Three unrelated topics to start off the week…

Daneluis Part Deux

Both Dave and Yoni had some criticisms about my post on the value of Vytas Danelius to Wake Forest, citing a perfectly reasonable position that his 2003-04 numbers themselves were of little value because of his gimpy state. But there is some value in his numbers, especially when he played the most. Danelius was not affected by his injury equally throughout the year. There were times when Skip Prosser thought Danelius was worthless and did not play him at all (probably because he couldn’t walk). There were other times when the Skipster gave him big minutes, presumably because he felt Danelius was healthy enough to be valuable. We can test this theory for ourselves, comparing Danelius’ production in the games he played most to what he did in 2002-03. First, let’s look at his numbers compiled in all games each season. These are averages per 40 minutes of playing time:

        Pts.    2P%   2PA     3P%   3PA    FTA
2003    16.0   54.0   8.9    37.5   2.0    5.2
2004    13.6   35.4   7.5    37.0   4.2    5.4

Danelius ’04 became a more perimeter-oriented player. He actually shot the ball more often that he did as a sophomore, but was an anemic 35% on 2 point shots resulting in less production and a big drop in efficiency. Wake obviously needs the ’03 version of Vytas to play this year. The cool thing is we should know pretty early which one shows up. Wake opens with a quality opponent in George Washington and would get Virginia Commonwealth in the 2nd round of the Preseason NIT.

So now here is how Danelius fared in the five ACC games in which he played the most last year:

       Pts.    2P%   2PA     3P%   3PA    FTA
2004*  19.2   39.2   9.1    40.9   7.2    4.2

Danelius shot the ball more – and better – in those five games, and ultimately scored more that he did as a sophomore. The low free throw rate and poor 2 point percentage would indicate that he was still not the inside presence he was in ’03. It looks like if Danelius continues to fancy himself as a shooting guard, he’ll have little impact on the Deacons final four chances. Of course, it’s also possible that when Danelius was playing his best, his teammates were playing their worst, and that was the reason for the team’s losing record in those games. But color me skeptical.

And yes, I know that the word out of Deacon camp is that “Vytas is back baby!” However, I’ll have to see it to believe it. Fortunately, I won’t have to wait long.

The Tortoise/Hare Classic

The most underappreciated game this year will be Air Force/Lamar on December 13th in Beaumont. The reason? Lamar played at the fastest pace of any team in Division 1 and Air Force was the slowest. It’s rare that teams ranked #1 and #326 in anything face each other, so this one is interesting for me anyway. Lamar was strikingly inefficient at this pace, topping 90 points in regulation only once last season. By comparison, the 2nd fastest team in the nation, Arizona, did it 12 times. So what kind of pace might we expect in this game? Is there a tendency for this kind of game to skew slower or faster than than one would think? Stay tuned.

The Chalupa Dome

I got over corporate sponsorship of athletic facilities long ago. It’s a way to tap extra revenue, and if a school has to go in that direction, I don’t blame them. But some arenas are more tastefully named than others. Arenas named for phone companies, banks, or beverage companies aren’t a big issue for me. Two of the tackiest names that host college hoops are Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence and Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego. The fact that Jenny Craig is a person’s name cushions the blatant commercialism, but I can’t help but wonder what the concessions are like there. What? All you have to drink is Crystal Light?

A third competitor was born this summer when the BSU Pavilion in Boise became Taco Bell Arena. For some reason, attaching the name of a fast food restaurant to a facility doesn’t work for me. The thing is, Boise is a semi-regular stop for NCAA first and second round games, and it will be a host this year. It will be a challenge for whatever CBS announcer that gets that draw to say the venue with a straight face. And having 12,000 people in an enclosed area wolfing down Mexican food cannot be a good thing either.