Morning Five: 12.18.13 Edition
Posted by nvr1983 on December 18th, 2013
- Seton Hall had hit a bit of a rough patch with injuries, but got some good news when it was announced that Sterling Gibbs will only miss 1-2 weeks after hyperextending his right knee. When Gibbs went down with his injury late on Saturday, it appeared as if the Pirates’ season was about to go down in flames as the team is already playing without Fuquan Edwin (ankle) and Patrick Auda (foot). Although both are expected to be back fairly soon, the prolonged loss of Gibbs (the team’s leading scorer) would have put the Pirates in a difficult position as the entered Big East play. Now, as we mentioned on Monday, the Pirates have a soft schedule until New Year’s Eve when they travel to Providence so the timing of Gibbs’ injury appears as if it will work out well for the Pirates.
- One of the topics of discussion that has been brought back by the increased emphasis on calling fouls this season is the idea of allowing players to have six fouls before they foul out. There are plenty of reasons for it including allowing prominent players to play more minutes and allowing all players to be more aggressive because they would have more room to operate with their fouls. As Ken Pomeroy points out there is some data on this as the conferences formerly known as the Big East and the Trans America Athletic Conference allowed players to pick up six fouls before being disqualified from conference games from 1990 to 1992. Pomeroy’s research is admittedly rough (he included games where players were only allowed to pick up five fouls in games during those seasons), but there were notable increases in the fouls per games. What that means for the actual quality/level of play during the games is unclear, but perhaps a more in-depth look at those seasons and those games would give the NCAA a better idea of how such a change would play out.
- One of the teams that we had the most trouble ranking this week was Duke. It turns out that we are not alone. ESPN’s BPI has the Blue Devils ranked a surprising 31st. As they note, the Blue Devils have been rather uninspiring this season and even their wins do not appear that impressive when you ignore the names of the front of the jerseys of their opponents. We are confident that Duke will move up these rankings as the season progresses and they develop as a team, but right now they are among the many big-name teams that have not proven themselves on the ocurt.
- Speaking of polls many critics argue that they are at best useless and at worst undermine the game by focusing an inordinate amount of interest on games featuring teams in the top 25 at the expense of other teams and games. Gary Parrish is not part of that camp. In fact, Parrish says that preseason polls (widely considered the most useless of all polls) are in fact quite useful. Parrish’s methodology is a bit suspect–using the current Ken Pomeroy rankings to determine the accuracy of the preseason AP Top 25–but it does point out that these rankings can be a useful guide as to who the best teams are. We view rankings similar to the way that we look at advanced metrics–they can be used to supplement your viewing experience (or in this case guide you to the better games), but if they are your only tool then you are missing the big picture.
- Finally, as we approach the end of the year we are sure to hear about the major stories of 2013. While this season is still young one of the dominant storylines has been (and will be) that of the freshmen. Andrew Sharp notes that this is nothing new and that looking back on the arcs of past phenoms can give us some insight into the current group. The obvious college basketball example is Andrew Wiggins and while he has had his ups and downs in his brief college career that is almost always the case with players under this degree of scrutiny. And as Sharp mentions the next group of phenoms are just a few YouTube clips away.
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