Monday, March 28, 2011

Revisiting My 2011 Predictions

I have not got a single one right yet.  As we all know Oregon did not win the BCS National Championship, the Patriots did not beat the Bears in the Super Bowl and ISU fell 3 victories short of the 19 win mark and failed to get out of the first round of the Big XII tournament.  I thought I predicted the NCAA tournament, but it turns out I did not.  My next predictions will not be up for critique until October as they are baseball and college football predictions.  If I get around to it, I may write up some MLB predictions.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursdays Games

Overall 20-20-1. Thats as even as it gets but with the juice, I'm down to 721. I missed 12 of these on underdogs. My plan of giving the dogs a little help didn't work out as planned. I'm going to adjust a little and see how that goes for the rest of the conf tournaments.

Utah +15.5
Oregon +8
Virginia Tech -4
Marquette +3.5
Washington -6

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Is Diante Garrett an all-time great Cyclone?

Today, Diante Garrett set the record for most games played for the Cyclones (127), passing Fred Hoiberg, Julius Michalik and Stevie Johnson. His 1327 career points put him ahead of Jeff Hornacek (1313) at 16th all-time. Garrett's 605 career assists put him ahead of Gary Thompson (600) and behind only Jeff Hornacek (665) for second all-time. His 152 steals put him 9th all-time.

These are all big numbers, putting him alongside some players who've had their numbers retired. Is this enough for him to be considered an all-time great? He's played on some of the worst teams ISU has seen in a long time. The coaching staff and surrounding players can be blamed; everyone would agree that Diante has played much, much better this year than ever before. How can we rate him against other Cyclone greats?

It's tough to find a metric that allows for overall comparison. The best one I've found so far is Win Shares provided by sports-reference. The calculation, I'm sure, is difficult but the idea is simple. How much, through offense and defense, does one player contribute to wins? I like this metric for a number of reasons. Really great players have large win shares. Especially in college basketball, one player can make a huge difference. This will be seen with a big win share for a given season. Longevity is rewarded. The best Cyclones have been around for awhile. More years allows more opportunity to grow the career win shares. Finally, great players should play for good to great teams. Win shares are just that, the number of wins dispersed among the players. If a 'great' player were playing for a bad team, maybe that player isn't so great.

Unfortunately, the calculation of win shares takes substantial statistics. Thus, sports-reference only has win shares going back to the 98-99 season for the Cyclones. Still, we can see where Diante fits in over the last 10+ years.

I'm okay with this list. It shows Diante outside the top 10 over the last 13 years or so. The players ahead of him are either great players (Fizer) or good players on great teams (Sullivan, Johnson) and more likely good players on decent teams (Homan, Vroman, Stinson, etc).

I'm okay with Jake Sullivan having the top spot. He was productive for four years for some of the better teams of the past decade. Rashon Clark in the third spot is surprising. He wasn't ever a star but obviously contributed in a number of ways. He's an example of a player contributing consistently to some average teams. That Garrett was only able to accrue half the win shares of Clark is a pretty strong commentary on his legacy. If Garrett was that good, his teams would have been better. If his teams were better, maybe he doesn't start.

Diante has had a nice career, but isn't one of the all-time greats. He survived the roughest stretch of ISU basketball since the early 80's. He's the first player since Rashon Clark (2004-08) to play a full 4 years for Iowa State.

NCAA Tournament Selection Process

I caught this on It describes the NCAA tournament selection process. It's a lot more democratic than I expected it to be. Committee members who are affiliated with a team participate in the discussion but remove themselves from the voting. Most teams are voted on many, many times before they are selected for the tournament and then again when they are seeded. Here's the write-up on the process:

It looks like the big names probably have an edge, especially early in the process. The further it goes along, the more it's up to the numbers. How exactly, is up to the individual voter, but conference affiliation or actual game play gets clouded by the numbers. The committee makes extensive use of the following selection sheet:

Assuming the committee members are knowledgable about college basketball and don't have unconscious biases, they probably come up with the best tournament possible. Between the last four in and the first four out it's likely a pickem, but it looks like at that point it's so close that one more quality win would be enough to take a team off the bubble. So ultimately, it's up to the team to prove that it belongs.

At the end of the article, the placement of teams is discussed. I still don't like the home-court feel that the top seeds get, but I get that the NCAA wants people to show up to the games without spending a ton of money.

After reading these, there isn't much to argue about with the system. Even if there are biases coming into the selection process, they're likely pounded out of the members over the 5 days. If a team is good enough, it'll make it. If it's on the bubble and makes it, it's lucky. If a team just missed, it should have won another game or two.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

thursdays games

yesterday 10-10 this is why you dont pick this many games. overall 19-16. 816 total. 45 on tonights games

USC +3.5
Wash -8
Arizona -14
Seton Hall +3
Indiana +7

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

wednesdays games

Yesterday 5-3, overall 9-6 total 848 games worth 35

Minnesota +4
Louisville -13.5
Belmont -26
Iowa +11
UAB +4.5
Miami +2
Cinci +5
UCONN +5.5
UMass +8
Richmond -6.5
St Bon +12.5
Charlotte +18
FSU +2.5
Colo +1.5
LSU +14
South Florida +10.5
Clemson +12.5
Kansas -13.5
BYU -10.5
Utah St -7