Thursday, November 30, 2006

If we hire Mike Leach, he could also do the weather.

I just needed an excuse to post this again.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Moving on down the list...

Bill Cowher says he's not interested.

Asked if he had any interest in going back to his former school, Cowher said, "No."

"I've been getting a lot of contacts about it; I've heard about it," Cowher said Wednesday. "But I've got a job here."

And now we begin the oh-god-I-hope-we-don't-screw-this-up phase of the coaching search. David Cutcliffe, Gary Barnett (?!), Jim Donnan: if one of those men is hired, Chuck Neinas owes us $35,000.

NC State hasn't contacted Cutcliffe--or Norm Chow, who I really like--officially.

Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow said through a team spokesman that he had not been approached about the job, while University of Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said nobody has approached him about discussing the vacancy with offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe.

Tom Dienhart throws out a bunch of names in haphazard fashion, and you've likely heard all of 'em except:

Houston's Art Briles

Briles would be a risky choice (and I think Paul Johnson, Jimbo Fisher, and Norm Chow are better options), but man, I love his system. Should we somehow miss out on our second-tier guys, Briles should get an interview. The only thing is he's never coached outside of the state of Texas, so he has no roots in the southeast and might not have any interest in relocating. I looked around the internets for some detail about his offense that I could share here, but the best I could do were these tidbits:

From Bruce Ciskie:

Things started to turn around for Houston when Art Briles came aboard before the 2003 season. He brought with him an offense that no one has really been able to accurately describe. It’s part spread, part option, truly a multiple offense.

Also, an old Topeka Capital-Journal article:

[T]hey orchestrate an offense designed to keep teams off balance, with unconventional screens and options mixed with no-huddle, spread and shotgun looks.

Houston is playing in the C-USA title game this Friday at 8PM. It's on ESPN2--check the Cougars out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just Call Us Syracuse Lite

I haven't seen much reaction in the Michigan blogosphere to last night's game, but Big Ten Wonk came through with a little discussion:

Last night Dion Harris launched three after errant three with the aggrieved adolescent repetition of someone trying to prove he's not a 32 percent shooter outside the arc, year-to-date stats be damned. Well, he's right: he's better than 32 percent. But even when he's on his game he's not deadly enough to be given 14 attempted threes in a 72-possession game.

Still, Harris at least went down with guns blazing, as it were. Where is Lester Abram?

NC State's decision to go to the zone was an easy one; we did it to save our personnel, and we also did it because Michigan's weakness is outside shooting. Harris and his teammates got a fair number of clean looks, but as has been the case all season (they're shooting 28.5% from three), they couldn't hit them.

I have been checking the Pack's scouting report after every game to see how we're shaping up differently this season. For instance, note the Pack's 3FGA/FGA ratio--213 teams are taking a higher proportion of three-pointers!

State's adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies aren't too impressive at this point. The offense is scoring about 10 pts/100 poss fewer this year than last year, while the defense has stayed roughly the same. One thing to keep an eye on is efficiency margin (just the difference between OFF EFF and DEF EFF). I tend to think of a margin of +20 as the cutoff separating NCAA-worthy and NCAA-unworthy teams; we're sitting at about +9 right now. I find efficiency margin useful as a quick overall assessment of a team's quality.

You won't find the individual numbers available in the scouting report just yet, so I went ahead and compiled them...

Player%MinO Rtg%Poss%ShotseFG%OR%DR%TO%PPWS
Gavin Grant9096.729.627.749.34.211.823.91.07
Brandon Costner83.5106.524.522.456.58.220.718.41.13
Ben McCauley80.5126.820.321.562.07.811.112.41.25
Engin Atsur74137.518.
Courtney Fells76115.915.418.751.22.511.07.41.07
Dennis Horner39110.116.011.561.511.215.823.21.26
Bryan Nieman5396.810.710.446.92.48.420.40.95

Get well soon, Engin.

BlogPoll Ballot -- Week 14

1 Ohio State --
2 Southern Cal --
3 Michigan --
4 Florida --
5 LSU 1
6 Louisville 1
7 Arkansas 2
8 Oklahoma 3
9 Wisconsin 4
10 Tennessee 4
11 Notre Dame 1
12 Auburn 3
13 West Virginia 5
14 California 2
15 Brigham Young 4
16 Texas 7
17 Georgia Tech 5
18 Virginia Tech 2
19 Rutgers 1
20 Nebraska 1
21 Wake Forest 2
22 Texas A&M 4
23 Boston College 6
24 Boise State --
25 Georgia 1

Dropped Out: Clemson (#22), Arizona (#25).

Bryan Nieman is a superstar.

Box Score

NC State
Four FactorsPercent
Turnover Rate18.1
Off Reb Rate31.7

Four FactorsPercent
Turnover Rate18.1
Off Reb Rate34.1

-- Does anyone have an estimate on the size of the stick that was up Jimmy Dykes' ass tonight? I love how these national media guys have been all over us since Sendek left, even though they neither care enough nor are close enough to the situation to have even an inkling of what's actually occurred. "In my opinion, they're hard on their personnel here." Oh, really, Jimmy? You've been in Raleigh for two days, but hey, staying at the Marriot sure puts you right on top things! This went beyond Herb Sendek. He was slamming us for firing Chuck Amato because Amato is an alumnus. Nevermind that we just finished a 3-9 season. I bet Dykes hasn't seen more than three quarters of Wolfpack football over the last three seasons. He has no idea what we've dealt with.

What really kills me when announcers do this is that it perpetuates the perception. Oh, those terrible NC State fans! They're so unrealistic! Enough of these yammering nincompoops rant despite little firsthand knowledge and eventually it's just accepted that Wolfpack fans are a bunch of idiots with ridiculous expectations. Yes, how dare we aspire to a well-coached football team. Thanks for taking us to task on that one. Seven years for the football coach--ten for the hoops coach. Would that we could learn some patience.

-- So, anyway: awesome effort by the team tonight. I can't say enough. They got off to a terrible start, were getting pounded on the glass and allowing easy baskets, but they came back. They hustled. They rebounded. They played a stifling 2-3 zone defense.

-- I wouldn't think it'd be possible for us to beat a team like Michigan with Grant and Fells playing so poorly, but there you go. Gavin shot 26.9% (eFG) and had a turnover percentage of 32.0 while using a massive chunk of possessions (33.0); Fells shot 33.3%.

-- The game had about 72 possessions, so the Pack's offensive efficiency was 103.3. Michigan's was 93.5. We didn't turn the ball over too much and held our own in the rebounding department; I'm really happy about that.

Monday, November 27, 2006

ECU Game Photos

Not from the nosebleeds.

Evans Pass To Barrett

Thru 12 Games

NCSU Offense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Offense119.7 yds820
Passing Offense182.3 yds79-1
Total Offense302 yds97-2
Scoring Offense17.5 pts102-2

NCSU Defense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Defense150.5 yds87-2
Passing Defense166.7 yds150
Total Defense317.2 yds43+3
Scoring Defense21.8 pts50+5

Get Familiar With Michigan

No preview from me, I'm sorry to say. Fortunately, Big Ten Wonk and mgoblog have it taken care of.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

He gone!

Pack Pride has the story:

According to sources close to the situation, NC State will have a new head coach in 2007, as Chuck Amato will not be back next season.

Update: And Arizona State has fired Dirk Koetter. ASU is thought to be another possible destination for Norm Chow.

Update #2: The Wilmington Star-News also says Amato is out:

N.C. State football coach Chuck Amato has been fired, according to three sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

One source is extremely close to the hiring and firing process at N.C. State. A second source is within the athletics department and spoke anonymously because an official announcement had not been made. The third source is close to Amato, who coached seven seasons at his alma mater.

No statement was made by the school to the Star-News, and sports information director Annabelle Myers said in the afternoon that she had no plans to issue a statement about Amato’s status.

Update #3: Some new reports from and The Buzz Blog are up. Also, The Technician is reporting that the team will meet at 9PM, which is a little over ten minutes away as I write this.

Update #4: The News & Observer says Amato will not be returning:

Five sources close to NCSU and the athletics department confirmed Saturday night and today that Amato's seventh season, which ended Saturday with a 21-16 loss to East Carolina at Carter-Finley Stadium, would be his last as coach.

Update #5: Here, finally, is the official word from

“No Wolfpack fan can question the excitement and enthusiasm that Chuck Amato brought to the NC State football program when he came here in 2000,” said Fowler. “His dreams have become our dreams and that has translated itself into our great new facilities, record ticket sales and five bowl appearances in seven years. However, because the results on the field in two of the last three seasons have fallen far below where we feel our program should be at this point, we have decided to take the program in a new direction.”

I never wanted too much.

Four-and-8, 3-9, what's the difference? It's bigger than you'd think. Every week, I tell myself it doesn't matter. We aren't going to a bowl game regardless. But when I watch the game, I can't help but get emotionally invested. I mean, we actually scored in the first quarter, man! There's hope! We could win!

But Marc Trestman couldn't score 25 points at the junior varsity difficulty level on NCAA 2007. So we don't win.

I don't know how to deal with this; I don't. Seven losses in a say that it's frustrating is to point out that the sky is blue. Yeah, and...?

I'm beyond frustration, I'm beyond anger. I'm just sad.




Ugh. I got nothin' left. You're fired, Chuck. Thanks for the embarrassment.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Just be careful on Saturday, is all I'm saying.

So you know how you can search the North Carolina sex offender registry online? One time I put in my zip code, and hey, what do you know...

Friday, November 24, 2006

NC State 88, Gardner-Webb 76

Box Score

NC State
Four FactorsPercent
Turnover Rate18.1
Off Reb Rate48.5

Four FactorsPercent
Turnover Rate26.5
Off Reb Rate20

-- Had a chance to attend tonight's game, my first of the season. But for the free throw shooting and lazy perimeter defense, I enjoyed it. The red floor looks great.

-- Gardner-Webb scored about 1.06 points/possession; coming into tonight's game, they'd averaged 0.82 points per possession, which ranked 302nd in the nation. They came in shooting 42.9% and shot 61.5%. So...yeah. Not the best defensive effort from the Pack. Gardner-Webb made 13-of-16 (81.3%) two-point shots in the second half.

-- That disappointment aside, NC State took full control in the second half and pushed the lead to 20 before Lowe started putting in the scrubs and G-W chipped away to make it look more respectable.

-- G-W is a terrible rebounding team. We grabbed almost 50%(!) of our own misses and 80% of theirs. That's domination. Brandon Costner led the charge at both ends, posting excellent offensive and defensive rebounding percentages.

-- At some point in the second half, I noted to my dad that Courtney Fells was playing like $%#@, and Fells promptly hit back-to-back threes. He musta heard me.

-- For the second straight game, Gavin Grant used over 30% of the team's possessions, but his O Rtg (111.5) was much better this time around.

-- Player of the game, without question, was Engin Atsur. Twenty-six points on 80% (eFG) shooting, 7 assists, a turnover percentage of 6.8, and a 163.1 O Rtg.

Costner Hook Shot

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hey! Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't sleep on those Terriers!

Wofford 91, Cincinnati 90 (pdf)

Wofford shocks Cincy:

In the final minute, Marshall drove the lane and dished to Matt O'Connor, who laid in a shot from behind the backboard to put Wofford up 90-88. The Bearcats tied it when John Williamson backed in and made a one-hander with 25 seconds left.

That's blogger extraordinaire Matt O'Connor with the crucial last-minute bucket.

Wofford shot the lights out again, so I feel a little better knowing that what they did to the Pack wasn't a fluke. Currently, the Terriers have one of the best offenses in the country. They've made 42.5% of their threes on the season.

The Gavin Grant Show

Official box score (pdf).

NC State
Four FactorsPercent
Turnover Rate13.9
Off Reb Rate25.7

Four FactorsPercent
Turnover Rate18.0
Off Reb Rate23.3

We out-rebounded somebody! But NC State hasn't had an offensive rebounding percentage above 28% in any game so far...that does not bode well.

Gavin went for 25 and 12, but he wasn't efficient in doing so; his offensive rating for the game was 97. He used 32.2% of the team's possessions, though, which is a huge chunk. Any time you use that many possessions, it's gonna put a dent in your efficiency. The key for Gavin is finding the right balance: at what usage does he maximize the team's efficiency? It's not at 30+ percent, I can tell you that much.

Brandon Costner has shot well in two consecutive games: he was 5-5 from inside the arc against Valpo and finished with an impressive O Rtg (118).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

BlogPoll Ballot -- Week 13

1 Ohio State --
2 Southern Cal 1
3 Michigan 1
4 Florida --
5 Arkansas --
6 LSU 1
7 Louisville 1
8 West Virginia 1
9 Texas 1
10 Notre Dame 1
11 Oklahoma 2
12 Georgia Tech 2
13 Wisconsin 2
14 Tennessee 2
15 Auburn 4
16 California 4
17 Boston College 3
18 Rutgers 12
19 Brigham Young 2
20 Virginia Tech 1
21 Nebraska 1
22 Clemson 2
23 Wake Forest 5
24 Boise State 1
25 Arizona 1

Dropped Out: Maryland (#23).

Lee Fowler broke SFN!

Well, probably not, but you know he'd like to.

In other news...

CJ Williams to NC State:

N.C. State basketball coach Sidney Lowe received a commitment today from C.J. Williams, a 6-foot-5 junior guard at Fayetteville Britt High. Williams averaged 12.7 points and 6.5 rebounds during the 2005-2006 season.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Previewing Valparaiso

2005-2006 Valpo Scouting Report
Up-to-date 2007 Stats

You think we have problems? Homer Drew don't even want to hear about it, son.

Valpo must replace seven players, a group that included three-time All-Conference forward Dan Oppland, All-Conference guards Ron Howard and Ali Berdiel and three-point specialist Seth Colclasure. The seven now departed Crusaders accounted for 81% of the team’s scoring, 67% of the rebounding and played 6,827 minutes covering 174 games.

His top five minutes-getters from 2006, including the most excellent Dan Oppland, are gone. Also, returning point guard Jimmie Miles was arrested and put in jail for his supposed involvement in a stolen cell phone ring. Good heavens, Jimmie. The timing. The timing!

     Departed       %Min '06
1.) Dan Oppland 84.5
2.) Ron Howard 72.7
3.) Mohamed Kone 68.5
4.) Ali Berdiel 59.9
5.) Seth Colclasure 58.5

As is my custom, I will post Valpo's numbers from last season--though, obviously, with all these changes in personnel, this year's squad may not come close to resembling last year's. Grain of salt and all that.

Valpo Offense 2005-2006
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate20.2102
Off Reb Rate33.6121

Through their first few games of 2007, the Crusaders do look pretty much the same as what you see in the above table. Good shooting, mediocre at avoiding turnovers and getting offensive boards.

Playing Valpo should be instructive because the Crusaders are bigger than Wofford and Delaware State, and the Crusaders are less reliant on shooting threes. The guards, in addition to having little experience, have not been doing the bulk of the scoring. Valpo will give us the most action in the block that our defense has seen this season.

Starters (three sophomores, a juco transfer, a junior who played 25% of team's minutes last year):

Brandon McPherson (6-1, 200) -- The team's point guard...I think. Played in 21.5% of the team's minutes last season, 10 minutes per game. Secondary scoring option behind the forwards.

Jake Diebler (6-2, 190) -- Played in only 18 games last season, averaging 4.3 minutes per. See, this really doesn't help me when I'm trying to find

"Damn you, inexperience!"
some nuggets/tendencies about guys. His turnover rate this season is a brilliant 4.5%, but that is with low usage. Gets good marks for his posture.

Shawn Huff (6-6, 205) -- Tied for the team lead in field goal attempts this season and a definite threat from beyond the arc.

Caleb MacLeod (7-1, 245) -- He's a Kiwi. And a very good offensive rebounder (at least so far; we're talkin' about three games here)...good defensive rebounder, not so much. Also, he is tall. Turnover prone.

Urule Igbavboa (6-8, 220) -- What's the over/under on "U Rule, Urule!" signs at Crusaders home games? Actually, if someone could go ahead and make one for Tuesday, that'd be killer. Igbavboa has been vacuuming up the defensive boards like crazy; he has 38 total rebounds in three games, and 35 are defensive. He's averaging 17 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. His defensive rebounding percentage? An obscene 30.1%. What's funny is he's absolutely horrendous at the other end--a total non-factor on the offensive glass. This is the player to watch on Tuesday.


Samuel Haanpaa (6-8, 215), who is listed as a guard despite his height. Ten of his 11 field goal attempts have been threes, which smacks of three-point specialist.

Jarryd Loyd (6-0, 170) is the lone returning starter from 2006. Turned the ball over a lot last season. Looks like a good three-point shooter.

Moussa Mbaye (6-9, 225) was a good defensive rebounder in limited minutes last season. Some Moussa Mbaye anagrams:

Beams Us Mayo
Abuses Ya Mom
Amass Emu, Boy!

Valpo Defense 2005-2006
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.7263
Off Reb Rate28.228

Valpo's defense was ranked 222nd in adjusted defensive efficiency last season. Teams shot well against them and they couldn't force turnovers, so teams got plenty of attempts. The only thing they did competently was defensive rebound. They weren't proficient at generating steals, and that's held true through three games this season.