands right now.
In the two conference games, Carolina went up and baptized Virginia Tech in the cold waters of the ACC cellar. The only really interesting thing about this game is that the Tar Heels won by 34 points while getting only three points from Rashad McCants. That says either really good things about UNC or really bad things about the Hokies. Probably both, actually. For Carolina, it worked out much better than the last time they played their first game against a football school newly added to the conference. If you remember, Florida State came into Chapel Hill and upset the Heels behind Sam Cassell, Doug Edwards and Charlie Ward. It was after that game that Cassell gave his famous “whine and cheese” quote about the somnolent Carolina fans.
In the other ACC game yesterday, Florida State nearly pulled off what to me would have been a huge upset. The Seminoles have been terrible this year so to get a win in College Park would have been stunning. I think Maryland has been underachieving a bit so far this year as well, but I never figured this game would be close. Hopefully it indicates that Leonard Hamilton is finally getting through to this team. He really can’t point to a lack of talent any more, as his team has as many big-time recruits as any team in the conference outside of the Triangle. Instead I think it just shows that his team is wildly inconsistent, the mark of a poorly-coached, but talented squad. I guess you could say similar things about Maryland, but I know they aren’t poorly coached.
In the mini ACC – Big 12 Challenge (yeah, yeah, I’m getting a little carried away with this stuff), the ACC won 2-0. Wake Forest nipped Texas 89-88 in a damn good game and Duke took a little post-exams nap before coming back to beat Oklahoma 78-67. Both wins were good wins against the type of teams you see in the second or third round of the NCAA tourney. Actually, Texas could go even further than that. The Big 12 has an impressive collection of coaches, so it’s always good to see the ACC play those teams and win.
ps. If the site registrations are getting you down, go to http://www.bugmenot.com and get their browser extension. It’ll give you access to pretty much any site.
TheSabre.com has a very interesting interview up with former coach George Welsh. The article asks a series of questions about football strategy (about spread offenses, pulling guards and special play calls for a talent like Herman Moore) and the legendary coach gave some long, detailed answers. It’s good reading.
Chuck Amato’s football staff took yet another serious blow yesterday when associate head coach John “Doc” Holliday left to join Urban Meyer’s staff at Florida. It’s bad enough to lose a good coach, but the real damage could be in recruiting where Holliday was known as State’s chief Florida recruiting. As you know, the Wolfpack has had good success in recent years in mining the Sunshine State. That will be tougher with Holliday now using his connections for the Gators.
Times could get tough for Amato. This past season also signaled the end of the honeymoon, with fans starting to criticize the team’s performance. All the excitement that came with Amato’s hire and first few years is starting to turn into crushing expectations. The Pack needs to make a solid run at an ACC title to appease fans, but that’s tough to do when you have to shuffle your coaching staff each season. Amato has had nine assistants leave, including defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, since he took the head job.
I always liked the way Dean Smith’s teams ran the secondary break. That may be because I had a coach once who was a big Dean fan and made that a big part of our offense. Somehow it didn’t work quite as well when we ran it…
Anyway, over the years, as the Heels changed coaches and had some point guard problems, they got away from the secondary break. Out in Lawrence though, Roy Williams’ Jayhawks were running like mad, much more even that Dean’s teams ever did.
Now that Roy has set up shop in Chapel Hill, the break is back.
Don’t miss this nice graphic that shows the basic flow.
Oddly enough, the various shot options don’t seem to include Jackie Manuel.
Each week “a panel of ESPN experts” picks their top 16 college basketball teams. This week, four of the five guys picked Illinois as their number one team, just like the regular polls did. The one dissenting voice? None other than Dick Vitale.
But, at least he has some solid reasoning:
The Jayhawks were impressive in beating Louisiana-Lafayette over the weekend while Illinois took care of Georgetown and Oregon.
Yeah, that sounds good to me too, Dick. Those Ragin’ Cajuns (yes, that’s really Louisana-Lafayette’s nickname) are one damn fine team. Why they nearly knocked off Georgia State!
You can read it for your own bad self rightchere.
An astute reader of mine sent me an email this morning asking if NC State’s lofty #9 ranking wasn’t the result of some national pro-ACC bias. His argument is that while the Wolfpack began the season at #19, they’ve moved up ten notches while beating a whopping collection of nobodies. I checked it out and he’s right! Well, he’s right about the horrid schedule, not the pro-ACC conspiracy. You have to know this guy …
Anyway, for years, Herb Sendek took some heat for putting together schedule after schedule of Southeast Whatchamazoo States and Northern Technical State A&Ms. He claimed at the time that the team was rebuilding and that once established, they’d put together a schedule commensurate with their strength. OK, when’s that gonna happen, Herb?
The best team from a name perspective that State has played was Purdue, and State had to play them as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. According to Ken Pomeroy’s computer rankings, the best team State played so far was Manhattan. Manhattan is ranked 106 by the Pomeroy Ratings.
In fairness, State does still have a game at Washington and one more at home against West Virginia. Both are decent games, but the only reason that’s even mildly acceptable is that the Huskies came out of nowhere last year to have a good team. Historically, they’ve been even worse than West Virginia, who has pretty much no post-Jerry West tradition.
Check this link to see in numbers just how bad State’s opponents have been. In seven games, four opponents have been ranked in the 200’s or worse.
Don’t be surprised if this team suddenly doesn’t look quite so good once the conference season starts. Duke and Wake Forest ain’t East Carolina and Liberty.
During Yoni’s vacation, a number of guest bloggers (including me) have been posting on his site. One recurring theme has been some egghead discussion of how to better evaluate player performance using non-standard statistics. There have been several posts on the topic, and they are pretty damn interesting (I never said I wasn’t a geek).
Che-che-che, che-check ’em out:
even more stats
If that isn’t enough to fill your eraser head up, check out this geekery-filled site on the NBA. It’s chock full of interesting looks at numbers in The League.