Morning Five: 11.18.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on November 18th, 2011

  1. Just when the circus around Penn State was starting to calm down a little bit the college sports world appears to have an eerily similar situation at Syracuse. The basics of the story are that Bobby Davis, a former ball boy at Syracuse who is now 39 years old, has accused Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine of molesting him for more than a dozen years. It should be noted that even the strongest report of sexual abuse that we have heard out of Syracuse pale in comparison to the extent to the accusations and crimes that are now widely accepted as having happened at Penn State. Fine, who has become a fixture at Syracuse as an assistant to Jim Boeheim since Boeheim took over as head coach in 1976, has been placed on administrative leave by the school and has not commented on the accusations yet. However, Boeheim has strongly denied the accusations over the phone and in a press release issued by school. While we disagree with the tone of Boeheim’s statement (particularly the one over the phone) it should be pointed out that the local Syracuse newspaper is reporting that it looked into these claims in 2005 and could not verify any of the claims that Davis made including ones that other boys had experienced something similar as all of the people they contacted reportedly denied those claims. However, given the emotional nature that these cases can take we would caution anyone who might jump to conclusions quickly.
  2. We don’t link to rankings very often because we realize that in general they are just educated guesses at best, but very few people do them like Luke Winn. Winn, who consistently puts out some of the best content you will find, came out with his latest power rankings yesterday. We won’t even bother getting into the rankings because they are irrelevant as we already mentioned, but there is a ton of interesting statistical information and even a few amusing photos that make it worth reading every week.
  3. By now you have undoubtedly heard about the story of Arizona‘s Kevin Parrom and like rankings we normally would not link to a human interest story on Parrom because many of the details have already been published, but like Luke Winn with ranking posts few people do human interest stories like Dana O’Neil and her piece on Parrom is a great example of that. O’Neil actually does not talk to Kevin much for the article (at least for what is used in the article) and instead goes to those who are very close to him to get a good look at what he has had to endure over the past few months and what keeps him playing despite all that he has been through.
  4. We cannot remember many top-tier teams that have had to deal with as many significant injuries as early in the season as Louisville has had to deal with this year. The latest to join the walking wounded is Peyton Siva, who sprained his ankle during a practice on Monday and is listed as “day-to-day”. In the long run, it looks like this should not be a significant setback for Louisville, but could be an issue on Saturday when they take on Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Louisville should have enough to beat a Bulldog team that is not very good right now, but Siva’s injury may make them susceptible to Butler’s guards, who have been solid so far this year.
  5. Tuesday night was a historic night in college basketball as Mike Krzyzewski became the all-time wins leader for men’s Division I basketball. After the press conference, Krzyzewski went into a small room close to the court where he addressed a large group of former Duke players who had come to the game to support him in addition to a group of players who played for him on the US Olympic team. One player who was not there, but played for Krzyzewski although not in a Duke uniform was Michael Jordan, who we had always assumed had been targeted by Krzyzewski early in his career at Duke. Recruiting information from the early 1980s is sparse, but a letter appeared online yesterday that appears to have been sent from Krzyzewski to Jordan (h/t Lost Letterman for the find) after Jordan told the new Duke coach that he was not interested in playing for Duke. The letter’s content is fairly generic, but it is amusing to read now and consider what might have been if Jordan had decided to play for the other team on Tobacco Road. While we were looking this up, we noticed that Jordan’s childhood home had been sold in 1998 for $37,500 (ignore the ridiculous Zillow estimate and we are assuming there was a shift in zip code boundaries because the 28405 and 28411 zip codes are next to each other) and found it humorous that you could own the house that Jordan grew up in and the backyard court that he waged his legendary battles with his brother Larry for less than half of what you would pay for for a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card. For that price, we are surprised that some loaded foreign businessman has not bought the house and transported the entire house and yard to his or her home country as a very unique collectible.
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ACC Morning Five: 11.08.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 8th, 2011

  1. Scout – Inside Carolina: This is a terrific article on Michael Jordan‘s recruitment to North Carolina from Al Featherston. Everyone has heard about how Jordan was cut from his high school team duing his sophomore year before later etching his place in basketball history in Chapel Hill and the NBA. Jordan wasn’t actually a national prospect until Roy Williams let the cat out of the bag (first to a media friend) against Dean Smith’s wishes. It also probably helped that fellow North Carolina powers, Duke and NC State, were between coaches at that point. The story also gives an interesting look at national recruiting three decades ago, long before the Internet, when coaches basically relied on two summer camps to see the top prospects.
  2. Washington Post: It’s easy to wonder if Seth Greenberg is on the hot seat based on Virginia Tech’s recent love of the NIT-side of the NCAA Tournament bubble. But don’t forget that the year before Greenberg arrived in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech was 3-9 in the Big East, good enough for last place. He’s made the Hokies into a perennial 20-win team on the brink of its first NCAA Tournament in years. Also with the construction of a new state-of-the-art practice facility, I think Greenberg will continue to see recruiting success in southwest Virginia.
  3. USA Today: The Carrier Classic is back in the news, but this time with more philosophical questions. The game is on Veteran’s Day (this Friday), and will be played on the deck of the aircraft carrier which carried Osama Bin Laden’s body to its burial. Speaking with Islamic scholar Akbar Ahmed, Marlen Garcia cleared up any questions about insensitivity with regards to Islam. Luckily she doesn’t believe that there are any — which should allow fans to enjoy the game for what it is instead of worrying about its setting and any indirect political fallout. However, fans should worry about the weather… yes, even in San Diego.
  4. Orlando Sentinel: Florida State‘s record may be a perfect 2-0 after exhibition season, but Leonard Hamilton still has a lot of things he’d like to work on. Most notably, the turnover bug (nine in the second half of a dominating win over Georgia Southwestern) is still troubling the Seminoles, who finished ranked #311 out of 345 teams by Ken Pomeroy last season. The good news is that both Bernard James and Michael Snaer played very well, and the team’s smothering defense only allowed Georgia SW to make eleven shots from the field on four assists. There’s still definitely room for improvement, but I’m bullish (which is definitely the word of choice) on FSU coming into this year.
  5. Burlington Times News: If you can get past the terrible title pun, this article is actually informative. While initial reports had NC State’s lone senior CJ Williams out for a few weeks with a hairline fracture in his thumb, he was cleared by the doctors and suited up for the Wolfpack’s exhibition against Flagler. Williams went 2-3 from beyond the arc and dished out five dimes in an inconsistent NC State effort. The real offensive star of the game was sharp-shooter Scott Wood, who caught fire going 6-8 from downtown. NC State’s first game is at home against UNC Asheville.

And finally, in memory of one of the greatest heavyweight boxers ever, check out Mark Kram’s 1975 piece on “The Thrilla in Manilla” between Muhammad Ali and the recently-departed Joe Frazier (you can also watch the fight below). Frazier was by all accounts one of the toughest fighters who ever lived. He was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, and spent his formative years working on a farm. His professional career was headlined by three fights against Muhammad Ali. Frazier died on Monday after battling liver cancer for the last few months of his life.

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ACC Morning Five: 11.07.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on November 7th, 2011

  1. Fox Sports Carolinas: Fox Sports‘ Andrew Jones offers a throwback list of the top ten players “capable of significantly enhancing their team’s fortunes.” I only call the list throwback because Jones ignores the two extreme geographic points of the ACC (Boston College and Miami) when constructing his list. In general I agree with all of his selections, though I possibly would’ve substituted Miles Plumlee for Ryan Kelly based on recent reports. For Boston College, I would’ve chosen Danny Rubin (the most productive of the Eagles’ only three returning players), and I would choose sophomore Rion Brown for Miami.
  2. Boston Globe: Speaking of Boston College, Patrick Heckmann is hoping to make an impact on the Eagles this year, coming by way of Germany. This Globe piece gives a little insight into the recruiting world for international prospects, and Heckmann is a frosh out of Germany with a pretty unique story. He’s also a 6’6″ slasher who will get plenty of playing time for a young team. The story offers an especially interesting look at Heckmann’s decision in choosing Boston College over playing for a club team in Germany.
  3. Fayetteville Observer: Looking for more lists? Bret Strelow and Sammy Batten compiled a pretty interesting list of superlatives for ACC basketball that will definitelybe good for starting debates. Sure, Milton Jennings is a great breakout candidate and Staats Battle definitely has the coolest name in the conference, but is Andre Dawkins really the most underrated dunker? He dunks almost rarely, which makes each time feel special, but we need to see more frequency in order to garner a superlative. Also, I wonder why they chose to ask a freshman (Wake Forest’s Travis McKie) about the toughest arena. For the record he chose Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum, though this coming year will be McKie’s first trip to the unfriendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  4. TarHeelBlue.com: North Carolina and NBA legend James Worthy will be elected into the college hoops hall of fame alongside of Virginia’s Ralph Sampson. Worthy was the first overall pick of the 1982 NBA Draft, led the Tar Heels to Dean Smith’s first NCAA Championship that same year (scoring 28 points on 13-17 shooting in the championship game), and is already a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
  5. Searching For Billy Edelin and Fayetteville Observer: A couple of ACC previews and predictions with more “controversial” picks. For Nick Fasulo at Searching For Billy Edelin, the conference is down. Fasulo’s most interesting predictions come in his individual accolades, where he picked Jim Larranaga as Coach of the Year and Tyler Zeller as Player of the Year. Personally, I see Zeller as more of a complement (as he was at the end of last season), but “everything is in place for this guy. Assuming he stays healthy, there should be no [...] unexpected things to limit his production,” Fasulo tweeted. The Fayetteville Observer‘s contrary nature shows up in its projected finish: Unlike the media, the newspaper projects Virginia to finish eighth in the conference (NIT-bound), while Miami takes the fourth place spot and earns an eight-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Around the greater world of college sports, one of the most sickening alleged scandals in the history of college athletics came to light over the weekend. In a story that will turn your stomach, former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been accused of 40 crimes (21 felonies and 19 misdemeanors) involving eight sexual abuse victims who were minors at the time. The worst part is that the PSU athletic department reportedly knew about some of the crimes and never reported them to the proper authorities despite extensive discussions internally. While the article is tough to read, Sara Ganim of The Patriot News does a great job breaking down the details of the case. As of today, Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley has been placed on administrative leave and Senior Vice President for business and finance Gary Schultz has stepped down (both have been accused of perjury), but I’d be surprised if the punishments end here based on the heinous nature of these allegations.

Picture of the Day:

Len Bias Posts Up Michael Jordan in 1984. (Manny Millan/SI) h/t SI Photo Blog

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20 Questions: Who is the Best Defensive Player in College Basketball?

Posted by dnspewak on November 1st, 2011

Danny Spewak is the RTC correspondent for the Sun Belt Conference and a Big 12 microsite staffer.  

Question: Who is the Best Defensive Player in College Basketball?

Measuring the top defender is a near-impossible task in almost every sport. Offensively, you’re golden once you take a few glances at the right statistics. The top quarterbacks in the NFL throw the most touchdowns and complete the most passes; the top players in college basketball score the most points and make the most shots; and the top hitters in baseball collect the most hits and drive in the most runs. It’s a a very simplistic way to look at the world, of course. But it’s true. Arguing who the best offensive players are in every sport, including college basketball, are easy, straightforward discussions.

But defense? That’s a whole other story. Do you measure the top defenders by blocks? Steals? Or is it deflections, opponent’s field goal percentage or some other hidden statistic only understood by sabermaticians?

The point is, selecting the nation’s top defender is a subjective task based on a variety of criteria. Most of all, it’s based on the individual impressions we form of players as we watch them compete, whether live or on television. For example, the statistics showed that Jimmer Fredette led the NCAA in scoring last season and shot 40 percent from behind the arc. But Old Dominion’s Kent Bazemore won the Defensive Player of the Year award but did not even finish in the top 15 nationally in steals per game.

Taylor Draws the Toughest Assignment Each and Every Night

ODU’s Bazemore is certainly a candidate for this honor again, but we’re going to go in a different direction here. Our choice for the best defensive player in the country is Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor, a 6’7” forward with a multitude of assets on both ends of the floor. In his three years at Vandy, Taylor has gotten the opportunity to shut down players as varied as Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks, South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Missouri’s Kim English, and many others. He has proven that he won’t back down from any defensive challenge, and he’s got the strength and versatility to match up with any collegiate position Kevin Stallings needs covered.

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The “Secret” Scrimmage Schedule and The Best Games We Won’t See

Posted by KCarpenter on October 27th, 2011

College basketball teams play each other before the season starts. It’s not really a secret. Over the years it’s become increasingly public knowledge that teams will often travel to other schools to test their mettle in private, away from the prying eyes of the curious public and hungry media. It makes sense, and I think it’s kind of a great thing. Wouldn’t you want your team to play a game in private before you took to a big public stage? I know I would. Jeff Goodman has rounded up a list of these private scrimmages and there are more than a few ACC teams taking part.

Georgetown And North Carolina Played An Amazing Game in 2007 And An Even Better One In 1982. Who Wouldn't Want to See Them Play in 2011?

Friday, October 28
East Carolina at North Carolina State.

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ACC Morning Five: Columbus Day Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 10th, 2011

  1. Boston Globe – Conference realignment gets old really quickly, but the Globe’s piece on the politicking that went on related to the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse is a must-read. We’ll certainly have more analysis up on the piece later in the day, but suffice it to say Boston College’s Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo went out of his way to shoot Connecticut down, and even has a quote about ESPN being behind everything. Conspiracy theorists unite!
  2. Charlotte Observer – Unfortunately, the rumors are true and Michael Jordan will not be North Carolina’s honorary captain for the Carrier Classic. However, Jordan’s college teammate James Worthy will be joining fellow Laker great Magic Johnson to celebrate their respective alma maters in the first of what is to become an annual event. Jordan told Roy Williams he has a personal conflict he can’t escape, but Worthy is certainly a fine replacement. He played on the 1982 championship squad with Jordan before having his jersey retired to the rafters of the Dean Dome. The game is set for November 11 in San Diego.
  3. Raleigh News and Observer – Speaking of conference realignment, Scott Fowler got hold of ACC Commissioner John Swofford to talk about the recent alignment news. An interesting tidbit from the article is that while Swofford was playing football for North Carolina, South Carolina dropped out of the ACC, leaving the conference with only seven members. With the additions of Pitt and Syracuse, the conference is up to a whopping 14 members and still maintains the intentionally ambiguous assertion that the ACC “is not philosophically opposed to going to 16 [teams].” Let’s just hope that the conference may not be philosophically opposed but is opposed in practice, as 16 teams would make college basketball scheduling a lopsided disaster.
  4. Winston Salem JournalJeff Bzdelik is doing his best to restore enthusiasm for Wake Forest‘s program. This year for Black and Gold Madness he’s tapping into the rich resources of basketball alumni like Chris Paul, Randolph Childress, Tim Duncan and Josh Howard to play in an alumni game with Duncan and Howard coaching. “We invited everybody who ever wore a uniform,” Bzdelik said to emphasize the importance of all Wake Forest alumni. The Demon Deacons have already picked up one recruit this month. Hopefully events like this will help refill the talent over the next couple of years in Winston-Salem.
  5. The ChronicleDuke‘s student paper is the latest to do an in-depth look at the school’s compliance staff, leading me to believe college students are reading each other’s newspapers (relatively unlikely) or compliance staff members are easy interviews to get. All joking aside, this is another valuable look at the people behind one of the most critical parts of an athletic department that usually only brings bad news to fans.Author’s Note: the above link is for the fourth and final part of the series, but has links to the other three parts.
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Morning Five: 10.10.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on October 10th, 2011

  1. With the start of the college basketball season rapidly approaching one of the hot topics has been the upcoming Carrier Classic, which nearly every fan of college basketball would love to go to. Apparently, Michael Jordan is not among them as the UNC great has decided to back out of his position as honorary captain for the Tar Heels due to a prior commitment. He will be replaced by his former Tar Heel teammate James Worthy, who will be met on the opposing side by his former Los Angeles Laker teammate Magic Johnson, who will be serving as honorary captain of Michigan State. We are sure that Jordan has a valid excuse, but given his prior history of missing major ceremonies, we are surprised that someone hasn’t come out with some ridiculous conspiracy theory on what Jordan is doing instead.
  2. Suspended Florida forward Cody Larson got a bit of good news on Friday when a South Dakota court ruled that he will not have to serve jail time for the misdemeanor charges related to his arrest in April. Larson could have served jail time for violating probation from a prior arrest in high school where he was charged with illegal use and possession of Hydrocodone. Instead, the court ruled that Larson will have another 120-day suspended jail sentence, serve another 2 years of probation, and complete a community service requirement (tell local high school basketball teams about his experiences). So if you are scoring at home he violated his probation and was given the same sentence with the only addition being talking to local basketball teams. Let’s hear it for the American legal system…
  3. Speaking of the American legal system, a group of Memphis season ticket holders received a $100,000 out-of-court settlement from Derrick Rose, John Calipari, and the current athletic director after threatening the trio with a lawsuit for making their 2009-2010 season tickets worth less than they otherwise would have been. The claims are based on the assertion that the ruling against the program stemming from Rose’s reportedly invalid SAT score devalued the Memphis season tickets. The entire lawsuit seems ridiculous (our legal expert may chime in later), but I guess when you make the kind of money that Rose and Calipari make it might be worth it to pay the money to get the season ticket holders to stop bothering them.
  4. The ACC’s currently announced expansion plans have widely been portrayed as a move that was made to bolster the conference’s basketball, but Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo insists that isn’t the case and that football money was the driving force. While that is the lede the more interesting part of this article is that DeFilippo claims that BC blocked Connecticut‘s inclusion (free registration) and cites comments made in 2005 as part of the reasoning. This seems ridiculous particularly since the lawsuit brought in 2005 attempting to block BC from leaving the Big East to join the ACC was brought by UConn and Pittsburgh, whom BC apparently had no problem letting in the ACC. Basically what it appears to come down to is that BC felt more threatened by UConn encroaching on its Northeastern territory than they did with either Pittsburgh or Syracuse. If this is true, we are kind of surprised that BC has that much sway in the ACC.
  5. While the ACC and nearly every other conference appears to be fixated on conference expansion, the Big Ten is not one of those conferences. At least that is what current commissioner Jim Delany said on Friday. We are usually skeptical of these type of claims, but to their credit we are not aware of any rumors of the Big Ten going after any team and we have actually heard that they have turned down a few potentially interested schools. As we have said before we are getting to the point of exhaustion with these expansion rumors, but now that we are getting to the point where a conference announcing that it is not looking to expand becomes news we are hoping that we are nearing the conclusion although we doubt it.
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ACC Morning Five: 10.07.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on October 7th, 2011

  1. USA Today: Marien Garcia talked with Roy Williams and Tyler Zeller about North Carolina‘s upcoming game on the aircraft carrier against Michigan State. Williams sounded excited about the game, though it definitely sounds like he expects a few early game jitters from the environment. Zeller indirectly supported Williams’ thoughts, wondering how the boat’s movement would affect shooting. Magic Johnson has confirmed his role as honorary captain for the Spartans, while rumor has it that Michael Jordan may be wavering on his commitment to attend on behalf of the Tar Heels.
  2. Raleigh News and Observer – ACC Now: Rejoice NC State fans! Alumnus Sidney Lowe has already landed on his feet (not counting the million dollar check he’ll be receiving from the Wolfpack athletic department). Lowe was hired by the Utah Jazz as an assistant coach. Lowe’s departure was a double-edged sword: on the one hand his team’s performances and lack of NCAA Tournament invitations mandated his dismissal; on the other Lowe has a lot of history with the program, which made the parting more than a little bittersweet.
  3. Baltimore Sun – Recruiting Report: Matt Bracken profiles Syracuse sophomore CJ Fair, focusing on his rollercoaster recruitment. While Fair played a more limited role for the Orange last season, Jim Boeheim expects him to take on more responsibility for this year’s team. But the coach’s praise didn’t stop there: “But he’s on a tremendous path. I think he can be a dominant player before he leaves here.”
  4. Washington Post – Terrapins Insider: Maryland freshman Alex Len still hasn’t been cleared to play by the NCAA. This isn’t very surprising as Len signed very recently (August) and is from overseas. In other news Mark Turgeon expressed his excitement to play Mike Brey and Notre Dame in the BB&T Classic this fall: “Mike was on the staff at Duke when I played in the Final Four [in 1986 with Kansas]. I lost when I played, but we won the next time…”
  5. The Heights: A new student group at Boston College, Donahue’s Disciples, is out to generate more student enthusiasm for Eagle home games. Having attended a couple of games in Conte Forum, Ryan Dunn and his friends have a lot of work to do. Both games sported a half-empty student section, and the only real noise came from the band (for the record one of these games was a crucial NCAA Tournament bubble game against Virginia Tech). Donahue’s Disciples have some good ideas to get students involved: namely, free food and possibly a three-on-three basketball tournament. The official Donahue Disciple twitter account is @BookOfDonahue, which is already up to 189 followers.
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Welcome to the ACC Microsite!

Posted by rtmsf on October 3rd, 2011

The ACC.

To most American sports fans, the mere mention of those two words conjures up immediate images of Michael Jordan from the baseline, Christian Laettner from the top of the key, Jim Valvano searching for a hug, Dean Smith calling for the four corners, and Mike Krzyzewski collecting rings like a Kardashian at Tiffany’s.  The ACC, perhaps more than any other conference in our lifetime, defines college basketball.  The cultural affinity for the sport down on Tobacco Road and beyond is only rivaled by the SEC’s obsession with the pigskin, and with the recent additions of hoops powerhouses Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the mix, the league stands to become even stronger.  It only makes sense that we would begin our power conference microsite roll-out focused on the league with the most history, tradition and passion for the game.

The ACC microsite is intended to focus exclusively on the stories coming out of the league on a daily basis.  Our two staffers, Matt Patton (@rise_and_fire) and Kellen Carpenter (@kellenlc), are talented and knowledgeable ACC insiders who plan on bringing you thoughtful commentary, analysis and criticism on a regular basis.  Get to know them at Twitter or you can contact them directly by clicking on their names.

Welcome to the next phase in the living history of RTC, the ACC microsite.

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Alpha Dogs, Traffic Jams, and Derrick Williams

Posted by KCarpenter on February 10th, 2011

While we love to celebrate teamwork in college basketball, the truth is that the individual is much more fun. Balanced scoring is fine and tactically sound, but what we really love in college basketball is the virtuoso offensive performance, or as it is called in 2011, the Jimmer. And while the three-headed Devil from Durham may have won last season, perhaps this season, the one man show is back in style.  It’s Michael Jordan’s fault, really. His competitive nature and unbelievable personal narcissism motivated him to incredible heights and made him largely unbearable to most of his contemporaries. His success provided a model for greatness that was easy to recognize and hard to argue with. There are lots of different names for the Jordan model, but Bill Simmons’ version is probably the best known: The Alpha Dog.

Yeah, It's Safe to Call MJ an Alpha Dog

Simmons didn’t invent the concept or the term: lots of analysts, sportswriters, announcers and coaches have described the alpha dog model in one way or another over the years. The gist of it is this: A team needs an undisputed leader. The alpha dog is the go-to-guy on offense and is the guy who takes the game-winning shots. To win championships, you need an alpha dog. Jordan was an alpha dog (at least for the Bulls if not for North Carolina), and he is the primary reason his team won championships. Despite being a team game, you need an alpha dog to win, to demand the right to take the last shot. Guys who pass up the last shot aren’t alpha dogs: they are losers. At least, that’s the catechism. However, in the grand world of Simmon-isms, there may be another theory at play.

Specifically, I’m talking about the Ewing Theory, which in short, postulates that sometimes a team will play better without its star player, that the team will transcend the individual. Does this contradict the Alpha Dog theory? Well then it contradicts the Alpha Dog theory. Simmons, like Walt Whitman, contains multitudes. In any case, the Sports Guy has lots of examples, and anecdotally, lots of folks have seen this with their own eyes and believe it. It’s not too hard to imagine a scenario where this makes sense. The star is a volume scorer and fairly inefficient, and when the star is out of the game, the other players get more shots and more efficient shots. This is fairly intuitive and you can see the principle in action every Kentucky game. Terrence Jones is a sensational basketball player and undoubtedly incredibly skilled. That said, he is the fifth most efficient scorer on the team, but takes 30.5% of the shots. If he took fewer shots and his teammates took more, the team’s offensive efficiency would go up.

At Ohio State, Jared Sullinger uses, by far, the most possessions in each game, and for the most part, that’s fine. Sullinger is an incredibly efficient scorer with an offensive rating of 123.6 (points per hundred possessions). That said, Sullinger’s teammate Jon Diebler has an insane offensive rating of 139.1 and yet uses only 12.5% of Ohio State’s possessions. If I were to pretend you were naive here, you would then ask why Ohio State isn’t constantly feeding Jon Diebler. Fortunately, you aren’t naive and you understand that efficency is fleeting. Or if not exactly fleeting, curved.

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Morning Five: 02.03.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on February 3rd, 2011

  1. We are normally fans of Seth Davis, but we have to strongly disagree with him on his response to Jake from Seattle (scroll down), though we would have accepted an answer that Jake was using the improper jargon and the appropriate phrase is “rush the court.” Ok, all kidding aside, Seth has a solid column (again) with some good stuff about all the questions surrounding Ohio State (have to go back a page from the original link). Still, we think it is worthwhile pointing out that, despite our name, we don’t think the actual act is necessary all the time, and that it should only be done at rare and appropriate times. We feel so strongly about this that we even wrote a post about it. That said, we do agree with Seth’s point that crowds need to be aware of their surroundings and watch for others around them as I witnessed at the only true RTC of which this author has ever been a part. The Providence fans were very courteous in letting me move to the side to avoid being trampled by the onslaught so I could get a better angle to report on it when I joined the students on the floor (see pics in the link above — apologies for the poor formating which is the result of some old audio files that seem to be missing).
  2. Even though most people know Ken Pomeroy for his site and its rankings he also writes an interesting blog. A lot of the time his posts are about analyzing some new statistic, but he recently had an engaging post questioning how the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee should determine how it picks the at-large teams. It is worth a read and raises the question as to whether those involved with selecting the field should allow their personal viewing experience to influence who gets into the field. In an ideal world they would not, but then they’d be left without a way to understand basketball, which I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t want to have as a characteristic of the people who determine which teams make the field.
  3. Someone mentioned a few days ago that people would start jumping on the UNC bandwagon pretty soon, and after the Tar Heels blew out the Eagles in Chestnut Hill it looks as though that was quite prescient as some people in the North Carolina media are starting to buy into the Heels even if many of their readers aren’t (see the comments in that link). It will be interesting to see if the media can convince themselves that UNC could actually play with their rivals a few miles down the road. We know that CBS will certainly be hyping it up like that, especially for a certain primetime game, but we still aren’t sure how many will actually try to get on the bandwagon as well.
  4. We are a college basketball site, but we would be remiss not to offer a tip of the hat to Bob Hurley Sr. for winning his 1,000th game as a high school basketball coach. While some may argue that his son Bobby — the point guard on the back-to-back NCAA championship teams at Duke and still the NCAA record holder for assists in a career — is more well-known, it is his father who has impacted more lives, having sent countless players to college on scholarship or improved their lives through basketball. Hurley Sr. is the 10th high school coach to reach the 1,000 win milestone and is already pointing toward 100 more. Personally, we would like to see him out there for 1,000 more.
  5. Speaking of well-known father-son combinations, Gonzaga has one in John Stockton and his son David Stockton. All right, maybe the father is a little more well-known than the son in this case. You all know about John’s accomplishments, but you are probably less familiar with David, who joined the Gonzaga team earlier this season as a freshman walk-on. Much like Jeff Jordan, the son of Michael Jordan (the man who prevented David’s father from winning a NBA championship ring) who was given a scholarship after walking on, David also received news that he too had been given a scholarship. For Mark Few‘s sake, we hope that David stays at Gonzaga longer than Jeff did at Illinois.
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Morning Five: 12.02.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 2nd, 2010

  1. In an odd story involving Michael Jordan and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame located in Raleigh, the GOAT will be inducted into his home state’s hall at a public ceremony in Charlotte during halftime of the Bobcats-Raptors game on December 14.  So… why did it take so long?  After all, the 47-year old superstar  has been off the court since 2003 and was elected to the big-boy Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.  Apparently the problem is that the NC Hall requires its selections to actually be present when they’re inducted, and for a number of reasons, neither MJ or the institution have been able to work out an appropriate time over the last seventeen years.  Yeah, since 1993.  Something tells us that Jordan didn’t really have his local HOF high on the priority list, but if the North Carolina  Sports HOF was willing to come to wherever he is — remember, he’s majority owner of the Bobcats now — why wasn’t this done before now?
  2. Mike DeCourcy doesn’t come out and say it, but… the NCAA Board of Directors is run by college presidents, and the college presidents also control the BCS.  The BCS folks don’t like nor want johnny-come-latelies such as TCU knocking on the door of their national championship football showcase, so does Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s eligibility finding really surprise anyone?  After all, without Newton in the lineup at the SEC Championship this coming weekend, Auburn might lose; and if Auburn loses, we’d be left with a probable Oregon-TCU matchup that nobody would watch.  Enes Kanter’s eligibility may not feel insignificant in Lexington, but he’s small potatoes compared to the masters of the sporting universe interested in (and possibly involved) in Newton’s eligibility (that said, we actually think Kanter will be able to play this season on appeal).
  3. With UCLA visiting Kansas tonight at Allen Fieldhouse and Kentucky visiting North Carolina on Saturday, four of the top six college basketball programs of all-time will be playing each other in the next few days.  No disrespect to Tom Crean’s Indiana Hoosiers, but we’d rather have seen Duke play Michigan State anyway in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last night.  Here’s a look at how the Kansas players are feeling in anticipating their contest with the Bruins — even though UCLA has been down a bit, the tradition and names on the front of these jerseys always inspires excitement in these kinds of games: even when down, they’re never down for long (although IU is making us worry).  Also, seeing the top-ranked UCLA class of 2008 written out and discussed as it is in that piece inspires another query: worst top-ranked recruiting class of all-time?
  4. Horrible news for Bradley as the team has decided to sit preseason all-MVC guard Sam Maniscalco for the rest of the season.  He had surgery over the summer to remove bone spurs in his ankle, but he’s been playing with continued pain in the joint and his effectiveness has been limited over the first six games of the season (10/4 on 33% shooting compared to 13/3 on 47%).  The senior will apply for a medical redshirt and we hope he gets it.  Bradley is currently 4-2 on the year, but they’ve already lost two starters to injury and the MVC looks like a one-bid league again — not a good scenario.
  5. Here’s an interesting story from the New York Post about the decline in the Big Apple’s long-standing status as a hotbed for elite hoops talent.  The article probes a number of possible reasons, most interesting of which is the concept of democratizing the “New York game” worldwide.  The point that really hits home, though, is that the best current born-and-bred New Yorker playing in the NBA is probably Sebastian Telfair, a player whose talent and skill set never came close to matching his ridiculous hype.  Telfair is currently a backup point guard for the horrendous Minnesota Timberwolves, averaging a pedestrian 8.4 PPG and 4.3 APG in just under 25 minutes per game.  Another interesting factoid: there was only one New Yorker among the 27 players receiving votes for the 2010-11 AP All-America team — Mr. 105, Villanova’s Corey Fisher, who grew up in the Bronx.
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