North Carolina Students Devise Application To De-Vitale-ize Its National Broadcasts

Posted by KCarpenter on February 2nd, 2013

It’s a simple problem for paranoid sports fans everywhere: It’s hard to listen to commentators who clearly have it out for your team. In college basketball, among the most tribal of sports, few broadcast commentators are exempt from charges of bias or partisanship. Ignoring the issue of whether or not this is true, it is perceived to be true and therefore it is a problem for many fans. The solution to the problem of objectionable commentators has a fairly simple well-known fix: Mute the TV and put on the radio (or Internet-streaming equivalent), where you can listen to partisans who like your team as much as you do. Of course, this simple solution has it’s own simple problem: syncing the audio and video.


Vitale Not Doing It For Ya? No Problem…

Now that you’ve decoupled the two media sources, the sound doesn’t match up with the audio and getting the two to synchronize has been something of a struggle. So, for a student project, some North Carolina students wrote an application with the express purpose of making this problem simple to resolve. Now, listening to objectionable commentators is even less of an obstacle to partisan sports fans. This is a good thing for the hyper-sensitive who can’t bear to hear anyone say something critical about their team.

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Morning Five: Halloween Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2012

  1. Today is the last day of the 10th month of the year, so that means it’s time to dust off your Mike Krzyzewski wig, grab your Jim Boeheim spectacles, and throw on your Bob Huggins track suit to head out into the sinister world of All Hallows’ Eve for tricks and treats. It also means, quite obviously, that tomorrow — the , not nearly as fun All Saint’s Day — is the first day of November, and that month is when we finally stop messing around and get down to the business of for-real college basketball again. Exhibition games and secret scrimmages are coming fast and furious right now, with Opening Night (live from Germany?) only nine days away now.
  2. Here’s a treat for your Halloween morn. For anyone who considers himself a student of the game-behind-the-game world of advanced metrics, Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday released his preseason rankings of all 347 Division I basketball teams. Much like Dan Hanner’s efficiency-driven rankings that we discussed in this space yesterday, Pomeroy throws some combination of returning talent plus incoming talent into the sausage maker to determine what comes out the other end (he explains his methodology here). He quite clearly states that he recognizes the weaknesses in his system at this point of the year, so he also wrote an article explaining the various outliers — teams that might appear too high (Kentucky, Ohio State, Wisconsin, etc.) or too low (NC State, Maryland, etc.) — in his initial rankings. Perhaps the biggest outlier left unexplained in the piece is Lousville — #8 in Pomeroy but #1 or #2 in most other human polls — it’s clear that his model isn’t ready to entrust the Cardinal offense with such rarefied status just yet (he ranks it #34 nationally in offensive efficiency).
  3. While on the subject of the Cards, how about some news about college basketball’s ultimate coaching trickster, Rick Pitino? The Louisville head coach has hinted at retirement for a number of years before backing off of that sentiment recently, but news Tuesday revealed that Pitino has agreed to a five-year contract extension that will ostensibly keep him on the sidelines of the school through the 2021-22 season. Can you imagine that the wandering-eye coach whom none other than Sports Illustrated once called ‘itinerant’ because of his frequent career moves is not only entering his 11th full season in the River City, but could potentially stay there for another nine years after that? In our mind’s eye, we’ll always associate Pitino as the Boy Wonder who resurrected Kentucky from the depths of probation, but he was only in Lexington for eight seasons before alighting to the riches of the NBA. It says here that Pitino will not rest until he gets another national title so that he can permanently disassociate from his rivals down the road in Lexington — this extension gives him at least 10 more shots at it.
  4. Here’s a treat to fans everywhere tired of the seemingly endless cat-and-mouse game between coaches performing illicit activities and the NCAA’s attempts to catch them. On Tuesday, despite hell or high water, one of Mark Emmert’s key initiatives was unanimously passed by the NCAA Board of Directors — the sweeping changes to the NCAA’s enforcement and punishment structure that will go into effect on August 1, 2013, are designed to hit programs and coaches directly where it hurts — by hurting their prestige and their bank accounts. Details are too numerous to list here, but the essential premise to the changes mimics a captain-of-the-ship liability theory. A head coach will be presumed to know (or should know) what’s going on in his program, and simply sticking his head in the sand and only popping up for practices and media appearances will not be enough to protect his skin or that of his program if illicit activity (boosters, impermissible benefits, academic fraud, etc.) is happening. On paper, this sounds great — but coaches will find the gray areas and the loopholes in short order, so strong enforcement techniques are absolutely essential to this initiative’s long-term success.
  5. Finally, let’s end the month with everyone’s favorite college basketball bogeyman. We mentioned a while back that Duke has implemented iPads into its practice and training protocols by loading up playbooks, scouting report information, video footage, and a number of other relevant items on each player’s device. The school on Tuesday announced that it had taken the next step in its data automation by contracting with a company that will provide each player with his individual PER (player efficiency rating) score immediately after each practice and game. Why does this matter? Well, one of the basic tenets of active learning is to provide immediate and direct feedback in real-time — while coaches can see a lot of things, they’re going to still miss quite a bit as 10 active bodies fly around the court. This mechanism, if it works as anticipated, will allow players to know precisely the areas where they did or did not excel immediately after leaving the court. Over time, the argument goes, their efficiency should improve, which begs the question for Pomeroy and Hanner, is there a bias for schools trying to teach for the so-called test? Good grief, Charlie Brown. Happy Halloween, everyone.
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Morning Five: 09.26.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on September 26th, 2012

  1. Yesterday, the college basketball world received some excellent news when North Carolina announced that the biopsy from the surgical procedure on Roy Williams‘ right kidney came back as an oncocytoma, a relatively rare but benign tumor. Of course, there still is the issue of the unknown mass on his left kidney, which the surgical team now plans to biopsy next week. As many media outlets have reported (presumably regurgitating the UNC press release) there is a “good chance” that it will also be benign, but it is worth noting that the literature on the subject cites a 10% risk of the other kidney biopsy coming back as renal cell carcinoma, a type of malignant tumor. So while we were glad to hear the great news about Williams’ initial biopsy, we remain cautiously optimistic about next week’s procedure as well as concerned about the medical ailment that initiated the work-up that led to the discovery of his renal masses. Everyone around the college basketball community is assuredly crossing fingers for more good news out of the UNC camp next week.
  2. Despite recent news to the contrary, it’s an Apple world and the rest of us are merely technology enablers. The company well on its way to a market capitalization of a trillion dollars has invented and led the wave of iPhones, iPads, and other forms of mobile computing over the past decade. As organizations of all shapes and sizes have jumped on the user-friendly platforms to update their business models, improve outreach, and foster efficiencies, it was only a matter of time before they made their way into sports. Following the recent lead of several NFL and college football teams, Duke has now equipped all of its players with new iPads for the purposes of scheduling, statistic tracking, scouting reports and film work. Given that these are still college students who sometimes get distracted and lose things, each iPad will be equipped with tracking software that will allow those sensitive Duke game plans and evaluations of opponent tendencies to be remotely wiped clean.
  3. We don’t mean to make this an all-ACC M5 today, but it seems to be heading that way with yesterday’s news that neither the venerable old Madison Square Garden nor the spanking new Barclays Center apply to host a future ACC Tournament in the next eight years. Brett McMurphy of reported that bids for the 2016-21 ACC Tournaments came and went with no bids from a New York City venue, raising the much bigger question as to why not? We’ll delve deeper into this topic later today, but a conference tournament with Duke, Syracuse, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and a host of others wouldn’t make for a viable viewing experience in the Big Apple? Do the Barclays Center owners mean to tell us that the Atlantic 10 Tournament is a stronger draw than the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament? Something is very much off about these decisions, and we’re not sure what.
  4. It’s been enough time now since Jim Calhoun‘s retirement at Connecticut for folks to take a step back and carefully evaluate whether the way in which the legendary coach “handed” the program to assistant Kevin Ollie just a month before practice begins was the right move. It’s impossible to predict the future now any more than it was when Dean Smith pulled a similar maneuver in 1997 by leaving his bosses no choice but to hire top assistant Bill Guthridge (for all his recruiting troubles, Gut did get two teams to the Final Four in three seasons, including a 2000 squad that had no business being there). Mike DeCourcy writes that despite what Calhoun is saying about the program’s strength — all true things — Ollie is still “deficient” in coaching experience (two years as a UConn assistant) and, in the worst of all possible scenarios, could find himself in way over his head very quickly. It will certainly be an interesting season up in Storrs.
  5. It’s always preseason here in the blogosphere, and so it’s time for the myriad lists of top players, teams, coaches, and so on to begin leaking out in earnest. SBNation‘s Mike Rutherford has put together a list of the top 100 players in college basketball for the 2012-13 season, and some of his results might surprise you. Early NPOY candidate Cody Zeller is his top overall player, but a North Carolina forward who didn’t get a chance to show terribly much last year makes his top five. From a team perspective, Kentucky, Louisville, Missouri and Florida ended up with four players each on his list, with the Cards grabbing a quartet of the top 46 chosen (full disclosure: Rutherford is a Louisville guy). He writes up the top 50 and even if you don’t agree with some of his selections, just perusing through the list will no doubt get your juices flowing. Enjoy.
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