by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 21, 2005
Which of these events over the weekend should you put the least stock in…
a) Stanford loses at home to a UC Irvine team picked to finish sixth in the Big West.
b) Gonzaga struggles at home to an Idaho team picked to finish last in the WAC.
c) Michigan State gets pounded at Hawaii.
My answer is (c), mainly because weird things happen on the islands.
Over the summer, I did a crude study on home court advantage and concluded that home court advantage has as much to do with the hassles of traveling as the fervor of the fans. Going to Hawaii maximizes the non-crowd factors an opposing team deals with. The long flight and possible jet lag can have an impact, as can the distraction of a vacation-like atmosphere, and if those things don’t get you, the tropical climate will wear you out during…
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, November 18, 2005
It’s nice to have a little context to support the stats-obsessed nature of this space. With that in mind, I present another conversation with Longwood head coach Mike Gillian. Why Longwood, you might be wondering. Well, this site and Longwood basketball got notoriety at the same time and we’re growing up together in this crazy Division I world. Also, Mike is extremely accommodating, and offers more than just cliches in response to my cliche-begging questions. That, and he gratuitously plugs the stats on my site in his responses. So I can’t help but root for the Lancers, even though the path to establishing a Division I program is not a glamorous one.
Longwood begins its second season against Division I competition tonight at Nebraska. You can learn more about Longwood basketball at mikegillian.com and at the Longwood Athletics web site, which honestly looks better, is easier to navigate…
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, November 17, 2005
Before the season gets going in earnest - just about every school that has yet to play a game will play one Friday or Saturday - I have to get a couple of other sleepers on the record. Earlier in the week I mentioned Creighton and Xavier. Earlier in the off-season I gushed about Utah State. A couple more to watch: Vanderbilt and Georgetown.
Last season, Vandy was 43rd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 31st defensively. That put them 29th in adjusted pythagorean winning percentage, the highest ranked team to miss the tournament. They do suffer some losses, with the departures of three of their top six in terms of minutes played last season. The Commodores still have a nice one-two offensive punch in point guard Mario Moore and wing Shan Foster. Virginia transfer Derrick Byars gives them a shooting threat at the two.
Georgetown has been getting a…
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Today’s post is dedicated to the Mountain West Conference. The conference whose beat writers and coaches think so little of that each group voted San Diego State - a team that was somewhere around 130th to 150th best in the nation last season - the pick to win the league.
One of the many MWC mysteries is how first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik will handle his Air Force team. Last night they played Washington in a 71-possession game, losing 85-74. Last season, the fastest-paced game the Falcons played was a 66-possession contest in the MWC tourney against San Diego State.
It needs to be mentioned that Washington was the 15th fastest team last season, so the Huskies had something to do with the pace of last night’s game. And there was some late fouling which artificially inflated the tempo number. Monday’s win against Miami of Florida has alleviated some of…
by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Last night, Missouri kicked off its season with a 80-77 home loss to Sam Houston State in the first round of the Preseason NIT. You may be familiar with game theory, which has little application to college basketball. If not, don’t worry about it, because what matters to this contest is “one game theory”. That’s the idea that one shouldn’t base a judgment on a player or team on just one game because anything can happen in that small of a sample.
For instance, on December 30, 1999, a Wright State team that would eventually finish 13-18 beat Michigan State, who would win the national championship later that season.
And on November 19, 2004, Santa Clara, who finished 15-16, beat North Carolina, who would also win a title at season’s end.
Never mind that MSU played Wright State without Mateen Cleaves and UNC played Santa Clara without Ray…
by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, November 14, 2005
This weekend’s lines are chosen to give the youngsters out there some inspiration. You don’t have to be big to play big.
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Aaron Fitzgerald 25 3-6 1-2 1-1 0-1 14 1 3 1 0 8 Result: Win. UC Irvine 94, Mississippi Valley St. 40
The 6-3 Anteater point guard served up 14 assists in only 25 minutes. In fairness, it was against the Delta Devils, whom I now ban from future appearances as an opponent of the Line o’ the Night honoree.
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Mike Gansey 33 10-14 2-5 0-3 7-14 1 3 2 0 0 22 Result: Win. West Virginia 88, Louisiana Monroe 69
The 6-4 small forward not only had a nice evening shooting the…
by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, November 11, 2005
It’s going to happen.
Last season, it was Villanova. In 2004 it was Georgia Tech. Those are extreme examples from the March Madness era, but every season a few teams overcome bland pre-preseason predictions and make the post-season party, occasionally making serious noise there.
This is my attempt to discover those teams before their seasons begin. Players and fans of the two teams below surely have a warm fuzzy going into the season, but nary a media member or coach voted for them in the respective polls.
Creighton has a recent seven-year run that takes a back seat only to Gonzaga among high-mid-majors.
Season Record NCAA Seed 2005 23-11 9 2004 20-9 - 2003 29-5 6 2002 23-9 12 2001 24-8 10 2000 23-10 10 1999 22-9 10
But the fuss over the Jays is a tiny fraction of the ‘Zags because Creighton has only two tourney wins…
by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, November 10, 2005
From Andy Katz via Yoni: The NCAA will begin revealing RPI data this season, beginning in January no less. This should have been done 24 years ago when the RPI was invented, but better late than never. I can’t understand why it took until now for the NCAA to do this. As long as at-large selections have been made, the basketball committee has encouraged teams to play a tough schedule. Yet the system by which they evaluate the difficulty of a schedule has never been publicly available. Now all that changes, probably because the college basketball universe significantly misinterpreted the formula used last season due to the NCAA’s secrecy.
Line o’ the Night
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts G. McNamara, Syracuse 39 2-14 0-10 13-14 2-4 5 1 1 2 0 17
To clarify something from yesterday,…
by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, November 9, 2005
In an effort to give myself some regular material to post in this space, I’m introducing a new feature. Every day for the remainder of the season, my team of advanced scouts will be scouring the nation for notable performances. The most notable (not necessarily the best) will be mentioned here. That player’s line may provide the basis for a longer post. It may go without any additional commentary.
For the first few weeks of the season, it will be hard to find anything special out there. But as the season gets going with dozens of games each night, check this space for the best and most bizarre performances around the nation.
FG 3pt FT Reb Min M-A M-A M-A O-T A F S TO BLK Pts Ryan Rourke, Cornell 35 7-10 2-3 9-10 1-9 1 0 1 3 0 25
Today, Cornell senior Ryan Rourke gets…
by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, November 6, 2005
Conference USA has always been a little quirky. First there was the name - how could this be America’s conference when Houston was the westernmost team? Then there was the original three-division setup allowing no member of the 12-team league to have to admit they were worse than fourth.
CUSA is no less quirky under its new membership. At media day, preseason accolades were given to a player of the year, and then a list of 23 “Players to Watch” - an egalitarian club with exactly two players per team (with the exception of Southern Miss that has only one watchable player).
The two-player limit presents a problem for Memphis, where Rodney Carney and Darius Washington, Jr. made the list. Joey Dorsey was omitted and if you’re into more than sick dunks or a sweet jump shot, then Dorsey is your man. As a freshman last season, he…