"I love it that Ivy League coaches are coming to our camp and Big Ten coaches are coming to our camp. South Florida is coming. We've got about 70 schools that are coming to our camp."
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I knooowww you belooooong to soooooomebody neeeeww.
But toniiiiiight you belooooong to me.
Is the state of Michigan driving kids away from in-state schools? This year Tom Izzo rode an easy bracket to a Final Four appearance with a down-year team, then put together a very good recruiting class, even if his top target went to Purdue. Since he really has no need to make excuses at the moment, his friends are doing it for him. Before the tournament it was "Tom Izzo doesn't cheat but everyone else does." Which is generally true—on a scale of "Look at our shiny Tommy Amaker" to "Ridin' this Calipari" MSU is definitely near the Amaker extremity of programs that regulate that stuff as best they can (nobody, including Michigan, would stand up to scrutiny, nor should).
The latest non-excuse excuse is MHSAA's arcane rule drives top 150 talent out of the state of Michigan, and thus away from the in-state schools. An article by Graham Couch—
Hey where are you going? Stop. At least see where I'm going with this. Yes the Couch article was exactly the paragon of crappy slappy journalism you'd expect from one of the worst journalists of my generation. He interviewed a couple of Detroit high school basketball coaches about the "parasitic" effect of AAU and national prep powers—as if anyone but the in-state schools would be helped if Miles Bridges was forced to live in Flint rather than a prep school down the street from Marshall University.
But that doesn't preclude a possibly real effect of talent leaving the state (and not looking back) due to overly stringent rules put in place by the body that controls high school athletics.
Couch cares because Michigan State in basketball is like an SEC football school (minus the cheating), in that their historical success is tied to proximity to talent. If the state of Michigan is systemically exporting more talent than it's bringing in, that's bad for the in-state schools. However if one program is suffering from greater national vagrancy because it's built on recruiting in-state talent and doesn't know how to compete for regional and extra-regional players, that's just that program falling behind the times.
Are more basketball players playing elsewhere in general? Is this state different somehow? I realized I didn't have a study to link to show this, so I made one.
And found M and MSU are getting less in-statey:
Bentley has a list of all Michigan basketball players except for 2008 (I added). For Michigan State I could only find a list of letterwinners, so I compared just Michigan's varsity:
A lot of wiggle: This isn't like football where there's over 100 players on each roster; if three freshmen from a prep school decide to attend the same college you'll get a big jump on the graph above.
There are two major national events responsible for two huge dips: World War II (1942-1945), and the implementation of Title IX, which regulations were promulgated in 1974 and clarified in 1979. The "three-part test" comes from '79, and it's from then through '82 that the three-part standards, e.g. having as many girls on official athletic rosters as boys, truly went into effect.
That said, there's a historical mean of around 50% in-state for Michigan and about 60% for Michigan State—not enough difference on a squad of 16 players to make a difference. Both schools have recently gone more out-of-state, Michigan to a much greater degree.
What about the Wolverines?
[Hit the jump]
The out-of-state proportion is at historic high, but only because Beiein's been doing a lot of next-state-over recruiting—Indiana, Ohio, Ontario, etc.:
For this and the next chart I used Bentley's full rosters, which up until 1979 included junior varsity, scout team, and "amateur" level guys, as well as those redshirting.
WWII brought a lot of trainees from the region to Michigan-housed programs. That big uptick in the late 1970s was Orr packing the roster with JVs; the sudden dip in 1980 was Title IX putting an end to that.
The roster Since Title IX:
So in the extremely small sample size of basketball rosters Michigan under Beilein has basically expanded Michigan's recruiting footprint to places still close enough to Ann Arbor for Mom and Dad to drive to, but doesn't differentiate between in-state and out-of.
And Nationally? This was hard and I couldn't complete a satisfactory study because so many kids are listed by the recruiting sites by their academies instead of their hometowns, which I take to be the operative factor (and I'd like to test that). Right now I'm crowdsourcing the list of guys I couldn't identify in a once-over:
Doing a project to see how academies affect hoops recruiting. Wanna help fill this out: https://t.co/yUpevHOOs6 ? PM me your gmail account
— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) May 20, 2015
For now I left those guys out of data taken mostly from Rivals because they got back to 2003. Initial results say:
Things really haven't changed in the last decade-plus. A little over a third of players then and now stayed in-state, and just over half stayed in their home regions. That's a high level of vagabonditry, but it's been going on a long long time. The difference is a huge jump in the number of kids who attend national academies starting in 2007—that's for a later discussion.
Is (the state of) Michigan significantly different then? With so few top 150 recruits from the state it's hard to tell. M guys bolded:
|Year||Remained in-state||Stayed in Great Lakes||Left Region|
|2003||Brandon Cotton, Drew Naymick, Dion Harris||Walter Waters, Brandon Bell||Kirk Walters, Brandon Jenkins|
|2004||Marquise Gray, Drew Neitzel, Ronald Coleman, Darryl Garrett, Goran Suton||(none)||Malik Hariston, Joe Crawford, Al Horford|
|2005||(none)||Wilson Chandler, Jabari Currie||Chris Douglas-Roberts, Eric Devendorf|
|2006||Tom Herzog, Deshawn Sims||Tory Jackson||Ramar Smith|
|2007||Kelvin Grady, Manny Harris, Durrell Summers, Kalin Lucas||Darquavis Tucker||Tracy Smith, Laval Lucas-Perry|
|2008||Draymond Green||(none)||Jason Washburn|
|2009||Derrick Nix||(none)||Donnovan Kirk, DaShonte Riley|
|2010||Keith Appling, Trey Ziegler, Ray McCallum||(none)||(none)|
|2011||Brandan Kearney, Dwaun Anderson, Carlton Brundidge||Amir Williams, Jalen Reynolds||Tommie McCune|
|2012||Matt Costello, Denzel Valentine||Jodan Price||Sherron Dorsey-Walker, Javontae Hawkins, Jordan Hare|
|2013||Derrick Walton||(none)||Monte Morris, Wesley Clark, E.C. Mathews, James Young|
|2014||(none)||Darrell Davis||Justin Tillman, Jaylen Johnson|
|2015||Deyonta Davis||(none)||A.J. Turner, Trevor Manuel, Eric Davis|
I would guess the results of the academies research will show a lot more, but small sample size makes this an argument over anecdotes. Anecdotally, the state is probably losing top 150 types to national academies, who shop the kids nationally, but no more than other states. This is a problem if getting local kids who haven't explored all of their options is a major part of your recruiting strategy. It's not a problem for anyone else.
I do think the states with major national academies are at an advantage, just like Michigan hockey should benefit from having the USNDTP in town. The Virginia schools, Boston schools (they drive up to New Hampshire), and Wichita State have probably gotten a few more kids here and there from familiarity or the better scouting opportunity. It's not a lock; Huntington School is down the street from Marshall and what have they done?
*Which brings us back to what's up with the mitten?
The state's general population loss is a red herring: sports teams recruit disproportionately from social classes who aren't as mobile. However many families with both the means and a potential NBA player will move to wherever can maximize their kid's potential. While the NCAA talks itself in circles about how their amateur athletes are supposed to be doing this as an extra-curricular fun thing, actually competing for an NCAA scholarship and a career is an all-in prospect. Parents will dump life savings into coaching, travel, gear, whatever it takes because the other kid's parents are doing something to get an edge too. Getting seen against top competition is a huge part of that, so the talent will collect wherever that's happening.
AAU made a business out of that—if it's shady so are rock tours and the people who organize them for the sake of being in the room when Atlantic and Sony are trying to sign them.
Couch did have a point about MHSAA's controversial [no traveling beyond] 300-mile rule. The rule was instituted to put a stop to arms races—Come to DCD, get a free trip to Hawaii!—and has generated all sorts of headaches for Michigan teams, particularly those in the western part of the state who want to be part of Chicagoland competitions. The systemic advantages for wealthy private schools overwhelm the rule's intended effect. So the rule has two main effects:
1) lots of silly citations, for example Fenton (near Holly when you're driving up I-75) got in trouble for going to Notre Dame's football camp because an Arizona team flew there too, and
2) AAU and elite prep programs choose to set down elsewhere.
The 300 rule is still around because in high school sports the little programs are a humongous majority, and coaches tend to feel entitled to their backyards' talent.
Michigan, MSU, and the directional schools would probably appreciate a major academy in-state—we've gotten some nice things from DCD in the past—and there is enough talent around to support one. That won't happen unless they put huge pressure on MHSAA to allow it first.
Conclusions? Vague. At best you can say basketball recruits since the early 2000s have been more regional and more national in choosing schools, or the coaches of those schools cast wider nets. The last few years hasn't changed much except Michigan jumped onto the trend and Michigan State is slowly getting caught by it, maybe. One-and-done has pushed maybe 1 in 10 players from the top 150 into schools that will let them comfortably wait to be drafted.
I was bouncing post ideas off my brother last night when he mentioned he didn't know much at all about Jim Harbaugh's playing career. I realized that outside of the pre-OSU guarantee, I didn't either—after all, Harbaugh's senior season occurred a year before I was born. I'm sure I'm not alone here, so I thought I'd do a series of posts on Harbaugh's best games at Michigan, with a huge assist from the incomparable WolverineHistorian.
The natural place to begin, of course, is Harbaugh's first start, when Michigan opened their 1984 season against the defending national champion Miami Hurricanes.
The Setup: After winning the 1983 national title under Howard Schnellenberger, Miami looked to continue their dominance with Jimmy Johnson at the helm after Schnellenberger bolted for the fledgling USFL. By the time the 'Canes traveled to Ann Arbor, they'd already begun the season 2-0, defeating #1 Auburn and #17 Florida to rise to the top of the polls—and extend their winning streak to 13 games.
Michigan entered the game ranked #14 in the country after going 9-3 in 1983. Much of the pre-game attention centered on Harbaugh, the kid with deep Michigan roots making his first start after attempting just five passes as a freshman backup to Steve Smith. Bo Schembechler went so far as to say his team could throw the ball around 25, maybe even 30(!), times in a game.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
The Game: This didn't go down as one of the all-time great contests, as turnover issues plagued both teams, especially Miami. The Wolverines struck first following a 'Canes fumble, with two critical throws by Harbaugh—including the dart to the far sideline GIF'd above—setting up a six-yard touchdown plunge by Bob Perryman. Michigan missed the extra point, a sign of the sloppiness to come.
Star Miami QB Bernie Kosar tossed a bad interception to Doug Mallory, fumbled on a sack by Tim Anderson, and had a tipped throw picked by Rodney Lyles in the first half, but Michigan wasn't able to turn those turnovers into points, carrying a 6-0 lead into halftime.
What transpired in the second half later inspired a lengthy passage on "sudden change situations" in Bo's Lasting Lessons. Miami struck early in the half on a touchdown pass to All-American Eddie Brown, then a Harbaugh interception set them up in Michigan territory again, but the defense forced a three-and-out.
A second Perryman touchdown gave the Wolverines a 12-7 lead entering the fourth quarter. Harbaugh's second interception, a throw to the flat that hit a defender in the numbers, set Miami up near midfield. The defense came up huge again when lineman Mark Hammerstein recovered from a cut block to pluck a screen pass out of midair then rumble his way to the Miami 25. It was Michigan's fourth interception of Kosar, and this time they'd capitalize on yet another short scoring run by Perryman, set up by a roughing the kicker call.
Miami responded by covering 80 yards in just 36 seconds, capped by a 44-yard Kosar touchdown pass to Stanley Shakespeare to cut the lead to 19-14, and their subsequent stop of the Michigan offense provided a chance to avoid the upset. Rodney Lyles would have none of it, however, intercepting Kosar deep in Miami's end to set up a Bob Bergeron field goal, then cutting the 'Canes last-gasp drive short with his third pick.
Michigan ran out the clock to seal a 22-14 victory that would vault them all the way to #3 in the polls.
The Harbaugh: This wasn't a tremendous statistical game from Harbaugh—11/21, 162 yards, 2 INTs—but he showed off his strong arm on several occasions. He certainly outplayed Kosar, who finished just 16/38 for 228 yards, 2 TDs, and 6 INTs, with a lost fumble to boot. Most importantly, he won his first start, and those don't come easy when opening against the reigning champs.
The Most '80s Screencap of the Game: Jimmy Johnson's hair—which hasn't moved in three decades, so you can't claim it's not an '80s thing—and Bo's aviators, plus the hilariously outdated Katz Sports graphics package, combine for one hell of an image:
I'll end the post on that note, and ask for your suggestions for future posts in this series.
"let's not have that tourney run" –Big Ten ADs [Fuller]
The Big Ten athletic directors have gathered in Illinois to stroke their chins and issue pronouncements about the state of the games. As per usual some of the things they're saying are from space aliens unfamiliar with English. Northwestern's Jim Phillips exhibits a mild version of the affliction. The reporter's paraphrase is the worst bit:
One-and-done play is symptomatic of the problems that plague college athletics, Phillips said at the Big Ten spring meetings, in that it does not benefit the student-athlete at large.
"Frankly speaking," Phillips said, "shame on us. We've allowed the National Basketball Association to dictate what our rules are, or influence what our rules are at the collegiate level."
Phillips said NBA executives "look at us as the minor leagues."
"Nobody feels great about kids going to school for a semester and then leaving," he said. "That's crazy. It's absurd. So we've got to fix it.
"Why have we accepted that? Why have we just allowed that to happen without any pushback?"
I do have some sympathy for the resentment colleges must feel that the NBA has imposed one-and-done on them. It really is the worst possible system for the NCAA, which draws piles of criticism for the way CBB feels right now despite having done nothing.
But as per usual with the NCAA, the proposals on the table to deal with the problem cling tightly to a blinkered image of reality developed by watching "Newsies" 24 hours a day for the last decade. One-and-done does nothing to anyone who's not a one and done. For those who are, the NCAA has no ability to "benefit" them. They're just cooling their heels for a year because they have to before they are very wealthy. One and done is an entirely cosmetic issue. It is an issue, as it leads to things like Kentucky. I find Kentucky under Calipari annoying.
But the Big Ten's freshman ineligibility proposal is the clumsiest possible way to address the situation. It is nuking an anthill from orbit. As John Gasaway mentions, one-and-dones were a mere 14 kids last year.
Statistically it would be similar to terming "adults who have to visit the ER after using a pogo stick" a "culture." http://t.co/ojPoHzzK8Z
— John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) May 20, 2015
Mitch McGary is that culture's king. I digress.
The Big Ten is trying to sell us the idea that students are not prepared to enter college, go to class, and compete for its teams at the same time their APR scores look like this.
Big Ten APR Scores (football; basketball)
Illinois: 957; 957
Indiana: 972; 1,000
Iowa: 969; 971
Michigan: 975; 990
Michigan State: 962; 980
Minnesota: 962; 960
Nebraska: 980; 947
Northwestern: 991; 980
Ohio State: 972; 977
Penn State: 954; 964
Purdue: 961; 985
Wisconsin: 989, 975
So which is it? Do you "continue to shine", as this BTN article claims? Or is it dire enough for the Big Ten to want to impose ineligibility on the 95% of their athletes that are just fine thanks?
Part of the problem is that if the NBA does come to the table looking for a reasonable solution (like NHL style draft-and-follow), they're going to hear the most impossible nonsense coming from the other side. No, you can't go to summer league. No, you can't have an agent. No, you can't even go to pre-draft camps to get a more accurate picture of where you stand. We're gonna have a freshman ineligibly snit fit over 14 guys.
The Big Ten has a problem with one-and-done. Fine. But Jim Delany's proposal is unserious. It is never going to happen. Having a "national discussion" is rhetoric on the level of that Nationwide Your Kid Just Died commercial. You can have that discussion. It is going to be about how much you suck and nothing else.
This is a toddler saying "NO, MINE" to someone who can take the toddler's toys away whenever he wants. If the NBA is going to listen, the NCAA is going to have to come to them with a serious proposal instead of a temper tantrum.
Da-nah, dah nah, dah-nah-nah-nah-nah.
(I've been looking all over for a solid copy of the song that used to start Tigers games, in case someone reading worked for WDIV and has a copy.)
I realize I've been lax on picking games with our fantasy partner for the readers to play against each other. The $300k "Swing for the Fences" MLB contest however isn't once to miss.
|Holaday is my Tiger. Also Kinsler. And Cabrera. And still Scherzer. I have many Tigers.|
- $300,000 prize pool.
- First place wins $100,000
- Only $3 to enter (FREE with first deposit)
- Top 25,930 finishing positions are paid.
- Starts Wednesday, May 20th at 7:05 PM EST
- Salary Cap Style Drafting. $50,000 to select 10 players: 8 position players and 2 pitchers
- Roster Format: 2 pitchers, 1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 SS and 3 OF
Brian mentioned in today's mailbag that any given baseball game is going to have a ton of randomness. However you get so many opportunities for data points that the stats end up pretty reflective. Even imperfect ideas like "let's divide all the hits by at-bats (and not count walks and sacrifices) and "how many runs per game does he give up?" were able to stand as a sort of consensus opinion on player values for a century.
(i.e. until Mitch Meluskey hit .300)
This helps—you know by now who's good—and hurts—a guy who's hitless in 11 games can go 4/4 with a homer. I've played just a few baseball games to get the mechanics down and found my pitcher makes or breaks me, and winners tend to pick medium-expensive guys who have a lot of power. If you've got a way to beat the system, put 'em in the comments. Or use it to win my money I guess.
Two freshman bigs, Diamond Stone (L) and Caleb Swanigan, have changed the B1G outlook.
For a day, at least, Purdue is the center of the college basketball world's attention after the Boilermakers added the commitment of five-star big man Caleb Swanigan, Indiana's Mr. Basketball and one-time Michigan State commit. Swanigan will team with AJ Hammons and Isaac Haas to form what will certainly be the conference's largest and most talented group of bigs.
In a Big Ten conference with one clear but unproven frontrunner in Maryland, followed by a pack of contenders with glaring questions of some sort, Purdue is now very much in that group of flawed teams hoping to make a title run. Even Maryland, the prohibitive favorite after landing five-star center Diamond Stone, has issues they'll need to address if they want to live up to the hype. Here's a quick look at next season's contenders, the strengths that could power them to a conference crown, and the weaknesses that may do them in.
This team, on paper, has just about everything. The Terps can put four solid outside shooters around Stone, whose offensive skills are very advanced for a freshman. Melo Trimble was one of the best freshmen in the country last year, his efficiency should improve, and his remarkable knack for drawing fouls makes it difficult to keep him from consistently producing. Power forward transfer Robert Carter is a double-double threat. Maryland was a good squad last year and they should only be better this year.
So what's the problem? For one, Maryland might not have been quite as good as their record suggested last season. They pulled out so many tight games that they finished second nationally in KenPom's "luck" metric. The Terp offense ranked only tenth in the Big Ten in efficiency.
The offense will improve, to the point that it should offset regression in the luck department, but it's certainly worth wondering if a team that's proven so little will really end up in the national title discussion.
Denzel Valentine flourished last season, and while the surprising Final Four squad loses Travis Trice and Branden Dawson, the rest of the supporting cast returns. Transfer wing Eron Harris should pick up much of the scoring slack left by Trice, while top-30 recruit Deyonta Davis helps make up for the loss of Dawson. Tom Izzo is still here, and that should be enough to consider MSU a contender.
|Indiana could have a tough time defending the rim in 2015-16. [Patrick Barron/MGoBlog]|
But can the offense thrive with Tum Tum Nairn running the show full-time? Nairn's jumper is so wonky—25/75 on twos, 3/10 on threes—that opponents can sag off him without fear, and he didn't make up for it by being an elite passer; his turnover rate outstripped his assist rate last season. With Trice gone and no point guard incoming, Nairn is the guy at point guard, and State's success will depend on his ability to become some sort of threat on offense, especially since his height hinders him defensively.
The backcourt trio of Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon Jr., and Robert Johnson is up there with any in the country, especially when it comes to raining in triples. Troy Williams is an explosive finisher on the wing. The starting five shouldn't have any trouble putting points on the board.
But, um, where'd everybody else go? Tom Crean is aware that five players are on the court at once, and at least one of those players is usually rather enormous, right? 6'10" forward Thomas Bryant enters with five-star credentials, but the depth up front is still a major concern, along with the usual concerns about whether this is the year Crean's unstable program finally collapses.
So many skilled wings!
So few proven bigs.
One should never count out a Bo Ryan squad, even in what should be a rebuilding year. Nigel Hayes is a legitimate NBA prospect whose game continues to evolve, and Bronson Koenig usurped Traevon Jackson as the team's best option at point guard even before Jackson went down to injury. Role players Zak Showalter and Vitto Brown will be juniors this season, and with Ryan's record of slow-build, big-payoff player development, it wouldn't surprise at all to see one or both experience breakout seasons.
On the other hand, I needed to bring up Showalter and Brown when discussing key returners, because the Badgers lost three starters, Jackson, and top backup Duje Dukan. That's a hell of a lot to lose for any team, and Wisconsin is only bringing in one top-100 recruit (SG Devin Pritzl) among their reinforcements.
The Buckeyes will need a heck of a youth movement to contend for the title, but they've got the talent to do so: five consensus four-stars, including three top-50 prospects, will join junior Marc Loving and sophomores Jae'Sean Tate, Keita Bates-Diop, and Kam Williams to form the core of this squad. Big man Trevor Thompson is eligible after transferring from Virginia Tech last year, giving the team a much-needed frontcourt presence.
The positive is also the negative here. Can such a young team find the right combination of players to make a run? This team lacks a proven point guard, doesn't have much big man depth, and will have to find a number one option with the departure of D'Angelo Russell.
They're going to be a load to handle inside, with two skilled seven-footers in Hammons and Haas alongside the 6'8", 265-pound Swanigan at power forward. With last year's Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Raphael Davis, on the wing, it's going to be very difficult to score on the Boilermakers.
The team's roster construction could hold back Purdue's scoring, however. Spacing is going to be an issue for a team with only one above-average shooter, SG Kendall Stephens, projected to start. An offense can only be so efficient these days without boasting at least a decent outside shooting threat, but Purdue doesn't project to add much shooting after finishing last in the Big Ten from beyond the arc last season. Unless a returning wing—like sophomore Vince Edwards—really improves from the outside, the Boilermakers may run into trouble trying to bull through every team in their path.
I think I'm stretching the definition of "contender," but the Big Ten's middle is so murky it's tough to tell. The Illini have a couple very promising players, especially Malcolm Hill, and John Groce is bringing in a strong recruiting class featuring three four-star prospects. They also get PG Tracy Abrams back from a torn ACL, though how much that's worth is quite debatable.
Illinois loses Rayvonte Rice, who really came into his own last year, as well as Nnanna Egwu. Rice was the team's best bet to get to the basket the last couple years—and developed a lethal outside shot as a senior—while Egwu leaves a hole at center that'll be filled by either Maverick Morgan, who hasn't impressed thus far in his career, or an undersized, totally unproven option.
you asked for it
"Soon he will start appearing in historically significant photos and no one will remember that he was not, in fact, present."
Harbaugh put his Jim Harbaugh on the Declaration of Independence, and war was avoided. The British decided to do anything else at all; Harbaugh was forced to invent the game of baseball so he could play it with himself.
Shot clock effect on upsets.
Given that lowering the shot clock from 35 to 30 seconds had little to no effect in the NIT, and that we can expect the same for a full season, I wonder if a side effect of the change might be fewer upsets. While efficiency might not change, the number of possessions will. I would think that with more possessions the better team is likely to win, because more possessions mean less randomness and greater reversion to the mean overall.
Give EMU 50 possessions against Michigan vs. 100 possessions against Michigan, and I would think that they would have a better chance to win with 50 possessions than 100. Could the 30 second shot clock actually make March Madness less maddening by reducing upsets? Thoughts?
-A slightly amused reader who still hopes for upsets
I think that's correct. I still remember that game back in the Amaker era when Illinois was at their apex and Michigan was rolling out Dion Harris and walk-ons named Dani. Michigan's strategy was to run the clock down without running offense and have Harris take a contested shot—the most Amaker strategy ever—and it worked for a while.
Anything that increases the number of trials without making those trials significantly less reliable indicators of talent should reduce upsets. It should be a real effect, but it might be so small as to not be reliably measurable. Maybe Kenpom will address it once he's got a big ol' bag of data.
I have gotten a lot of questions/assertions about the 30 second shot clock—far more than I think the change warrants. The differences are going to be minor. The median NCAA team saw only 10.7% of its shots go up in the period of time just erased. Some of that time can be reclaimed by being more urgent about getting the ball up the floor. (For example, the NBA's back court violation is an eight second call, not a ten second call.) The net impact is likely to be less wasted time and approximately equal efficiency. That's a good change for the game.
More on shot clock
I don’t believe this will affect the quality of shots as much as it will affect substitutions…
On a number of occasions I watched several teams, Wisconsin and Michigan included, essentially ‘waste’ at least 5 seconds tossing the ball back and forth outside the 3 point arc without any other movement. Case could be made this was simply being used to offer the players a short rest on offense, meaning that the top players likely play longer before substitution.
This may mean that teams with deep and talented benches gain an advantage…so the question may become whether it is the team with the best starters or the team with the best top 9 that wins.
-Howard [ed: a basketball referee]
There's another effect: if teams do decide to make those five seconds up by being quicker that's going to result in more pressure to get up and down the floor and more tired legs late in games. That'll be something to watch next year: does the percentage of bench minutes go up as a result?
Again: probably marginal impact but one that I would argue is unambiguously good.
[After the JUMP: another theory of baseball competitiveness, sea cucumbers.]
I got another interesting post on the sudden competitiveness of Big Ten baseball with a pretty good theory:
I enjoyed reading your take on the increasing parity in college baseball, at least in the case of the B1G v. South and West. My brother played in the College World Series in what I like to call the Gorilla Ball Era (mid 90s - early 2000s), I played at an East Coast college during more reasonable offensive years (mid 2000s), then I have been loosely following college baseball since.
I think the biggest driver behind the Midwest schools and East Coast schools gaining ground on the SEC, ACC, and Pac12 is the bat change. While the bats have been detuned over the last 15 years by way of barrel size (2 3/4 to 2 5/8) and weight ratios (-5 to -3), until 2011, the biggest, most talented dudes would just beat the hell out of the non-baseball schools with 8 doubles and 3 HRs per game.
In 2011, for the first time, they materially deadened the bats to where it looks like most guys are hitting with wood or really explosive wet paper towel rolls. Offensive numbers plummeted immediately, and in 2012, Purdue got a #1 seed in the regionals, and Stony Brook and Kent State made the CWS. In 2013, we had Indiana get a national seed and make the CWS.
This wouldn't have happened with gorilla bats or even the pre-2011 slightly detuned gorilla bats. With significantly less offense, games have become closer, and it has enabled the team that can play small ball, pitch well, and play solid defense compete with anyone. Basically, as long as you can recruit reasonable athletes, good coaching can go a much longer way than it used to. With the gorilla bats, if you weren't LSU, Miami, Stanford, USC, etc. and didn't have 3 monsters and 4 other guys that could rake naturally or via roids, you were going to be chasing 12 runs with singles.
College baseball went to a vastly less run-heavy configuration. That was going to increase parity no matter what. The Big Ten investing in the sport only closed that gap further.
Whether you like that likely depends on your geographic location. I'm not a big baseball fan because so much of the game feels random. 100 wins is a benchmark of the best team, which is equivalent to an NFL team going 10-6 or an NBA team winning 51 games. The playoffs are a literal crapshoot in which teams of approximately equal quality face off in series about 50 games too short to determine which of them is actually better. It's tense, I'll give it that. It doesn't feel particularly meaningful. (College hockey, which I do like a lot, has this problem worse than any other sport in the universe.)
Gorilla Ball era college baseball may not have been particularly competitive but with a short season with limited interaction it was at least definitive. Your tastes will vary on how much upset potential you like in your sports. I prefer football and basketball to soccer (on the foreordained side of things) and baseball and hockey (on random side of things).
I wanted to announce this collaboration some other way.
Thanks for backing Hail To The Victors 2015 by Brian @ MGoBlog.
just fyi, this showed up as a "you might also like" when i backed HTTV: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/953213599/manifesto?ref=thanks
"Manifesto is a playful, queer dance narrative performance that explores Womanhood. And California Red Sea Cucumbers."
i can see the parallels.
I wanted to keep my side hobby on the DL until it was ready, but here we are.
Sea cucumbers have always bothered and enthralled. They have mouths. They wave about. They look more like enormous multi-colored slugs than cucumbers. Cucumbers are only notable for being very boring. I mean:
I wonder where Sea Cucumbers land on the Bo Ryan index
Someone screwed up the naming spectacularly here. And now I will dance about this conflict.