Morning Five: 01.21.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on January 21st, 2014


  1. Coming into the season we would have thought that a prolonged absence for DaJuan Coleman would be a significant blow to Syracuse and it still might be, but after their performance in the past six games (five of which Coleman has missed) we are not so sure. We will find out over the rest of the season if we were right initially as Coleman will undergo surgery on an injured leg and miss the rest of the season. Fortunately the Orange already have five games of experience without Coleman this season and they have a potentially serviceable three-man rotation on the inside (Christmas, Keita, and Roberson), but Coleman’s absence will cost them some depth on the inside as the season goes along particularly if one of the other three is injured or gets in early foul trouble.
  2. Despite battling injury issues lately Michigan State has been able to reel off 10 straight wins since their surprising loss at home against North Carolina. It appears that they will have to wait at least one more game before they can get their full team back on the court as the school has said that it is doubtful that Adreian Payne will play in tonight’s game against Indiana. Tonight’s meeting is actually the second meeting between these two teams this season as they already played in Bloomington on January 4 in a game that the Spartans won 73-56. Payne is currently recovering from a sprained foot and is “sort of day-to-day” according to Tom Izzo, but as you would expect they will not be taking any chances on Payne at this point unless he is 100%.
  3. Over the weekend (and coinciding with the 40th anniversary of its historic upset of UCLA to end the latter’s 88-game winning streak), Notre Dame inducted Digger Phelps into its Ring of Honor. Phelps, who is best known to this generation for coordinating his highlighter and tie on ESPN GameDay, went 393-197 in his 20 seasons at South Bend including seven wins against #1-ranked teams. Phelps, who spent part of this off-season being treated for bladder cancer (unrelated to his prior prostate cancer) and has reportedly been given a clean bill of health, was introduced by his longtime GameDay colleague Rece Davis.
  4. Although there are a lot of issues around how the NCAA determines eligibility that need to be worked on, but as Myron Medcalf points out the one safeguard that is available is the junior college route, which many current Division I players have found to be very useful. It goes without saying that many players who go through this system tend to have some red flags that scare off some programs just based on the fact that they have to go the junior college route. Those coaches who avoid players from this route do so at their own peril because although the high school recruiting battles win the headlines before the season many times a seasoned junior college player can make a significant contribution too.
  5. One of the challenges in using traditional advanced metrics is that they can make it difficult to truly assess a team when it loses a key player. Standard ranking systems are not perfect either, but they usually adapt more quickly by raising or dropping a team in the rankings based on their more recent performance. There is a way around this with advanced metrics, but it requires a quite a bit of additional groundwork. Fortunately, Dan Hanner is up to the task with his two-part post (part 1 and part 2) looking at how various teams have reacted to the losses of top players. In general the results are about what you would expect, but in a few cases teams have actually performed better. Now a lot of those surprises can be attributed to small sample sizes, but they are worth following.
nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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