Who Won the Week? All of Us, Each of Us…Posted by rtmsf on November 2nd, 2012
Who Won the Week? is a regular column that will outline and discuss three winners and losers from the previous week (note: this week’s edition is abridged because, well, nothing has happened yet). The author of this column is Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker), an Oregon-based sportswriter best known for his willingness to drive anywhere to watch a basketball game.
Excitement is different in November. Kind of like March, everyone thinks they still have a shot at the title, but it’s more pure and innocent because nobody’s expectations have been tempered yet. More than 300 schools’ fans are thinking “This is going to be our year,” and most of them even believe it. We’re a week away from real basketball, and it’s time to debut our Winners and Losers of the Week, which will appear every Friday (life willing).
WINNER: All of Us, Each of Us
It’s college basketball season again, you guys! We get to celebrate our teams, our conferences, our sport — and if you’re reading this, we get to get in on the ground floor of the season. Come this time next week, we’ll all be engrossed in the first non-conference games of 2012-13. At least for a night, it won’t matter that there’s only one Top 25 matchup going on. We have our sport back.
(Related losers: NBA fans, because they’re missing out.)
The Bruins continue to be in limbo in regards to the nation’s top recruit, Shabazz Muhammad, who signed with coach Ben Howland under, shall we say, shoe-spicious circumstances. The longer this draws on, the more likely it is that we never see Muhammad in a UCLA uniform, and if we do, we will likely not see him at his best. He’s already burned through most of his allotted practice time with the team during the NCAA’s eligibility holding pattern, and a shoulder injury will likely rob him of the rest of that time to meld with his teammates. Yes, the Bruins got Kyle Anderson eligible, which is a nice consolation prize, but their ability to get back to the Final Four rests on the (currently injured) shoulders of Muhammad. If he’s not out there, UCLA’s not elite.
(Related winners: The Pac-12, elite teams, UCLA’s non-conference opponents. Related losers: The NCAA, for hanging the Bruins out to dry about a decision they likely could have made months ago.)
WINNER: Stat Junkies
For years, tempo-free fans have been able to enjoy the fruits of the labor of Ken Pomeroy, whose kenpom.com is a must-use for deeper college basketball analysis. The otherwise-mysterious man from Utah has had the market mostly cornered for years, but Dan Hanner of Basketball Prospectus is now using Pomeroy’s work, with tweaks, as the basis to evaluate what to expect for 2012-13. The end result for Hanner? Indiana’s on top. Run the Floor did a bunch of work I didn’t want to do and stacked the two rankings against one another, and time will tell which one’s system will end up more accurate. (Don’t judge it off one season though, as tempting as that is, as it’s not enough of a sample size to get rid of the statistical noise.) But knowledge is power, and there’s knowledge coming from Pomeroy and Hanner that you won’t find elsewhere.
(Related losers: The RPI, I guess; it’s not like it’s going anywhere though.)