Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mangino Gives Big Boost to ISU Offense

From the moment I learned Courtney Messingham would not be retained as ISU's Offensive Coordinator, I wanted Rhoads to hire Mangino.  I didn't think it would happen but it was a pipe dream of mine.  I saw Mangino take a dormant Kansas football program within a game of the National Championship game.  KANSAS.  He knows his offense and has worked with some of the great coaches in college football in Snyder, Stoops, Leach, just to name a few.  What he brings is instant credibility to an ISU offense that has been inept (to put it nicely).
After a three win season, fans were in the dumps.  Two consecutive wins to end the season helped.  The announcement of a enclosing the south endzone was also a huge lift to the fan base morale.  This is certainly the third boost of good information that Paul Rhoads needed to energize the fan base heading into spring ball.  With probably his best recruiting class ( and many defensive JUCO's), a lot of returners on offense and a home run hire to guide the offense Rhoads has put this team in a position to get back to a bowl game in my opinion.
The Mangino hire doesn't come without risk though.  If there was little risk involved he would still be coaching at Kansas, or maybe even a bigger program by now.  His departure at Kansas was mired by allegations of player mistreatment and his interactions with the media could be rather gruff.  This part worries me, a little bit at least.  I don't think Rhoads will stand for too many shennanigans and Mangino shouldn't have to deal with the media as much now as a coordinator.  I think this risk is worth the reward, especially now that Rhoads has established himself as a head coach.
If you think about the staff Rhoads has now assembled on the offensive side of the football, it bodes well.  You have three former offensive coordinators and a former BCS level head coach and coaches that have seen the ins and outs of programs like Oklahoma, Kansas State, Arkansas, Nevada (with Kapernick), and Northwestern to name a few.  There is certainly a plethora of ideas on that side of the ball.  The key is meshing them all together.
The key going forward on this side of the ball is making it Mangino's.  Rhoads needs to take a hands-off approach to the offensive side of the ball and let Mangino do his thing.  Last year there were too many hands in the cookie jar.  Messingham never really stood a chance if you ask me.  It will be interesting to see if guys like Sturdy and Klenakis can work alongside Mangino or if there is tension in that they didn't get the job.  For Cyclone fans, we certainly hope its the former.
There are still a few questions to be answered on this side of the ball.  Will Mangino coordinate from the tight ends position or the quarterbacks position?  In the past he has always coordinated from the offensive line position.  Once again, will there be tension with Klenakis?  It seems like it is Mangino's choice and he can bring in one of his guys if you will to operate the other spot.  Could another Cyclone come home ala Fred Hoiberg?  The rumors have flown around about Sage Rosenfels and Austin Flynn.  Both have indicated there would be interest in coming back to be a part of the coaching staff.   Flynn even went as far as to say it was his dream to come back to his alma mater.  For me, the next pipe dream is getting Sage on staff.
Sage coming back as a quarterback's coach would bring credibility in recruiting the position and a wealth of NFL experience.  I also think his demeanor would instill more confidence and resolve in the program's quarterbacks.  Will it happen?  Its doubtful, but so was the Mangino hire.  I think Sage is enjoying retirement and he is well respected across the country for his insight into professional football.  Flynn wouldn't be a bad choice either although I would prefer he came in as a wide receiver or tight end coach.
Finally, it is my hope that the result of this is a more stable situation at quarterback.  Rhoads has indicated Rohach will get the first snaps in spring.  To be honest, I don't care who Rhoads thinks is the better quarterback anymore.  It shouldn't matter and he shouldn't be making that decisions anymore.  He has a highly, highly qualified assistant to decide that.  He went to the Orange Bowl with Todd Reesing for heaven's sake.  You brought him in to do a job.  Let him do his job.

In Mark We Trust- 1/7/2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

All Big 12 Update - 2013-14 non-conference

In the future, I'll be using conference games only stats but the record start by ISU got me wondering how our guys stacked up so far.

Reiterating what I said above, this is from only non-conference games, so take it with a grain of salt.  But that said, the Cyclones are well represented, and are about where I'd expect them to finish the year.  Of note, DeAndre Kane finishes as the non-conference Big 12 player of the year - if there was such a thing.  He did win player of the week twice when nobody else did.  The way he fills the stat sheet can't be ignored.  And if the Cyclones finish the year as the top team in the conference, he'll be the favorite for POY.

Kane's toughest competition might come from a player on his own team - Melvim Ejim.  Dustin Hogue has hampered Ejim's rebounding but he's made up for it with scoring, finishing the non-conference as the second highest scorer in the Big 12.  One player on the all big 12 first team is rare enough.  Two players would be unheard of (probably, I didn't look back very far).  I don't see these two getting kept off..

Last year, Marcus Smart didn't win newcomer of the year, and Will Clyburn won it even though he was only on the second team, so Dustin Hogue has to be considered a favorite to win it this year.  The dude is a rebounding machine (tops in the Big 12 this year), and scores enough to gain some points there too. I don't see his contribution slipping any during the conference schedule.

Georges Niang is whom ISU fans want to see with the ball at the end of a close game, but that might not be enough to get recognized by the Big 12 media.  He scores at a decent clip, and his assists are top 10 in the league but altogether it's probably just enough to land on an all Big 12 team.  It'd be a good problem if we're disappointed our fourth player represented only made the third team.  

 - Marcus Smart will be a top 5 player in the league.  Without Markel Brown I think it'll be too difficult for him to repeat as POY.  
 - My man Kyan Anderson has started out hot.  It all depends on where TCU finishes if he's a first team or third team performer.
 - Cory Jefferson is a solid basketball player.  I haven't watched him much, but his numbers are solid.  He's a better player than the much higher profile Isaiah Austin, who isn't even represented in my list above.
 - Kansas players are struggling.  If I didn't know anything about their schedule, I'd say Kansas didn't play anybody in the non-conference and played scrubs a lot of minutes.  But since I do know their schedule, I know they played a LOT of tough competition, and probably played their best players significantly.  Will their stars play better in the conference?
 - There are a lot of people on my list I'd never heard of before.  This tells me a couple things.  The Big 12 continues to have individual talent on every team.  Eight of the ten teams are represented.  It also tells me that everyone is recruiting well (especially OU and Texas), with 8 new players on the list.

This might not tell us everything, but as Iowa State fans, we should feel great about where our team is right now and the talent that Fred is bringing in (Kane and Hogue) and developing (Ejim and Niang).

Saturday, January 4, 2014

1/4 Bracketology

Since last time:  Updated afternoon of 1/6 to reflect new AP and Coaches Poll and Lunardi updated S-Curve

Iowa State notched five more victories since my last report.  Winning the Diamond Head Invite in Hawaii was huge for the team and their resume.  They kept potential bad losses off the resume by advancing to the winner's bracket and they got two wins (Akron and Boise State) that might end up being quality wins by the end of the year.  They also got their first conference win, and conference ROAD win of the year while keeping their perfect record intact.  This group just keeps winning and their play is much more consistent than it was a year ago.  At the beginning of the year I would have been happy with a NCAA tournament appearance.  I underestimated what Kane brought to the table and I underestimated Hoiberg's ability to coach.  I may edit some of these numbers in the morning as there were a couple of upsets today in college hoops.  Anyway, here we go.

Once again, here is my formula:

Computer Average (1/3)

Poll Average (1/3)
Lunardi S-Curve (1/3)

I will also include updated RPI and BPI information as it does matter to the committee but I don't factor it into my formula.

AP Poll (1/5): 9

Coaches Poll (1/5): 7

Poll Average (8)

Rankings indicate a 4 seed on the verge of a 3 seed.  Rankings at the end of the day don't mean everything but need to be looked at due to the human aspect of seeding the field.

Computer Rankings (Sagarin, KenPom, Massey)

All ratings as of 1/4

KenPom: 13th

Sagarin: 4th
Massey: 5th

Computer Average: 7.3

What is important to consider with the computer rankings is KenPom starts with a preseason ranking and the other two are solely based on what has happened this year.  Both have their advantages and both become fairly accurate as the year goes on. **As we progress through the season these rankings continue to become more and more accurate**

Joe Lunardi S-Curve Ranking (1/6): 8 

When we put these numbers into the formula here is what it spits out:

(8+7.3+8)/ 3= 7.76

These number would indicate a 2 SEED in the NCAA tournament.

Another number to look at now is the LiveRPI.  I will use ESPN's insider RPI for this ranking.  As of 1/4 their RPI number is 3 with 3 top 50 wins.

Along with the RPI is the BPI, which is a little better indicator than the RPI.  That number is very impressive at the moment....#1.  That would indicate a #1 OVERALL seed.  Could you imagine?

Big Wins: Michigan, @BYU, Iowa, Boise State, Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma State

Losses: @KU, @Baylor, @OSU, @OU, @Texas

My Prediction: Overall Regular Season Record (25-5, 13-5 in Big 12)

Tournament Prediction: # 2 Seed vs #15 Seed Western Carolina in Milwaukee

Going undefeated in the non-conference was huge.  I thought they needed to do two of four things in the non-conference (win vs Mich, win @BYU, win vs Iowa, win Hawaii invite) to be in good standing on Selection Sunday.  They did all four and succeeded in keeping a bad loss off their resume.\

I don't think a 3 seed is bumping these guys up too much.  Think about it, they are 13-0 with a decent list of wins.  There are plenty of other programs out there right now struggling.  Iowa State should be thinking conference championship at this point in the season.  I don't see a team with this type of resume being seeded too low.  Now that we are in conference play, there should be more movement in rankings, whats considered a good win, etc.  I look forward to hopefully seeing this team climb up Lunardi's S-Curve.  Until next time, #Hoiball.