Sunday, March 25, 2007

What Are The Odds?

Who would have thought a Roy Williams coached team loaded with McD AAs would choke off an important game in the NCAA Tourney?

It's almost like we've seen that movie before.

On the plus side, it means one Basketball School will be in the Final Four. Go Hoyas!


Saturday, March 24, 2007

"End Of An Error"

Courtesy Ron Maly:

The proper headline for SA's departure: "End Of An Error".



The Latest Gaffe By The Gannett News Outlet

The CR Gazette sent a writer to SA's introduction presser at UNM.

The Register didn't.


It's no surprise that the paper that can't consistently find it's way to my doorstep wouldn't cover a story once it crossed the border. Besides, there were no incriminating photos involved.


Friday, March 23, 2007

An oldie but a goodie

Maybe now Rick Majerus can use that house he bought in Iowa City back in '99.

Thank you, thank you. Tip your waitress.


SA #3

The staff here at CSJ want to thank SA for all the fun years.

You pumped up Hawkeyedom with unrealistic expectations ("The Final Four in the next five years" was a common refrain back in '99), which only lead to a steady deflation of the community.

The big November wins followed by February collapses were entertaining.

The excellent bracketing of thrilling runs in the 1011 Tourney with exasperating losses to teams you shouldn't lose to (3 in a row to Northwestern?) was genius.

The knack for coaching your team to upset buzzer-beating losses (at Evanston, at St. Louis, and #14 seed NW State come to mind) may be our fondest on-court memories of your tenure. Those losses showed prime coaching suckitude.

I could even stomach your success against ISU, knowing that a) SUI fans don't care about beating ISU (allegedly) and b) it just helped solidify the "Peaking in November" rap.

But most of all we will miss your arrogant Primadonnaism, to coin a word. It was both laughable and pitiful at the same time.

Good luck. The other 8 schools in the MWC don't know what an entertaining ride they are in for.


SA #2

I'm not sure there has been a basketball hire that has excited the fans of the departing school this much. EDIT: OK, Kentucky is happy to be rid of Tubby Smith, but Tubby won a title, which should have earned him better treatment. So it goes.

Shouldn't that be a red flag to UNM? Did the AD talk to anyone other than Bob Knight?

Now SA has three years to make the NCAA's instead of one. He must have known he couldn't do it in '08 in IC. Well played Mr. Barta.


SA gone, Pt. 1

Keeler sums things up nicely Friday, but his "Vanilla Ice of the Big 10" line from Thursday will be a keeper.


Short Leash

I hope GM has a short leash on knuckleheads like this.


McIntosh to Transfer

I hope you find a basketball situatioin you are more confortable with, as you never seemed to lock in with what Greg wanted.

So, who's nex for the point?


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Epic Hlas

Mike Hlas sums up the "" issue better than I ever could.

Sign #724 that SUI athletics has more cash than they know what to do with.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

TV woes

During ISU's loss to Georgia, it struck me how solid the TV announce crews for ISU's women's basketball games have been, whether ESPN or Fox or a local crew. Knowledgeable, descriptive, intelligent- and so much better than the men's crews.

A sure sign of what expectations are for the McDermott's crew next season will be who gets assigned to the TV package. If Dave Armstrong makes an upteenth appearance as the season play-by-play man, another poor finish is expected. Dave is a nice guy, but his coverage is a parody of itself, straight off of Saturday Night Live, if the SNL writers had neither talent or shame.

Perhaps the best result of improved hoops play on the men's side will be a TV product that doesn't make you want to watch in silence.



There has always been one style of play that gives BF's system fits, and we saw it again today in Georgia. Roll out fast and strong players who know how to turn a game into a street fight, and BF's jump-shooters never find a rhythm. Baylor and Oklahoma do it, and Texas and K-State and Kansas did it when they had talent. If the refs are in a "Let Them Play" mood, it is a long day for ISU. The Cyclones are a finesse program, beautiful to watch when it is rolling, but horrid when they get pushed around.

Part of the problem was that ISU caught Georgia on the wrong day. Anyone who has played basketball has been on both sides of it- the day you can't miss and the day the other guy can't miss. ISU could have tried a 7-5 scheme and still lost by 10. It was one of those days. Add the bad matchup that Georgia's style of play is to ISU, and their goose was cooked.

Looking back over BF's remarkable tenure the weak spot hasn't changed, and until the program learns how to manage a team that wants to wrestle and run, they will always be 4th best in the league, and fall short of the big prizes. Too bad.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Exhibit A

For anyone who doesn't understand why BF's system is successful, watch a tape of ISU's first round win over Washington.

UW could score, and did early. But once ISU found its offense, UW was on its heels. As ISU cranked up the defensive pressure, forcing UW to take the shots it didn't want, the positive feedback loop built. ISU dropped two big runs on the Huskies to build a 13 point halftime lead, and UW never recovered.

Scary stats: ISU is 20-2 when leading at halftime, 19-1 when they outrebound their opponent, 24-3 when scoring 60 points or better and 18-0 when scoring 70 points or better. Wow.

Bring on Georgia.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Graphs That Explain Why You Stink

CrossCyed has linked to some excellent graphs from MGoBlog that really lay out why ISU football struggled all year.

The one point that jumps at me was ISU relative success defensively on 3rd and more than 9. I suspect that opposing OCs knew that their odds of success were high at 3rd and less than 5, so when they found themselves with long 3rds, they ran something safe and took their chances on the next drive.

Sometimes its just about playing the odds. It will be interesting to check those graphs on a week-to-week basis next fall.


Hoiberg's Heart

Watch IPTV's entire interview with Fred Hoiberg about his heart condition and the recovery.

I had no idea how close Fred came to playing in the NBA again. In the end, he didn't want to be a test case.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Random Thoughts

A collection of things:

It looked to me that the ISU women just ran out of gas. OU saw a crack, rushed through to take the lead, and that was that. Great teams do that. The great BF teams of the early '00s could do that too. A nice fat NCAA seed will be the reward for the run in OKC.

A hat tip to KU for winning the tourney title, too. Now get past the opening weekend in the NCAAs, please? I get tired of taking flak from my B1011 friends.

Didn't make the NCAA's? Don't lose noncon games to what turn into last place teams i.e. Drake and Arizona State.

I have a soft spot for basketball schools, that is schools that don't play Big Time Football. May Villanova, Gonzaga, Marquette, Geo Wash., Georgetown, Xavier, Creighton and Duke all play above their seed.

I look forward to again putting Kansas in the above joke.

I feel a cold coming on around Thursday, 10 AM CDT.


Friday, March 09, 2007


This has been a hard couple of weeks in one respect. I haven't known whether to cheer for against SUI.

I want Steve Alford to hang around as long as possible. But with a new AD, he needs to win some games, and while his conference record was solid, there were some clunkers down the stretch that will keep his team out of the NCAAs.

The Big 1011 Tournament loss to Purdue didn't help. So while I like a 20 SUI point loss as much as anyone, it is bittersweet, knowing that it may be bringing the Alford era to a close.

Too bad. Barta will probably have the luck of hiring not just a coach who could win, but a nice guy, too. Where's the fun in that?



Big 12 coaches must shake their head when they see ISU in their half of the bracket for the women's tournament. Aside from the #1 seed, ISU must be the pairing you don't want, especially as you advance down the bracket.

BF's defensive schemes are not just a zone, but a constantly evolving puzzle of matchup, boxes, traps, and doubledowns that seem to change with every trip down the floor. With a few days to prepare, your team can solve the puzzle enough to win. But in a tournament setting, where you often have less than 24 hours to prep, you are in a tough spot.

Which is why I think OU will win Saturday. They probably had an assistant pull an all-nighter Thursday night, breaking down ISU's tapes the last 6 games or so. Add to a game plan that led to a 20 point win in Norman, and OU is definitely the favorite. Mix in the fact that the only other time a #5 made it to the championship game, they lost. Not a good mix.

But if ISU breaks off another 10 3's and contains Paris and crew, I won't be surprised. It would just be another chapter in the BF tournament legend.


Thursday, March 08, 2007


Between now and November, the Iowa State basketball team needs the following:

-More players who can create their own shot
-More players who are not afraid to take a good shot
-More time learning the offense
-A 50% increase in each players upper body strength
-A true offensive threat in the post to compliment the retrofit that Juri is
-That uncoachable, unbuyable feeling that you can win any game, anywhere, anytime

The one thing ISU already has a full stock of:

-Heart. Guts. Gumption. Whatever you wish to call it.

Plenty of teams would have packed it in at halftime and started thinking about how to fill that soon to be empty four hour chunk of your day that basketball represents. I recall a few Orr teams that did just that in KC. Get down by 10: Where am I going on Spring Break again?

If Greg has instilled anything into this program, the most incomplete team in the league this year, is that despite all of your limitations, hustle and smarts can keep you in games and even win a few along the way. That is a powerful lesson to have learned with the core of your team intact and more talent coming in for next year. Six wins will be a disappointment next year.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tourney Team

ISU's come-from-behind-win overtime win against Nebraska should come as no surprise:

ISU split their series with Nebraska, and the loss came without Medders;
In ten seasons of the B12 Tournament, the #5 is even in games vs. the #4;
ISU has the most Tournament wins of all conference schools, at 17 (including the NU win). All have come under BF.
Medders is unfairly clutch in tight games. She should be illegal.

Rational observers assumed the game was over when Medders fumbled the inbounds pass with less than :30 on the clock, down one. Nope. One good look and we go to OT. She scores 7 of ISU's 9 and the Huskers climb on the bus for Lincoln, one and done, losers of 5 of 6. Thanks for coming. Spring football starts in a couple of weeks.

Now, a shot at #1 seed a$m. Since we are studying the past, the #1 has won 7 of the past 10 titles, and the #5 is 1-4 vs. the #1. But when you know how to win in tourneys, what the heck?



Work has kept me away from the keyboard, so let's sample some leftovers:

The first wrestling title in forever. Not bad for a rookie coach.

Chuck is right again. The loss to Tech was the season in 40 minutes. The tourney matchup against OU makes me nervous.

WBB dumps KSU again, faces the Huskers today, continues to solidify an NCAA bid.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Big Finish #2

The ISU women got BF's first win in Lubbock Thursday. ISU made plays down the stretch, and Tech didn't.

ISU now has a 5 game winning streak going into their game against KSU in OKC. I'm curious how the tiebreakers worked out, since ISU tied Nebraska for fourth. (Edit: Probably division record. NU had 8 wins vs. the North, ISU 7) If ISU can beat KSU, they get to play Nebraska again, then most likely face a$m.

A challenging run, but ISU has had challenging runs in the tourney before.


Big Finish #1

The ISU men did a nice job holding off three Nebraska runs in the second half in Lincoln.

While it is maddening watching Maric score 30+ in the lane, there is a method to the madness. If Maric is taking 30 shots in the lane, that's 30 potential threes everyone else isn't taking. As long as Maric doesn't make more than 20 the math works for you. The rest of the Nebraska team didn't keep up their end of the bargain going 4-15 from outside, which allowed ISU to hold on.

Given that NU is a likely matchup in OKC, having two wins, using different techniques, is a nice mental advantage.