Luke Winn wrote a piece on a little-known coach named Bill Fenlon, the head man at Division III DePauw University, and you’re wondering why. Remember the flap several weeks back when the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective released its findings on 2009-10 game data that showed there is no significant difference in the coaching strategies to foul or not foul on the last possession? Well, a decade ago Fenlon did a similar analysis where he calculated the mathematical odds of fouling/not fouling while up three points with seven seconds or less left on the clock. The 2,728 word paper ultimately found that there is a 19% chance of the game going to overtime by playing strong defense; but only a 5% chance of OT if a team fouls correctly in that situation. This flies in the face of the conclustion of the HSAC study, but one possible explanation is that, due to data limitations, the HSAC had to consider all possible last possessions (rather than those with seven seconds or less). Very interesting stuff from Winn, as always.
The Summit League is planning a site visit to Great West member North Dakota during the first two days of November to assess whether the school might be a good future candidate for league expansion. This would appear to be a good fit, as North Dakota State and South Dakota State are current members of the league and South Dakota is set to join next year. Nothing like cornering the Dakota collegiate sports market! All kidding aside, there may be a conference battle brewing over the Fighting Sioux as this push by the Summit appears to be precipitated by the Big Sky’s recent interest in UND as well.
Illinois head coach Bruce Weber spent a full day last week tooling about the nation’s capital as part of his charity work for Coaches vs. Cancer and the American Cancer Society. The Illini are among the top ten fundraisers in CvC, and Weber has made a point of the maxim to “give something back” now that he has reached the upper echelon of his profession. Great to see this.
There was a time where we honestly believed that Richmond, once the darlings of the CAA, had made a mistake in joining the higher-up-the-food-chain Atlantic 10. No longer, and the reason: head coach Chris Mooney. Under the legendary Dick Tarrant and (later) John Beilein, the Spiders made six NCAA Tournaments from 1984-98 and won games as every seed from the spectrum of #12-#15 — in other words, the seeds that usually don’t win NCAA Tournament games. It took some time, but it appears that Mooney has gotten UR acclimated to the A-10 and the Spiders should be able to regularly play the role of favorite against some other future giant-killers themselves.
Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena is set to open to the public in January, but two Ducks — EJ Singler and Jeremy Jacob — took an early tour recently with goofy hardhats in tow. Place looks sick, especially the part about the highest-resolution big screen used in any arena in America. Now, if Oregon can just find some decent players in order to put fans in those plush seats and show highlights on that ridiculous jumbotron.