February 07, 2005

Awesome, baby!: The Super Bowl is over; the NHL isn't playing, and the NBA playoffs don't start for another 6 months or so. That means it's college hoops time! The stories so far: Illinois and Boston College are undefeated while traditional powers Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and Duke are all having excellent seasons. Coaches are on the hot seat at Virginia and Indiana. Some resources: Jeff Sagarin's ratings; Ken Pomeroy's site, The Mid-Majority, and Yoni Cohen's excellent College Basketball Blog. And it's never too early for Bracketology. Oh yeah....this is Rivalry Week on ESPN.

posted by mbd1 to basketball at 11:17 AM - 13 comments

Boston College is going to have a real test come tomorrow night in South Bend. While their #5 ranking is well deserved as an undefeated team, I think it's fair to say they'd be underdogs against another team from the top 10. Also, how did they avoid playing any of the top Big East teams twice...maybe the Big East was giving them an early "see you later"?

posted by YukonGold at 12:23 PM on February 07

Speaking of coaches on the hot seat, why in the hell is Herb Sendek not on such a seat right now at North Carolina State? (I mean, other than the fact that there are a couple of big money alums in his corner.)

posted by NoMich at 12:50 PM on February 07

Sendek will be on his way out, if not after this season, after the next, when he won't even have Julius Hodge to pull him out of the fire from time to time. Blogs I'd add to the list include the excellent ACC Basketblog, Dave Sez (also mostly ACC), and the very well done Big Ten Wonk, for those who still appreciate a game in the 50-pt range. mbd1: great post, thanks.

posted by tieguy at 01:41 PM on February 07

Thanks for the link mdb1. Not that I don't enjoy a good Super Bowl, but this my favorite time of the year is when the NFL comes to an end so ESPN can focus on the best sport in America: College Hoops! For those of you who are fans of the Illini (or just recent joiners of the growing bandwagon) feel free to drop by: Illini Wonk BTW tieguy, Illinois is averaging 81.5 ppg :-)

posted by illiniwonk at 02:07 PM on February 07

One big question this season for me is where the heck did the "West of the Rockies" teams disappear to? Not a single Top 10 team and for sure no #1 seeds in the bunch.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:15 PM on February 07

illiniwonk: I know, I've watched several of their games now, and they look scary good. I look forward to a UNC-Illinois matchup in the FF- I expect Illinois will be able to impose their will on UNC, but it should be interesting to watch. I'll of course be cheering for Illinois should that come to pass :) About pace and scoring :) The Big 10 has only Illinois averaging over 80 at 80.5, and the ACC has four averaging over 82. No one in the ACC averages under 70.3; 6 of 11 Big Televen teams average under 69.6. (In fact, looking at the averages, the big 12 does average more points than the big10/11.) And in conference play the numbers are worse- Illinois leads the Big 10 at 77 ppg in conference play, which would barely place them fourth in the ACC, just above Maryland. To put it another way: the highest ranked B10 team in KenPom's tempo ratings is Minnesota, in 151st. The lowest ranked ACC team is FSU at 122nd. This of course doesn't make FSU better than Minnesota, just likely more interesting (to me) to watch. I'm glad the Big 10 and Big 12 are around; their style of basketball provides for some tough, brutal (in a beautiful way) games that can be scintillating from time to time. But games between their bottom dwellers aren't (to me) as likely to be as interesting. billsaythis: I'd argue that is at least partially because in the past several years the West Coast has complained mightily about 'east coast bias' and then cratered mightily when the tourney was actually played.

posted by tieguy at 02:42 PM on February 07

Hrm, I screwed up; the highest ranked big 10 team in the tempo ratings is Iowa, at 76th. But my point still generally stands, as Minnesota is second at 151st. BTW, did anyone here watch the Grinnell game the other night? I don't think it is something I could watch night in and night out but I thought it was a blast.

posted by tieguy at 02:44 PM on February 07

Oh, and final post until someone else posts ;) I maintain an aggregator of basketball blogs here. Despite the title, it isn't particularly Duke-centric (mid-majority and big ten wonk are on it), though non-ACC blogs have a higher bar to cross to get onto it than do ACC blogs.

posted by tieguy at 02:50 PM on February 07

tieguy, There's no question that the ACC plays a more up-tempo style of play and I guess the beauty of college b-ball is there's something for everyone. I don't think that faster tempo=more interesting. For instance, seven of the top ten teams in KenPom's tempo ratings aren't even in the top 200 in offensive efficiency. Translated: that means that most of those teams will look a lot like the pick-up basketball games you see at your local YMCA. When you turn to KenPom's overall ratings, a more complete ranking of what kind of team they are, you see five Big Ten teams in the top 26. I thought the Grinnell game was one of the most painful things I've watched in my entire life. Besides, for anyone who has watched Illinois play this year, what kind of tempo ranking would list them 202nd when they average better than 81 ppg? Thanks for the thought-provoking. I hope Illini Wonk is deemed a good enough non-ACC blog to make your list.

posted by illiniwonk at 08:40 PM on February 07

Tieguy, I'm not suggesting that the voters are biased against the West. Just the opposite, they usually have two or three pretty good teams but this year none is rising above the background noise.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:47 PM on February 07

"The Super Bowl is over; the NHL isn't playing, and the NBA playoffs don't start for another 6 months or so. That means it's college hoops time!" Uh, it means that NASCAR starts next weekend, thank you very much. Oughta be a "Motorsports" tag on the SportsFilter, dontcha think?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:25 PM on February 07

Can we have a 'good motorsports' tag, for, say, Paris-Dakar and rally, and an 'all the dramatic, overhyped dreck motorsports' tag? billsaythis: I'm saying that (outside of Arizona some years) there hasn't been a powerhouse team out West in years, just lots of teams that have been overhyped by the media well out of proportion to their actual ability. This year the talent is basically the same but the hype is missing.

posted by tieguy at 11:29 PM on February 07

Arizona is going to surprise at tournament time this year.

posted by rushmc at 02:59 PM on February 08

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