NCAA D1 Athlademic Ratings

Posted by rtmsf on August 30th, 2007

We came across this table last week, but haven’t had time to properly analyze it until today.  An organization called the National Collegiate Scouting Assn. (NCSA) evaluated how schools are doing in their totality by ranking them in the classroom and on the fields of play, using the US News academic and Sears Cup athletic rankings as their evaluative criteria. 

If they’d just stopped there, we’d have no problem with their rankings.  However, they also felt a need to add a third criterion – the NCAA’s school graduation rates for student-athletes, which have been long derided as archaic, inconsistent and generally not useful as a tool for determining how well a school is serving and educating its student-athletes.  Use of these graduation rates as a performance measure ultimately results in a reductio ad absurdum situation where an elite academic and athletic instutition like Stanford is penalized because an obviously articulate and well-rounded athlete such as Tiger Woods did not formally graduate before turning pro.  

Graduation

A Relevant Indicator?  Not Here

And not only that, the NCSA decided to weight graduation rates equally (each counting one-third) with the academic and athletic ratings.  We could probably live with its inclusion if its weight was substantially minimized, but not as it currently exists.  Nevertheless, here is the NCSA list.  See Table A below.

Table A.  NCSA Division I Power Ratings 

NCSA Ratings v.5

Ok, so we have no problem with many of the schools at the top – HYP, Duke, Stanford, Rice, the other usual suspects…  But look at some of the more dubious schools that piggyback a high graduation rate (and not much else) into the top 50 – UMass-Lowell??  Bentley??  Coastal Carolina??  The NCSA cannot be serious.

Bentley

According to the NCSA, Bentley Does Better Than Cal & Texas as an Academic/Athletic School

Additionally, consider the schools who do not have athletes who would normally be inclined to leave school early for the pros, train for the Olympics or seek more playing time elsewhere (not even benchwarmers leave Harvard).  The NCAA penalizes schools with transfers under its current metric for determining graduation rates.  Therefore, the Ivies, W&M, Furman, Drury, etc., all fare well in Table A because of the disproportionate weight given by the NCSA to graduation rates.  The bigger state schools that have excellent academics and athletics, yet are more vulnerable to market forces and playing time considerations – Michigan, UNC, Virginia, UCLACal – are all penalized using the NCSA method. 

So let’s take a look at what the NCSA should look like, by eliminating the graduation rates and simply comparing academic success and athletic success.  See Table B below.

Table B.  Division I Ratings (US News + Sears Cup)

NCSA New Rankings

That’s more like it.  Stanford is in its rightful place at #1 (how could the #4 national university and 13-time defending Sears Cup winner not be?), and all the schools we’d expect to be near the top of such a list are there.  Look at some of the highest risers – Johns Hopkins went from 59th to 3d; Cal from 88th to 5th; Texas from 78th to 14th; Wisconsin from 45th to 10th. 

This list is instructive in the sense that it shows which schools are getting the most out of its academic and athletic programs, but the NCSA flubs it my weighing graduation rates on par with the other two much more informative criteria.  Maybe they’ll do better next year.     

Update:  a UCLA fan rightfully questioned us as to why the Bruins and crosstown rival USC were not originally included on our list.  After a few moments of thought, we realized that the NCSA list didn’t have either school in its top 100!!!  This can only mean that the LA schools’ respective graduation rates were so low that its weight carried both schools outside the NCSA top 100 D1 schools, essentially proving our point about the ridiculousness of its weighting system.  UCLA (#25 US News and #2 Sears Cup) would earn a rating of 13.5 in our system, which would place the Bruins #4 on our overall list.  USC (#27 US News and #5 Sears Cup) would earn a rating of 16.0, placing the Trojans #7 overall. 

Update #2:  After reviewing NCSA’s data, we decided a whole new post was warranted.  We revamp the entire list and also take a look at how the BCS conferences stack up in our Athlademic Ratings – Revised

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08.30.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 30th, 2007

What’s going on around the hoops world this week?

  • “Hoops” Weiss reports that 2007 A10 rookie of the year Robert Mitchell (16ppg; 5rpg) from Duquesne is transferring to Seton Hall. 
  • More injuries – Louisville’s Edgar Sosa is out four weeks with a sprained ankle, and Arkansas’ Sonny Weems is out the same amount of time with a broken hand (Weems has to miss the Hawgs’ trip to Cancun – rotten timing for him).
  • The Wooden Classic matchups are set, with San Diego St. taking on St. Mary’s in the undercard and Davidson vs. UCLA in the headliner game on Dec. 8.  We can’t wait to see Stephen Curry match up against Darren Collison. 
  • Apparently KU’s Brandon Rush is a fast healer.
  • NC State’s Gavin Grant has high expectations for his squad this season (memo to GG: you’ll have four losses by Jan. 12).  Find all 12 ACC teams’ scheduling highlights here
  • Ever the shameless promoter, OJ Mayo is floating the idea of sticking around USC for two seasons
  • OJ’s former HS buddy Bill Walker is ready for his first full season in Manhattan (Kansas). 
  • Speaking of USC, we always wondered how that big lead against UNC evaporated so quickly in last year’s sweet 16.  Oh, right, Tim Floyd
  • Sticking with the SoCal theme, here’s the next wannabe crossover conglomerate that Floyd can “recruit” to USC – 2009 #1 player Renardo Sidney (and his pops). 
  • Large things are expected in HoosierLand for Eric Gordon (best since Isiah??  Wow!).  Kelvin Sampson gives an interview on his team’s prospects prior to IU’s trip to the Bahamas here
  • Finally, the Big 10 Network is set to come on the air tonight at 8pm.  According to Mike DeCourcey,  “among the intriguing games that will show up on the BTN will be Indiana at Iowa (January 2), Purdue at Michigan State (January 8), Wisconsin at Illinois (February 20) and three conference tournament games.”
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Ineligible Bachelors

Posted by rtmsf on August 29th, 2007

It’s that time of year again.

Classes are already in session at many of our nation’s fair universities, and the first few days of school are always the best. Every new class seems interesting; every freshman girl is a hook-up prospect; even the textbooks you just dropped $1000 on seem to hold promises of educational fulfillment within. That is, before boredom reality sets in and you realize that solving organic chemistry problems using those confounding erector sets still doesn’t make any sense and the freshman gals are just as completely and utterly uninterested in you as last year’s class was. Oh well – at least football’s starting and a case of Beast still only costs $6.99, right?

Coeds Sunning

You Still Have No Shot (even with the chub)

Along with the beginning of classes also comes another rite of fall passage – the annual news that some hoopsters around the nation didn’t get the job done in the classroom over the summer and will be academically ineligible for the fall semester. This usually doesn’t mean much from an on-court standpoint, because the players can still practice with the team – they just can’t play in any games until they’re eligible again. And given that most fall semesters end in mid-December, the amount of games any player tends to miss is usually in the single digits.

Already the following players have been declared ineligible for the fall semester:

  • Quinton WatkinsIllinois – incoming freshman leaves Bruce Weber with a thin backcourt after Jamar Smith’s DUI rendered him ineligible for the entire season
  • Lyndale BurlesonNevada – presumptive junior starting PG for Mark Fox’s squad didn’t have enough credits to become eligible
  • AJ RatliffIndiana – the senior guard (9.3 ppg last year) and Indiana Mr. Basketball will miss the first nine games of the season
  • Ra’Sean DickeyGeorgia Tech – 6’9 senior starting forward (8.1 ppg; 5.3 rpg) will also miss the first semester due to grades

Isn’t it odd how so many players become ineligible for the fall semester but seemingly always make the grades for the spring semester? We suppose that has something to do with the tutorial services available to athletes that may not be as comprehensive during the summer months. Consider how the Purdue women’s basketball team does it (h/t to Lion in Oil):

Former Purdue assistant Katrina Merriweather has admitted to typing and revising a paper for guard Cherelle George during the 2005-2006 season. Sociology 220 must have been harder for George than she’d expected. Witness the following email exchange between the two:

10/26/05, 4:45 PM Merriweather to George: Here are some thoughts that should help. Make sure you read it and add your own info from class notes or any textbooks you use. All of my info is from the internet and what I remember…

10/26/05, 10:16 PM Merriweather to George: Throw away the other one. This one is better and more organized….

11/29/05, 2:43 AM Merriweather to George: Hey, you still have to do the title page and the reference page. I have attached everything you need to do those (two) things. Make sure you reread the paper and make it sound like you.

Ahh yes, nothing like a little academic fraud to whisk in the fall semester. Happy studying, folks!

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Who Doesn’t See This Coming?

Posted by rtmsf on August 28th, 2007

Word out of the Bay Area today is that Mike Montgomery, coach emeritus of Stanford University, will be returning to The Farm in an administrative capacity with the athletic department.  According to the San Jose Mercury News:

He is expected to help with fundraising and the mentoring of coaches, a job that should allow him to continue working as a regional television analyst during the college basketball season. […]  “We’ve talked at some length about having him come back with some role at Stanford,” [Stanford AD Bob] Bowlsby said last month. “I think we’ve got a plan in mind.”

 Trent Johnson

Trent Johnson Needs to be Careful in 07-08

What could that plan be?  The pressure is on for current head man Trent Johnson as Stanford, led by the Lopez wondertwins (“activate…  form of… a complete player“), is expected to field its best team in his four years at the helm.  His previous three years have been underwhelming, resulting in a 52-40 overall record with two Mark Madsen-ugly first-round NCAA beatdowns.  Compare that with Monty’s 74-21 mark during his last three years in Palo Alto.   

From this angle, this looks an awful lot like the Pat Riley / Stan van Gundy situation with the Miami Heat last year.  We can easily envision a mid-season takeover should the Cardinal get off to another bad start (the last two seasons have begun with ridiculous Stanford home losses – 79-45 vs. Air Force in 2005-06, and 79-63 to UC-Irvine in 2004-05), and especially if the promise of this team isn’t fully realized come next March.  With the Pac-10 arguably having the most talent in the nation in 2007-08, Johnson is going to have to get the most of his players this year to make the NCAAs and  keep his job.  Being a high-profile college coach is hard enough without your esteemed and more accomplished predecessor hovering over your shoulder at every move.  The easy prediction: Monty will be back as head coach at Stanford by next spring.     

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08.27.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 27th, 2007

In the spirit of the new school year and the imminent college football season… 

  • First we offer the top 10 party schools in America.  Looking at the top 5, might there be a link between hedonism, the South and football? 
  • Speaking of the dirty South, this future Clemson grad wants us to know that she has “the Iraq’s” education on her mind, er, something like that… 
  • Moving back to our bread & butter, in a tragedy of Odin-esque proportions, Oregon plans to take Phil Knight’s $100M largesse and use it to build a new on-campus arena.  Sadly, McArthur Court will be tossed into the dustbin of great historical arenas.  Why doesn’t UO end the charade and just call themselves the Oregon Nikes from now on?
  • Richard Jefferson donated $3.5M to his alma mater Arizona for their new practice facility.  But he’s still only the third best UA alum in the NBA, according to fellow Cat Agent Zero.   
  • SLAM put out its early top 25 last week.  Intriguing omissions – Duke, Florida, Oregon.  Say what inclusions? – Clemson, Alabama, Cal.
  • Mike DeCourcey at TSN picks five teams from which he believes a 2008 champion will emerge – Georgetown, UNC, Kansas, UCLA and Memphis. 
  • All kinds of knee problems – Syracuse guard Andy Rautins blew out his left knee during the Tournament of the Americas while playing for Team Canada – the Cuse’s leading returning three-point shooter will miss the entire 2007-08 season.  Duke’s David McClure (6-8 weeks) and Bama’s Ronald Steele (ditto) also had less serious knee surgeries last week – both are expected to be 100% by the season.   
  • Illinois guard Jamar Smith will miss the season due to his DUI arrest in February.  He will be eligible to return to the team in the 2008-09 season.  Oh, and Jeff Goodman reminds us that Bruce Weber still can’t recruit.   
  • From the rumor mill –
    • Word is pickup basketball at UCLA got heated Monday when Golden State star point guard Baron Davis engaged in some trash-talking with heralded Southern Cal freshman point guard O.J. Mayo. Davis got upset with Mayo after he didn’t respect one of Davis’ calls. Word is Davis, a native of Los Angeles, told Mayo that he doesn’t know who he is other than the fact that he wasn’t from Los Angeles and he also needed to respect a veteran’s call. Word is Mayo more than held his own in the games. (h/t to Bruin Report Online)
  • Former ECU head coach Ricky Stokes has been paid $250,000 to not take the administrative job originally offered him after his demotion.   
  • In a sad and bizarre end to what was probably a tortured life, former one-and-done Seton Hall star Eddie Griffin died of an apparent suicide last week when he drove his car into a moving train.  RIP Eddie. 
  • Finally, from the opposite end of the spectrum, Butch van Breda Kolff, former Princeton coach and hoops purist, died at 84 last week.  As head coach, he led Bill Bradley’s Princeton Tigers to the 1965 Final Four, its only appearance.  RIP Butch. 

 

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Posted by rtmsf on August 22nd, 2007

Unless you notice because your team happens to take advantage of the rule in a given summer, one of the open secrets among college hoops fans is that many teams are allowed to get a jumpstart on their season by implementing NCAA Bylaw 30.7 – “Foreign Tours and Competition.” This rule permits teams to take a basketball-related road trip to a non-US territory (yes, even Canada) once every four years, and allows for ten days of practice and as many as ten games against international teams so long as no class time is missed.

Playing Hoops in Far-Flung Places

With only 25 or so days of practice after Midnight Madness prior to the first regular season games, ten extra days in August to get a team prepared for the season can really make a difference. Not to mention the additional experience of playing games against real competition in sometimes hostile environments (we’ll never forget the story of Rick Pitino famously getting ejected by an Italian official on an overseas jaunt while at Kentucky). An experienced team can use this trip to revitalize the well-oiled machine it left on the floor last March; whereas, a young team can use the trip to build camaraderie and let the coaching staff assess where team strengths and weaknesses will lie. Either way, short of a devastating player injury, there are no downsides.

Since so many programs use this rule, and data about who/when is difficult to come by, we can’t quantifiably state for a fact that the rule helps teams in the season of which it was used. But it’s reasonable to believe that more practice time ultimately begets a better team, and at least we can point to the 2006-07 Florida Gators as an example of where it worked – the Gators spent Labor Day weekend 2006 in Canada reminding themselves just how good they were by destroying the Brock Badgers (as you can see from the vid, Brock’s defenders are invisible) and Guelph (hugs!) in succession.

So here are ten schools who are taking advantage of the rule this summer:

  • Tennessee – the preseason top 5 Vols spent 11 days on the Continent from Aug 8-19, and Bruce Pearl rated his team only a “C+” in terms of basketball while there. The Vols lost one game to Slovakia, but according to this article, they came away with a greater sense of appreciation for each other and understanding of roles, necessary after losing glue guy Dane Bradshaw and adding super-soph Tyler Smith to the mix.
  • Utah – Coming off an extremely tough 11-19 season, new head coach Jim Boylen’s team spent twelve days in Australia from Aug 7-19 working on teamwork and confidence. The Utes went 3-3 on their trip to chilly (it’s still winter there) Australia, but they came away with a sense that the “floor was higher,” which is pretty much a shot at the work ethic and demands of former coach Ray Giacolletti.
  • Stanford – likely preseason top 25 Stanford left for Italy on Aug 20 and will spend twelve days (six games) in Rome, Florence and Milan touring the piazzas and showcasing the interior game of the Lopez twins and the outside shooting of Anthony Goods. Somehow that trip just screams Stanford the only way Stanford can.
  • Indiana – another team with high expectations for the coming season is now practicing in preparation for its Labor Day weekend trip to the Bahamas – wait a minute, Kelvin, is this a vacation ($895 – all-in) or a basketball trip? The Hoosiers waited until school began so that it could include uber-frosh Eric Gordon in the practices and the trip.
  • USC – Tim Floyd is using the same holiday weekend to take his sqaud to Mazatlan, Mexico for four games. OJ Mayo will begin practicing with the team during the first day of classes on Aug 27. Assuming he can be bothered to show up, of course.
  • Clemson – the Tigers are another veteran team with four starters returning who will be taking the long Labor Day weekend to go to the Bahamas. Maybe Clemson fans and Indiana fans can both pretend they’re in Maui instead. Who are we kidding – all 440,000 toothless Clemson fans will be in Death Valley that weekend.
  • Oral RobertsEddie’s Other Son lost the two stars (Ken Tutt and Caleb Green) who led ORU to 86 wins in the last four seasons, so he’s using their Labor Day weekend trip to Toronto as an opportunity to rebuild with some young faces. Toronto, eh? No word on how ORU’s penalty killing and shift changes are looking this year.
  • Alabama - what is it with these schools going to Canada? The Tide will spend Labor Day weekend in Ottawa, of all places – a city even further north than Toronto. Bama will be without star point guard Ronald Steele, who is still rehabbing both knees after a disappointing season in 2006-07. Still, Gottfried has a solid core coming back, and the last time they made this trip, they went to the Elite 8 (2004).
  • Washington – another disappointing team last year with promise of better things this season, the Huskies are now practicing in preparation for an extended Labor Day trip to Greece from Aug 31 – Sept 4. Head man Lorenzo Romar said that only one of his five starting positions is taken at this point – the rest are up for grabs (F – Jon Brockman).
  • Belmont – these trips aren’t limited to just the bigger programs, as tiny NCAA Tournament darling Belmont University took a nine-day trip to Europe from Aug 11-20, including stops in Paris and London. That’s more like it.
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08.20.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 20th, 2007

Some random morsels on Michael Vick Day in America:

  • And now on to the next great great political debate, Swift Boat style.  Did Obama play ball at Occidental or not?  There appears to be some dispute on this story, with a blogger at the Fanhouse refuting the original story we linked to from last week, while someone else dug up an old Washington Post quote from his coach talking about his game.  This is so much more interesting than whether W showed up for air guard duty!
  • Aggiesports.com reports with an in-depth article on Billy G‘s first 100 days in Lexington.
  • Quick, what Big East team has the most wins in the Big East Tournament during the 2000s?  If you said Pittsburgh (15 wins, largely due to five runner-up finishes) give yourself a Dave Gavitt doll.
  • Andy Katz exonerated Roy Williams from the accusation that he was still recruiting Wake Forest commit 6’11 PF Ty Walker after the death of Skip Prosser several weeks ago.  There was apparently some misunderstanding over a letter of condolences sent by Williams to Walker regarding the incident (from Katz’s blog – subscriber only).
  • A small newspaper article in Missouri confirms what we’ve always known as true about the upcoming college football season (which, admittedly, we enjoy very much despite its fundamental flaws):
    • But that’s what we’re asked to do year after year during college football season, as the “best regular season” leads way to the “worst postseason” of any sport. Sure, the bowl games are great for TV viewing on New Year’s Day, but most of them are meaningless and the game we’re supposed to care the most about happened during the second week of January last season.

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08.17.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 17th, 2007

Nothing like 100-degree heat to make you think college hoops, right: 

  • Our future Prez (ca. 2016 unless some redneck jacks him first) was a baller!  Barack Obama starred at D3 Occidental College back in the day (highlights here – let’s hope his FT shooting acumen is not indicative of a lack of concentration under pressure)
  • FAMU head coach Mike Gillespie was fired for stalking his ex-girlfriend – and yes, because you wouldn’t need a girlfriend unless it were so, he is married. 
  • What the hell is going on at Ball St.?  Coach Ronny Thompson (son of JT2) resigned in July, leaving in his wake an athletic dept smeared by his cries of racism and unfairness (also leaving a 9-22 first year record on the table).  The two black Ws – Wilbon and Whitlock – chime in with conflicting viewpoints on the situation, and new head coach Billy Taylor (from Lehigh) is now left with a mess to clean up.  Why couldn’t David Letterman take care of this?   
  • The NCAA says no more Pembroke States and UC-Davises in D1 for four years. 
  • Al Skinner is getting a raise from BC.  He’d better sign that extension quickly because Tyrese Rice by himself probably can’t cash those checks in 2007-08.   
  • Im-ass is getting sued for slander by one of the “nappy-headed hos” at Rutgers.  The conservatorium is up in arms over this, but we’re not really following their logic – are they really saying that this woman (and her teammates) were not defamed by Imus’s comments?  Seriously?   
  • Celebrations ensue in Madison, Columbus and other places midwestern as the Big 10 Network released its 2008 hoops schedule.  We’ve already circled that Feb. 6 tilt between Minnesota and Northwestern on our iPhone. 
  • W4M: ISO orange-clad GOB who won’t be offended by mannish tendencies and spirited versions of Rocky Top.  Must be willing to be dominated in life and bedroom.  Appreciates the nuances and subtleties of women’s sports (read: boring and lame). 
  • ESPN invented a way to air OJ Mayo three times early in the season – create a new Tournament!  The Anaheim Classic features USC and a bunch of mid-majors.  Expect to see The Juice Deux on tv a LOT this upcoming season. 
  • We’ve never heard of an athletic department bailing out the academic side of the shop, but we’ve also never seen an athletic juggernaut like Florida either. 
  • Gary Parrish exposes the seamier side of recruiting in this article.  Wait, there’s a seamier side?  We thought the whole thing was slimy to begin with.
  • MMAS puts forth its summer thoughts in two detailed postings about (mostly) BCS teams, but there are some valuable insights here.  Btw, we agree about the Vols. 
  • The WWL has an interesting piece on how teams push the envelope with the rules to get an edge.   
  • Rivals is well under way with its Top 64 teams of 2007-08. 
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Does Elevating an Assistant Work?

Posted by rtmsf on August 12th, 2007

Ron Wellman’s decision to elevate Dino Gaudio to the head coaching position at Wake Forest has been universally lauded by the hoopsnascenti over the last couple of days as a great hire. Nobody will dispute that this decision makes sense in terms of continuity for the program, the players and the university. But if you’ll indulge our playing of devil’s advocate for a moment, we ask the question – is this a good hire from a basketball standpoint?

Gaudio press conf

This is a significantly tougher question to address, largely because Gaudio will be evaluated on games yet unplayed. We can point to his unimpressive records at Army and Loyola as evidence of coaching mediocrity; or, we can just as easily dismiss those situations as tantamount to coaching graveyards, where only the truly special of the business can succeed.

So we thought it could be interesting to see how elevating an assistant from within a program tends to work out, historically speaking. We took a look at all the mid- and high-major programs the last three offseasons (2004-06) that elevated an assistant from within its shop to the head coaching position. FYI – there have been six such examples in 2007 – Butler (Brad Stevens), Frank Martin (Kansas St.), Randy Peele (Winthrop), Jeff Reynolds (Air Force), Bob Nash (Hawaii), and Dino Gaudio (Wake Forest).

In 2004, there were four such instances. Three of those new head coaches have gone on to great success at their programs, and the fourth had a solid first year at his before moving on up the ladder the following offseason.

  • Mark Fox – Nevada (following Trent Johnson) : rode Nick Fazekas to an 81-18 record the next three seasons, including two NCAA second round appearances. Contrastingly, his predecessor Johnson has largely struggled over on The Farm.
  • Doc Sadler – UTEP (following Billy Gillispie) : Sadler continued the Texas Western renaissance for two seasons there, going 48-18 with one NCAA and one NIT appearance.
  • Sean Miller – Xavier (following Thad Matta) : Xavier has continued to flourish under Miller, going 63-32 with two NCAA appearances, including the can you top this game vs. Ohio St. in the second round of 2007 that XU should have won.
  • Chris Mooney – Air Force (following Joe Scott) : in his only season at AF, he was 18-12 (a slight drop from 22-7 the year prior) before taking a new job at Richmond.


Can Mark Fox continue his Reno Magic w/o Fazekas?

In 2005, there were only two instances. Here too both could be fairly qualified as successful transitions.

  • Dave Rose – BYU (following Steve Cleveland) : in two seasons, Rose has taken the Cougs to one NCAA appearance and one NIT appearance, going 45-18 over that period.
  • Andy Kennedy – Cincinnati (following Bob Huggins) : Kennedy enjoyed a 21-13 season in his only at the helm after Thuggins was fired, but what’s most telling is the utter collapse in the season after Kennedy was released by UC. The Bearcats were an atrocious 11-19 overall and dead last in the Big East (2-14) in 2006-07. Great decision there.

Last offseason there were four instances, and in a weird coincidence, two of those assistants were coach’s sons who had been formally groomed to take over the program. In one case, the new coach far exceeded his predecessor; in the others, it was largely status quo.

  • Sean Sutton – Oklahoma St. (following Eddie Sutton) : Sean’s first year at the helm for the Pokes was up-and-down. OSU started strong, winning 16 of its first 17 games, but limped into the finish with an overall record of 22-13 (6-10) and losing in the first round of the NIT at home. This was still an improvement over his dad’s final season (17-16) (6-10), however.
  • Tony Bennett – Washington St. (following Dick Bennett) : this was the feel-good story of the year, as son Tony updated his dad’s offense and took the Pac-10 and nation by surprise, going 26-8 (13-5) – a fifteen win improvement – and making the program’s first NCAA tournament since 1994.
  • Ben Jacobson – Northern Iowa (following Greg McDermott) : this very solid mid-major program had its first non-NCAA appearance in four years during Jacobson’s first season at the helm, as his team sputtered to a pedestrian 18-13 campaign in the very competitive MVC.
  • Fred Hill – Rutgers (following Gary Waters) : Hill’s first season is one he’d like to forget, we’re sure. The Scarlet Knights were 10-19 (3-13) and battled with Cincinnati for the distinction as worst team in the Big East all season long. Waters’ final season ended at 19-10, which was a cause for celebration with Rutgers basketball.

 


Tony Bennett is the Model for Gaudio

Obviously, it’s tough to draw a persuasive conclusion from this sample size, and we also realize that every situation involves different factors. Nevertheless, we find it striking that in seven of the ten instances above, the assistant coach who was elevated either outperformed his predecessor or kept the program at the level of success it already enjoyed (or not enjoyed, as with Oklahoma St.). In two cases, there was a slight dropoff from previous levels, and in only one case of a single season sample there was a significant decrease.

The problem with analyzing Gaudio’s situation at Wake in this light is that status quo means that he’ll be regularly finishing in the cellar of the ACC. With the recruits he has arriving one year from now, he’ll be expected to significantly outperform what Prosser accomplished during the last two seasons. Put another way, Deacon faithful will be satisfied with nothing less than challenging for the ACC title and annual NCAA appearances – much like the first four years of Prosser’s tenure. This is a high bar, but if the recent history of Gaudio’s peers is any indication, he may have a great shot at clearing it.

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08.08.07 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on August 8th, 2007

  • Here’s an interesting (if not well-edited) piece on the seventh circle of hell known as watching AAU basketball in the midsummer heat of Vegas as an assistant coach.
  • Just in case you’d forgotten, Deron Washington can dunk.  Hard.   
  • Did Tim Floyd have an ulterior motive in signing Lil Romeo to play at USC?  Demar DeRozan says hello.    
  • Billy Gillispie is considering using “special teams” in basketball for specific situations.  In Lexington, the only special teams that matter are ones that hang banners – the populace could not care less how it’s accomplished. 
  • After a 14-44 record in two seasons at the helm, Ricky Stokes was “promoted” to a position within the athletic department at East Carolina.  Mack McCarthy (309-177 at VCU and UT-Chattanooga) will take over as head coach. 
  • Doug Gottlieb gives his takes on players poised for breakout years based on his summer viewing of their pickup games.  Takeaways:  Derrick Rose, Kevin Love and DJ Augustin are the real deal. 
  • The Wages of Wins, one of our fav blogs, analyzes the impact of superstar power on winning titles in the NBA.  Conclusion:  It matters.  A lot.  We’d love to see something like this for the NCAA Tournament, especially given the knockout nature of the tourney.     
  • Finally, in the “you’re doing a great job, Brownie,” category, props to Joe Alleva for keeping his job as the Duke AD.  His accomplishments during his nine-year tenure include presiding over the worst football program in America as well as throwing his lacrosse team under the bus amidst unsubstantiated allegations.  Keep up the good work! 
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Yabba Dabba Doo…

Posted by rtmsf on August 7th, 2007

As we predicted earlier today, if any decision came from Wake this week, we figured that would mean that Ron Wellman decided that the next steward of the Demon Deacons would be one of the two assistant coaches, Dino Gaudio or Jeff Battle. Sure enough, the buzz this evening around the campus and later confirmed by Andy Katz is that Dino Gaudio has been offered a three-year contract to coach the Deacs. Exhibiting the confidence that Wellman has in him, he will not be an interim coach. A press conference has been scheduled for 11am EDT tomorrow.

Dino Flintstones

The fifty-year old coach was a head coach for seven seasons prior to his latest stint at Wake, first at Army and later at Loyola (Maryland). His record at those schools was uninspiring (68-124) for an imminent ACC coach, but this is still probably a decent hire for several reasons. First, his presence alone ensures continuity with the current players and the recruiting haul due on campus a year from now. Second, the contract is only three years, which probably mirrors the length of time that Prosser would have been given to turn the program around – if Gaudio turns out to not be the right hire, Wellman won’t have to make a large buyout in order to move forward. Finally, by keeping things “within the family,” you get the sense that Skip would have wanted this, and the WFU community should respond quite favorably in kind.

Good Luck, Dino.

Update:  Today’s press conference revealed that Gaudio has a five-year deal in place (not three years, as previously reported) to coach the Deacons.  His excitement during his introduction was apparent, and he said all the right things – commitment to defense and halfcourt execution, stress on academics, etc. – to sate the assembled media and WFU partisans.  While we ultimately feel this is a good hire, we also recognize that Gaudio has considerable work ahead of him.  He seems capable and aware, but the stress of the rigors of the ACC can wear down any coach, especially one who was content to be a high-profile assistant just two weeks ago and has had to endure a very emotional ordeal.  The 2007-08 season will be his honeymoon, but when the AT&T class arrives on campus next summer, expectations will shoot through the roof.  How he handles that class will likely act as the bellwether for his duration as head coach at the school.     

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Tuesday Thoughts…

Posted by rtmsf on August 7th, 2007

Again these are thoughts that are bouncing around in our head but are too shallow to merit a full posting…

  • Wake Forest Coaching Search.  We’re not hearing anything out of The Dash that may indicate which way Ron Wellman is leaning at this point.  Anyone who knows anything is tightlipped.  We have to believe that if his plan is to elevate assistant Dino Gaudio or Jeff Battle to the head coaching position, then it would happen this week.  No need to prolong things.  If Wake doesn’t have a new coach by Friday, however, then that indicates to us that Wellman is putting feelers out to other coaches such as Anthony Grant, Mike Montgomery and Brad Brownell to gauge their interest.  Stay tuned…
  • Chamin-awed.  We thought this was a neat find (from a neat site).  Lion in Oil reports that Chaminade University, longtime giant-killer and host of the annual Maui Invitational, is sponsoring a contest to produce a new logo for its sports teams, the Silverswords.  Might we suggest a caricature of 6’2 Chaminade guard Tim Dunham dunking in Ralph Sampson’s face as the defining moment for that school?
  • Football Players Think Bloggers are Lame.  You may have caught a recent cnnsi.com poll where they asked college football players the following question:
    •  Do you read message boards or blogs where fans discuss your team? 
    • 39.5% yes
    • 60.5% no
  • We doubt college hoopsters are any more or less savvy than their football counterparts, so we’ll assume the percentages are roughly equal for both sports.  Which is fine.  We wouldn’t want some of the guys we rip (cough, McBob) to come after us anyway.   Not because we’re afraid of him, mind you – rather, we just don’t want his unadulterated douchiness getting that close to us. 
  • Barry Bonds.   Now that the Greatest American Hero is set to spend the next week grounding out as he endeavors to assault the MLB record books one last time, we always wondered what could have been.  BB was regarded as the best all-around athlete at Junipero Serra HS in San Mateo, CA, a school with no shortage of athletes over the years (Jim Fregosi, Lynn Swann, Tom Brady).  According to his biographer Jeff Pearlman:

“Barry started as a small forward on the freshman basketball team [at Junipero Serra] that winter – a quick slasher with decent court vision, a mediocre outside shot, and no right hand to speak of.  But the athleticism was otherworldly.  Whereas many of his peers struggled to touch rim, Barry dunked and swatted shots off the backboard.  He was unlike anyone Serra had seen in years.  And this was his second best sport.” 

  • So there you have it.  Bonds was a sick athlete for a high school freshman, but unlike say, Dave Winfield or David Justice, he likely wasn’t skilled enough to ultimately become a great hoops player.  We should all be thankful for that.     
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