Monday, April 30, 2007

You will not be allowed to feng shui your helmet stickers.

-- Kansas City's GM says Tank didn't mean to spit on that official--he was aiming for that other jerk!

Tyler, a 6-2, 305-pound third-rounder that Edwards said would be more effective at about 295 pounds, enters with character questions, stemming from a 2005 arrest for assaulting a police officer and for an on-field incident in which he spit on an official.

Peterson explained.

"He wasn't trying to spit on the official," Peterson said. "He was trying to spit on an offensive lineman who hit him from behind."

Tyler said the problems are behind him.

"I think I'm a grown man," he said. "A lot of the things I've been through, it's built me. I'm a made man. I'm ready to get to busting heads, man."

"And feast on the goo inside," he added.

Okay, I made that last line up.

Gregg Doyel calls Denver and Kansas City "irresponsible skanks" for drafting players with character issues. Honestly, Gregg, you're not even trying to be taken seriously any more, are you?

-- The Hardball Times compiled a list of college baseball's best hitters. No Wolfpack hitters made the top 25, but Mike Roskopf is in the top 100. He's the only NC State player to make the list. Each player's numbers were adjusted for park and for competition. Roskopf is hitting .319/.383/.612 this year.

-- This is the Coppin State baseball team (hat tip: BBTF). Winless on the season, they're hitting .156 and have been outscored 567-46.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tank Tyler Selected In Third Round Of NFL Draft

He will be PLAYING TO WIN THE GAME!!! with Herm Edwards in Kansas City. You can find a brief interview with Tank at that link.

Elsewhere today, the baseball team blew a late lead and lost 9-3 to the Heels. On the plus side, Andrew Brackman pitched quite well.

Softball split its double header with Maryland this afternoon, so the winning streak ends at 16. The ladies hadn't lost since April 1st.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Baseball Kills Carolina Dead, 11-1

Austin Johnson's got your recap.

Jones got the Wolfpack offense rolling in the second inning. After back-to-back singles from Pat Ferguson and Ryan Pond, Woodard mishandled a sacrifice bunt attempt off the bat of Poulk. The second baseman bunted the ball hard to the pitcher, but as he turned to throw to third base, he bobbled the ball – leaving everyone safe and the bases loaded. Two pitches later, Woodard gave up just his second career grand slam as Marcus Jones blasted a pitch just over the centerfield wall past the outstretched arm of Seth Williams.

Here's when it is appropriate to sac bunt in the second inning with a non-pitcher: never. But it all worked out, so...meh.

Marcus Jones, who came into the night with a mere five extra base hits, hit a homer (of the four-run variety, you'll note, not one of those rally-killing solo types) and a double against the Heels.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rodney Monroe...!

Rodney Monroe against Iowa in the NCAA tourney:

I'd never seen any of that before. The shot he hit to force double OT over two Iowa Right after that, the camera cuts to the Iowa bench where the coaches are clapping and doing their "it's okay, men; we'll get 'em in the next period" routine. But you know they're dead inside.

Several other good videos have been uploaded recently. Find them here.

Some Short Items

-- Lee Fowler wasn't the only one who got a contract extension yesterday:

Rollie Geiger, in his 25th season as Pack cross country and track and field coach, was given a contract extension through 2010. Geiger recently was named assistant athletics director for track and cross country.

That's great news.

-- Baseball washed out the bitter taste from the GT series by beating UNCW yesterday.

Through Sunday's games, the runs scored/allowed differentials for the 12 ACC teams look like this (includes non-conf games):
         RS      RA     Diff   ExpW   ActW
FSU 400 163 237 37 37
UVA 335 132 203 37 33
UNC 322 148 174 35 33
NCSU 292 167 125 31 27
Clemson 215 150 65 26 26
Duke 281 228 53 25 25
GT 280 228 52 24 26
UMD 285 238 47 25 23
Miami 259 224 35 24 25
Wake 279 264 15 23 22
BC 204 260 -56 14 16
VT 219 282 -63 15 17
That doesn't include any adjustments for schedule strength, but you get a decent idea where the teams stand.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Prep School Football Programs

An interesting article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Conor's father, Pittsburgh attorney Craig Lee, was disappointed with the prep school experience, starting with the broken promise his son would be the only kicker on the roster.

"My whole intent to send Conor to prep school was not for grades, not to improve his character, but to market him and make an investment in his future," Craig Lee said.

Did it pay off?

"Absolutely not," he said. "He didn't get a scholarship out of it, and I don't feel he was marketed as well as they said he would be. I personally feel that if you're going to a prep school to obtain a (college football) scholarship, it's an uphill battle.

"These military prep schools are more of a warehouse for kids who already committed to a scholarship, but are academically ineligible," Craig Lee said. "From what I understand, all they do is sit in a room all day and prep for the SATs. You're not really learning math, you're learning how to get a better SAT score. Is it a diploma mill? I think it might be."

Somebody's bitter.

Milford Academy doesn't have trouble finding players...

Milford Academy doesn't hand out football scholarships, Chaplick said.

Then, why can he point to 764 applications for next year's team?

He's turned out 77 Division I-A recruits in the past seven years, including 16 from last season's roster.

"I get to pick my team every year," Chaplick said. "I don't have to go on the road to recruit.

"We don't take any kid that doesn't project as a I-A. That's what our program is about. If they're not I-A, or I-AA, they don't come here."

Dave Wannstedt has recruited a few prep school players but doesn't feel especially good about it:

Wannstedt admits he's not a big fan of recruiting prep school players. The process starts with finding out why they're at prep school in the first place.

"I'm not saying this in a negative sense, but kids are there for a reason," he said. "It's up to you to find out. The majority of times it's academics, but sometimes, it's an injury or for personal reasons.

"It's a great opportunity for them to get their grades squared away, and a chance to mature away from home. But you have to really know these kids and what type of character they have. How hungry are they?"

Home/Road Addendum

In the comments to the first post, Mike wondered about the difference in efficiency margin between home and road games for each team. Here's that list, from smallest difference to largest:
Home Margin - Road Margin

Duke 2.0
Clemson 3.1
NCSU 6.3
UMD 10.6
Wake 12.3
BC 16.6
Miami 17.7
UVA 18.3
UNC 20.5
VT 22.2
GT 23.6
FSU 24.7
While I wouldn't feel comfortable calling the Tar Heels inconsistent (they were just really freakin' good at home), it is fair to attach that label the three teams below UNC.

For instance, the average score of FSU's eight home games was: Noles 76, Opponent 67. And their eight road games: Noles 71, Opponent 79.

It might be more enlightening to look at how the teams' performances changed relative to the rest of the league.

Four teams dropped in rank:
       HomeRk  RoadRk  Change
FSU 3 9 -6
GT 2 7 -5
VT 4 8 -4
Miami 10 12 -2

Five teams climbed in rank:
        HomeRk  RoadRk   Change
Duke 8 2 +6
Clemson 9 4 +5
BC 7 5 +2
NCSU 12 10 +2
UMD 5 3 +2

And three teams stayed in the same place:
      HomeRk  RoadRk  Change
UNC 1 1 0
UVA 6 6 0
Wake 11 11 0

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Grab some bench, honey.

Softball took two from UNC on Saturday; the Heels didn't manage to score a run in either game. The Wolfpack have won 14 straight, shutting opponents out in each of the last five games.

The pitching in those five shutouts:
 IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
5.0 0 0 0 2 6
7.0 0 0 0 0 14
7.0 2 0 0 1 9
7.0 3 0 0 2 7
7.0 1 0 0 2 7
33.0 6 0 0 7 43
Those last two lines are the Carolina games. Six hits allowed in 33 innings pitched...that's absurd even considering the fact that three of the five games were played against patsies.

Here's the aggregate pitching line from the 14-game winning streak:
 IP    H   R  ER  BB   SO
94.0 42 10 8 26 124
More than nine strikeouts per seven innings, a K:BB ratio of nearly 5.0:1, and a 0.60 ERA.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ever heard of a rally-killing home run?

I ran into this earlier today:

Even coach Ray Tanner has hesitated to embrace the long ball. After USC beat Clemson on Wednesday night with four solo homers, Tanner said all the solo shots worried him because he was always taught they were "rally killers."

The full quotation, from another article:

Again, though, each of their homers came with nobody on base -- a fact that Tanner was as quick to point out.

"When you hit solo home runs, it starts to worry you a little bit," he said. "I've always been told that solo blasts are rally killers."

Ladies and gentlemen, Ray Tanner, the only manager in America who gets worried when his team scores. Who imparted to you that nugget of wisdom, Ray? Dusty Baker?

A solo home run (a) nets the team a run and (b) does not result in an out. This harms what, exactly? Is he really saying that hitting a solo shot decreases the likelihood that a team scores multiple runs in an inning?

Tanner is a great coach, but that's crazy talk.

Hoops Rewind: Home/Road Performance

Here's a look at how the teams fared at home and on the road in conference play this season, sorted by efficiency margin:

At home:
          Off_Eff(Rk)    Def_Eff(Rk)    Margin
UNC 116.7 (1) 89.6 (1) 27.1
GT 111.9 (5) 98.6 (4) 13.3
FSU 115.7 (2) 102.6 (8) 13.1
VT 111.7 (6) 100.1 (6) 11.6
UMD 106.7 (8) 95.3 (2) 11.4
UVA 110.6 (7) 99.4 (5) 11.2
BC 113.0 (4) 103.0 (9) 10.0
Duke 103.1 (9) 97.0 (3) 6.1
Clemson 101.3 (11) 101.3 (7) 0.0
Miami 115.4 (3) 117.7 (12) -2.3
Wake 100.5 (12) 106.0 (10) -5.5
NCSU 103.0 (10) 110.2 (11) -7.2

Average 109.1 101.7 7.4

On the road:
          Off_Eff(Rk)    Def_Eff(Rk)     Margin
UNC 108.4 (1) 101.8 (2) 6.6
Duke 104.7 (4) 100.6 (1) 4.1
UMD 106.1 (3) 105.3 (4) 0.8
Clemson 103.3 (7) 106.4 (5) -3.1
BC 106.4 (2) 113.0 (8) -6.6
UVA 96.3 (10) 103.4 (3) -7.1
GT 102.9 (8) 113.2 (9) -10.3
VT 103.8 (5) 114.4 (10) -10.6
FSU 103.7 (6) 115.3 (11) -11.6
NCSU 99.1 (9) 112.6 (7) -13.5
Wake 89.7 (12) 107.5 (6) -17.8
Miami 96.3 (11) 116.3 (12) -20.0

Average 101.7 109.1 -7.4

-- The road can be a scary place. Just ask Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Florida State--teams so frightened by dressing in the visitor's locker room that they forgot how to play defense. It's interesting to see how the bottom falls out (either offensively or defensively) for certain teams when they leave the friendly confines.

-- Based on Virginia Tech's road efficiency margin, you'd think the Hokies were terrible away from home; the other teams at -10 or worse certainly were. But Tech went 4-4 on the road and beat both Duke and Carolina. Their four road wins came by a combined 18 points; their four losses, on the other hand, were by a combined 68 points.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Good Press For The Tennis Program

From the N&O:

Unranked and almost unglued when coach Jon Choboy arrived in the 2003 season, State (20-8 overall, 5-6 ACC) appears undaunted now. The Wolfpack's confidence heightened in narrow 4-3 losses to Virginia, ranked second nationally, and No. 6 North Carolina, a rival it hasn't defeated since 1988.

"We're growing, learning how to win matches," said Choboy, who lifted Brown and Charleston Southern from last place to conference titles.

And in other news, Abbie Sims threw a perfect game against Campbell yesterday. Between the first and fourth innings, she struck out 11 straight batters. Nasty.

No hitter!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So that's their secret.

Half-assing it?

I'm thinking this strategy would have worked out very well for Chuck Amato. I mean, really, since the players never retained any of his "points of emphasis" or assorted other bits of coaching wisdom, what's the point of using the full allotment of practice time?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pack Gets Tough Draw For Big Ten/ACC Challenge

As you've heard by now, NC State will be playing at Michigan State in the challenge. Here are the matchups, with 2007 Pomeroy rank in parentheses:

Monday, Nov. 26
7:00 p.m. ESPN2 Wake Forest (87) at Iowa (64)

Tuesday, Nov. 27
7:00 p.m. ESPN Georgia Tech (17) at Indiana (16)
7:30 p.m. ESPN2 Minnesota (140) at Florida State (34)
8:00 p.m. ESPNU Northwestern (112) at Virginia (45)
9:00 p.m. ESPN Wisconsin (8) at Duke (11)
9:30 p.m. ESPN2 Purdue (23) at Clemson (30)

Wednesday, Nov. 28
7:00 p.m. ESPN N.C. State (63) at Michigan State (15)
7:30 p.m. ESPN2 Illinois (33) at Maryland (10)
8:00 p.m. ESPNU Boston College (44) at Michigan (54)
9:00 p.m. ESPN North Carolina (1) at Ohio State (4)
9:30 p.m. ESPN2 Virginia Tech (39) at Penn State (119)

Michigan State was the fourth-best team in the Big Ten last season, and everyone will be back. The team's profile is here. Their weakness offensively in 2007 was turnovers: in Big Ten play, and I know this is difficult to imagine, the Spartans turned the ball over as often as a team of five Gavin Grants would. Point guard Travis Walton finished the season with a turnover rate over 30%. Also problematic were Goran Suton, a large pillar-y turnover of a man, who sported a reprehensible 26% TO rate; and forward Raymar Morgan, who turned the ball over almost 23% of the time.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Shooting At Virginia Tech

My thoughts and condolences to everyone on the VT campus.

I found links to several first hand accounts here. Pretty surreal stuff.

Ten In A Row For Softball

The Wolfpack swept a tripleheader from cellar-dwelling Virginia this past Saturday, outscoring UVA 25-4. Since April 7th, State has played ten games (winning all of them), including three doubleheaders and the aforementioned tripleheader. Abbie Sims started six games--going the distance in five of them--and threw 39 innings. In one week. I wonder if her arm is sore.

There's usually some comedy to be found in bad teams' numbers, and Virginia is no exception. Opponents are hitting .339/.414/.516 (Avg/OBP/SLG) against the Cavs this season; UVA's offense has only managed a .241/.324/.342 line.

Elea Crockett, who leads Virginia in plate appearances, is sporting a .243/.268/.264 line. No patience, no power. There are a couple of good hitters on the roster, but beyond them it's nothin' but chaff. The team's third basewoman is hitting .165/.300/.202. At least she takes a walk every now and again.

Shifting to NC State's offense, take a look at how much the hitting has improved in 2007:
         AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS
2004 .251 .319 .357 .676
2005 .247 .325 .363 .688
2006 .233 .322 .370 .692
2007 .274 .360 .452 .812
I expect a deeper run in the NCAAs because of it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spring Game Highlights

Courtesy of the N&O...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spring Game Thoughts

Box Score

-- I want to thank Tom O'Brien for changing the spring game format so that it's more like the real thing. This year's game was about ten times more interesting than any of the Amato-era games. Only drawback: it makes the game even more of a tease. Gonna be a long five months.

-- The combined passing numbers:
Comp  Att  Comp%  Yds  TD  INT
42 88 47.7 536 4 4
The individual numbers:

Evans had the best performance of the three, hitting on 20-of-34 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Evans had a 19-yard touchdown pass to John Dunlap in the second quarter, then threw hit Blackman with a 50-yard touchdown with under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Red team down by 10. Evans completed the comeback for the Red squad with a 8-yard toss to Blackman with 16 seconds left to play.

Burke was 13-of-24 for 121 and a touchdown but threw three interceptions, with strong safety Javon Walker picking off the freshman twice. Beck finished a combined 7-of-26 for 116 yards, throwing an interception to free safety Jimmaul Simmons that the freshman returned 100 yards for a touchdown.

Daniel Evans definitely looked the most comfortable. He was far better in terms of decision making and impressed me with athletic plays on several occasions. One that sticks out: in the first half, he's flushed from the pocket and scrambles to his left. He sees a receiver breaking open on that side of the field, squares his shoulders and fires a bullet (while still on the move) that hits the receiver in the hands for a 15-yard (or so) gain. Really tough throw and he made it look easy. The Red offense operated smoothly while he was under center, and though the score was close, Red outgained White by a lot of yards (though I should note there were more first-stringers on the Red offense; Evans had the benefit of Blackman, Dunlap, and Hill).

There's no way to sugarcoat Harrison Beck's numbers, but I'm not all that concerned. It seemed to me that he was airing the ball out a lot in the first half, like he was just messing around or something, trying to hit the home run. Which didn't work out too well for him.

Neither he nor Burke made me feel any better about the QB situation. And in addition to the four interceptions made by the defenses in the game, they dropped at least 3-4 more shoulda-beens (not all of them Burke/Beck throws).

-- The running backs had no problems whatsoever today, although that fact may itself be a problem. I had a great view of Andre Brown's 25-yard TD run; not only was he not tackled, he was not even touched. Nice work by the OL on that one.
       Car  Yds   YPC
Baker 23 163 7.1
Brown 11 112 10.2
Eugene 15 174 11.6
Not a whole lot of resistance for the running backs. Jamelle Eugene's 50-yard run was one of the day's highlights. Right after he got the handoff, a flag went down in the backfield, so the play would be coming back. He made a cut and broke free to the outside, but the defense caught up to him as he neared the red zone and stripped him of the football. It was scooped up by a defensive back, who started to return the ball to the opposite side of the field and was tackled after a short gain, but not before another flag went down, this time for an illegal block during the return.

If you're scoring at home, that's a penalty on both the offense and the defense and a turnover in one play. Watching the game over the internet from his Tallahassee home, Chuck Amato wiped away a wistful tear. "Yep, that's how we do it."

-- Already at 21 points, the Red team got the ball to start the second half and quickly moved the ball down the field. As they neared White's 20-yard line, I joked to my dad, "they better be careful; they might break the 24-point threshold." A play or two later, Jamelle Eugene fumbled the ball away.

-- Hooray for coachspeak:

"If we compete the way we competed there at the end today we are going to win some football games here," O'Brien said.

Yes we are, coach. Yes we are.

I'd calculate the words-to-content ratio, but you can't divide by zero.

-- I was impressed by the turnout for the game--the lower West-side stands were packed and the upper deck was over 50% full as well. The day was, unfortunately, marred by an incident involving a particularly boisterous fan:

Friday, April 13, 2007

If you people will excuse me, my car has arrived.

From the Technician:

Dressed in an all-black wind suit, coach Tom O'Brien walked from the practice facility to the Murphy Center, a distance of almost a mile, in the drizzling rain after Wednesday's practice.

"This would be a great day in Boston," O'Brien said, concerning the gloomy weather overhead.

The differences from his flashy-dressed predecessor, who used to be chauffeured back to the Murphy Center and would often cancel media availability whenever it rained, are and will always be fairly obvious.

I'm sure Amato was "chauffeured" back in a golf cart or something--hardly noteworthy--but it's fun to picture him riding in totally ostentatious style, complete with uniform-wearing driver.

"Sir, I just dinged a sportswriter. I think he's hurt."

"Oh for crying out loud, just give him a nickel and let's get going."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What a sham.

Carolina held its awards banquet last night, and both Hansbrough and Lawson took the opportunity to announce they were staying in school. Other highlights:

-- Lawson won the John Lotz Award for having the most assists on the team. Even though he had like 160 fewer assists, I am outraged that Quentin Thomas did not receive this award.

Lawson: 8.7 assists per 40 minutes
Thomas: 11.5 assists per 40 minutes

Give QT 26 minutes a night and then we'll see who has the most assists! (And also the most turnovers!) (And maybe the lowest shooting percentage!)

Lawson's decision to return saddens me because it means Thomas probably won't get any additional playing time next season. The Dean Dome is a brighter place with Thomas on the court.

-- Dewey Burke is an inspiration--or at least he has an award that says he is. The N&O describes his award as being "for special contributions," which is fantastically vague. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but: Quentin Thomas. Robbed. You tell me what's more special than 11.5 assists and 5.1 turnovers per 40 minutes. Dewey Burke makes a basket once a month and he gets an award? What kind of crap is that? Here we see Burke receiving his award, which appears to be a steering wheel, or possibly a frisbee:

-- If Roy Williams ever wants to one-up Sidney Lowe's red jacket, he has the means to do so:

"Coach, you guys really rebounded the ball well tonight. Can you talk about the effort on the glass?"

"Forget that. Let's talk about how sparkly I am."

[Thanks to Inside Carolina for the photos.]

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'll have what he's having.

Somebody's not worried about the point guard situation.

I love this pod. We could end up playing Rick Stansbury's Lutheran Christian Academy All-Stars in the second round, which would allow us to ensure more studying time for Jamont Gordon and Vernon Goodridge. Or we could end up with an opportunity to stick it to the U of A, which would be great for me personally. Plus Valpo's coach's name is Homer.

Who broke the softball team?

       R/G   RA/G
2006 4.0 2.2
2007 4.3 2.8
It would seem that the main difference is on the pitching side of the ledger. But wait a second...
      ERA     IP     HR/7   H/7   K/7   BB/7  K/BB  WHIP   FIP     AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS    ISO
2006 1.83 485 0.42 5.4 7.5 2.5 3.0 1.13 3.14 .210 .294 .303 .597 .087
2007 2.09 298.7 0.40 4.8 7.9 3.0 2.6 1.11 3.21 .189 .290 .269 .559 .078
Those numbers look awfully similar. Thanks at least in part to a lower batting average on balls in play, opponents are actually hitting worse off of NC State pitching this year than they did last year (see OPS column). The FIP column lists the Pack's fielding-independent ERA.

What about looking at conference games only?
       R/G   RA/G
2006 4.2 2.4
2007 4.3 3.8
Okay, but...
      ERA     IP   HR/7   H/7   K/7   BB/7  K/BB  WHIP   FIP     AVG    OBP    SLG    OPS    ISO
2006 2.01 143 0.54 5.2 6.8 2.5 2.7 1.10 3.69 .205 .298 .316 .614 .105
2007 3.37 79 0.53 6.3 7.8 3.5 2.2 1.41 3.74 .234 .337 .330 .667 .092
I expected to see some bigger differences here. Conference foes are hitting for less power so far this year, but they're hitting for higher average and getting on base more often. The staff is allowing an an extra walk per seven innings but also striking out an extra batter, and FIP ERA suggests that the pitching performances have, again, been roughly equivalent. Where are those extra 1.4 runs allowed per game coming from?

Is it the defense? (Conf. games only:)
         DER    BABIP
2006 .700 .246
2007 .630 .304
Defensive Efficiency Ratio (DER) is the percentage of batted balls that are turned into outs by the defense (i.e., 63% of the balls put in play by conference opponents this season were turned into outs by State's defense). For whatever reason, State's DER has taken a major slide in conference play--we were much better last season, and even in non-conference games this year.

Conference opponents are also hitting .300+ on balls put in play, and my highly unscientific research (read: I found the average BABIP of the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-10, and Big XII) indicates that the average BABIP is somewhere in the .270-.280 range. So the pitching staff has been a bit unlucky with balls in play (maybe in part due to a slow-footed defense?).

Abbie Sims has pitched the most innings for the Wolfpack in ACC play, and she's felt the brunt of the misfortune. Prior to her two-hit shutout of Boston College yesterday, her in-conference BABIP was north of .350 (it's now .320). Must be payback for that .213 BABIP she had in conference games last year.

Bottom line: this year's pitching is right in line with last year's. Abbie Sims, in particular, is remarkably consistent from year to year. NC State has played a much more difficult schedule this season (#4 in the nation) and hit a spot of bad defense/bad luck in conference play. Those factors have contributed both to the underwhelming 27-16 record and to the apparent degradation of the pitching staff.


-- There is an "analysis statistics" section on the softball season stats page, and this section includes pitcher peripherals like K/7, BB/7, etc. There are ground out/fly out columns so that you can see the ground ball/fly ball tendencies of the pitchers (though they really need to include all batted balls, not just the ones turned into outs). Shaina Ervin is an extreme ground ball pitcher--sort of a Brandon Webb softball equivalent. None of these data are available for the baseball team [insert frowny face].

-- Shaina Ervin managed to halve her career walk rate (BB/7) in 2006. This apparently wasn't indicative of some newfound control, as her 2007 walk rate is back up to where it was in 2004 and 2005.

-- Since we're talkin' softball:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Or not...


Could it be that Michael Beasley has been in a cave for a day or so?

Today the U.S. junior national team played the World Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in Memphis, so O.J. Mayo and Beasley & Co. were there to lead the juniors' 100-80 victory. After the game, Beasley seemed not to know that Kansas State has hired Frank Martin as head coach.

"I haven’t (asked to be released from Kansas State) yet," said Beasley, according to the Associated Press. "I’m waiting to see who gets the job first."

Uh... Did Martin for real not call this kid yet?

Beasley's comments can be found here.

Beasley Sticks With KSU

You can put the phone down, Sidney. (You should never have picked it up in the first place...)

Michael Beasley will honor a signed national letter of intent with Kansas State and play for the Wildcats next season, his mother told CBS on Saturday morning.

Kansas State did what it had to in order to preserve whatever near-term success the basketball program has coming to it. The the school is getting hammered by the Kansas City Star for hiring Frank Martin, though.

Jason Whitlock:

Bob Huggins is a genius.

He squeezed 23 victories out of the players Jim Wooldridge left behind, rehabilitated his image just enough to get back into a basketball conference and, most remarkably, instructed Frank Martin and Dalonte Hill on how to hoodwink and bamboozle Jon Wefald and Tim Weiser into astronomical pay raises and job titles they’re not qualified for.


The program is a complete laughingstock. It’s an embarrassment to the Big 12. Seriously, conference commissioner Kevin Wieberg should intervene and at the very least object to the irrational decision Wefald and Weiser made, appointing Martin head coach and Hill associate head coach at Kansas State.

Frank Martin was run out of Florida high school coaching because of major recruiting violations. Salary and responsibility won’t improve his ethics. He is what he is, a recruiter, a person perfectly comfortable wading through the muck and corruption of the child-peddling world that is college recruiting.

You don’t hire a head coach based on one recruiting class. You hire assistant coaches for recruits.

Joe Posnanski:

Friday, Kansas State hired Frank Martin to be the coach. Who is Frank Martin? He is a 41-year-old former Kansas State assistant coach known for being a relentless recruiter. He also was fired as a high school basketball coach in Miami in 1998 for violations the Florida High School Athletic Association called “more excessive than any school ever investigated.” Martin denied any wrongdoing, but it should be said that his work at Miami Senior High was so over-the-top scandalous, he merited an entire chapter in the book: Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed and the Corruption of America’s Youth.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The K-State Saga

The KC Star's Jason Whitlock, absolutely on the money:

Bob Huggins is exactly who [KSU President] Wefald and [Athletics Director] Weiser thought he was, a man willing to boldly and deceptively cut corners to get what he wants.

Huggins wants to pursue a college basketball national championship in a town that will let him live hard, coach harder and overlook any ethical shortcoming. He had that for a time at Cincinnati. He found out the Little Apple is just too small to accommodate his social life and too backwoods to legitimately sustain his recruiting appetite, so he bolted for West Virginia, his alma mater that plays in a basketball conference.

In an attempt to limit the damage to its stellar 2007 recruiting class, Kansas State is seriously considering giving the job to either Frank Martin or Dalonte Hill, both of whom were assistants under Huggins in Manhattan. Martin may even be the frontrunner. Hill, of course, was hired by Huggins simply because he was going to bring Michael Beasley with him. I can't imagine Hill is ready for a head coaching gig (he only has a few years of college coaching experience under his belt), but KSU looks more than willing to sacrifice its future for the here and now (not necessarily a bad idea in their case).

Whitlock continues:

And I don’t care that Huggins reportedly kept Hill and Martin out of the loop on his plans to return to West Virginia. I don’t care that Hill and Martin are pretending to be victims.

They know the game. They were in on it right along with Wefald, Weiser and Huggins. K-State did not replace Jim Wooldridge with a bastion of integrity. The school hired a head coach who hired Frank Martin because he could deliver K-State a couple of stiff big men, Jason Bennett and Luis Colon. The school hired a head coach who hired Dalonte Hill because he could deliver the nation’s No. 1 recruit, Michael Beasley, a kid who was probably planning to stay at K-State for one year.

Hill betrayed Bobby Lutz at Charlotte to get in bed with Huggins at K-State.

This was one giant package deal that exploded. There was never anything ethical or fair about any of it. It was all a scheme to get Beasley, Bill Walker and OJ Mayo to visit campus for one basketball season.

There are no victims here, only men who should be embarrassed. As much as I’d like to give Wefald and Weiser credit for their airing of their honest emotions, my respect is undercut by their unwillingness to immediately cut ties with any and everybody associated with the Huggins’ fiasco.


This is embarrassing. Frank Martin is a nice guy who in no way has the emotional temperament to be a Division I head coach. No way. He’s just too volatile. Dalonte Hill is a 27-year-old kid with a lot of growing up to do before he’s ready to be anyone’s head coach.

Furthering the embarrassment is Weiser's insistence that he will not grant releases to any of the recruits.

Considering the whole heap of unethicality that surrounded the Huggins-to-KSU deal, it's hilarious to read all of the hurt reactions from the K-State side.

Like this student's reaction:

"I think it was a very selfish move," said Jon Erskine, a K-State student who stood outside Bramlage Coliseum with a paper bag over his head. "I don't think he thought about anyone but himself."

Um, hello? It's Bob Huggins!

Let me get back to the KSU coaching search, as that's what is relevant to NC State and the potential availability of Beasley/Sutton. Fox Sports reports that if assistant Frank Martin is promoted to head coach, Dalonte Hill will be offered the associate head coaching position.

Which would likely mean Sutton and Beasley honor their commitments to Kansas State:

Sutton -- and Beasley, if the package deal talk is accurate -- and Pullen said if Hill was retained or promoted, it would be helpful in their decisions. Sutton said it meant he and Beasley would honor their commitments, and that would probably influence Pullen's choice.

Update: Some additional tidbits from the Manhattan Mercury:

Sutton, from the Durham (N.C.) Patterson School and a summer AAU teammate of Beasley's, said the only way he's staying at K-State is if Huggins assistant coach Dalonte Hill is retained.

"If they keep him, I'll be there, so will Mikey (Beasley), but only if Dalonte Hill is an assistant coach or the head coach," said Sutton, who, along with Beasley know Hill from his days coaching on the AAU circuit. "That's it, probably the only way."


Sutton, who said he was contacted by N.C. State's Sidney Lowe Thursday, said he would have never even considered K-State had Hill not been here — whether Huggins was at K-State or not.

"I never even heard of K-State basketball, never, before Coach Hill went there," he said. "I was looking at schools like the Carolinas, UConn, and Kansas."
However Sutton's stepfather, Walter Foster, said there is no chance of him following Huggins to West Virginia.

Emphasis mine. Did Lowe commit an NCAA violation? The story continues:

But Sutton, along with Beasley, Pullen, and Fred Brown have binding agreements with K-State after signing national letters of intent. Considering that, whatever contact any of these recruits have with other universities could be violation of NCAA rules.

The rule states that, "All colleges and universities that participate in the NLI (national letter of intent) program agree to not recruit a prospective student-athlete once he/she signs an NLI with another college or university. Therefore, a prospective student-athlete who signs an NLI should no longer receive recruiting contacts and calls."

Update II: It's official: Frank Martin is KSU's new head coach, and Dalonte Hill is the associate head coach. If Sutton is true to his word, both he and Beasley will be sticking with the Wildcats.

This is why I'm not going until June.


The Friday-night forecast in Chicago called for a low of 22 degrees, with winds out of the northwest ranging from 25 to 30 mph. Those frigid conditions were reason enough for the White Sox to cancel Friday's series opener against the Twins.

The game will be rescheduled on a date to be determined. With conditions expected to be equally cold on Saturday, including a chance for snow showers, the possibility of a doubleheader was ruled out.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Wolfpack interested in K-State recruits?


"Me and Mike are a package deal," Sutton said.

Mike, of course, is Michael Beasley, the 6-foot-9 power forward from Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) regarded by some of the top basketball player in the country and the MVP of the recent McDonald's All-American Game.

It appears the transition has caused some coaches to wonder if K-State's incoming freshman class is up for grabs. And, according to Sutton, it might be.

"I spoke with Mike earlier today, and he said there were three schools who would take us," he said.

Which three schools?

"N.C. State, Florida State and USC," Sutton said.

This brings up a number of questions. Does this mean the NCSU staff expects one or more transfers soon? Would we have to revoke the scholarship offers made to our 2008 recruits? Have we no shame? Sutton's comments make it sound like the feelers are going out from the recruits to the schools rather than the other way around, so there's no telling how seriously interested we are at this point. Still, "would take us" is pretty clear.

The profiles of the two players in question: Michael Beasley, Dominique Sutton.

Here's Sutton talking about West Virginia:

"I'd like to visit the school first, I'd like to see it," he said. "Me and the mountains don't get along."

If you'd just take the time, D, I think you and the mountains could work things out.

The lesson is: don't do things.

Because things can lead to stuff. And from there it's a short leap to kerfuffle. Nobody wants a kerfuffle.

Larry Harris arrested:

King stopped Harris shortly after 10 p.m. in the 800 block of West Morgan Street near downtown. The assistant coach was going 41 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone in his 2006 Cadlillac Escalade, Sughrue said.

King repeatedly asked Harris for his license and vehicle registration, but Harris refused to hand them over, Sughrue said. King then placed Harris under arrest and eventually used the pepper spray.

Update: Harris has filed a complaint with the RPD:

An assistant basketball coach at North Carolina State University filed a complaint against a city police officer on Thursday. That comes one day after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer.

Lee Turner is representing North Carolina State assistant coach Larry Harris. Turner says the complaint accuses officer R.W. King of assault, excessive force and conduct unbecoming an officer.

Houston Nutt and NC State

An Arkansas fan obtained Houston Nutt's cell phone records courtesy the Freedom of Information Act: it's all right here (HT: EDSBS). Skip down to page ten of the PDF file for the State-related stuff. Among the findings: several calls from Nutt to Raleigh, NC phone numbers--intermixed with calls to his agent--between December 3rd and December 5th (O'Brien was hired on the 9th).

One of those calls? To Joe Pate.

Update: A rumor from back in September of last year suggested that Nutt was campaigning for the NCSU job, should it open. In the comments, Jeff noted:

Joe Pate, currently in NC State's Athletics Department, was on Arkansas' staff and has deep ties to Nutt.

It would appear that rumor had some legs.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Guess we have to give back the Stanley Cup now.

No playoffs. I'm weeping into my PlayoffsOn! towel.

In a span of eight days, the Hurricanes went from champs to chokers, losing four of five games at a time when they may have needed to win out to make the playoffs. When the puck was dropped Tuesday, the Canes still had a slim chance of catching even the Lightning. By the time the game was over, there was no hope at all, even with two games left in the season.

"It's the biggest loss of the year that we've had," forward Cory Stillman said. "Tonight was a chance to give us an opportunity to stay in the playoffs, and we let one slip away."

They let so many slip away. Injuries, inconsistent effort, a balky power play and erratic goaltending all played a part in the Hurricanes' season of shame. In the end, the Hurricanes never displayed the same pure desire and will to win that made them so dangerous last season -- a failure particularly evident Tuesday.

Good times.

All that's left now is rooting for the Canadian teams. Or, really, anyone but the damn hell ass Sabres.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Brackman, NC State Pitcher

First, some NCAA averages from 2006, with an appreciative tip of the hat to Ryan Armbrust for his excellent research. The average I-A hitter had the following numbers last season:
         AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS     ISO    
2006 .292 .361 .420 .781 .128
Just bear those in mind.

Next up, a look at each of Brackman's three seasons on the mound. What you'll see below is straightforward, but let me go through all of the columns for the sake of completeness.

ERA = Earned Run Average
IP = Innings Pitched
HR/9, H/9, etc = home runs, hits, etc. allowed per nine innings pitched.
K/BB = Strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
WHIP = (Walks + Hits) / Innings Pitched
        ERA      IP     HR/9     H/9     K/9   BB/9    K/BB   WHIP   
2005 2.09 43.0 0.0 6.7 9.0 3.8 2.4 1.16
2006 6.35 28.3 0.64 11.8 10.2 6.0 1.7 1.98
2007 3.42 47.3 0.76 8.6 8.6 3.4 2.5 1.33
Brackman followed up a strong freshman debut with an injury-plagued sophomore season. He was shut down in 2006 because of a stress fracture in his hip, an injury that no doubt played a major role in his decision to give up basketball in 2007. In this next table, I combined his 2005 and 2006 numbers (that's everything he did while also playing basketball) and have compared those to his current 2007 numbers (which of course is everything he's done since leaving the basketball team):
                   ERA      IP     HR/9    H/9    K/9   BB/9    K/BB   WHIP    
Two-Sportin' It 3.79 71.3 0.25 8.7 9.5 4.7 2.0 1.49
Hoops Schmoops 3.42 47.3 0.76 8.6 8.6 3.4 2.5 1.33
One last table: how opponents hit against Brackman:

AVG = Batting Average
OBP = On-Base Percentage
SLG = Slugging Percentage
OPS = On-base Plus Slugging (OBP + SLG)
ISO = Isolated Power (SLG - AVG) (i.e., extra bases per at-bat)
         AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS     ISO
2005 .216 .314 .250 .564 .034
2006 .319 .432 .440 .872 .121
2007 .251 .345 .369 .714 .118
Those 2005 figures are filthy. Opponents managed 32 hits off him that year, and all but five were singles.
            AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS     ISO
05 + 06 .261 .367 .333 .700 .072
2007 .251 .345 .369 .714 .118
I was mainly interested to see if his control improved, but I'm not going to make any conclusions based on so few innings. His walk rate is a bit better in '07, but he's hit eight batters this season--as many as he hit in his first two seasons combined.

Some additional stats here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Prep School Issue Hits Georgetown

From the New York Times (hat tip: SportsBiz):

And while [John Thompson III] has been showered with praise for restoring the program’s glory, one of his assistant coaches, Kevin Broadus, is also reaping the rewards. He was named the head coach at Binghamton University on Monday.

What Binghamton officials did not know, and what few have talked about amid this feel-good week here, is that Thompson and Broadus recruited a player to Georgetown who in four years of public high school in Delaware compiled final grades of F in 12 courses.

That player was Marc Egerson, who had a grade-point average of 1.33 in core courses like math, science and English. He passed nine such courses without receiving a grade higher than a C. As a freshman, he even failed physical education.

Egerson prepped at Lutheran Christian Academy. More:

A group of senior Georgetown officials carefully reviewed the circumstances surrounding Egerson’s admission last year, according to John J. DeGioia, the university’s president. That came after a report by The New York Times about Lutheran Christian, in which Egerson’s high school coach said he wondered how Egerson had made it to Georgetown given his low grade-point average and an SAT score in the 600s while in public school. DeGioia defended Egerson’s admission and place on campus.

Emphasis mine.

We have another Vernon Goodridge sighting:

Few assistant coaches dealt with Lutheran Christian and its coach, Darryl Schofield, more than Broadus. He recruited Egerson to Georgetown and nearly landed another Lutheran player, Vernon Goodridge. Goodridge’s mother reportedly wanted him to attend Georgetown, but he decided to go to Mississippi State.

Before arriving at Georgetown, Broadus recruited Maureece Rice from Lutheran to George Washington University. He also helped George Washington recruit Omar Williams, who in his seven years of high school attended three other prep schools that Schofield was part of before Lutheran.

Emphasis mine again.

Other Egerson-related items:
John Thompson's Shameful Recruitment of Marc Egerson
Egerson defends academic standing (Includes the tidbit that Delaware didn't recruit Egerson out of HS/prep school because the coaches didn't think they could get him admitted.)
BU coach named in recruiting controversy

Opening Day!

Hard Hat Area

How does this happen?

Since Andrew Brackman skipped out on basketball season in order to focus on baseball, I was curious if he'd show any noticable improvement in his peripherals. So I went to to take a look at his 2007 numbers, and when I clicked on the link for the Pack's "Overall Statistics" I got this page. Which displays Boston College's [way out of date] overall statistics. For a second I thought I'd accidentally clicked over to

The stats available at the ACC's website and College Splits are not current, so I'm stuck until the folks at fix their mistake. Here's a taste of what I've got at this point (the 2007 line doesn't include Brackman's start this past weekend):
         K/9    BB/9    H/9    HR/9   K/BB   WHIP
2005 9.0 3.8 6.7 0.0 2.4 1.16
2006 10.2 6.0 11.8 0.6 1.7 1.98
2007 8.5 3.3 9.2 ??? 2.5 1.39
[First four columns: strikeouts, walks, hits, and home runs allowed per nine innings. WHIP is walks plus hits divided by innings pitched.]

To be continued...