I know there are two months between now and the start of the college basketball season, but for me, that means it’s time to start thinking about what changes I want to make to improve this site’s coverage of Harding basketball.
Usually, the first thing that means is that I have to decide how I want to display the stats. I keep a mess of data, and only some of it will make sense to most people, so I’m always thinking about how to display it better. So far, all I’ve done is update a few pages on the site after each night’s games, but that doesn’t feel like enough to me.
If you’re interested in following the stats like I am, I’m considering a few different ways to share the data this year:
- A stats section separate from the blog itself, but still within my site. It would probably be based on sortable tables, with me manually copying over the data from Excel. Alternatively, I could try to learn how to deal with MySQL in such a way as to make that easier for myself in the long run. That would be virtually uncharted territory for me, though, probably with a huge amount of time needed on the front end. That’s time I don’t really have.
- I could share my Excel files, or at least a stripped-down version of them, making them downloadable from the site or accessible via Windows Live SkyDrive or Google Docs. Personally, I think Google Docs would be an interesting way to share the data, and it would involve the fewest headaches for me. As an added bonus, that wouldn’t cause double work for me on my MVN site, since I could just link from both sites to the Google Docs location.
- I could maintain the status quo, which basically involves copying-and-pasting set of tables into a page within the blog context. For now, it gets the job done, but there are certainly ways I could make it look better.
I think the first option would be the best, and if I could get a similar look and feel to Yahoo’s, that would be ideal. My problem is doing all the work to get it there. After all, I do have a job and a family, and I spend enough time working on my site already. My concern about the second method is that it would lack the professional touch you get at most major sites, and I suppose that’s something I’m striving for in the long run, unless someone else makes what I’m doing obsolete (as KenPom is doing for D-I). Or, I could just keep doing #3.
Aside from the look and feel of the site, my other concern is the breadth of my basketball coverage. Usually I do a detailed recap of the Harding game and perhaps give the score and a quick comment about other GSC West games. I don’t track the GSC East at all, which bothers me a little bit, but since East-West games aren’t even considered conference games, I can deal with that. I lump them in with the rest of the South Region, which I start tracking after conference season gets underway. I’m satisfied with my current level of coverage, since I think it provides sufficient context to the performance of Harding’s team specifically. While I wish there were better options for covering the conference, region, or D-II as a whole, I’m not really equipped to do that myself.
So, if you’ve made it this far through this meta-rant, I encourage you to drop me a comment about the basketball portion of my site. Tell me what works and what doesn’t work, what you read and what you don’t. I love doing this for my own sake, but if there’s something else you’d like for me to discuss, I’m certainly willing to consider it. Don’t hold back on the criticism, either. If you don’t find any of my basketball coverage interesting, or if you think the stats are way too complicated (I would already agree with you there), let me know.