Sean Williams is done for the season and his career at Boston College is over. He was apparently content to put in a half-season of work to make his case for NBA GM’s. BC’s loss is our gain – we now will get a better idea of what he really meant to them defensively. The rest of BC’s schedule is brutal, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the Eagles’ defensive numbers from here on out. There’s probably a bit riding on Williams’ draft stock as a result.

Also, file this away – even with Williams there was the potential that BC would have been favored in only 4 of its last 11 conference games. That’s how brutal their schedule is. Regardless of how important he was to that team, it’s likely his effect will be overstated in the coming weeks if people don’t take into account the ramping up of the schedule.

The up-and-coming-team-that-I don’t-mean-to-jinx…of the week…is Indiana. The kind of run they have put together over their past four games, all easy wins, coupled with a nice showing in Columbus immediately before that says they’re probably a really good team. And they’ve made the adjustment to Kelvin Sampson rather quickly and surprisingly effectively. They’re more balanced offensively – last Saturday’s game against all-zone Penn State notwithstanding – and more effective on the boards. This is the Sampson recipe for deep tourney runs. I think we’ve figured out that UCLA, UNC, Wisconsin, and Florida are the elite teams right now. But the Hoosiers are making a strong case to be in the group after that.

Now to the mail.


We’re having some lengthy debates over on on which conference is the best.

A lot of the people over there are convinced that the Pac 10 is the best, however, your ratings have them ranked as the 5th best conference, while the conference I believe to be the best (the ACC) is in fact rated 1st.  Do you think these ratings are accurate?  Could you possibly discuss which conferences are the best in one of your upcoming blogs, please?  Thanks


You know, I’ve never really been interested in which conference is the best. Mainly because you can develop any criteria you want to prove which one of three or four conferences is king. My system orders conferences by the average rating of the teams, so in that sense I feel that it’s accurate. I also recognize that nobody’s going to defend their conference by saying “our average team is better than yours!”

That said, I am befuddled by the anointing of the Pac-10 as the nation’s best. I can explain the ACC’s lack of respect this way – Duke is actually underrated, even by Vitale! And the rest of good teams are non-traditional winners. NC State and Wake are at the bottom of the conference, and it’s up to the Techs and Clemson and Florida State to carry the conference honor. You can’t expect people to adjust to that.

But all in all, there isn’t much difference between the best and seventh-best conference. Where there is a difference is between the 15th and 16th best conferences. Seriously, it’s light years between the CAA and Mid-Con. One of the stories at the conference level is not the parity, but that we seem to be developing a 1-A and 1-AA system in the sport.


Can we get a Maarty Update…love the info on your site.


All I have to say is that without Maarty, there is no Aaron Brooks. Maarty is doing what he does – complement the scorers on offense, rebound like a maniac, and try to play some position D. And yes, I agree with you that Maarty has accomplished enough so that he need only be referred to by his first name.


Texas A&M has managed to climb the polls, as any team that doesn’t lose is likely to.  A look at their record shows that they’ve lost to their only really solid opponents – UCLA and LSU.  Are they for real?  Or is this a case of pundits justifying a team by its losses instead of its wins (see also, Gonzaga last year)?

Cheers, and keep up the good work



A 3OT win with 2 starters on the bench, our point guard and our best defender. I think the cowboys are showing that we have not hit the metaphorical wall just yet. And while we stumbled big at Kansas, Coach Sutton has regrouped and led our team against a tough conference opponent in Texas.


These two e-mails provide the introduction for the Game of the Weekend: Oklahoma State at Texas A&M. Check your local listings. It’s the Overrated vs. the Unknown.

Let’s start with the Aggies, who haven’t been getting it done of late – especially when it comes to forcing turnovers. (The national average is around 22%.)

Opponent     Def TO%
Kansas St.    16.7
Baylor        19.1
Colorado      18.7

I don’t mind judging a team on quality losses, but I also don’t mind judging a team on lackluster wins. Each of these games individually is not a big deal, but collectively when you almost give one away against K-State, and don’t put Baylor and Colorado away until the closing minutes, some skepticism is warranted.

Game Plan suggests that forcing turnovers is vital to the Aggie D. Oklahoma State, like the teams above, can be in the giving mood from time to time. If the trend continues, we may have an interesting game on our hands.

As for Oklahoma State, Tuesday’s game of the year basically gave us this data point: OSU at home equals Texas on the road. That, to me, is not compelling evidence of a top ten team.

And to be clear about last week’s post, I don’t think the Cowboys are hitting a wall. But that’s the story that will be written by those who miss that luck and schedule caught up with them. An ice storm last weekend and Mario Boggan’s 3-pointer (by a 16% 3-point shooter) at the end of the 55th minute on Tuesday may have delayed the fake wall stories from being written. An improvement in their play may delay them permanently. But the Pokes do have two choices at this moment: improve or face consequences. With improvement they may be able to steal one on Saturday.

Statistical footnote: Boggan held a distinction before the Texas game that puts his offensive dominance thus far in perspective. He had taken over 30% of his teams shots while on the floor and had an eFG% of over 60%. The only other 30/60 guys through last weekend were Fazekas, Maric, and D. Cook. No player finished in that club last season, and 2 years ago the only members were Bogut and Funk.