Monday, March 17, 2008

Random Basketball Notes

- Was anyone watching the ongoing pissiness between Illinois forward Brian Randle and Marcus Landry? Landry was fighting Randle for post position quite often, and there was a lot of whacking, undercutting and waving of arms. Marcus had that great block on Randle on what looked like a total breakaway dunk. And at least twice, Randle full on shoved Landry out of offensive rebounding position, and it went uncalled. After one of these incidents, I thought there was going to be a fight as they both walked down to the other end of the court. Thankfully, it looked like Marcus thought better of it. Ugly stuff. And an ugly way for Randle to end his career, but I guess it was sort of fitting. The guy was very talented-- tall, athletic, rangy, long arms-- but injuries seemed to prevent him from developing his offensive game, and his defense often seemed to be undermined by drawing too many fouls. I guess that tendency came out in his last game, seeing his team's dream run trickle out along with his career. His frustration is understandable, but t'was not a classy way to go out.

- To flip that discussion, congrats to Marcus Landry for winning the MOP of the Big Ten tourney. His block on Randle epitomized what UW has done this season-- sick defense, hustle, and determination. Also, props to Pop Hughes for taking care of his ankle and making some solid contributions on Sunday against Illinois. Tough stuff, given how much pain he seemed to be in on Saturday. He didn't seem as quick laterally, but his forward explosion was still there as he showed on several drives to the basket. And his arching jumper at the end of the first half was enormous. I trust the UW trainers know what their doing and aren't putting him at risk for chronic ankle problems.

- A few NCAA seeding discoveries. The head of the current tournament selection committee is George Mason's AD. The head for next season is the SEC commissioner. The other members are the commissioner of the Horizon League (UWM, Butler, UWGB), and the ADs of UCLA, Ohio State, UConn, Utah, Kent State, UT-San Antonio and UC-Riverside. See here. The bizarrely circular rationale they gave for their seeding and selection decisions was that what mattered most was "how the individual team performed against the rest of the field." But they get to pick more than half the field. They'll choose you based on how you did against other people they choose? Extending their base rationale a little, it would mean that beating Coppin State or American or Portland State or University of Maryland- Baltimore County would be more meaningful than a win at Iowa or against Missouri, Virginia Tech or Syracuse. That doesn't make any sense at all. The point is-- the committee sucks. These people are career PR bureaucrats, who have made livings trying to please everybody, meaning they will steer toward the most harmless sounding rationale. I say, fire the appeasers! Get some statisticians and journalists together and let them hash it out.

- A few more congratulations are in order. At the end of the regular and post-season conference tournaments, Wisconsin finished first nationally in defense, according to Ken Pomeroy's tempo-free ratings. That's a remarkable accomplishment. So it's not just the "they play at a slow pace" thing. The Badgers really play sick defense. Unfortunately, the same ratings reveal that Wisco got a bit screwed by the committee. The Midwest regional has a ton of good teams in it, including Kansas (rated 1 by Pomeroy), Georgetown (8), Clemson (12), Kansas State (15) and USC (20). Add Wisconsin in there (rated 4), and it's easily the most top heavy regional. A tough road to hoe ahead.


Papa Sal said...

That block was sick. After turning the ball over, Landry busted his ass down court and swatted the shit out of that dunk. Landry was clearly in his head all game, as was evident by that huge shove after the whistle.

Randy Moss said...

man mr. man. drop science.

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