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Scanning the Nation Notebook – January 14, 2015

by - Published January 14, 2015 in Columns
glatczak

Some college basketball thoughts as we approach the middle of January, conference play is in full session and the chase for NCAA Tournament berths starts to pick up steam:

  • VCU is not a perfect team-it’s still not great in the half court offensively-so maybe this will matter in the NCAA Tournament or maybe it won’t, but there are few teams that are more battle-tested so far this year. The Rams’ most recent win at Rhode Island adds to a stable of quality conquests already. VCU had already won at Cincinnati and Illinois State and defeated Tennessee and Oregon at neutral sites. Eight of its 17 games have been at road/neutral sites, and sure enough, it’s next two are as well (tricky-but-winnable ones at Duquesne and Saint Louis). Few teams can also say they’ve played 10 of their 17 games so far against the RPI top 100. With George Washington struggling for offensive consistency and Dayton playing well but still low on depth, the Rams are still the clear favorites in the Atlantic 10.

… Continue Reading

The Morning Dish – Monday, January 5, 2014

by - Published January 5, 2015 in The Morning Dish
hoopguy-yellow

On Sunday morning, basketball didn’t feel so important. Deep down, I knew this could come any day, as he had fought a courageous battle with cancer for several years, but waking up to find out that Stuart Scott had passed away still stunk. It was still hard to take. And watching the nearly 15-minute video that ESPN put together about his life – with Robin Roberts narrating – as well as his speech at the ESPYs last year didn’t make it any better.

It all just drove home how he touched so many of us and how much he’ll be missed. Even my wife, who is not nearly as sports-oriented as yours truly, was touched by it all.

… Continue Reading

2013-14 Pac-12 Post-Mortem

by - Published May 7, 2014 in Columns, Conference Notes
pac12

For the Pac-12, the 2013-14 season was a rebound from a stretch of so-so seasons. Six teams made the NCAA Tournament, with three reaching the Sweet 16. A record eight teams won at least 20 games. As a whole, the conference was as competitive as it’s ever been, with five teams tying for third place.

And yet, if you think the Pac-12 has entered some new halcyon days, you might want to stop right there. The conference is in a bit of flux right now, especially when you look at the coaching ranks and, correspondingly, how teams are trending.

… Continue Reading

Health Comes Before Hoops

by - Published April 18, 2011 in Full Court Sprints

BASELINE TO BASELINE

Go coast to coast with a roundup of news from across the nation.

When forward Emmanuel Negedu transferred to New Mexico, he figured he had a fresh start ahead after heart problems at Tennessee. While with the Volunteers, he entered a sudden cardiac arrest in 2009. He had the all-clear to play, barring any more bad news. But more bad news struck in December 2010 when he a bad reading on a defibrillator, according to Diamond Leung of ESPN.com’s “College Basketball Nation” blog. And that means Negedu’s playing career is through, though he’ll remain on scholarship to complete his degree as a Lobo.

Washington State fans are holding their breath that Klay Thompson won’t follow junior DeAngelo Casto to the NBA after the Cougar forward announced that he’ll enter the draft and hire an agent, according to the Associated Press. Casto was Wazzu’s top big man last season, with 12 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

In addition to losing Josh Selby and the Morris brothers to the NBA and Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar and Mario Little to graduation, Kansas will be without guard Royce Woolridge, who announced he is transferring, according to the Associated Press. Woolridge said he wants more playing time, which he apparently isn’t convinced he’d get in Lawrence despite the roster turnover.

In other transfer news, Loyola Chicago is getting some Big Ten talent in Iowa guard Cully Payne, who will have three years of remaining eligibility, according to ESPN Chicago’s Scott Powers. And sparingly used forward J.J. Richardson is leaving Pittsburgh in search of a better fit, according to the Associated Press.

On the flip side, the Jayhawks could be on the receiving end of a transfer if La Salle’s Aaric Murray picks Kansas over West Virginia. According to Jon Rothstein, the sophomore big man is leaving the Explorers for one of those destinations after averaging 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this past season.

Miami’s coaching search continues, writes the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman, as new athletic director Shawn Eichorst talked to Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter about the position. Eichorst has connections to the state after coming to Miami from Wisconsin, where he was an associate athletic director at the school.

Whoever ends up in south Florida as the Hurricanes’ coach might not bring highly regarded recruit Bishop Daniels to Coral Gables. According to Barry Jackson’s “Sports Buzz” blog at Miami Herald.com, Daniels wants a release from his letter of intent so that he can choose Tennessee or Rutgers. Given that the Scarlet Knights are the only team of the three with a returning coaching staff, that could bode well for Mike Rice’s squad.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

You’ve got to feel for New Mexico’s Emmanuel Negedu.

The Lobos sophomore overcame the scare of a cardiac arrest at Tennessee and found a fresh start in Albuquerque. New Mexico is one of the top programs of the Mountain West Conference, especially with BYU bolting for the West Coast Conference.

But it just wasn’t in the cards for Negedu to make an impact on the court. A bad reading on a defibrillator means team doctors won’t clear him to play ever again. It’s just too risky.

Although Negedu must manage his condition carefully, his life is still full of opportunity. The Lobos intend to keep Negedu on scholarship, which will give him the opportunity to earn his degree as a Lobo. And if Negedu has interest in contributing to team activities, the squad should be able to find an off-court role for him.

For players gifted enough to earn a Division I scholarship, the concept of imminent mortality might not be an everyday realization. But Negedu now has a perspective that gives him the opportunity to keep his teammates grounded in the face of adversity and focused on greater goals.

And that’s a perspective that could allow Negedu to make an on-court impact vicariously through the rest of the Lobos.

NIT Semifinal Games Are Another Study in Contrasts

by - Published March 30, 2011 in Columns

NEW YORK – “Déjà vu all over again,” to quote a wise sage. The NIT semifinal doubleheader was similar to the semis of the recently completed Newark Regional in the NCAA. Washington State versus Wichita state was a one-sided rout devoid of ties or lead changes. Following that, Alabama and Colorado saw five ties, nine lead changes and an SEC team emerge victorious in a game not settled until the final shot.

 

A tempo-free look follows.

… Continue Reading

Pac-10 Player Rankings 2.0

by - Published December 19, 2010 in Columns

In recent weeks, the Pac-10 has fallen on some tough times. The conference’s 10 teams have dropped 18 games this month, including an 0-2 record against Montana.

One cause for the recent struggles has been poor guard play. Of the six power conferences, the Pac-10’s guards already had the lowest average Total Impact Quotient of 6.2. In the past three weeks, that rating has fallen to 5.8. The Pac-10’s best guard, Trent Lockett, wouldn’t rank in the Big East’s top six.

So with conference play quickly approaching, look for the teams with the steadiest guards to have an advantage. That means Washington State could be poised to surprise some people, with Marcus Capers and Klay Thompson leading the way. The two Cougars are right behind Lockett in TIQ rankings among Pac-10 guards. … Continue Reading

Strong Panthers Win Legends Classic

by - Published December 3, 2008 in Columns

NEWARK, N.J. – Over the years I have maintained an interest in the statistical analysis of basketball. Today the term “tempo-free stats” is the hot terminology used by those breaking down numbers. Tempo-free is self-explanatory. It provides a number that can assess a team or performer whether said team walks the ball up the floor or pushes it to a track meet pace.

Points per possession – simply, points divided by possessions – gives us a good read on a team. For instance, a team giving up 60 points per game may or may not be a great defensive team, but one playing a “shorter” game with fewer possessions so the point totals will be lower.

Today we multiply the points per possession by 100 to give us a workable number called efficiency. Outside of efficiency, possessions or their number tell us something about a team. And a possession is defined as what you do until you lose the ball. Shoot, miss and get your rebound and you are on the same possession.

All of this brings us to the Legends Classic and its champion, Pittsburgh. Their performance over the two-day event at the Prudential Center is a perfect background in discussing tempo-free statistics.

Pitt captured the Legends Classic by defeating Texas Tech in the semifinal and Washington State in the championship. The tournament, played at the Prudential Center, not only gave the Panthers another trophy and legitimized their ranking, but drove home a crucial point: they can beat you at your pace or theirs.

Before moving on let’s look at the basic formula:

Possessions = Field Goals Attempted + (Free Throws Attempted * .475) – Offensive rebounds + Turnovers

(The .475 multiplier was derived through research by Ken Pomeroy. This allows for possessions that end with one free throw taken on a one and one and is well over 90% accurate.)

Points/Possession = PPP. Multiply this figure by 100 to arrive at efficiency.

Facing Texas Tech, Jamie Dixon’s club went up against a team that pushed the ball and had the green light on three-point attempts. Washington State, on the other hand, favors a slower half-court pace and is much more methodical. Pitt handled both challenges in impressive fashion. A tempo-free look at both contests:

Semifinal     Score     Efficiency
Pitt     80     105
Texas Tech     67     88

(76 possessions)

Final     Score     Efficiency
Pitt     57     97
Washington State     43     73

(59 possessions)

The tempo free breakdown gives a graphic illustration of the difference of Pitt’s opposition game plans in the two games. A 76-possession game is quite fast. On the other hand the 59 possession contest is more on the pedestrian side. One thing that was consistent was the Panther defense. Holding an opponent under 100 is good, under 90 is outstanding.

Another point to consider is Pitt faced quality teams on both nights. As Jamie Dixon said after the final, “I would be really surprised if any of these teams were not playing in the NCAA tournament in March.”

Semifinals
Washington State 63, Mississippi State 52
Pitt 80, Texas Tech 67

Consolation
TexasTech 77, Mississippi State 73

Final:
Pitt 57, Washington State 43

Mississippi State finished 0-2 dropping decisions to Washington State in the semis and Texas Tech in the consolation. The trip, though, was not without reward. “We played two very good teams these two days,” said Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury. “We grew up a bit in a lot of areas. With time and experience we will get better but we definitely took a lot of positives from this tournament.”

One area where Stansbury wants improvement is on the free throw line. “We shot 17 of 31 in the Texas Tech game,” he said. “You just cannot shoot like that and hope to beat a good team.” Another area was the broken plays. “We just had too many possessions on defense where they (Texas Tech) used up a lot of the shot clock,” he said, “and right at the end we fouled and bailed them out.”

Texas Tech coach Pat Knight was pleased after the consolation. Not just in getting the W, but in his team’s confidence. “I was worried coming into the tournament,” he said. “Last year we got down at Texas A&M and Kansas and our pride was challenged we gave up. We got absolutely drilled. This time if we got down we responded. We proved over these two days that we can compete with anybody.”

Knight noted that the morning after the Pitt game the Tech trainer was busy tending to bruises and minor injuries. “That’s good, I told my kids,” Knight said. “Pitt is tough and coming out a little banged up shows we competed.”

Pitt mentor Jamie Dixon took time to comment on MVP Sam Young following the championship. The versatile Pitt senior was lethal from the perimeter or going to the basket. “He was a late bloomer in basketball,” Dixon said of Young. “He looked at the NBA draft last spring and decided to stay. He’s even a better player than last year. He came to us at Pitt as a five (center) and just worked on his game. He literally sleeps in the gym.”

Washington State coach Tony Bennett said Pitt reminds him of a team he sees at least twice a year, the UCLA Bruins. Shouldn’t be a surprise as Ben Howland put his mark on the Panther program before doing the same in Westwood. “Pitt , like UCLA , has size is very physical and protects the paint.” In fact Bennett sees a shift taking place in the Pac 10. “You have guys like (Ben) Howland, Tim Floyd at USC, now Mike Montgomery in at Cal, Herb Sendek at Arizona State all come in and start to turn this into more of a half court league. There’s talent but the league is more suited to tournament basketball. If you can execute half court you have a better chance of succeeding in (post season) tournament play.”

Final quote: “Pitt does not give up easy stuff. I say our kids reached a new level of fatigue tonight.” – WSU coach Tony Bennett

Tournament MVP: Sam Young, Pitt – 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists in championship.

All-Tournament:
Trevor Cook, Texas Tech – 24 in semifinal vs. Pitt
Kodi Augustus, Mississippi State – Double-digit scoring both nights.
Klay Thompson, Washington State – 19 pts in semifinal win.
DeJuan Blair, Pitt – 15 points, 11 boards in semis

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Saturday Notes – January 31, 2015

February 1, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

We look back at quite a day of action, featuring a number of great matchups that mostly led to great games. Unfortunately, there was some terrible news that came later in the day.

Saturday Notes – January 24, 2015

January 25, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

This Saturday didn’t have quite the marquee matchups as a week earlier, but there were some important ones, especially with teams in the middle of a few conferences trying to separate themselves from the pack.

Saturday notes – January 17, 2015

January 18, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

High school games may have grabbed a lot of attention, but there were plenty of college games as well. Most results weren’t surprising, but were well worth looking at some notes on, and we do that here.

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Recruiting Coverage

2015 Boston Winter Invitational: What to expect

January 23, 2015 by

hoopguy-divisionII

The Boston Winter Invitational is coming up on Sunday at UMass-Boston. Here is a look at some of what to expect in the four prep school games that are on the schedule.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Monday notes

January 21, 2015 by

hoophall

Monday was the big day despite having just five games, as all were big matchups and most were nationally televised. There was plenty of talent in these games, and some big names played well.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Sunday notes

January 19, 2015 by

hoophall

It was a bad weather day outside, but fortunately we play the games indoors. Prep schools took center stage on a busy Sunday with some good talent and good games all the way to the end.

2015 Spalding Hoophall Classic – Saturday notes

January 18, 2015 by

hoophall

The Spalding Hoophall Classic picked up on Saturday, with a few good games, a couple of blowouts, then the best game of the day at the end. There was also plenty of good talent in each game.

2015 Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic – Sunday notes

January 14, 2015 by

author_kasiecki

Sunday was the day for a trip a little down the road from Saturday’s destination to check out some prep school action. We take a look at some notes from the day’s games in the Hoop Dreams Mag Prep Classic.

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.