Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on November 4th, 2015
- Duke opened its exhibition season last Friday by beating Florida Southern, 112-68, in a match-up of the 2015 Division I and Division II national champions. This is the seventh consecutive year that the Blue Devils have played the defending Division II champion, a tradition that Moccasins’ head coach Mike Donnelly greatly appreciated. He said, after the game: “This game was a lot of fun for us. It is terrific for college basketball at our level, and for the kids it is a great experience. I hope that they [Duke] keep doing it because it is great for everyone involved.” As for Duke’s high-profile group of incoming freshmen, they were led by Derryck Thornton, who notched 22 points and shot 4-of-7 on threes. The Blue Devils’ veteran bigs also had their way with the smaller Mocs, as Marshall Plumlee and Amile Jefferson combined for 27 points (on 11-of-13 shooting) and 21 rebounds in 39 total minutes.
- Defending ACC champion Notre Dame also tipped off its preseason schedule with an 87-56 victory over the NAIA’s Saint Francis (IL) last Friday. Twelve different players saw at least 10 minutes of action for the Irish, which dominated the boards (+22 rebound edge) in this game. Mike Brey was particularly happy with the way his team defended, saying, “Yeah we should be able to guard, we got more wingspan in there in the starting group and ball pressure. It’s unbelievable what it does and we’ve got guys who can get out in the passing lanes and do things.” The Irish forced 18 turnovers and held the Fighting Saints to 36.5 percent field goal shooting.
- It’s been a rough preseason off the floor for Louisville, so Rick Pitino probably enjoyed having a chance to concentrate solely on basketball for a change, as his Cardinals defeated Bellarmine (KY), 71-55, on Saturday afternoon. The Knights, ranked No. 4 in the preseason Division II NABC Poll, only trailed Louisville by six at the half and drew high praise from Pitino after the game. Louisville’s defense was a pleasant surprise, leading Pitino to comment that he “learned we are further along defensively than I thought. Holding a great shooting and passing team to 32 percent from the field and 22 percent on three-point shooting is excellent for the initial outing.” Sophomore point guard Quentin Snider came off the bench and was impressive with eight assists versus only one turnover in 27 minutes of action.
- Syracuse fans can’t be criticized for holding their breath whenever the Orange takes on Division II Le Moyne in an exhibition game. It was just six years ago that the Dolphins pulled the stunner, knocking off a preseason ranked Syracuse squad in the Carrier Dome. There were no such worries on Monday evening, as the Orange took care of business against the small crosstown school in a convincing 97-58 win. Michael Gbinije, who got the start at point guard over Kaleb Joseph, led the way for Jim Boeheim’s team with 21 points and four assists. All eyes in the building were on returning center Dajuan Coleman, suiting up for his first game since January 2014. The big guy delivered an encouraging performance, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
- Florida State was also in action on Monday night and looked rather impressive in its 114-68 blowout of Lynn University, a good Florida-based Division II program. Seven Seminoles scored in double figures, led by senior guard Devon Bookert, who tallied 19 points and made three of his five attempts from three-point range. The four newcomers on the perimeter — JuCo transfer Benji Bell and freshmen Dwayne Bacon, Terance Mann and Malik Beasley — combined for 49 points on 20-of-30 shooting from the floor. This could be Leonard Hamilton’s deepest and most athletic team in many years, which may translate into a group that plays the kind of stingy defense that Florida State was known for during its four-year stretch of NCAA appearances from 2009-12. The Seminoles held Lynn to a frigid 29.3 percent shooting from the field.
Posted by nvr1983 on January 21st, 2014
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.