Afternoon Linkage: The eyes don't have it
January, 27, 2010
By Eamonn Brennan | ESPN.com
Want something linked? Follow me on Twitter and hit me with your ideas. Now ... links? Where we're going, we don't need links! Actually, yes, we do. Here are some links:
- Yesterday, college hoops stats deity Ken Pomeroy admirably called his own ratings system into question. After all, his numbers said Kentucky was only as good as the No. 9 team in the country, that their flaws were too great for any tempo-free system to ignore. At the same time, Kentucky had just risen to the top spot in the land, and appeared to anyone who watched them to be a stacked team full of some of the best college basketball talent we've seen in years. The disconnect caused Pomeroy to reevaluate. He should have been more confident. John Gasaway explains why: "In his piece yesterday Ken held out the hope for Kentucky fans that their team might be statistical impostors. UK on paper is a good-but-not-great team that lets opponents like Georgia and Auburn hang with them, but maybe the almost absurdly talented Cats simply have to do things like that to keep the sport interesting for them personally. To illustrate this possibility, Ken called upon the example of Gonzaga in 2006, a team that found it could win without playing defense--that is, until they found out otherwise. [...] As an example for the young people, we probably don't want to celebrate a team that so clearly took a 'We'll turn it on when the time comes, thanks' approach. But that's exactly what Florida did that [in 2007] and, say this for them, it worked. Who knows, it could work for Kentucky this year too. I don't say it won't. But it does mean we'll continue to see a disconnect between what we humans think of this team and what the numbers say. Get used to it." In other words, this time, the numbers won.
- The Kentucky fans at A Sea Of Blue handle the loss with grace and sportsmanship. Not being sarcastic! To wit: "Congratulations to the South Carolina Gamecocks. They absolutely earned this victory by playing this basketball game like the upperclassmen they are. They had a leader, they got him the ball, and he did what leaders do -- won the basketball game. I don't want to hear any whining about officiating, or complaints about how bad Kentucky played. South Carolina won because they were the better team tonight. They did the smart thing and took the air out of the basketball, forcing Kentucky to play a half-court game where they don't excel as much as when they are running up and down. South Carolina had a game plan which they executed in a superior manner, and it paid off. [...] Kentucky fans have no right to complain. This team may have gotten a unanimous nod from the Associated Press voters, but they have not really been tested much. Nevertheless, Kentucky fans were ecstatic, even gloating. Unfortunately for us, our team tonight was weighed, measured, and found wanting."
- The Wall Street Journal argues, tongue-partially-in-cheek, that the game of the year in college basketball happens Friday night, when Harvard and Cornell square off for what might be the Ivy League's only bid. Both teams are good enough to get at-large consideration, though, so maybe no one out east should freak out just yet.
- Rush The Court has images of BYU's pink-dappled uniforms and shoes, which the Cougars are wearing in honor of Coaches vs. Cancer Saturday against Utah State. (BYU coach Dave Rose battled pancreatic cancer this offseason.) I gotta say: That's a good look. BYU might consider adding that pink piping to its jerseys full-time. I'm only half-joking.
- Matt Norlander separates some "playas" from "imposters" (not "impostahs," unfortunately) among teams outside the top 25. Be forewarned, as is there is no love on hand for Coastal Carolina. The Chancticleer loyalists will not be pleased.
- The argument for Southern Illinois' Chris Lowery to DePaul: He'd recruit Chicagoans to play in Chicago.
- Gary Parrish's belief that Kentucky wasn't likely to go undefeated -- it's weird; everyone wants a team to go undefeated, but no one admits to thinking it possible -- proved prophetic Tuesday night.
- South Carolina's court-storming will cost them $25,000, but who cares? That's chump change for an athletics program (insert joke about O.J. Mayo here) and when you can create a scene like this after upsetting the No. 1 team in the country, you gladly fork over that cash.
- Luke Winn does another North Carolina prognosis, and concludes that while things may look bad, UNC still has a chance to make a run this season. Last night's win at N.C. State is certainly a start.
- Connecticut interim coach George Blaney is cracking wise about Jim Calhoun's approach to personal health. This is probably a good sign.