Morning Five: 02.17.11 EditionPosted by nvr1983 on February 17th, 2011
- We link to Seth Davis a lot not just because we like him, but also because he always comes out with quality content. Yesterday’s mailbag is no exception, as Seth takes a look at how previous national champions did in the often cited Strength of Schedule metric. The answer may surprise you, although we would argue that the SOS reflects the conference that the team plays in rather than the quality of the team itself. Personally I would be interested in seeing how national championship teams were rated by various computer ranking systems entering the NCAA Tournament. [Ed. Note: We should get one of our minions on that immediately.] He also takes a look at Alabama‘s NCAA Tournament chances, the problems on and off the court in Illinois, and why Wisconsin is unable to attract highly rated recruits.
- Many of you will remember that Wildcat star freshman/antagonist DeMarcus Cousins was subjected to numerous phone call/messages after his cell phone number was leaked to the public prior to last season’s Kentucky–Mississippi State game. Cousins responded by dropping 19-14-3 while taunting the MSU fans. This season it appears that Wildcats fans returned the favor by calling Bulldog forward/malcontent Renardo Sidney incessantly in the days leading up to the game. Sidney had a solid if unspectacular game (11 points and 8 rebounds) in a six-point loss. It is worth noting that, until recently, Sidney had his cell phone number posted on his Facebook page that was open to the public, which I pointed out to another one of the co-editors here as being absurdly naive.
- With all the geographic rivalries picking up (particularly with the emergence of all these inter-conference “challenges”) there remain a handful of local match-ups that we would love to see happen. One of the most enticing would be a potential Indiana–Louisville match-up, since we are sure that fans in the area (the schools are about a two hour drive apart) would be more than able to fill either team’s arena to capacity. When asked about the possibility of this happening, Indiana coach Tom Crean seemed receptive to the idea, but said that it wouldn’t happen next season. With the Hoosiers rebuilding and the Cardinals remaining competitive in the Big East, it would probably be best for Crean to reload with talented recruits before broaching the subject with Rick Pitino, but when they finally sign a deal we imagine that those tickets will sell out very quickly.
- As we approach March Madness most college basketball fans will be looking for an under-the-radar star. With the growth of the Internet we already know all about Jimmer Fredette and, to a lesser extent, Kawhi Leonard, who in the past might have filled that role. Surprisingly, this year that role might fall on Arizona star Derrick Williams who, despite having an exceptional freshman season playing for one of the premier programs in the country and leading the top team in the Pac-10, is probably less well-known nationally than the other two (the comparatively dull name undoubtedly plays at least a small role). While Williams still puts up great numbers, his game has also matured as he has learned when and how to take over games. If Williams and the Wildcats continue to play the way they have lately, you’ll be hearing a lot about Williams and his game in the next month.
- Finally, even though most of us are getting ready for the NCAA Tournament, the end of the season also has a downside — all the firings. While there are certainly going to be a number of prime positions opening up over the next month or two, we think one of the more interesting ones may be in Utah where current coach Jim Boylen appears to be a lame duck, as the local media assert. In addition to the Utes’ lackluster record (both overall and against BYU), the team has also struggled to attract fans to The Huntsman Center which is certainly galling to the Utah administration, who are subjected to hearing the local and national media banter about “Jimmer-mania”. While Utah is unlikely to return to the heights that it saw when Rick Majerus roamed the sidelines and the local Marriott, it remains one of the premier programs in the Rocky Mountain region and should be a prized step-up for many successful mid-major coaches.