Monday, December 31, 2007


I know some folks are curious, so here are the plus/minus totals from Marques Johnson's first two games:

Gonzalez On Court    -2
Johnson On Court +20

Two games isn't a large enough sample from which to be drawing conclusions, but that's an auspicious start for Marques...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

NC State 74, WCU 62

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate22.8
Off Reb Rate45.5
Four Factors
Turnover Rate17.9
Off Reb Rate40.5

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
WCU 62 61.3 101.1 120.7
NCSU 74 61.3 120.7 101.1



Western Carolina: 60.3% shooting in the first half. Yep. That makes sense.

We were supposed to be able to relax today.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Previewing Western Carolina

2008 Scouting Report / 2007 Scouting Report
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster

Western Carolina Offense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.987
Off Reb Rate32.9189
Western Carolina Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.6195
Off Reb Rate36.286

Larry Hunter returns to the RBC Center, and he's brought... oh man, what is that smell? Throw it away, Larry, it's gone bad. Whew.

At 87.2 pts/100 poss, WCU ranks 313th in offensive efficiency. Five games into the season, the Catamounts' leading scorer left the team:

WCU spokesman Daniel Hooker would not discuss the nature of Aldridge’s team-rules violation except to say the issue occurred during practice before the Elon game and that Aldridge did not break the law.

Aldridge was a massive part of the offense--his usage and %shots numbers both ranked in the top five nationally. He wasn't exactly lighting it up, though, as he was only shooting 42.9%.

The Catamounts are a perimeter-oriented team, and while they don't shoot it well from outside, you can't say they aren't playing to their "strength."

 2FG%(Rk)     3FG%(Rk)
32.8 (239) 40.6 (321)


Michael Porrini (6-2, 185) -- WCU's point guard and leading scorer. Boasts an anomalous 9.8 offensive rebounding percentage.

Brigham Waginger (6-2, 175) -- Nothing if not a possession-killer. Despite being a low-usage player, he's horribly inefficient. He'll mostly shoot from outside. When he doesn't turn the ball over.

Brandon Giles (6-6, 200) -- Giles is taking 28.2% of WCU's shots, the highest proportion on the team. As a sophomore, he's become a better outside shooter and taken better care of the basketball, which makes him the most prudent scoring option.

Arnold Gore (6-6, 210) -- Invented the turnover.

Jake Robinson (6-8, 205) -- Three-quarters of his attempts came from three last season, and he hit over 40% of them. He's easily their biggest three-point threat. Horrible rebounder, though.


Blake Gallagher (6-8, 240) and Eric Wilson (6-1, 210) will get most of the work.

Gallagher has shot the ball well in limited opportunities, and he is an excellent rebounder at both ends.

Western Carolina Defense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.0121
Off Reb Rate34.7230
Western Carolina Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.6134
Off Reb Rate34.7214

Should be another field day for the Wolfpack inside the arc. The Catamounts do a bit of fouling, too:
Gore 6.3
Giles 4.9
Wilson 4.9

Friday Items

-- Best wishes on a speedy recovery for Bobby Frasor, who has endured more than his fair share of injuries. But you know what this means: it's Quentin Thomas time. QT's assist rate this season isn't as lofty as it usually is, but he can't make shots for his teammates. All he can do is continue to be super awesome.

-- has started adding tempo-free stats. The site also has box score widgets that I'm sure I'll be using in the future. Like this one:

Also, there's data on officials.

-- Apparently having the second highest sack total in the NFL ain't good enough for some resentful Houston fans. Thanks to a reader for the link.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

NC State 79, Seton Hall 73

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate25.2
Off Reb Rate42.9
Seton Hall
Four Factors
Turnover Rate15.4
Off Reb Rate34.1

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
SHU 73 71.5 102.1 110.5
NCSU 79 71.5 110.5 102.1

-- It didn't look like a good defensive effort (can we get around a freakin' screen?), but the Pirates ended up well below their average offensive efficiency. I hesitate to give us any credit for that.

-- It figures--Brandon Costner finally finds his jumper and promptly leaves it in Raleigh. That's understandable, though, because I always forget something when I travel.

-- NC State shot 65.1% on its twos.

-- Paul Gause: five steals in 29 minutes. Yeah, he's pretty good at that.

-- Laing and Harvey, SHU's top two scorers, shot a combined 13-33 (43.9 eFG%) en route to their 37 points.

-- Johnson/Gonzalez: a combined 6 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, 4 TOs in 40 minutes. Thankfully it's about to get a hell of a lot easier for these guys, as we've got three games against the bottom 15% of I-A forthcoming.

[Photo: Associated Press]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Previewing Seton Hall

2008 Scouting Report / 2007 Scouting Report
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster

Seton Hall Offense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate16.58
Off Reb Rate31.8228
Seton Hall Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate16.58
Off Reb Rate37.359

Well, this should be interesting. Of Seton Hall's top five minutes-getters, no one is taller than 6-5. How they've managed the OR% they have, I do not know...probably just a function of the early season schedule seeing as how none of the short guys are very good rebounders at that end of the court; they had a similarly short team last season, and as you can see, they didn't rebound well offensively.


Eugene Harvey (6-0, 165) -- Normally it's easy to glance at the assist rate column and spot the point guard, but not so in this case. Harvey leads the team in assists and has the highest assist rate at 17.9%, but that's an awfully modest number. Harvey's good at getting to the line, and like most of SHU's guards, has a nice steal rate.

Jamar Nutter (6-2, 205) -- He was a real drag on the offense last season, using an above average proportion of possessions and shooting terribly. He's been much more of a role player this season, which is a good thing for the Pirates. Solid from three thus far (36.7%). A total hole in the floor when it comes to rebounding.

Larry Davis (6-4, 185) -- Oh, Larry, how we could so use you right now. He hit 40% of his 80 three-point attempts in 2007 and is hitting 37.5% from outside this year.

Brian Laing (6-5, 215) -- The Pirates' leading scorer at 20.2 pts/game, Laing has been on the court for almost 93% of his team's minutes (38.8 min/g), a figure that ranks 9th nationally. He's listed as a guard/forward and has pretty good defensive rebounding numbers, if not so much at the other end. He'll shoot from outside, just not very well.

Augustine Okosun (6-11, 240) -- Has started eight of 10 games but only gets about 10 minutes a night and takes so few shots that he's nearly irrelevant at the offensive end. Maybe they just stick him in there to win the opening tip or something.


Jeremy Hazell (6-5, 185), Paul Gause (5-11, 188), and John Garcia (6-9, 265) round out the significant part of the bench.

Gause is quite possibly the best thief in the nation; he led the country in steal percentage last year, and he's 2nd this season. He should probably stop shooting threes: 33-114 (.289) in 2007, 9-39 (.231) in 2008.

Hazell is the Pirates' most frequent and most accurate three-point shooter.

Garcia is a big time rebounder at both ends and an efficient scorer who also blocks a ton of shots. Not sure why he isn't in the starting lineup ahead of Okosun.

Seton Hall Defense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate23.741
Off Reb Rate36.4296
Seton Hall Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.8124
Off Reb Rate33.3166

Not surprisingly, opponents have their way with these guys inside the arc. SHU's 2FG% defense ranked 292nd last year and currently sits at 259th this season.

Protecting the basketball is going to be huge for us in this one, as that's really the only leg they have to stand on defensively; they don't force misses and they give up plenty of second chances, so if we keep the mistakes down we'll be in good shape for a nice day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Degand Out For Season


"This is a really tough break for Farnold individually and for our team collectively," Lowe said Monday morning. "After not being able to play for two years, he was really enjoying being back on the court. He will definitely have the support of his teammates and the coaching staff throughout the rehabilitation process."

Wow, are we ever doomed by this. Doomed doomed doomed.

[Update] My lineup numbers aren't updated with the weekend's games, but with Degand running the point, we're +39 on the season; with Gonzalez running it, we're +13. Not as big of a difference as I would have guessed. I suppose the question now is do we go with Gonzalez/Johnson for the rest of the year, or do we eventually shift Gavin back to the point?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holy Free Throws, Batman

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate14.2
Off Reb Rate18.5
Four Factors
Turnover Rate18.5
Off Reb Rate34.3

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
Cincy 77 70.2 109.7 109.7
NCSU 85 70.2 121.1 121.1

-- Finally, an offensive performance that I can actually call, you know, good. We hadn't had an OFF EFF above 110 since the season opener.

-- The Wolfpack's free throw rate is the highest I can recall seeing since I've been tracking this stuff. To say that we continue to leverage the free throw line would be a bit of an understatement tonight. It's no surprise that we ended up with more trips to the line considering they're foul prone and we're very, very not; but a 36-attempt difference? I think Mick Cronin wore a sarcastic smile for the last ten minutes of the game. Here's to you...

Rashad Bishop, 5 fouls in 20 minutes
Jamual Warren, 4 fouls in 22 minutes
John Williamson, 4 fouls in 21 minutes
Marvin Gentry, 5 fouls in 19 minutes
Larry Davis, 4 fouls in 19 minutes
Kenny Belton, 4 fouls in 10 minutes

-- Ten games into the season, we've yet to force an opponent to turn the ball over more than 19% of the time, which is amazing to me. The defensive free throw rate is great and everything, guys, but I wouldn't mind a little more reaching. On the flip side, the offense's 14.2 TO% is the lowest of the season...and plenty refreshing considering the ridiculously high turnover rate we had in Cincinnati last year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

NC State 66, Davidson 65

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate24.5
Off Reb Rate27.6
Four Factors
Turnover Rate14.4
Off Reb Rate11.1

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
Dav 65 69.4 93.6 95.1
NCSU 66 69.4 95.1 93.6

-- Haven't gotten a chance to watch the game yet, save the last two minutes, but the box isn't very encouraging. Except for the defensive rebounding numbers, that is. Bravo, fellas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The two most common lineups so far this season:

                                      OffPoss   DefPoss   PtsScored   PtsAllowed   +/-
Degand/Fells/Grant/Costner/Hickson 147 146 172 133 +39
Degand/Fells/Grant/Costner/McCauley 75 76 74 86 -12

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Previewing Davidson

2008 Scouting Report / 2007 Scouting Report
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster

Davidson Offense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.370
Off Reb Rate35.0112
Davidson Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate16.67
Off Reb Rate30.7248

I hate playing perimeter-oriented teams because defending teams that shoot a ton of threes and rarely turn the ball over is a nightmare. And considering where the glaring weaknesses in the Wolfpack's defense lie, it's a doubly scary proposition. More than 44% of the Wildcats' field goal attempts this season are coming from beyond the arc, a proportion that is the 20th-highest in I-A.

The 16.6 TO percentage they've posted is pretty remarkable when you consider they've already played Duke, Carolina, and UCLA--three teams that excel at forcing turnovers. Davidson kept its TO% under 20.0 in each of those games, a nice run regardless of the opponent, but particularly impressive against those three, all of which routinely force teams to turn the ball over 25% of the time.

If there's one thing NC State has made clear in regards to forcing turnovers, it's that having more available bodies doesn't matter when none of those players have the requisite skills for generating steals and creating other mistakes. That sounds obvious, but I can't imagine I was alone in expecting us to improve in this area once we had the luxury of a deeper bench. Instead of improving, we've actually gone in the other direction; the defense ranks 339th in turnover rate, this after finishing 329th last season. We continue to do a great job of keeping teams off of the free throw line, so it seems that we have not changed our defensive philosophy from a year ago. We're no more aggressive in attempting to disrupt opposing offenses than we were in 2007 when restraint was the order of the day. It no longer has to be this way, but in all likelihood, it is going to stay this way. We've added more pieces, but we haven't added the right pieces.

The Wolfpack defense relies entirely on unforced errors, and that's no way to make a living when you rebound as poorly as we do. We've scraped by on the strength of FG% defense, but that's not going to be enough come conference play.

Now that I've spent three paragraphs on the subject, you can expect Davidson to turn it over a bunch on Friday. Cheers!


Jason Richards (6-2, 190) -- It's good to be the point guard on a POT; Richards ranks 11th nationally in assist rate and averages more than 10 assists per 40 minutes.

Stephen Curry (6-2, 185) -- Yet another guy we're seeing who assumes a huge offensive workload. He's handling it fine, just as he did as a freshman; even with all of the responsibility, Curry's shooting percentages--inside and out--are excellent. He won't turn the ball over or get to the line much, although I could say that about anyone on the roster.

Max Paulhus Gosselin (6-6, 195) -- I don't know about you, but I look at a name like this and think there's gotta be a few good anagrams in there. Amusing Ox Phalluses; Hapless, Anxious, Glum; Expos Alums Languish (like Tim Raines on the HOF ballot!).

Anyway, Gosselin's usage is very low, which is probably a good thing considering the horrible start he's off to.

Thomas Sander (6-8, 220) -- Good offensive rebounder who'll step outside and take more threes than he probably should. After shooting 32.9% in 2007, he's only hit 25% of his 3FGAs this year.

Boris Meno (6-8, 220) -- An excellent rebounder at both ends, and he's the only starter aside from Curry who is taking an above average proportion of shots.


Bryant Barr (6-4, 185), Andrew Lovedale (6-8, 215), Stephen Rossiter (6-7, 230), and Will Archambault (6-6, 220) should see the bulk of the spare minutes. Barr and Archambault will be bombing away; Lovedale and Rossiter will stick to two-point land. Rossiter has been quite efficient in his limited opportunities.

Davidson Defense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate23.062
Off Reb Rate27.73
Davidson Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate24.478
Off Reb Rate29.244

Opponents have killed the Wildcats from outside (42.2 3FG%), and while that's sure to come down, it's not all bad luck, as they were soft along the perimeter last year as well.

Ken Pomeroy's prediction thingy has the Pack winning by four. I'm feeling pessimistic, so give me the Wildcats by 10.

Pretty Please With Sugar On Top

I shouldn't find this (hat tip: ACC Now) as amusing as I do, but...yeah. Won't you come have fun in Orlando? I'll be your friend!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Curse these interminable gaps in the schedule.

Week long dwell-a-thons aren't supposed to extend past football season. But, if nothing else, the extra time off allows for a little more quality family time...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

NC State 74, SCSU 49

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate24.0
Off Reb Rate45.7
Four Factors
Turnover Rate24.0
Off Reb Rate34.8

          Pts   Poss    Off_Eff   Def_Eff
SCSU 49 71.0 69.0 104.3
NCSU 74 71.0 104.3 69.0

We held SC State to a season-low 0.69 pts/poss, but the offense didn't have the breakout I was expecting, probably because Sidney Lowe took the opportunity to go mad scientist on the lineups.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Quick Items

-- Guess what they're still talking about.

-- The Big Lead conducted an interview with the News & Record's Rob Daniels that's worth a read.

-- Ken Pomeroy and John Gasaway discuss how their preseason predictions are working out...NC State is brought up.

-- Mario Williams had a good Thursday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report

Available here (pdf). It's lengthy; if you skip to the end of the report and backtrack, you'll find the appendix that includes all of the hard evidence: personal checks and the like.

According to McNamee, from the time that McNamee injected Clemens with Winstrol through the end of the 1998 season, Clemens’s performance showed remarkable improvement. During this period of improved performance, Clemens told McNamee that the steroids “had a pretty good effect” on him. McNamee said that Clemens also was training harder and dieting better during this time.

Clemens apparently became interested in using steroids after a road trip to Florida in early June. According to the report, he began injecting "later that summer," and, as noted in the above excerpt, saw significant improvement. There aren't any specifics as to when he started, but it's interesting to look at his first half/second half splits:

First Half: 3.55 ERA, 9.1 K/9IP, 4.2 BB/9IP
Second Half: 1.71 ERA, 11.7 K/9IP, 2.5 BB/9IP

Of course, he was also "training harder and dieting better"; I'm not suggesting this is some sort of smoking gun in regards to the impact of performance enhancers.

I'm glad to see that the Big Hurt isn't among those incriminated, not that it would have changed the way I feel about the guy. Quoting the report again:

Among current players I asked to interview were five who have spoken publicly about the issue. When I did so, I made clear that there was no suggestion that any of the five had used performance enhancing substances, and I repeat here that clarifying statement. Four of the five declined. One of them, Frank Thomas of the Toronto Blue Jays, agreed. His comments were informative and helpful.

[Update: Deadspin has compiled a list of the players named in the report.]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Previewing SC State

2008 Scouting Report / 2007 Scouting Report
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster

SCSU Offense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate24.4309
Off Reb Rate36.860
SCSU Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate28.0330
Off Reb Rate38.936

South Carolina State University is, like NC State, a land grant institution, and also used to be referred to as "State College," according to wikipedia. No word as to the brick makeup of SCSU's campus.

The Bulldogs were mauled in predictable fashion by the two major-conference teams they've played in the early going (UNC, South Carolina), but their offensive rebounding held up surprisingly well against both, so they appear to be a decent test, at least in this lone regard.


Jessie Burton (5-11, 170) -- Turns the ball over a bunch and has what I consider to be a modest assist rate for a point guard, though it appears he is sharing those duties with Carrio Bennett. Good shooter from outside, so far (40.6 3FG%).

Carrio Bennett (6-1, 155) -- SCSU's leading scorer and a more well-rounded guard than Burton, but still woefully inefficient. Like Burton, he's been good from behind the arc but terrible inside of it.

Jason Flagler (6-4, 185) -- Listed as a guard/forward, but it's clear his range is limited, as he rarely attempts threes. Good offensive rebounder for his height.

Everett Spencer (6-6, 205) -- Pee-utrid: he's shooting 42.5% to go along with a 38.1% turnover rate (6.4 TOs/40).

Jason Johnson (6-7, 220) -- Fits right into the team concept in that he turns the ball over too much. (As far as team concepts go, I can't say I'm sold on this one.) But he is shooting the ball reasonably well and has put up solid block and assist rates thus far.


Eight different players have started multiple games for the Bulldogs this season, so the guys I've designated as starters are definitely not set in stone. We'll see a number of others, among them Thomas Bookman (6-0, 170), Chris Miller-Williams (6-6, 265), Julius Carter (6-8, 235), Derrick Davis (6-0, 190), and David Cobb (6-7, 215).

Julius Carter was excellent as a role player in 2007 (a 124.6 ORtg--that sticks out just a tad in this bunch), and he has continued to display good touch from inside this season, but has for whatever reason been buried on the depth chart, his minutes dropping significantly. He is an offensive rebounding machine.

SCSU Defense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.3159
Off Reb Rate34.1198
SCSU Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.6190
Off Reb Rate35.5234

SC State is another in a long line of examples why every rebound needs an adjective.

Ken Pomeroy predicts a 20-point win for the Wolfpack; if we simply box out (there's a first for everything), the margin will be much larger than that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday Items

-- This piece from Chip Alexander has generated a lot of discussion today--plenty of good stuff at SFN, though I'm sure you're aware of that--so I'll keep it brief. Easily the biggest disappointment for me so far has been McCauley's lack of involvement. He's not just playing fewer minutes, he's shooting less often as well; after averaging 11.6 FGA/40 minutes in 2007, he's only averaging 8.3/40 in '08, which is the biggest drop off of any of the returning regulars. I fully understand the more limited minutes, but it seems like when he is on the court he rarely gets an opportunity to operate in the post. That's what is disappointing.

One issue with increasing McCauley's minutes, which lots of people are advocating, is that doing so sacrifices defensive rebounding, because McCauley gives up a lot to Costner and Hickson in this area. But if getting McCauley more time is what it takes to jump start both himself and the offense, it's probably worth it.

-- Gotta love the NCAA...

The National Crass Athletic Association outdid itself recently with its decision to prevent North Carolina State women's basketball coach Kay Yow from watching last week's Rutgers-Maryland game from courtside.

Yow, who learned she had stage-four cancer last November, attended the game at Rutgers to launch the Kay Yow/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Cancer Fund, fittingly at the Jimmy V Women's Basketball Classic. At halftime, Rutgers athletic director Bob Mulcahy presented Yow with a $10,000 donation.

Yow was allowed in the arena at halftime. Just not during the game. Why? Because it's against NCAA rules for coaches to scout other teams in person.

Really? They couldn't lift the regulations for one special occasion?

-- Charts and graphs will get you everywhere with me. Check this out.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

We Now Return You To The Kenny Inge Era

Earlier today, someone found the site by googling "ncsu basketball what happened ecu." I wish I knew.

Offensive production, in terms of raw points per 100 possessions:

Year    Off_Eff
2008 100.0
2007 105.4
2006 109.5
2005 109.9
2004 109.0
2003 107.4
2002 108.3
2001 101.6
2000 97.9
1999 102.1

I'm all out of suggestions; it's tiring just to think about. I still have hope that we'll sort things out, but not much.

I was looking good on the day that you fell for the way I looked.

Box Score

NC State
Four Factors
Turnover Rate21.0
Off Reb Rate31.3
East Carolina
Four Factors
Turnover Rate16.5
Off Reb Rate34.3

I'm sure glad we have the market cornered on the least important of the four factors. More later...maybe. I'm going to need a few drinks first.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Liveblog! NC State @ ECU -- Second Half

[7:58PM] According the unofficial box, ECU is 8-12 from beyond the arc. Didn't this same type of thing happen last year? Their first half eFG% = 61.5%.

[8:03PM] Wow, my high school lost a heartbreaker in the Arizona state championship today. So much for a pick-me-up.

[8:10PM] Still no answer for JJ. BC gets an offensive board, and what's this, is that some emotion from him?

[8:12PM] There's some freaking ball movement; Fells buries a three. Hickson was doubled and made a quick kick out to get it started. Nice work.

ECU white boy travels with no call, Pirates come up dry anyway. Costner is way short on a three, but draws a charge in transition at the other end.

[8:13PM] Great move by Gavin on the baseline, he scores and is fouled, Pack's up eight quickly.

[8:17PM] Good defense, another stop. Gavin gettin' double teamed. Costner passes on a three at the last second, makes a horrible entry to Gavin, and it's a turnover.

[8:19PM] Student section looking a bit forlorn. One guy yawns. Fields gets a fortunate one to bring them back within seven, BC misses an open three.

After Pirates get within five, Fells gets an easy layup.

[8:23PM] McCauley loses Fields on a pick and roll, Fields has an easy one. Farnold nearly has the ball swiped on the ensuing possession. Ben tries a drive and loses control of the ball, and we have another tie up.

[8:26PM] Horner hits from fifteen feet after ECU pulled to within three. And they score again...we aren't getting stops right now. McCauley rejected...

[8:27PM] One-point game, Lowe calls a timeout. I really thought we were going to put the game away after the strong start.

[8:29PM] McCauley tips in a Costner miss. We foul another freaking three-point shooter.

[8:31PM] I'm about ready to go back to the crappy country music videos TWC was airing before the game.

[8:32PM] Big three from Courtney--ill-advised, but big. Costner was fouled grabbing a defensive board but no call was made, Pack turns it over.

[8:34PM] Two FTs for Gavin, it's 58-56. Back and forth, back and forth.

[8:38PM] It's too goddamn easy for ECU right now. Screen, dribble, open jumper. They're up two. Another brick from Costner, no second chance.

[8:39PM] Ugly, ugly three attempt by Gonzalez. That's the last thing we needed right now. Charge at the other end, Pirates still up a pair.

[8:42PM] Fells misses an open three; they're really clogging the lane to deny Hickson. And now our defensive rebounding is failing us. Are we going to play a game this year that isn't incredibly frustrating on an untold number of levels?

[8:43PM] ECU's getting second and third chances, and they have all of the energy. This drought we're on is going to be terminal if we don't snap out of it in a hurry.

[8:46PM] John Fields, thank you, sir. Ugh...Degand just misses an open three. Out of sync.

[8:48PM] Hickson ties it with a follow up slam...should have been a foul called on the contact prior, though. Timeout, a little over four left, tie game.

[8:50PM] Hinnant, my god, man. Look, the official has discovered where he left his whistle.

[8:53PM] Gavin continues to come up large, tied up again. Three minutes to go. Pirates turnover!

[8:54PM] GG staying aggressive, he'll go to the line once more.

Sam Hinnant is! Jeremy Ingram in! Dances With Wolves.

[8:55PM] We're toast.

[8:58PM] Toast, the burntest of burnt toast.

[9:00PM] So, how are you doing? The Christmas shopping going okay? How about this warm weather, ain't that something?

[9:04PM] LOL. Down five, Costner dribbles ball off thigh, turns it over. I am just about certain that I have no interest in watching another one of our basketball games this season.

[9:04PM] Students are positioning themselves for a court rush. Cherry, thy name is Insult.

[9:10PM] GG misses the second FT, Hickson then misses an easy follow, and then the refs award ECU the ball after it went out of bounds off them. I'm good, though. I'm good. I'm feeling jolly. It's the holiday spirit. Jolly jolly jolly happy happy happy. I am not going to hurl anything at a window. No, no, stop looking at that object that's of conveniently hurlable size.

[9:12PM] Hey, but the Hurricanes are kicking the shit out of the Canadiens in the Bell Centre again.

Liveblog! NC State @ ECU -- First Half

[7:00PM] Hadn't planned on it, but what the heck. I think we gotta be due for a breakthrough offensively here. Surely.

[7:02PM] The PBP guys are going to be painful, I can tell already. JJ's sportin' a freshly shaved head; not sure I'd want to change anything if I were him.

[7:05PM] Since the football team enters the field through an eighth of a Pirate ship, does the basketball team run on the court out of a dinghy? Only seems appropriate.

[7:08PM] Hickson wins the tip, Pack quickly gets the ball to Gavin, who's got good position in the paint and subsequently gets fouled. Both FTs good.

Bah--ECU hits their first shot, then brings a bit of token pressure. Pretty good ball movement on our second possession leads to more free throws.

[7:09PM] Three Wolfpack possessions, three ECU fouls; excellent. Gavin looked like he was running straight into a charge call, but sidestepped the defender and apparently got hit. 5-2 Wolfpack.

[7:11PM] Tried to get a transition bucket there, but Costner makes a bad pass that Hickson can't handle. ECU comes up dry again, Gavin scores to make it 7-2. Good effort so far. ECU scores and tries to press again, Gavin gets fouled again. Four team fouls here early.

[7:13PM] God these guys are scary with the basketball when they're trying to push tempo. Some really bad decisions every damn time, but we somehow manage to get the ball in scoring position and draw a foul. More free throws.

[7:15PM] Another scary run out...not sure what Gavin thought he was doing there. On the plus side, defensive rebounding has been good so far. Lots of red in the house--doesn't sound particularly loud. We've hit the first TV timeout; Pack 9-4.

[7:19PM] TWC's broadcast coming to you live from "Greenvill," North Carolina. Big Ben gets a tip in on his first possession.

Pack gets clobbered near the basket--no call--after another stop, which leads to an ECU three pointer. ECU coaching staff is pointing furiously at things and stuff. No, no, stand there! Here, coach? There! Here? There, son!

[7:20PM] Pack breaks the press, Gavin drives down an empty lane and jams it.

[7:23PM] Color guy spends 15 seconds complimenting Gavin on his play, Gavin promptly fouls an ECU player taking a three pointer.

Pirates hit two of three, Costner drives and misses, Ben gets called for over the back.

[7:24PM] Farnold from downtown! Hickson fouls an ECU player on the ensuing possession; if I were JJ, I'd let the glare off my head play my defense for me. And there's a Wolfpack turnover... fortunately, ECU can't shoot.

[7:26PM] 16-13. Gavin looked like he was literally pushed to the ground, but no call. He then tripped and fell over again, which put him out of the play and gave the Pirates an open jumper.

[7:27PM] Javy's in, and his first possession is an ugly one. Not a bad pass to JJ, but Hickson's got butterfingers right now. Turnover.

[7:30PM] Another odd looking possession results in nothing, ECU ties it with a three. And there's an answer from Javy--that's nice to see.

[7:32PM] Dennis, not your game. Lord. ECU's Taylor Gagnon, wearing the face guard, isn't ready for a pass at the other end and it's a turnover. Hands up, son! JJ finally hits one from the field, and ECU turns it right back over.

[7:34PM] Costner gives it right back. Pirates hit another three, which figures. We give it away again, then foul; Pirates will be shooting FTs after the timeout. 21-19 Pack.

[7:37PM] Yeah, John Fields's stroke is hideous. Terrible, terrible passing from the Wolfpack continues.

[7:39PM] JJ gets excellent position, scores and is fouled. That's there all day. ECU bricks a three but manages to get the rebound...second try nets some free throws.

[7:41PM] Costner just doesn't have any confidence right now--he gets the ball at the elbow and he's open, but he doesn't turn to basket at all so he never realizes it, instead kicking the ball back out immediately.

[7:43PM] Another basket for Gavin; he's really playing well. There's Brandon, finally, after an ECU three pointer.

[7:46PM] Costner hits the FT to complete the three-point play. Goddammit--another Pirate three ball with a hand in the face.

[7:47PM] Whew; offensive board gives JJ an easy one, Pack back up five. Hickson blocks a shot at the other end, but the butterfingers return, ECU guy regains control and lays it in. Jeez, man.

[7:49PM] Whaddya know, another three pointer. Terrible D from Horner on that one. We're doing a lot of standing around at the offensive end, still. Three from Gavin!

[7:52PM] Hickson fouled with 13 seconds of pain remaining in the half. He gets it in the block, he's either scoring or getting killed (or both). FTs good; 38-35.

Hinnant hits an NBA three at the buzzer. Of course he does. Even at the half.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Previewing East Carolina

2007 Scouting Report / 2008 Scouting Report
2008 Schedule
2008 Roster

ECU Offense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate21.2167
Off Reb Rate28.3303
ECU Offense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate23.4223
Off Reb Rate31.3228

Considering that the Pirates had a surprisingly good shooting day against us last season, I'll dispense with the snide remarks here. ECU doesn't look to have improved much offensively, but they've played a tough early slate, and in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency, they are markedly better than a year ago. Mind you, that doesn't mean they've been good, just that they've progressed from awful to average-ish.


Darrell Jenkins (5-11, 175) -- After finishing third in the nation in assist rate a year ago, he's second in the early stages of 2008 at 49.4%. When he's on the court, then, he's assisting on one of every two baskets his teammates make. Jenkins is averaging 9.5 assists/40 min, which is particularly impressive since (1) his team is slow-paced, and (2) his teammates don't shoot so good.

Cory Farmer (6-3, 185) -- Doesn't really have much to offer except bricks: he shot 42.6% in '07 and sits at 41.5% this year. Just quit shooting twos, Cory:
       2FG%   3FG%
2007 35.7 34.5
2008 30.8 38.5

Sam Hinnant (6-4, 190) -- A three-point specialist, and not a good one to this point in his career.

Gabe Blair (6-8, 210) -- Leads the team in scoring and field goal attempts but is a terrible shooter. He's taking a bigger role in the offense this season, and he's seen his free throw rate jump considerably (he has already taken as many FTAs this year as he did all of 2007, despite playing about the same proportion of minutes), which would suggest he's being more aggressive. Best overall rebounder on the team.

John Fields (6-9, 200) -- I'm certain that I'm missing something here, what with the fact that I've never seen this ECU team play, but it's interesting that someone who has actually shot the ball well hasn't been encouraged to take a bigger role in an offense that has a distinct lack of reliable shooters. Part of it is youth, no doubt--he is only a sophomore.

As it is, he's been solid in the role he's assumed, making 61.3% of his field goal attempts (all of them twos) in 1+ seasons. His is a case of mixed signals, though, and this may well be the answer to my question: while that shooting percentage suggests he possesses good touch, his atrocious free throw shooting says otherwise. So it's probable that his game is raw at this point (his profile says as much), and perhaps he's simply a guy with a bad stroke who's been lucky from the field. Still, if you're East Carolina, it couldn't hurt to test his limits. He's not turnover prone, and had he played enough minutes to qualify in 2007, his free throw rate would have ranked fourth in the nation. He is also a fantastic offensive rebounder and shot blocker, so, not short on athleticism, this guy. Very nice building block for the Pirates, all told.


Brock Young (5-11, 165), James Legan (6-3, 200), Jamar Abrams (6-6, 180), and Taylor Gagnon (6-6, 210) are the guys who've been getting 10+ minutes off the bench, though I'm sure we'll see a few more faces in addition to those four.

Brock Young = mini-QT. He sports a huge assist rate, but an even huger turnover rate. Add to that his limited role in the offense and you get a highly irregular usage/%shots split: 31.5% and 13.3%, respectively. There you can see an extreme example of how turnovers inflate usage.

Legan is not shy about shooting the basketball; Abrams and Gagnon won't be doing much of anything.

ECU Defense 06-07
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate19.1271
Off Reb Rate33.0148
ECU Defense 07-08
Four FactorsPercentNat'l Rank
Turnover Rate22.4151
Off Reb Rate38.3290

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Expanded Individual Numbers

...are now available at Ken's site.

Over at Basketball Prospectus, he's also written a good primer on how to interpret those numbers:

I know it’s cool to have one magical rating that defines a player, but there are two stats that define a player’s offensive value, and you really can’t consider one without the other. That’s why when I create leaderboards for offensive rating, I stratify the players by usage. Players that maintain a high offensive rating while using a lot of possessions are more valuable than the efficient players that use few possessions.

And don't forget about the helpful links I've got over in the sidebar.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Coaches Poll Craziness

Great breakdown from the DC Sports Bog of some zany balloting in the Coaches Poll.

I run a ridiculous local college basketball poll that means nothing, counts for nothing and features random voters I've never met with names like Thigh Master and dcreds, and I would absolutely kick any of them out for voting like this. And yet college football uses this to determine its national champion. That makes sense.


Every single coach whose team was in the top 25 voted his team higher than it finished in the poll, except Mack Brown and Jim Tressel, who voted his No. 1 team No. 1. Wake Forest received four votes and finished 35th, though Jim Grobe left it off his ballot, and Michigan State received three votes and finished 37th, though Mark Dantonio left it off it his ballot.

College football coaching moralists of 2007: Mack Brown, Jim Grobe and Mark Dantonio.

The most stark moral offenders are: Lloyd Carr (10 spots difference), Mike Bellotti (8), Chris Petersen (6), Mike Riley (5), Randy Edsall (5), Tommy Bowden (5), Mike Leach (4), Ron Zook (4) and Phillip Fulmer (4). Frank Beamer (3) didn't quite make this cut, but he was the only coach to vote Virginia Tech No. 2, meaning he tried to put his own team in the title game and no one else did. A little on the dicey side.

A Few Items

-- Last week, the Detroit News's Angelique Chengelis had this to say:

And Tom O’Brien, formerly of Boston College and now at N.C. State, told a beat writer friend of mine that not only has he not heard a word from Michigan, but he likes where he is and isn’t going anywhere.

This thing is mildly alarming, but that's all it'll be assuming Michigan gets a Yes from one of the guys at the top of their plan B list. If they have to keep moving down the list, though...

-- Gene DeFilippo keeps the shots comin'!

"I'm disappointed, sure," said BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo. "It would be hard not to be. But I'm really proud of our guys. Who'd have thought when we came in with a new coaching staff except for Spaz [defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani] and Billy [McGovern, linebackers coach] that we'd win 10 games? We won our division. We [finally] beat Miami. We played for the ACC championship."

He's disappointed, but it's a fun disappointment. They finally beat Miami. Which TOB couldn't do. Just thought he'd toss that in there. The first year of the post-O'Brien era happened to coincide with Miami's worst season in a decade, but that's not important, really.

-- Enjoyed this from SMQ:

Wake Forest meets this year's Wake Forest, UConn, in the CarCare Bowl. Neither team will actually score - they'll just wait for the other side to turn it over in opportune field position. Prediction: a scoreless tie in regulation followed by a 33-30 Wake win in eleven overtimes, all ending in field goals.

-- A tip of the hat to BBTF for noting the discovery of an awesome historical document.

-- If you were wondering when cornhole was going to get its own theme song, well, you need not wonder any longer.