Saturday, April 2, 2011

Surfing and Thinking...

Josh Harrellson's East Region Performance
Dan Hanner's blog over at the RealGM site is becoming a frequent stop for me these days. Dan chooses his topics well and always makes for an interesting read. I found his post weekend piece, "The Final Four is Set", very interesting given his computed offensive ratings for the Kentucky Wildcats based on the four tournament games played through last weekend. Freshman point guard Brandon Knight has an offensive rating of 95.7, taking 32% of the team possessions ("Jordanesque"), while junior. The PTBs named the All-East Region Team at the end of the Regional Finals Sunday, and as noted by Ray Floriani the five named to the team were...

Brandon Knight, Kentucky -- All-East MVP
Josh Harrellson, Kentucky
DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina and
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

While I thought the PTBs had the right five players, I disagreed about the MVP. No slight intended to Brandon Knight, who sent Ohio State home Friday night on a jumper with 9.5 seconds left in regulation. Knight also scored 31 points in 74 minutes of play. A tremendous effort, all the more impressive given he is a freshman. I thought however, that junior forward Josh Harrellson, named to the All-Region Team along with his teammate, was the most valuable player on the Kentucky squad that weekend. Harrellson recorded a double-double against Ohio State. The junior was something of a Dutch Boy for Kentucky during the game's 20 minutes, supplying 12 of Kentucky's 30 first half points on 6-8 shooting. During the first 16½ minutes of the game Kentucky's forward was a perfect 5-5 as he, along with Darius Miller supplied 17 of the Wildcats' first 25 points, as the two teams struggled for control of the game. Harrellson paced Kentucky with a double-double, recording 10 rebounds to go with his 17 point performance. After going 6-8 (and 0-0 from the line) in the first half, Harrellson was a perfect 1-1 and 3-3 from the line. Though Knight and Doron Lamb started much faster in the North Carolina game on Sunday contributing eight points apiece through the first half, Harrellson again provided the Wildcats offense with teeth, scoring 10 points on 3-4 shooting from the field and 4-6 scoring from the line through the first 20 minutes. He finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Shooting in Stadiums vs Shooting in Arenas
Kevin Pelton over at Basketball Prospectus looked at the conversion data for arenas versus stadia for the regional finals in 2009 and 2010. His appreciable difference -- and that is especially true for three point attempts.

Coincidence? I Think Not
Pete Thamel over at the New York Times broke a story on Friday (April 1...) that featured ex-UConn player (who never made it onto the court) Nate Miles who reversed an earlier stand of non-cooperation with the NCAA's investigation of recruiting improprieties by refuting denials of specific knowledge made in writing by Jim Calhoun and Tom Moore late last fall. Thamel has a history of "good timing" on his breaking news. His expose of then-Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez's bad coaching behavior on the eve of the Big East Tournament in 2010 managed to distract the program during a late season push for an NCAA bid. Though Thamel has made John Calipari's management of the Kentucky program something of a personal project, it was FOXSports who broke the second edition of the Bilal Batley saga earlier today. Just to level the playing field for UConn and Kentucky I suppose. Allegations that Batley, while in a non-coaching position on Kentucky's staff, assisted several players on the court resulted in his resignation last fall. Earlier today FOXSports alleged that Batley also made impermissible contacts with recruits, the kind of no-no that got Kelvin Sampson fired at Indiana (and censored at Oklahoma) and put Connecticut (along with several more serious violations) in hot water with the NCAA last fall.

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