Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Leonard Hamilton, Instant Karma

Repeat after Me

Luke Winn posted an article on the 2003 recruiting classes that was eerily similar to my column from March 20th. He actually used the final recruiting rankings, rather than the preliminary recruiting ranking I used, but his conclusions are similar.

Among Winn’s comments “Congrats go out to Leonard Hamilton for pulling off an incredible feat. He managed to parlay a No. 1 recruiting class ... into zero trips to the NCAA tournament.” If you read any of my April columns where I developed my coach rankings, (particularly here and here), you’d see I spent most of the month pondering how Hamilton has kept his job. No coach has done less with more talent over the last four years than Leonard Hamilton.

And Now I Repeat After Everyone Else

Just a few weeks removed from endless columns about how the current NBA system gave teams an incentive to tank games at the end of the year, the two teams with the worst records (Memphis and Boston) did not win the draft lottery. This has now prompted numerous columns such as this one suggesting that the lottery doesn’t give NBA teams with bad records any hope.

Hope? Really? Memphis was in the playoffs in 2006. Boston was in the playoffs in 2005. Those sure don’t seem like hopeless teams to me. What about the Atlanta Hawks? They haven’t made the playoffs since the 98-99 season. Now that’s a hopeless team.

I usually try not to pick on individual articles, but this is an NBA guy, so I have less affection for what he is writing. How could Marty Burns write this with a straight face: “Some might say the Grizz and Celts just got instant karma for “tanking” games late in the season. But there is no proof they did so. On the contrary, both teams won games late that they easily could have lost without anybody questioning it.” Are you freaking kidding me? Boston was deliberately sitting out its best players at the end of the year in order to lose games. Memphis, which could not win all year, suddenly won the final three games of the year after they “clinched” the worst record in the NBA. Seems like the perfect Karma to me.

More intriguing to me is the fact that the Western Conference is once again positioned to obtain two of the top rookies in recent history. The West has spent most of the decade with more of the leagues top stars, and that may not change for awhile with Oden and Durant likely heading to Portland and Seattle.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Baseball Brackets

We're entering the final weeks for players to withdraw from the NBA draft. Things should start to get interesting after the draft lottery. While I wait on Hibbert and Green, I shall now spend some time obsessing over baseball. You see, I’m a sucker for brackets:

8 Teams, Two 4 Team Double Elimination Tournaments, just like College World Series
SEC Baseball Tournament
CUSA Baseball Tournament
Big East Baseball Tournament

8 Teams, Round Robin format
ACC Baseball Tournament
Big 12 Baseball Tournament

6 Teams, Double Elimination, No Byes
Missouri Valley Baseball Tournament
Atlantic Sun Baseball Tournament

6 Teams, Double Elimination, With Byes
Mountain West Baseball Tournament
Big Ten Baseball Tournament

8 Teams, First Day Single Elimination, then Double Elimination
Big South Baseball Tournament

10 Teams, First Day Single Elimination, then Double Elimination
Southern Conference Baseball Tournament

The WCC does not have a tournament, only a championship series, and NCAA tournament veteran Pepperdine will not be participating next weekend.

The Pac 10 and Big West don’t have baseball tournaments, but don’t sleep on the upcoming Arizona vs Arizona St., Long Beach State vs Cal State Fullerton, and UC Irvine vs UC Riverside series to end the regular season.

As long as I'm off topic, do you remember the last time I discussed another sport? Do you remember this NBA comment? "The fact that the Suns and the Mavericks are now the best teams in the NBA instead of the Spurs and the Pistons, says a lot about how the game has changed." Doh!