The Basketblog

Celebrating the love of the Game.

I need a soapbox (regarding college three pointers)

I have begun to hate college teams that shoot a lot of threes.  The shot is way too easy at the current line.  The top 50 shooting teams all hit at least 38.2% of their three-point attempts.  That is equal to 1.14 points per shot.  To do that from inside the three-point line, a team would have to shoot 57%.  I can’t find any stats for two-point percentage, but only four teams shoot better than 50% from the field.  I checked the two-point percentage for those four teams and found only one hit 57% inside the line; I can’t imagine many others did the same.  There’s certainly not 50+ teams that did it.

It’s also easier to get “hot” from beyond the line.  When a team hits over 60% inside the line, they are getting mostly dunks and layups (i.e. working for their points or taking advantage of mistakes more than making shots), but teams regularly make 50% of their three-point shots in a single game.  That’s like making 75% of their two-pointers!  How often does that happen?  It should be just as rare for a team to hit 50% of their threes.

Some teams shoot more than others, and that’s fine, but when you look at a lot of the biggest upsets or near upsets, the underdog either hit 50% or better or attempted more than 20 threes.  Look at the biggest wins by good teams and you’ll see that they didn’t shoot many threes.  The close three-point line is an equalizer unlike anything else seen in sports and allows teams to win despite not playing as well as the losing team.

But the good news is that the line is being moved a foot farther back for next year.  It will bring percentages down, but will it bring them down enough?  If not, I’m close to giving up on college basketball as a legitimate sport.

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March 28, 2008 Posted by | Basketball, NCAA, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NCAA Tournament: Round 1 review

Wow…Let’s look at what we know after today.

  • Duke’s chances of winning the tournament are decreased quite a bit. Each of the last ten national champions have won their first round game by double-digits. Champions don’t struggle in the opening round, which means Tennessee and Xavier probably won’t win either.
  • Connecticut and Vanderbilt definitely will not be winning the tournament.  (For the record, I said San Diego would be the team most likely to get a big upset.)
  • 1-seeds are better than 16-seeds.
  • A 12-seed beats a 5-seed in the first round every year. (The first round last year never happened.)
  • Brackets are pretty tough to pick accurately.
  • Stephen Curry is pretty good.
  • The next round should be great!

[I had some Internet problems the last couple days, which is why I didn’t have any posts before now.  I don’t promise anything except that I’ll post when I can.]

March 21, 2008 Posted by | ACC, Basketball, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, MVC, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My picks in review

ESPN’s bracketology got all the picks right this year…I missed one.  Darn.  I had Illinois State in rather than Oregon.  Lunardi got 29 of the 65 seeds correct; I had…32.  Ta-da.  I was within one seed on 59 of my 65 picks; he was within one seed on 54 of his picks.  That is all I have to say.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Basketball, NCAA, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Championship Week Saturday

Which was the most crazy performance today?  Coppin State becoming the first 20-loss team to ever make the tournament?  Illinois being the first 10-seed to ever make it past the second round of the big ten tournament, let alone the championship game?  Georgia beating two tournament teams in one day to get to within one game of .500?  Or Boise State’s triple overtime defeat of New Mexico State?

Oh yeah, there were some other good games too…UNC vs. Virginia Tech…Wisconsin vs. Michigan St….Clemson vs. Duke…Kansas vs. Texas A&M…UCLA vs. Stanford…Temple vs. St. Joseph’s…Miss. Valley St. vs. Jackson St….  I know I’m repeating myself, but this March is already better than last March.  Now tomorrow we have a legitimate shot at Illinois and Georgia becoming the lowest-seeded “power conference” teams in the tournament ever and a Texas/Kansas game that would be great anyway but now has the added weight of a possible #1 seed to the winner.  Losses by Duke, Georgetown, and Tennessee in one day made that possibility happen.

Tomorrow’s games should be fantastic.  North Carolina is playing for a possible #1 overall, and Clemson is competing for perhaps a #3 seed.  Georgia and Illinois are playing for highly improbable tournament bids while Wisconsin and Arkansas seem to have little to gain and only want to avoid losing seeds.  The game of the day is, of course, Kansas and Texas.  I’m not convinced the winner gets a #1 seed, but there is a very good chance.

I’m working on some numbers tonight.  Tomorrow during the day I will post a complete prediction list of tournament teams and seeds.

March 15, 2008 Posted by | ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, NCAA, Pac-10, SEC, WAC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who played their way out today?

I expected to be blogging tonight about bubble teams losing and hurting their chances or about small-conference favorites losing and taking away a bubble spot. You know–the things that have been happening all week.

None of that happened today though. Arkansas and St. Joseph’s both won, basically ensuring they’ll be in. Virginia Tech and Temple won, keeping themselves alive. Kent State, Memphis, UNLV, and BYU all won, protecting the bubble.

That’s not to say today was any less exciting. Today was one of the most exciting days of basketball I’ve seen since…March of 2006. Tornadoes screwing up the SEC tournament, close games in all tournaments, great buzzer-beaters…even the Big Ten had exciting games after Wisconsin/Michigan ended.

Continue reading

March 15, 2008 Posted by | Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, CUSA, NCAA, SEC | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March 2008

I’m on spring break; the NCAA season is winding down. I think it’s time to bring back the basketblog.

Like last year, I plan to pick all 65 tournament teams and seeds and do so more accurately than the “experts.” I picked not only all the teams in last year but picked all their seeds. Both I did more accurately than Joe Lunardi, who is getting paid to do nothing but predict the brackets. If I do that again, what are the odds of someone paying me to do that? Right now we only differ on two teams so I don’t have much room to make up on him. He has Oregon in and Villanova out, I’d switch the two. I think the “mid majors” are weaker this year than they have been recently, so it’s basically going to be the best teams from the best conferences getting in. Not much room to differ.

I ought to be posting about every day there are games the rest of the month, especially this first week when I’m off school. Coming tonight: There are several big games tonight that will affect which bubble teams get into the tournament. I’ll give a full update on which teams helped themselves and which put themselves in jeopardy.

March 14, 2008 Posted by | NCAA | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NBA Officials

If there’s anything to bring me back from a long hiatus, it’s a good scandal. Or, in this case, a very bad one.

I’m a little late on this one, so I have no new opinions to share with you. Read these articles. My first thought when I heard the news was, “Heh, that’s not surprising.” Then, like the articles mention, I started wondering who it was. There was no surprise for me. I thought maybe I was just cynical because I played and now semi-coach in a league with poor officials. Surely most NBA fans trusted their officials. After all, they’re the best officials in the world, right?

Maybe not. Maybe I was right in calling the NBA the “most corrupt professional sports league” (in the US anyway) . So what if baseball and football allow their players to cheat? At least of both teams are cheating, neither has an advantage. When the officials cheat, one team gets a clear advantage and the league becomes corrupt. When the officials are bad, one team tends to get an advantage and the league becomes corrupt. I’ve seen high school games decided by the refs before, but I always thought maybe I was imagining that in the NBA some teams could be advantaged by the officials.

Another article to read. I was stunned to find that I never posted anything about Game 3 of the Suns/Spurs series. If I recall correctly, I was actually too ticked off at the time to write anything about it. That article mentions that the worst no-call was not Donaghy’s fault, but it fails to mention that the worst call was made by Donaghy. Remember the foul drawn by Ginobili that was called a couple seconds late by the official in the worst position? I remember complaining loudly (to myself) that someone else should have overruled him on it. There are already a ton of videos on Youtube claiming to be proof that Donaghy bet on some particular game, and most of them are probably crap. This one, however, is worth a look (note, however, that not all the calls were made by Donaghy):

I’m somewhat of a Suns fan myself, so I can guess how they feel about this. They could argue that they were legitimately screwed in Game 5, they were screwed by Nash’s injury in Game 1, and now they can argue that they were screwed in Game 3 as well. A win in any of those games, and the series would have gone to Game 7 in Phoenix. Even if it’s never proven whether he bet on this game, this situation is bad for Phoenix and bad for the NBA. I know I’m going to question the officials every time there’s a questionable game, and now I know I won’t be the only one.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’d like to issue a public apology

To the San Antonio Spurs. When I picked the Nuggets to knock you out, I did not realize that you were the best team in the league. I did not realize that you were great at all of the following:

Inside defense
Perimeter defense
Inside scoring
Perimeter scoring
Team defense
Passing
Hustle plays

I also did not realize that your point guard would be #3 in the playoffs in points in the paint, that your power forward would be #2, and that your coach could outcoach anyone in the league in his sleep right now. You’re well on your way to beating four of the hottest teams in the league without going to seven games in any of the four series.

Maybe you needed a little luck in getting Amare and Borris suspended for a game, but you were still 3-2 in games that those two played. Carmelo and Allen? Carlos and Deron? Tim and Tony are better than either combo, and their supporting cast is far greater.

It took me three series, but I finally caught on. If the great duos of the Jazz and Nuggets couldn’t touch you, and the great trio of the Suns couldn’t touch you, how is Cleveland’s one-man team going to win a game against you? They won’t.

June 10, 2007 Posted by | Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

About the top-two picks going to the Northwest

I’m going to break my fast from posting for this. Ironically, I’ve been in Seattle and Portland the last few days.

At first I agreed with the thoughts that having Oden and Durant both going to the Northwest would be bad for the league because of the time difference. But as I thought about it, I don’t think that will be the case.

Does anyone ever complain that it’s bad for the league that Phoenix games start late? The Lakers are one of the glamorous teams in the league, but they play in the Pacific Time Zone. Golden State was the great story of the playoffs, but they play in the Pacific Time Zone. A few years ago the Sacramento Kings were the most fun team in the league to watch, but they were in the Pacific Time Zone. There has been talk of moving a franchise to Las Vegas, which is in the Pacific Time Zone. Why does the Pacific Time Zone not matter in any of those cases? Perhaps the reason that the biggest NBA markets are in the East is that the tv schedule favors them. Maybe the West will become so stacked that the NBA will change the schedule, which will in turn make the Western teams more popular. Maybe the Western teams aren’t as good for tv ratings, but the Kings, Warriors, Jazz, Suns, and Mavericks (in the Central Time Zone, but stick with me) have some of the best fans in the league. I think that giving the best players to the best fans will help the league more than giving the best players to the biggest markets.

May 24, 2007 Posted by | Golden State Warriors, LA Lakers, NBA, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Seattle Supersonics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NBA Playoffs: May 9

Well, it’s pretty clear that this is going to be one heck of a series. Golden State has been great at home in the playoffs, as my esteemed colleague hoops has said. However, what he failed to note is that Utah’s home court has been even greater. They have now outscored their opponents at home by a combined score of 516-463 in five games compared to Golden State’s 323-276.

What he also failed to note is that Utah is a very, very good team. Now that Kirilenko is playing up to his old abilities, they may be, top to bottom, the best team in the league. Deron Williams has become a top-5 point guard, Derek Fisher is a tough guard with a lot of experience, Kirilenko is perhaps the best all-around player in the league, Boozer is becoming a star, and Okur is the best shooting big guy in the league. Every player coming off their bench can play–Ronnie Brewer and Dee Brown don’t play much, but they’ve both shown the ability to make some key plays in this series. In Williams, Millsap, Brown, and Brewer they have perhaps the best young corps of players in the league. The only thing that keeps them from being an elite team is their lack of a superstar. Dallas has Nowitski, San Antonio has Duncan, Phoenix has Nash, Houston has McGrady; but Boozer isn’t quite a superstar.

If Boozer could develop into a superstar, we could be talking about Utah as a contender for many years. He’s been getting 24/12 so far in the playoffs. If he can continue that throughout the playoffs, they can compete against either San Antonio or Phoenix–they are that good.

Here are some of my other thoughts from tonight: Continue reading

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Big Ten, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, NBA, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment