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Afternoon linkage: Today in non-Tyler Smith news

  • John Gasaway takes a brief glimpse at how zone defense affects shot selection -- We assume it forces offenses to take more threes, but is that really true? The answer is yes, by an extra three for every 10 minutes of basketball played. That's not a huge deal in a single game, but it does have an appreciable effect over the course of the season, doesn't it?

  • Luke Winn busts out a bit of power ranking mojo. Power rankings are always fun, unless you're the type of person who takes them way too seriously. (MY PATS ARE RANKED FOURTH?! IT IS CLEAR THEY SHOULD BE RANKED THIRD!!) Are you the kind of person that likes to argue about power rankings? Don't be. Power rankings matter even less than the coaches' poll, which matters even less than the AP top 25. You'll be a much happier person if you learn to treat power rankings whimsically. Trust me.

  • Ballin' Is A Habit (and plenty of other hoops blogs and scribes, no doubt) received a letter from the still-ineligible Renardo Sidney's lawyer, Don Jackson, today. His words: "The NCAA has badgered and intimiated this athletic department into sacrificing this student-athlete. Statements from athletic department personnel (from early on) regarding the University's protecting of their interests now appear to imply the University's protection of their interests translates to their sacrificing this student-athlete with out [sic] justification." Sigh. Every day Jackson needlessly grandstands, his client loses another opportunity to play basketball before the NBA draft in the spring. If this was the strategy, why not just skip college and go overseas? Or hire an agent and start training for NBA scouts? Why even keep up the charade? The Renardo Sidney case has been bad for everyone -- Sidney himself, Sidney's family, Mississippi State -- not named Don Jackson. Update: Be sure to read Andy Katz's just-posted Daily Word on this subject. It has Mississippi State's response to Jackson's charge that the school hasn't been trying to get Sidney eligibile, as well as plenty of other new details.

  • In case you're just tuning into the hoops season -- apparently lots of people do this the day after college football is over; who knew? -- NBC's Mike Miller has a midseason study guide ready for you. There will be a quiz on Monday. Study up.

  • Kentucky Sports Radio hears from someone who hears from someone that President Obama thinks John Wall is a good basketball player. It's safe to assume this, even if Obama never said it. If he did? All the better.

  • The ACC season is bearing down on Miami, which means it's time to see just how good Frank Haith's team really is.

  • Mark Titus details his run-ins with Big Ten student sections. Michigan? Underwhelming. Purdue? Fearsome. Titus and the Buckeyes play at Mackey Arena Tuesday, and Titus is preparing himself by challenging Purdue fans to do their worst. This feels a little like waving a piece of bloody fish in front of a tiger shark and then seeing if it will bite, but even so, it should be entertaining. (Come to think of it, so is watching someone wave fresh fish in front of sharks. If Shark Week has proven anything, it's this.)

  • CAA fans are starting to think about their conference's tourney chances, which are better when the league is imbalanced. That is not the case in 2009-10.