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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Basketball? Is terrible. Not even mildly competitive against good teams. We appear to be headed for the NIT again. Depressingly, the vibe out there is that six years of total failure is not enough for Michigan to go looking for a new head coach unless the rest of the season is a total mockery of the game of basketball instead of the merely thorough mockery it's been so far when not playing teams like Maryland-Baltimore County and Six Guys With One Arm Between Them.

This is not so much about losing by a bunch to the #2 or #3 team in the country on the road. It's more about the cumulative effect of all those blowouts and the inability of Amaker to get his guys to do fairly basic basketball things like box out or care.

Hockey. WCH links to this article on the NCAA's talent influx, which is obviously a good thing but has the unfortunate side effect of an (I hate) college basketball-esque spate of early departures. I don't know WTF the NHL is thinking when they make assertions like this:

Economic realities of the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement led observers to believe fewer players would leave early. The size of bonuses and salaries teams can offer draft picks has been significantly reduced, with the rookie maximum now at $850,000 per season. Still, Gophers freshman center Kessel, Wisconsin's Pavelski and Denver's Stastny, among others, bid adieu to their college teams.

NHL Executive Vice President Bill Daly points out that the current provision in the CBA was intended to encourage more student athletes to complete their college educations before turning pro.

"I'm not sure the empirical facts actually support the concern about more players leaving college early," Daly said, "but we are obviously monitoring those trends and will continue to do so as we develop more experience operating under the new CBA."

The new CBA is a disaster as far as keeping kids in school is concerned. A team's rights expire the summer after a player graduates, making it unlikely anyone makes it to their senior year. The rookie cap acts as an incentive to go whenever you get offered it: you cannot improve your bargaining position by failing to sign and you want to get that three-year contract out of the way so you can make more money. There are no boundaries on what NHL GMs can do to college teams. They often sign players on the very eve of the season, leaving NCAA teams in the lurch.

Whereas players leaving for the NFL or NBA must announce their entry into the draft a reasonable amount of time before next season, hockey's draft-and-follow allows kids to be plucked off campus at any time. Mike Cammalleri and Dwight Helminen both bolted at the last possible moment, Helminen just a week after Bryan Lerg switched his commitment to Michigan State because Michigan, lacking scholarships, wanted him to play a year in the USHL. Lerg is now leading MSU in scoring; his dwarf cousin is a decent goalie for them even if he's vulnerable to six-hole goals.

This is the long way of saying that this proposed rule change...
[Minnesota coach Don] Lucia is in favor of the NHL adopting a rule that a decision on whether a draftee signs a contract be made by mid-July.
...would be most welcome. This one?
One move discussed would prohibit a player who joins a college team from signing a professional contract for two years.
Not so much, unless you want to see the Erik Johnsons and Phil Kessels go to major junior.

Hey, stupidity. Hensick for Hobey? Not if he keeps scoring those hat tricks!
When's the last time a guy's stock dropped after scoring a hat trick? The three goals he tallied at Alaska Friday were Hensick's first scores since Thanksgiving weekend and other than the hattie, he's collected just five assists in the Wolverines' last nine games. What really hurts Hensick's candidacy, however, are his teammates. Junior forward Kevin Porter has 39 points to Hensick's 41, but he's got at least one point in 23 of U-M's 26 games. Sophomore forward Andrew Cogliano, meanwhile, has just 29 points, but he's been the most productive Wolverine over the last two months. Witness his 10-2—12 scoring line in eight games since Dec. 1.
So. Stupid. The reason Kevin Porter has 39 points? TJ Hensick. A hat trick plus five assists in nine games? One point short of a PPG. Nine games is the window because? The game before that he had four assists.

Dude. Some things I didn't know that I do know: TJ was injured for most of the Saturday game against Alaska and the CCHA mandates that a team can't go on the road after making said trip.

Um. Wow. The Hoover Street Rag gets all analytical about this "best conference" stuff and comes up with a few answers.

TMQuestionable. I hesitate to take issue with Gregg Easterbrook, since he's a Brookings scholar and if he deigned to notice criticism from this quarter he could probably kill me with bolts of pure mental energy, but... yeah. Here goes anyway. Latest TMQ:
Good as New England always is, its offensive strategy in the endgame seemed puzzling. Leading 34-31 with 2:39 remaining, facing second-and-8, the Patriots came out empty backfield. This is a clock-killer situation, run the ball! Short pass, Indianapolis timeout. Now facing third-and-4 with 2:30 remaining, the Patriots came out empty backfield. This is a clock-killer situation, run the ball! Incompletion stopping the clock, and the home team gets possession back with plenty of time.
Nein, TMQ. Nein. With 2:39 remaining and Indianapolis possessing timeouts and the two minute warning, running on second and third down would have resulted in a punt with at least 2:00 on the clock. This is a situation that occurs frequently and is just as frequently ill-coached. In this situation there is a huge benefit to gaining a first down -- game over -- and a clock stoppage on an incompletion costs little, as Indianapolis was going to stop said clock anyway. Weekly dispenser of high-falutin' coachin' advice and cheerleader cheesecake, heal thyself... and continue with the cheesecake.

Get this man a scrabble board. Brent Petway's quote before the Wisconsin game:
"We've been talking about it, we're ready to get back on the road," he said. "Everyone says we can't get a win on the road, so (Madison) would be the best place to put that stigma to rest."
Stigma? Used correctly, even.

Odd Mundy rumor. Apparently there's some rumor kicking around the Pittsburgh internets that Ryan Mundy is looking to transfer there. It was shot down by Chris Dokish of the Pittsburgh Sports Report on his blog. The reason:
Pitt would not have a scholarship for him so he would need to walk on.
Volumes about Mundy in on sentence and more fuel for the he-gone fire. (I previously asserted that Mundy would not return next year based on a solid tip.) At first blush such a transfer would seem impossible, but remember that the NCAA passed a new rule last year that allows players with an undergraduate degree to transfer without losing any eligibility.

Internets stalking for good. This is Cass Tech junior Boubacar Cissoko's Myspace page. Cissoko, a cornerback, was the MVP of the Army All-American junior combine. So... like, good.

Etc.: Interesting scouting-process-related quotes from various NFL personages from the Senior Bowl; Apparently, Rob Parker is regarded as the "worst columnist in America" by many. Who can tell?

Roar of the Tigers has some pictures of Tiger Stadium, soon to be but a memory; Udoh article; Barkley quotes!