Morning Five: 01.11.13 Edition
Posted by nvr1983 on January 11th, 2013
- After the RPI came out most people spent the next few days picking it apart for which teams were ranked too high and too low. Seth Davis took a different tact as he opted instead to look at which teams benefited the most from their nonconference schedule and which were hurt the most by their nonconference schedule. The results are probably about what you would expect if you pair the teams that played the toughest nonconference schedules with those that many thought were ranked too highly by the RPI and vice versa, but it does stress the point that coaches don’t seem to get–if you want to work the system you have to play good teams. When Selection Sunday rolls around don’t be surprised to see those that played tough nonconference schedules getting the benefit of the doubt over those that didn’t.
- We still have a couple of months left in the season, but Michael Rothstein is already looking forward to the National Player of the Year race and is back with his straw poll where he gets 63 individuals who have voters for the various national awards and asks them to fill out ballots. The first straw poll of the season has Mason Plumlee leading by a fairly comfortable margin. Now we are going to have a hard time ever calling someone who plays for Duke as a bit of an underdog, but coming into the season you would not have found many college basketball analysts willing to put Plumlee in the discussion of top contenders (and that is including some of the notable Duke homers), but thanks to a significantly improved game Plumlee is currently ahead of his more hyped peers. As Rothstein notes Anthony Davis was only fourth in the initial straw poll last season before running away with the award at the end of the season so there is still plenty of time (the entire conference season) for these rankings to change.
- You will not be seeing any ridiculous box scores from Grinell gunner extraordinaire Jack Taylor in the near future as he is out for the rest of the season after breaking his right radius in a game on Wednesday night. Taylor, who gained national notoriety when he scored 138 points in a single game on 52-108 from the field including 27-71 from three-point range (and having zero assists). While Taylor has not come close to that total again (the next highest in NCAA history is “only” 113 points) he was still leading the nation at 36.3 points. Fortunately for Taylor he still has at least two more years of eligibility left and although his overall professional prospects are somewhat limited he should see some action overseas if for nothing more than a marketing tool as the guy who scored 138 points in one game.
- Coming into the season most observers expected the two powerhouses on Tobacco Road to have relatively down years, but while Duke has managed to exceed expectations so far their rivals at North Carolina have continued to struggle and have failed to even live up to those lowered expectations. While there are plenty of potential explanations for why the Tar Heels have struggled so much this season Mike DeCourcy thinks three things–having talented players commit to them too early, the effect of the Kentucky recruiting monster, and the early departure of Kendall Marshall–are to blame for their struggles this season. While the last two points are things that almost everybody agrees upon (especially the Marshall point), the first reason is somewhat novel and not something I have heard others complain about although it is intriguing. Of course, given how successful the Tar Heels have been during the Roy Williams era we would not be the least bit shocked to see them in the Final Four in a few years.
- After several years of dreaming of NCAA Tournament glory-not winning it just making it–Northwestern will not have to worry about a late season collapse to keep them out of the NCAA Tournament as they have no chance of making it. However, help is on the way and it comes in the form of the individual who is probably most responsible for their disappointing play this season: JerShon Cobb. Cobb, who was suspended for the season due to a variety of issues most notably poor grades, has returned to the team, but you won’t see him leading the Wildcats against Big Ten opposition as he is only on the scout team. As much as we are interested to see what these games look like particularly if Bill Carmody lets Cobb loose. With Cobb having supposedly improved his grades and presumably taken care of whatever “team rules” issue he had, Northwestern fans have two more seasons with Cobb to look forward and dream the impossible dream–making the NCAA Tournament.