Friday, March 5, 2010

Three Overtimes Again?!

Can we get more Big East games on Friday night? OK, DePaul vs St. John’s wasn’t Pittsburgh vs West Virginia, but this is still worth a few extra words.

What the game lacked in dramatic game-deciding three pointers, it made up for in good strategy. First, at the end of regulation, St. John’s could have gone for the three and the win, but they went for the tie and tried to extend the game. If you think you have the better team, (and after coming back from down 20, St. John’s did), extending the game is the right call. But the best part wasn’t the decision to go inside, it was DJ Kennedy’s ability to avoid the charge call, draw the defender, and pass the ball to Justin Burrell for a wide-open dunk with 2 seconds left.

Not to be out-done, DePaul trailed by 2 at the end of the first overtime and Jeremiah Kelly broke the defenders ankles, en-route to a game tying lay-up. The second overtime ended with a missed jumper by DePaul, and the war of attrition was on.

Mike Gleason and Mike Kelly then panned to the crowd for the shot of the night. A female DePaul fan sat with her head in her hands.
“The multiple overtimes is too much to bear.”
“Maybe she’s asleep.”
“Ha. No, I don’t think she is asleep.”

Yes, even in a two-thirds empty stadium, some people still care. And if you don’t think the players still care, you didn’t see St. John’s Anthony Mason Jr. His dunk and down-court strut at the end of OT number 3 didn’t say, “We beat DePaul”, it said, “This is college basketball. This is fun.”

Quick Links

-In case you missed it, go back and read Mike Rutherford’s Championship Week Primer. Mike is now doing some official blogging for CBS. To which I say, "hell yeah". Anybody who used to draw projected MAAC tournament brackets on their lunch box is OK by me.

-And I love this chart by Rush the Court.

-And of course I love Ken Pomeroy’s log5 analysis but I assume you already knew how to find that.

-But the link-of-the-day probably belongs to the Michigan St. blog. While sitting on the couch tonight, I was brainstorming how to show what my eyes tell me. West Virginia and Wisconsin aren't quite as good as their efficiency numbers say. And I think the answer is that I'd throw out the margin-of-victory against terrible teams and focus on margin-of-victory against good teams. The Michigan St. link does this calculation for the Big Ten and finds that not-surprisingly, Wisconsin's greatness is fueled by pummeling bad teams. I made a similar argument about West Virginia in the Basketball Prospectus book this year which is why I didn't pick the Mountaineers to win the Big East.