ACC Game On: 12.19.11 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on December 19th, 2011

After a week that featured only a single game, this weekend worked out pretty well for the ACC. Of the nine games played over the course of the weekend, all but one of them was a victory. The exception? North Carolina State‘s loss against top-ranked Syracuse. While Syracuse pulled away at the end of the game, the Wolfpack still managed to hang for most of the game, showing some real moxie in their biggest game to date.  Now, however, most teams enter into one of the odder stages of the college basketball schedule: the soft end of the non-conference schedule. While some teams still have a few tough tune-ups leading up to conference play, this stretch of games features some of the most lopsided games these teams will see all season. Still, there’s something to be said for blowouts: most folks who make predictive basketball models find big wins against inferior opponents to be more informative in terms of a team’s future performance than a close win against a roughly equal foe. Seeing who takes care of business and who stumbles could provide some critical insight into the  future fortunes of these teams.

Gottfried's Team Played #1 Syracuse Tough, But Couldn't Hang for 40 Minutes

If I Had To Pick One

  • North Florida at Virginia Tech at 7:00 PM on

Let me be frank, none of these matchups tonight should be very competitive, but if I had to pick one of these games to watch for an upset, it would be this one. North Florida is one of the most battle-tested teams in the country, having already played Alabama, Florida, Miami, Ohio State, and Kansas State. All of these games were losses, but North Florida managed to take Kansas State to overtime, and they are not going to be fazed or starstruck playing the Hokies. They will come in prepared and ready to challenge. Virginia Tech is dominant in every possible comparison or matchup between the two teams, but UNF’s ability to play capable defense and their experience against big-time competition gives them an outside shot at upsetting the potentially rusty Hokies, who haven’t played against a tough opponent since December 4.

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The Argument for the 96 Team Tournament? 31 Fewer Hot Seats

Posted by nvr1983 on March 16th, 2010

Since the whispers started about the NCAA expanding March Madness to 96 teams opinion on the issue has been divided into camps: the traditionalists (bloggers) and the radicals (coaches). Wait a minute. What?!? Yes. That’s right. Bloggers want to stay old school and coaches want to throw a wrench into the established system. . .

While coaches like to pontificate about expanding tournament to let more “deserving” teams in and give more players a chance to play in March Madness it is pretty clear to most neutral observers that the real motive is quite clear–keeping their jobs. With the recent spate of firings the coaches will continue to lobby hard for expansion. Since the season ended just a few days ago the list of coaching unemployed has grown to 6 coaches (and growing. . .):

  • Ernie Kent, Oregon (235-173 overall, 16-16 this season)
  • Jeff Lebo, Auburn (96-93, 15-17)
  • Todd Lickliter, Iowa (38-58, 10-22)
  • Bobby Lutz, Charlotte (218-158, 19-12)
  • Bob Nash, Hawaii (34-56, 10-20)
  • Kirk Speraw, UCF (279-233, 15-17)

Although a NCAA Tournament bid would not have guaranteed that these coaches kept their jobs, it would have most likely kept the boosters off their backs for some more time. And that’s all that a coach wants, right? Another year or two to collect a paycheck doing a substandard job and hoping to reach the longevity bonuses before they decide to get the booster funded golden parachute. Basically think of a college basketball version of investment bankers wanting to tweak the scoring metrics (adjust earnings in that case) to make themselves look better. Everyone knows how that turned out for the financial markets and the entire country.

Credit: Joel Pett (Lexington Herald-Leader)

You may see some familiar faces in the unemployment line

Now you’re probably asking yourself why the big-name coaches would care and that is a perfectly reasonable question with a perfectly reasonable answer. While the Mike Krzyzewskis and Jim Boeheims of the college basketball world will never have to worry about getting fired they have are plenty of their friends who are not quite as successful and that is not even talking about the dying branches on their coaching tree. Let’s take a look at some of their most famous branches:

  • Krzyzewski: Mike Brey, Tommy Amaker, Quin Snyder, Tim O’Toole, Bob Bender, Chuck Swenson, Mike Dement, and David Henderson
  • Boeheim: Rick Pitino, Tim Welsh, Louis Orr, Wayne Morgan, and Ralph Willard

Outside of Brey and Pitino that is a pretty mediocre group of coaches. Some of the others have had a modicum of success too, but overall that group has used more than its fair share of U-Haul trucks. And if the coaches don’t get their way they might be following in the footsteps of the late ODB.

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