Morning Five: 03.14.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 14th, 2012

  1. The big news yesterday was the announcement by Syracuse that starting center Fab Melo would not participate in the NCAA Tournament due to issues with his eligibility. Although the school did not openly admit as much, word has come out that it was due to Melo not being academically eligible, which should not be news to anybody since he missed three games earlier this season while trying to rectify the matter. Most people expect Melo to declare for the draft, which prompted ESPN host Ryan Burr to tweet out a plea for Nerlens Noel to come to Syracuse to fill Melo’s spot next season, which may wind up being a NCAA violation. And of course there is the report from Jeff Goodman that the NCAA is looking at Melo’s schoolwork, which doesn’t sound promising. Overall, it was a pretty bad day for Syracuse fans.
  2. Everybody knows about Anthony Davis, but as Luke Winn points out there is more to Kentucky‘s defense than just the #1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. As we noted yesterday, Winn tends to delve into fairly advanced statistical analysis, but may be the best in the business at making it accessible to those who are less inclined to look at these type of stats. The radar plot of the #1 and #2 seeds is particularly useful and illustrates the shortcomings of the top seeds although the data points on a certain #1 certain seed will need to be adjusted after yesterday’s events.
  3. Despite a tumultuous few weeks, UCLA decided to bring Ben Howland for at least one more year. For his part, Howland reiterated his love for the program and he would work hard to make it improve (what else did you expect him to say?). With an incoming class that should be solid, but probably won’t be as loaded as some might have expected before the Shabazz Muhammad-financial adviser scandal. Still with the incoming talent and the talent he already has the Bruins should be expected to compete at the top of the Pac-12 next season.
  4. Three other coaches were not as fortunate as Howland and ended up getting their pink slips. The most well-known name was Matt Doherty, who was fired by Southern Methodist after going 80-109 in six seasons. The former Tar Heel coach was not the only coach fired as South Carolina fired Darrin Horn (60-63 in four seasons) while Samford fired Jimmy Tillette (229-219 in 15 seasons). Interestingly, from the reports we have seen Tillette’s firing appears to have been the most confrontational. While Doherty is by far the biggest name thanks to his time in Chapel Hill, Horn has actually gone the furthest in the NCAA Tournament out of the three as he made the Sweet Sixteen in his last year at Western Kentucky before leaving the school. We have not heard any word on who these schools are pursuing, but we suspect all three of the coaches will wind up on their feet somewhere particularly Horn, who was one of the hottest coaches in the country just four years ago.
  5. His father is one of the most famous names in high school basketball and his brother is still the NCAA’s all-time assist leader, but Dan Hurley appears to be making a name for himself at Wagner and others including Rhode Island have taken notice. Yesterday, news broke that Rhode Island had asked for and been granted permission to speak with Hurley about potentially becoming their next head coach. From the look of things at Wagner, this does not appear to be Dan living off the family name either as he has completely turned around the Wagner basketball program taking a team that was 5-26 the year before he was hired to 25-5 in just two season. A move to Rhode Island would be the next step for someone who appears to be one of the rising stars in college basketball.
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Behind the Numbers: Slow and Steady and Sometimes Weird

Posted by KCarpenter on January 26th, 2011

Kellen Carpenter is an RTC contributor.

This is my favorite part of the college basketball season. Everything is more certain, yet still mutable: we know where things stand, but for most, it’s not too late for a strong push to finish the season. We don’t have to rely on pre-season guesswork or early returns: we have an idea of the mettle of most teams. The hype around fall flavors like Kansas State has been forgotten, and instead, we now read up on San Diego State. Here is the part of the season where we have taken stock of the landscape, the prologue is over, and now, we get to the good stuff: the build-up to conference championships and March confrontations.  That said, the landscape of college basketball is as interesting as it’s ever been. It would be wrong of us to move along too quickly without stopping to admire some of the interesting and stylistically odd teams that this season has given us. And speaking of moving too quickly, let’s take some time to look at some of the more interesting slow-as-Christmas teams in the country.

Ryan's System Works For Him

In Madison, they are, as always, playing Bo Ryan’s brand of basketball, but this year the team has achieved a special level of Ryan-ness. With an emphasis on fundamentals, this Wisconsin team is the pride of sanctimonious gym teachers across this fair land. The team rarely ever turns the ball over, easily leading the nation by surrendering the ball only 13.5% of the time. As a team, the Badgers are the best free throw shooting team in the nation, making 81.9% of their free throws. With those two distinctions, Wisconsin is now, if it wasn’t already, officially, the epitome of dad-basketball across the nation. Unfortunately, the meticulous style of play also means that Wisconsin leads the nation in one more category: slowest pace. The Badgers average 58 father-pleasing possessions a game.

At Samford, they are playing slowly as well, and while the style of play isn’t exactly dad-pleasing, it’s certainly interesting. It’s mostly confusing, but technically superlative in quite a few ways. Samford leads the nation in assist-to-field-goal ratio, which may or may not mean anything. They also easily lead the nation in proportion of three point shots taken, shooting 56.1% of their shots from beyond the arc. They are also the worst team in the nation at offensive rebounding, grabbing only 19.1% of available boards. I have not seen Samford play, but from the numbers I’m picking up on the kind of mad-genius idea that few coaches and teams have the stomach to implement.

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Morning Five: 01.25.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 25th, 2010

  1. Thoughts and prayers from the RTC family to Samford head coach Jimmy Tillette, who collapsed on the bench Saturday during a game versus UNC-Greensboro.  He was in the process of being airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham Sunday afternoon, and was in stable condition, so that’s good to hear.
  2. You may have heard about this on Saturday, but Michigan’s Manny Harris was held out of the Wolverines’ game against Purdue by John Beilein for “unsportsmanlike conduct” during a practice last week.  Of course, Michigan got rung up by the Boilermakers without Harris in the lineup on Saturday, but what did he do?  Word out of Ann Arbor is that he may be held out of the Michigan State rivalry game on Tuesday night as well, which suggests a fairly serious offense (beyond throwing a wayward elbow, per a UM message board).  For what it’s worth, Fab Fiver Jimmy King says that he doesn’t know the specifics, but that Harris needs “to understand that the coach is the man and ultimately you’re the player so you can’t go against the coach regardless if you feel you’re right.”  That sounds fairly specific to us, and suggests a lot Harris did something more than throw a ‘bow.
  3. Tyshawn Taylor got himself into more Facebook hot water last week after posting that he wanted to transfer out of Kansas last Wednesday night (if anyone has a screenshot of this, send it to us).  His FB account was deleted soon thereafter, and Bill Self spent part of his Friday press conference refusing to talk about it.  Whatever the case, Taylor put up numbers of 7/5 in thirteen minutes of action against Iowa State on Saturday.
  4. So what’s wrong with North Carolina?  BP says it comes down to their three-point shooting and defense.  The three-point shooting is understandable, as Will Graves appears to be the only reliable threat from distance, but the defense is a little perplexing given all the size and length there is on that team.  Maybe Roy should consider actually slowing the game down a bit to utilize his interior strength?
  5. That rule about the invisible charge-restriction area under the basket?  The NCAA Coordinator of Officiating, John Adams, thinks it’s working fine.  We absolutely agree that the Shane Battier Rule is a great thing for the game, but we’re not still not clear on why we can’t just put a dotted line down there to make it clearer where the zone starts and ends.
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