Weekly Notes: March 7, 2008

Finally, it’s Friday, and I don’t have a game recap to write. Some notes for the past couple of weeks:

  • Yesterday was a light day in D-II South men’s basketball, with the only game of note being Benedict’s double-OT win in the SIAC quarterfinals. The rest of the region has to be rooting Benedict on, since a loss would probably give the undeserving SIAC two bids to the NCAAs.
  • The Lady Bisons lost to Valdosta State yesterday in women’s GSC action, probably ending their season (they were ranked #8 in the region heading into the tournament). Still, it’s hard to deny that Tim Kirby has been very successful rebuilding that team.
  • I read a fantastic article yesterday at Count The Basket,Le but de http://www.joueur-casino.com. which is probably the second best basketball stats site (for articles) out there. It’s really just a blog, and one with fairly infrequent posts, but Eli’s research is outstanding, and he is really doing his part to advance the research on at least one key area: the issue of usage vs. efficiency. Basically, he found (as Dean Oliver did before him) evidence of a decline in efficiency as player usage increases. This is fairly intuitive, but it’s great to see research actually supporting that conclusion with some concrete numbers. The effect he found was nearly double what Oliver found, but as he says, he controlled for more of the possible variables than did Oliver. I may take some time in the future to look at what the implications of this decline are for coaching and the implementation of offensive strategy (at least with regard to which players touch the ball the most).
  • Tango makes a great (but not new) point that baseball scouts probably don’t need to be looking at the stats to form their opinions about players. It’s probably best to reduce their bias and just let them make the same observations they’ve always made, then let the decision-makers put together all the data. Perhaps that’s not the role scouts are hoping for (being responsible for only one part of the equation), but it’s the reality of where baseball is – and should be – heading. There are some great points being made in the comments of that post, too.
  • As much as I like J.C.’s coverage of the rotten Gwinnett Braves stadium deal over at Sabernomics, it’s good to see him weigh in on another organization. This time it’s the Marlins, whom he touted in his book as the best-run organization in baseball. While effectively toying with their fans’ emotions [which may not be a good business decision], they have run the [rest of the] business end of the organization quite well. His most interesting point: in the argument over whether or not the Marlins should have received public financing for their new stadium, it’s the politicians and voters who were dumb enough to go along with it who are to blame, and perhaps not the Marlins themselves. The best decision may have been to force Jeffrey Loria’s hand and make him move the team to some other unwitting city.
  • So…when is Harding going to jump on the Free iPhone (and now MacBook) bandwagon?
  • Vote for David Manes of Political Cartel to get a $2,000 scholarship for his work there. He runs a great blog and deserves your vote, regardless of your political affiliation or lack thereof.
  • I alluded to this yesterday, but last week I joined a YMCA basketball league with several of my local friends.  Our games have 20-minute halves, but the clock doesn’t stop on dead balls until two minutes remain in the half, so it’s not as long as an NCAA game.  We lost our opener 38-31, but we won this week on a forfeit because our opponent didn’t show.  Instead of playing a real game, we played a pick-up game against some players from other teams, and we won by about 30 (I think it was 80-52 or something like that).  We learned there were two benefits to adding a sixth player this week: actually being able to take a breather is nice, but our new player is also great at running an offense and finding the open player.  Heck, I even had 9 points on Monday, which is amazing if you’ve ever seen me play basketball.  For me, the league is all about providing some motivation to stay in shape, so it’s definitely kicking my butt right now and serving that purpose.  If you’d like to keep tabs on us, the scores and schedule are online here (our team is “Overrated”).  I don’t think the schedule is up to date more than a week in advance, though.

The Bisons play ATU at 1:30 Eastern today, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Southaven to watch, I’d appreciate a report later from someone who actually saw the game.


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