Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Expert Analysis

Coupla items as I try not to think about the hockey game:

-- This post alerted me to a recent Terry Bowden article on the NFL draft. In the article, Bowden ranks the schools with a simple weighted point system. NC State fares well (and sticks out like a sore thumb), of course, but I'm more interested in Bowden's comments.

(Emphasis below is mine.)

Then there is the enigma that is North Carolina State. The Wolfpack had the fifth-best year in the NFL draft and didn't even end the season in the AP top 25. I have studied the draft for the past several years, and let me say that it is quite unusual for NC State to be in the NFL draft top 10.

Yeah, no kidding, Terry.

So as good as Chuck Amato is at recruiting, and yes, the old defensive line coach did have three defensive linemen drafted in the first round, I don't think this will be an every-year occurrence for the Wolfpack. If State is going to continue to have such great days in the draft, it needs to win more than seven games.

It's like he's channeling John Kruk or something.

-- From Ken Pomeroy: Shooting Percentage and Height

-- Canes/Sabres: game seven? Do we have to? I am going to be a nervous wreck by the first intermission.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Good Company

From an article discussing the progress of Alabama's athletics department:

Alabama is one of six teams in the nation whose teams participated in an NCAA-sanctioned bowl game, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and the NCAA baseball tournament this year. The others are Kansas, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Texas, and UCLA.

But for the football team's lamentable 2004 season, 2006 would have marked the fourth year in a row that NC State completed the football-basketball-baseball trifecta.

Football Bowl Trips: 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04; 2005-06
Basketball NCAA Trips: 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06
Baseball NCAA Trips: 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06

Baseball Heading To Austin; Big Ced Hires An Agent

  • NC State will be the #2 seed in the Austin, Texas regional. The Wolfpack will play third-seeded Stanford bright and early on Friday. Texas and UT-Arlington are the other teams in the regional.

    I thought NC State might earn a draw closer to home since it maintained good standing the RPI all season. No luck there. The Pack's performance at the ACC tournament shows they can be successful in the double-elimination format despite a lack of pitching--but only if they stay in the winner's bracket. To put that in less obvious-sounding terms: some teams have enough pitching to win out of the loser's side, and some don't. NC State does not.

    Disch-Falk Field is a pitcher's park, but it is the playing surface (astroturf) that NC State has to worry about, not the dimensions.

    After a quick overview of the team stats (which are thru 5-21), the matchup with Stanford appears a good one for us. Bearing in mind that Stanford plays in a pitcher's park: the Cardinal have put up modest offensive numbers (218th in scoring, 166th in slugging), and the team's ERA ranks 70th nationally.

    NC State is 4th nationally in scoring, 3rd in batting average, 15th in slugging, and 78th in ERA.

In other news...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Thanks, Dennis.

Horner still plans on attending NC State:

While other Wolfpack recruits have wavered following the departure of former Pack coach Herb Sendek, Horner has remained steadfast.

"I like the program, the school, the campus," he said. "It just doesn't get much better than N.C. State."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Larry Davis Headed Elsewhere; Baseball Wins Again

Larry Davis will attend Seton Hall. We're officially hurtin' at the guard spot. Atsur is going to be playing at the point a lot--probably more than he'd like. I've always felt that Atsur is out of position at the one, but we have to make do.

We just have to hope that Fells and Ferguson prove to be reliable ballhandlers. Gavin Grant will no doubt play in the backcourt too (this is assuming he's not deported), but he shouldn't be put in a position where he's bringing the ball up with any sort of regularity. Gavin has been the team's most turnover-prone player over the last two seasons.

Today is not without some good news: the baseball team beat UVA, 4-3, and that puts the Wolfpack in great shape for the rest of the weekend. NC State will not play again until Saturday, when it will face the winner of tomorrow's UVA/FSU game. UVA/FSU would have to beat NC State twice on Saturday in order to advance to the ACC championship game.

[Photo: Associated Press]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Baseball Opens ACC Tourney With Win Over UNC

State 9, Carolina 3

Important win for the guys, and hopefully a sign of better play ahead. It wasn't long ago that NC State was being considered as a possible NCAA regional host.

NC State will play third-seeded Virginia tomorrow.

ACC Tournament Central

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tuesday Items

-- In his "Ten for Tuesday" piece, Gregg Doyel takes a look at the most fascinating offseason assistant coaching moves (caution: jab at Sidney Lowe imminent)...

5. N.C. State flip-flop: Ace recruiter Larry Harris followed boss Herb Sendek from North Carolina State to Arizona State. And then a few weeks later Harris returned to N.C. State, where he will work for new Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe. Lowe's a lot more fun than Sendek. Sendek's going to work a lot longer than Lowe, though. Just saying, Larry Harris. Just saying.

There are several interesting entries on Doyel's list: the package deals at Kansas State, the forthcoming hire of an AAU coach by Seton Hall, Charlotte's snatching of a top UMD assistant.

One has to admire what Bobby Gonzalez (Seton Hall) is doing. Shady, but clever.

-- On a related note, Maryland lost a recruit from its class of 2007 thanks to the departing assistant mentioned in Doyel's article. The player, Jeff Jones, is a shooting guard from Pennsylvania, and according to the article, NC State had offered him a scholarship. His profile says otherwise, but does indicate that NC State recruited him. Might the Wolfpack try to get reinvolved?

-- Will there be delays to the Carter-Finley renovations after this incident?

At least 15 undocumented workers are in custody after an early-morning raid in west Raleigh. The raid stems from a traffic accident that tied up traffic for hours on Interstate 40 during Monday's morning commute.

The athletic department has already made seats in the new endzone sections available for purchase, so I hope this isn't going to put the school in a bind.

-- Derek Morris is back in an NFL camp.

-- As we were leaving the RBC Center after the hockey game last night, we noticed a man lying prone in the street that runs between the arena and Carter-Finley Stadium. One of my friends knows CPR and went over to offer help, but fortunately the man was not seriously hurt. I was told that the guy had been punched by a Sabres fan and had somehow managed to split the back of his head open on a rock (I guess it was a hell of a punch).

There was an article in today's News and Observer detailing several incidents that occurred during the first two games, but I can't tell if the guy we saw was involved in one of the confrontations mentioned.

I wish I'd seen this one:

Raleigh police charged Sean McNaughton, 20, of Perrysburg, N.Y., another Buffalo suburb, with damaging property. He was accused of jumping onto and denting the hood of a Hurricanes fan's flag-adorned car.

I didn't have any trouble with Sabres fans at the game; I'm sure the outcome had a little something to do with that. We parked near a bunch of them, and they were loud, but they kept to themselves. While they were playing beer pong, we looked on incredulously as they stacked their empty cups like so. You don't stack your empty cups, dudes.

Pass To Brind'Amour

All Square Heading To The Tundra

More tomorrow.

[Photo: Getty Images]

Saturday, May 20, 2006

[annoyed grunt]

-- The Hurricanes have some work to do. I'll be at game two, and when I'm not distracted with dabbing the nosebleed that I'll surely have, I'd like to see the Canes play better defense. Buffalo's first goal today should not have happened.

Also, would it be at all possible to play against a team from "up nawth" without having to endure this sort of crap?

I sure hope we beat those people.

-- What's happened to the Wolfpack baseball team? After last night's loss to Florida State, the Pack have lost 9 of 12. As I write this, they're comfortably ahead of FSU in the last game of the series, so at least they are going to avoid being swept. State will be the seven-seed in next week's ACC tournament.

-- The softball team staved off elimination from its NCAA regional by beating Princeton earlier today. They'll have to get by Lousiana-Lafayette tonight, then beat LSU twice tomorrow.

-- Derek Morris has been released by the Chiefs.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

More From Dave Glenn, Plus Other Items

-- NCSU Search Notebook, Part I:

Several weeks after the departure of Herb Sendek for Arizona State, a few media members (including this one) received phone calls from someone in the coaching community who's very close to Sendek. The caller basically screamed into the phone for two straight minutes -- it felt longer, but the clock doesn't lie -- and detailed the many reasons why (in his opinion) more Wolfpack fans should have given Sendek more respect and appreciation.

If "hatred" was the right word for the feelings of the most extreme segment of the anti-Sendek crowd at N.C. State near the end of the coach's tenure, and it probably was, then "anger" is the right word for the feelings of some of Sendek's closest coaching associates toward his most vocal critics. Think message-board posters can be tough? Coaches, talking off the record, can be just as vicious in their criticisms of fans. ...

Let the guessing begin. Larry Hunter? Sean Miller? Someone who worked with Sendek under Rick Pitino?

-- SMQ has posted previews of two of NC State's out-of-conference opponents: Akron, Southern Miss. SMQ is a Southern Miss fan, so take particular heed of that preview. On the Golden Eagles:

The best position on the team, from sheer depth if nothing else, is receiver, where 195 catches and 2,500-plus yards returns with, most notably, Anthony Perine, Josh Barnes, Chris Johnson, Tavarres Williams, Damion Carter, Joe Singleton, running back Larry Thomas and, most exciting, potentially freaky-good tight end Shaun Nelson, who managed to lead the team in catches and yards and attract some freshman all-America notice after a good bowl game despite manning a position heretofore barely known to exist in this scheme's passing progressions.

So if USM can find a reliable QB, it may improve at the offensive end. With the defense losing so many starters, they're gonna need to score more points. Except against us; I'm sure we'll help USM out by scoring less than 20 points.

I'm thinking about road trippin' down to Hattiesburg for that game. After all, how often do you have a reason to go to Hattiesburg?

SMQ has also previewed UNC, if you're interested.

-- Check out the win probability graph from yesterday's wild Rangers/Yankees game. Of note:

Down 10-1 after just two and a half innings, the Yankees Win Probability was sitting at 0.017. In other words, just 1.7 percent of teams in the Yankees’ position came back to win.

In the bottom of the ninth and prior to Posada's game-winning tater, the Yanks' win probability was around 15%.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Barry Jacobs: Personality, uptempo play and beating UNC trump Xs, Os--and graduation

Pretty good evaluation from Barry.

Perhaps inevitably, a reporter asked, "What do you think your former coach, Jim Valvano, is thinking about right now?" A literal-minded cynic standing nearby, well aware Valvano succumbed to cancer 13 years ago, muttered, "He's not thinking anything. He's dead."

The question, unanswerable on its face, nevertheless hinted at a key to N.C. State's protracted search for a successor to colorless Herb Sendek, who fled to Arizona State after a decade at Raleigh. Anyone coaching the Wolfpack will be measured against, or overshadowed by, Valvano's personal and professional legacy.

Later in the article:

Much has been made of Sendek's teams infrequently defeating Duke and North Carolina, including losses in his last nine meetings with the neighboring national powers. But it is a mistake to wholly attribute dissatisfaction to particular results. More than anything, Sendek sealed his own fate by refusing to come to terms with his symbolic duties as head coach.

People seek affiliation where they can in a fragmented society. Increasingly, in the secular realm they turn to sports. This tendency lately has been celebrated in widespread references to the fans of particular teams as constituting a "nation." The term seemed charming two years ago when widely applied to long-suffering Boston Red Sox followers, but now is as overused as references to "9/11" to explain away any and all violations of civil liberties by the Bush administration.

Still, teams with large followings and extensive tradition do form distinctive groupings in which a head coach or manager stands as the informal leader. Adherents look to him or her to share their passion and pain, not to shrug off a loss to archrival North Carolina as just another game, as Sendek did.

Sendek appeared indifferent to the essential politics of his role. Where others craved inspiration, he offered mostly cerebration, his words creating a picket fence around the inner man that discouraged easy bonding.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Sunshine And Lollipops Will Be Back Tomorrow

They're taking this post off.

-- Mike DeCourcy grades the coaching hires. He says that Oklahoma took the biggest gamble this offseason, but he also says that Sidney Lowe's chances for failure are high:

Sidney Lowe's history as a member of N.C. State's 1983 national championship team was a big reason he was hired away from his assistant job with the Detroit Pistons to become the Wolfpack's next head coach.

Now, N.C. State has to hope history doesn't matter.

There is a clear precedent that coaches who arrive from the NBA with no recent college experience do not succeed in Division I. Lowe hasn't had to deal with recruiting, NCAA rules compliance, encouraging players to achieve academically and making sure they behave well.

DeCourcy has a list of coaches who have set this precedent, and in a few more years, he will be able to add Sidney Lowe to it. I'm feeling a little pessimistic today, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I certainly hope I'm wrong. But even on my sun-shinin'-birds-singin' days, I can't shake the feeling that this hire is going to end up a huge disaster.

-- Gregg Doyel is slinging mud again, this time in his list of the ten toughest coaching jobs in college hoops.

4. N.C. State: We've been over this, but it bears repeating. The Wolfpack is to college basketball what Clemson is to college football -- an overrated program built to unrealistic heights by coaches who cheated, with an overbearing fan base too biased to see that reality. Herb Sendek went to five straight NCAA Tournaments and was averaging 20 wins per year, and it wasn't enough for Wolfpack Nation. Wow. Throw in the presence of Duke and North Carolina 30 miles away, and this job is a killer.

"Poor Clemson," Doyel says in the Tigers' entry on this list, pointing out his dissing of both the football and basketball programs. Poor us, I say. NC State apparently is a tougher job than Clemson. And Penn State. And Colorado.

Even though he made the list, I can't imagine Gregg really believes that.

He retreads the obvious points--the "overbearing fan base," the proximity to Duke/UNC--but doesn't touch on probably the most difficult aspect of the NC State job: those dastardly UNC System requirements. Dave Glenn has written extensively on the requirements issue. We didn't miss on Barnes and Calipari because of the fan base, and the empires to our west didn't matter nearly as much as some in the national media have suggested. Those academic requirements were the real culprit.

-- Man, are we having some fun today!

In a nice little bit of poetic justice, Herb Sendek lifted a former McDonalds All-American from right under Mike Krzyzewski… and in the process, shot a middle finger to all the NC State fans and administration who said he couldn’t recruit.

I don't recall anyone questioning his ability to recruit, even during the down recruiting years.

It's generally safe to assume that Herb was criticized for [insert a thing]; MJD just missed on this one.

Always With The Penalties

This video is not my work; I'd like to give credit to the disgruntled Wolfpack fan who made this during the 2005 season, but I don't remember who was behind it. Anyway, I had it sitting on my computer, so I figured I might as well upload it to YouTube.

I feel a tinge of embarrassment every time I watch this. In a clip from the Georgia Tech game, Mike Tirico refers to the "NC State hat trick of flagitation" (as two flags and an official's hat were thrown on one play), while Kirk Herbstreit giggles in the background.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Halfway To Stanley

The evening began in nightmarish fashion, but it didn't take too long for the Hurricanes to answer Brian Gionta's early goal. Once the Canes were unhindered by penalties, they reasserted themselves and clamped down on New Jersey--Carolina outshot the Devils 26-7 over the last two periods. Quite a contrast to Saturday.

I hadn't seen much of New Jersey this season, so as I watched this series I was surprised by their lack of scoring depth. The Devils looked more like a six-seed (which is probably what they would have been without that ridiculous winning streak to end the regular season) to me than a three-seed. Beyond Elias, Gomez, and Gionta, there wasn't much to fret about. Gomez, by the way, rocked the playoff 'stache rather than the playoff beard. I wonder if that angered the hockey gods.

[Photo: Getty Images]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Secret To Canes' Success: Kanye?

A few items of interest:

-- The link of the day: audio of a drunken Rick Sutcliffe from a recent San Diego Padres telecast. You must hear this.

-- NC State's top-seeded softball team won its ACC tournament opener against Boston College today, 8-0. The Pack will take on fifth-seeded Florida State tomorrow. Tourney Central.

-- Several years ago, economist David Romer wrote a paper that examined the tendencies of NFL coaches on 4th down and concluded that, in order to maximize the probability of winning a game, coaches should go for it on fourth down more often than they do. This week, Doug Drinen has written a pair of interesting posts on fourth down strategy which expand on Romer's findings and calculations.

I especially recommend Doug's second post on the subject, as it includes a discussion of this chart.

-- Here's a funny Hurricanes-related note from the News & Observer today:

After Wednesday's 3-2 victory, Carolina has won 59 games total this season. Nary a one has passed without Kanye West's "Gold Digger" greeting the Canes in the locker room.

Team DJ Erik Cole said the tradition started early in October at the behest of Justin Williams. By the time the team wrapped up a franchise-record, nine-game winning streak in the second week of November, there was no turning back for the superstitious group.

The song was picked for its driving kazoo-like beats, not for the message, Cole said, although he acknowledged the exquisite irony of a group of millionaire white guys dancing around to a rap song that includes the line:

"If you ain't no punk, holla we want pre-nup."

"Hey," Cole said, "nobody said we were dancing around."

By the way, Eminem's "Shake That" is at No. 2 with a bullet in the postgame rotation.

You think they rap along to the song? I'd kill for footage of that.

-- Ken Pomeroy takes a look at height and rebounding percentage. At the bottom of the post, he graphs the average OR% and DR% for players ranging from 5-6 to 7-2. You can compare those averages to the Wolfpack players' rebounding percentages by viewing the 2006 NC State scouting report.

And in case you missed the announcement, individual stats from the 2005 season are now available.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dan Werner On His Way Out The Door?

Wolfpack signee Dan Werner has been granted a conditional release from his LOI. Werner is reopening his recruitment, and he's garnering a lot more attention: Georgetown, Florida, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame have all been in contact with Werner's high school coach. Herb Sendek and his staff were way ahead of the curve in their evaluation of Werner, but it seems that the rest of college basketball has caught on.

The good news (or "small piece of consolation," if you prefer) is that NC State will get the last of Werner's five official visits. So NC State's coaches will get to re-state their case, and their sales pitch will be fresh in Werner's mind when he makes his decision. Hopefully that makes a difference. We need Dan Werner.

Sidenote: Dig the shirt Werner is wearing in the above link. That is a Herb Sendek kind of shirt.

Wednesday Notes: Watch Out For Akron

-- If you missed the Hurricanes' stunning win on Monday (or merely care to relive the finish a few hundred times), highlights are available on this page.

-- Small college football note: Ivan Maisel and Pat Forde talk about what they're looking forward to in the MAC in 2006. Says Forde:

Which MAC team pulls the annual upset of a BCS conference school? It happens every season -- last year it was Ohio shocking Pittsburgh. This year, with more home games against I-A opponents and more BCS-level teams on the schedule than ever, there are a number of possibilities. Two jump to mind: Iowa had better be ready when Northern Illinois interrupts the Hawkeyes' Big Ten focus with an Oct. 28 visit, and NC State is forewarned for its Sept. 9 home game against Akron.

(Emphasis mine.)

And if Maisel is to be believed, the Zips return 18 starters, including a pretty good quarterback. The warnings really aren't necessary, though. Marcus Stone's poor play against Middle Tennessee State was all the notice I needed. Akron is much better than MTSU (but the Blue Raiders did have Draconian Lentils going for them), of course, and the Zips will get us early in the season when the defensive newcomers are still figuring things out.

-- Stanford sophomore Tim Morris is transferring. NC State is one of the schools to which he sent his release, meaning NCSU can contact him now if the school is so inclined. See some of Morris's numbers here and here. That 2006 O Rtg is not pretty. He's a guard but doesn't appear to be much of a three-point shooter.

-- While I was looking through the news, I found this story about a guy who played briefly for Everett Case and had a rough go of it in Raleigh:

He was recruited by N.C. State, and he read about their being a basketball powerhouse as well as having high academic standings. The coach was the famed Everett Case. It took him 16 hours to get to Raleigh in his six-cylinder Ford.

Once there, he found that the South had won the Civil War and that Yankees were not welcomed. He tells of a professor in a history class.

"All of a sudden he pointed a finger at me," writes Cole. "It was only about four inches from my nose and he loudly proclaims, 'The South won the war.'"

At one point he received an "A" on an essay only to discover a student said he cheated on his homework. The student who filed the charge against Cole told him later that the teacher had asked him to file the charges.

Cole said he completed his freshman year and one week after the hoop season ended he was kicked out of school.

"Cole, I like your hustle.
That's why it was so hard to cut you."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together

Now that we finally have a head coach, we can cross out the offseason's biggest question. Several other issues remain uncertain. Will anyone transfer? Will the class of 2006 arrive on campus intact? What about Chris Wright? Is there any chance that Cedric Simmons returns to college?

With Lowe likely being in Detroit for several more weeks (no one in the Eastern Conference is going to beat the Pistons...), and with him needing to complete both an undergraduate degree and get NCAA recruiting certification, it could be a while before many of these issues are resolved. In Ced's case, obviously, we'll know by mid-June at the latest.

Right now I'm optimistic that none of the current players are going to transfer, but you never know:

"There’s relief and excitement rolled into one," said forward Gavin Grant. "I don’t think we could have held up much longer without a coach. Schools have been calling our guys trying to get them to transfer. Now that we have a coach, we can settle down a little bit."

Emphasis mine. Um...isn't that illegal? Contacting another school's scholarship players and recruiting them? If anyone does decide to transfer, it is probably fair to say the destination school has been talking to the transfer for some time.

Gavin Grant made several other candid remarks this weekend, including:

"He told us he wanted us to be free and have fun," said sophomore Gavin Grant, an athletic 6-foot-7 swingman. "[Sendek] wasn't focused on having fun. He was more focused on we've got to win and it was this way or no way at all.

"In the Princeton offense, I don't think that offense fit me and a couple of other guys on the team as best we could. Now that we have a coach that understands where we're coming from and played a little bit like some of us here, things should be a lot better around here."


"If anyone came in here with Herb's offense, that Princeton offense, I was gone," guard Gavin Grant said. "When I heard we might get Beilein, I was like, 'Oh, no. It's Herb all over again'."

Grant's comments add perspective to his career thus far. During his freshman season, it was pretty clear that he wasn't interested in playing within Herb's system. As a result, Grant was often detrimental while on the court, taking poor shots and playing impatiently.

If he dislikes the system as much as it appears he does, I can't help but wonder why Gavin came here in the first place. By the time he was recruited, Sendek's offense was well-established. Maybe it's just a case of him not knowing exactly what he got himself into until he got on campus.

I also wonder if Gavin will be a more efficient player in an offense that better suits his skill set. Probably not, but I can hope.

Cedric Simmons's plans haven't changed, and his comments aren't encouraging:

"I feel like if you work hard you’re going to get better either way, here at State or in the NBA," he said.
When asked what the plus-minus of returning to State is, Simmons replied, "There really is no plus-minus – the plus-minus is money."

He did acknowledge that playing for Lowe, a two-time NBA head coach, former NBA player and current assistant with the Detroit Pistons until the playoffs conclude, would provide him an edge over most other college players.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

NC State Hires Sidney Lowe

Finally, the nightmare is over. Or just beginning. I'm not sure which.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ACC Hoops Rewind: How They Fared At Home

This is the third in a series of posts which discusses some of the possession-based data I have collected this season. The previous installments:

Luck And The Regular Season
Home/Road Split: Offense

In this post, I'm looking at each team's efficiency margin in home conference games. The table below ranks the schools by efficiency margin. In parenthesis, I've included each team's conference rank in home OFF EFF and home DEF EFF.

At Home In-Conference
Rank TeamGamesOFF EFF (Rk)DEF EFF (Rk)EFF MarginExpW-LActW-L
1 Duke8110.9 (6)94.5 (1)16.46.7-1.37-1
2 UNC8111.2 (4)97.2 (2)14.06.4-1.65-3
3 Virginia8112 (3)102.7 (7)9.35.6-2.46-2
4 Florida State8104.9 (9)98 (3)6.95.3-2.76-2
5Miami8111.1 (5)104.5 (8)6.65.2-2.84-4
6 Clemson8106.3 (7)100.4 (5)5.95.1-2.95-3
7 NC State8113.2 (2)107.7 (10)5.55-36-2
8 Boston College8114 (1)110 (12)4.04.7-3.36-2
9Maryland8103 (10)101 (6)2.04.4-3.66-2
10Georgia Tech897.4 (12)100.2 (4)-2.83.4-4.64-4
11 Wake Forest8105 (8)108 (11)-3.03.4-4.63-5
12Virginia Tech8100.4 (11)104.5 (9)-4.13.2-4.82-6

Conference Averages: OFF EFF (107.4), DEF EFF (102.4)

-- Duke had the best home record in conference play, so it is no surprise to see that reflected in their home efficiency margin. No team played better defense on its home court than Duke.

-- I've heard people argue that Duke gets away with a lot of physical defensive play at home (hand checks, bodying up to opponents on the perimeter, etc), so I thought about examining the difference in each team's home and road defensive efficiency to see if I might be able to suggest a connection between Duke's defense at home and lenient officiating. That is, if the difference between Duke's home and road DEF EFF was significantly larger than the other teams' home/road differentials, that could indicate that Duke, for some reason, was getting a larger defensive boost than the other schools by playing at home. But I think that making any sort of conclusion about officiating based on this data would be stretching things.

If you're curious, below are the teams that saw the biggest gains in defensive efficiency at home, with the differential calculated by subtracting Road DEF EFF from Home DEF EFF. Wake Forest, which had the highest differential this past season, allowed 120.8 pts/100 poss on the road and 108 pts/100 poss at home, and thus the -12.8 number below. We're talking defense, so the higher the negative number, the larger the improvement in the defense a team played at home versus on the road.

Team / Margin

1) Wake Forest / -12.8
2) Florida State / -10.7
3) Duke / -10.4
4) Georgia Tech / -10.3
5) Miami / -5.8

Duke allowed 10.4 fewer points-per-100-possessions at home than it did on the road, but three other teams had similar boosts to their defensive efficiency when they played at home, which means the Devils' differential significant but not irregular.

-- UNC is the only team to rank in the top five in home offensive efficiency and home defensive efficiency.

-- Boston College had the league's best home offense...and the league's worst home defense.

-- Georgia Tech's home offense was a full 10 points-per-100-possessions below the league average. Yet the Jackets still managed to scrape together a .500 record at home.

-- The "luckiest" home team: Maryland. The Terps were 6-2 at Comcast, whereas their expected win-loss record indicates they were more of a .500 team. On the flip side, Carolina was the "unluckiest."

Well, now, ain't that a shot o' tobacco juice in the eye.

Canes win, will return home to "thundersticking yahoos."

[Photo Source: Associated Press]

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Jokes Continue; Plus, NCSU Unveils Its Own Blogging Service

-- You have to admit this is funny:

We’re probably quoting this letter to the editor from the Raleigh News & Observer just to be mean, but hey, whaddya gonna do?

We need illegal aliens in this country because they’ll take jobs that no other American will take, such as head coach of men’s basketball at N.C. State.
Joe Galanko
Chapel Hill

One commenter suggests that if Duke is the Yankees and UNC is the Red Sox, that makes NC State akin to the D-Rays. This is, of course, not an apt comparison, as the Devil Rays actually beat the Yankees somewhat regularly.

-- Good posticle from Mike DeCourcy today:

No matter what you think of the coaching search at N.C. State, understand one thing: Not a single coach turned down this job because some Wolfpack fans were mean to Herb Sendek. Not one.

Many of them will tell you Sendek did a pretty fair job, and they'd be right, but most coaches only will be critical of a rival coach if the two of them are competing for the same recruit.

What those coaches who are -- or were -- interested in this job understand is that despite not making the NCAA Tournament for his first five seasons on the job, Sendek was allowed to remain for another five seasons. That's the kind of sturdy support few coaches expect in the positions they hold now.

The only thing I disagree with is his assertion that getting Rick Barnes was never going to happen. From what I have read and heard, Barnes was a real possibility.

-- The matchups have been set for the 2006 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. NC State and Michigan will lead things off on Monday, November 27th.

-- Check this out: WolfBlogs (HT: Blogging Roller):

Welcome to WolfBlogs, a blogging service that is available to current students, faculty, and staff at North Carolina State University. WolfBlogs is a service provided by the NCSU Libraries to support the personal and curricular activities of the NC State community. All you need to get started is your NC State Unity ID and password.

Start your own blog, courtesy of North Carolina State University.

-- I would be remiss if I didn't link to this. Tailgating has never been so annoying.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Canadiens vs. Hurricanes -- Game 5 Photos

Game 5 Photos

Brind'Amour Misses The Net

Sometimes It Is All Too Much

Seth Davis penned this annoying article today, which offers more of the lazy, knee-jerk perspective that has been displayed by far too many in the national media. 'Preciate it, Seth.

As Penn Jillette would say, "and then there's this asshole:"

Carolina fans well served by IdiotStix:

We're very sorry, pretzels & prawns, but we take back all the nice things we said about Carolina and the Hurricanes.

We were wrong. Hockey doesn't belong in Carolina because the fans and the people who run the Hurricanes organization are a bunch of lobotomized basketball-loving cretins who wouldn't know an icing call from a spear to the ribs.

They don't deserve Eric Staal, they don't deserve Erik Cole, they don't deserve Rod Brind'Amour, they don't deserve Cam Ward - but they do deserve a shot of tobacco juice right in the eye.

Why? Because last night, the RBC Centre (may an earthquake swallow it up) became Carolina's version of hell on Earth. Why? Because the powers that be in their infinite stupidity decided to pass out IdiotStix to the crowd.

There is nothing in the world of sport that is worse than IdiotStix (also known as ThunderStix to whatever marketing type dreamed them up, and may he spend eternity listening to Roseanne's version of the U.S. anthem.) IdiotStix are worse than Barry Bonds, worse than the sound system at the Bell Centre, worse than Don Cherry, worse than Nick Kypreos, worse than Stompin' Tom.

Worse than the Maple Leafs.

Look, I don't like the ThunderThingies (and actually, the ones they distributed last night were called BamBams--so there!) either, but Jesus Christ, dude. You were comfortably ensconced in press row all night; it's not like you had to sit among them.

Given the choice between having to hear ThunderStix all game long or that lame "Ole! Ole-Ole-Ole! Oleeeeeee! Oleeeeee!" song that Habs fans always sing, I'd take the Stix every time.

My man had to go and talk about the Stix (such was his level of ire! His irkeditude! His perturbosity!) in another article, too:

They unleashed the IdiotStix in North Carolina last night, turning what has been a good hockey crowd into a bunch of 3-year-olds in need of a bucket of Ritalin.

Pity, because the fans who were too busy bashing their ThunderStix to watch missed a pretty terrific playoff hockey game.

With another full house at an RBC Centre jammed not with appreciative hockey fans but with thundersticking yahoos, the Canadiens could not match goals with the surging Carolina Hurricanes, who took a 3-2 series lead with a hard-fought 2-1 win.

I don't suppose anyone has Jack Todd's home address. I've got some unused BamBams with his name on 'em.

Please please please please let them hand out ThunderStix at the Bell Centre tomorrow night.