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Friday's List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind..........
13) So Mets’ manager Terry Collins is annoyed because new SS Ruben Tejada didn’t come to camp early to practice; this stuff bothers me, this “If you’re not five minutes early, then you’re late” crap. If its so damn important that he be in camp 43 days before your first regular season game, then start freakin’ spring training 43 days before the season starts. Why not report the day after Christmas? The season is long and mentally grueling; guys need an offseason, too.
12) Speaking of which, a sure sign that spring training is too long for position players as it is: the Cubs held a bunting tournament Thursday. Maybe Collins could organize one of those to lure Tejada into camp early.
11) Mets do hope that Johan Santana can pitch an inning in their spring training opener; they’re encouraged by how he’s throwing the ball so far this spring, as he tries to recover from arm surgery.
10) Maryland Terrapins won’t play Georgetown in any sports until the Hoyas play them in basketball; this is a thorny issue in our nation’s capitol, dealing more with lacrosse, women’s sports more than anything else, but the Thompson family apparently wants no part of the Terps.
9) Jimmer Fredette’s brother blasted Kings’ coach Keith Smart on Twitter for not playing his brother. Bad move, even though he is probably right. If Smart doesn’t want to play Jimmer, trade him to someone who would love to have him (Utah? Knicks? Charlotte?)
8) If you think your job sucks, how about Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak, who has done a great job as Lakers’ GM, but now has had his power usurped by owner’s son Jim Buss? Buss fancies himself a basketball expert. Lets see how smart he is when #24 retires.
Bottom line for the Lakers is that they’re not as good as the Clippers and key members of the Laker family are pointing fingers to assess blame. Never a good sign.
7) ESPN signed up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a columnist; he’s a bright guy who never got his due as, in my opinion, the greatest basketball player of all-time. No one, and I mean, no one, dominated basketball like he did, from a 9th grader straight thru to the NBA. They even outlawed the dunk (in college) because of him. Hope he is opinionated in his writing, because he has a lot to say.
6) Think about how college hoop coaches get fired for not making the NCAA tournament, and then look at Akron Zips’ coach Keith Dambrot, who has won the MAC tourney two of last three years, and has a 10-1 tourney record in those years. Total domination, right?
Not so fast……of Akron’s 10 tourney wins the last three years, four of them came in OT, as did their lone loss. They’ve been the cardiac kids of Championship Week, but hardly dominant, but I bet Dambrot got a nice fat contract extension when he won those overtime games.
Dambrot, by the way, was Lebron James’ high school coach.
5) Alarming story about Red Sox’ reliever Bobby Jenks, who had bone spurs removed from his spine last winter, but the operation got botched, which resulted in spinal fluid leaking from his body. Scary stuff that resulted in an infection that could’ve killed him. Jenks is alright now, but has lost lot of weight and may not be ready to pitch for the Red Sox until July, if at all.
4) Greedy bastard update: Gas was $3.95 a gallon the other day, 8 cents a gallon more than it was three days ago, even though the same gas is in the same tanks underground as it was Monday. Politicians will wonder why they get voted out of office in November.
3) If I ran CBS and could pick the eight analysts I’d want for the NCAA tournament, I’d pick these guys:
a) Hubie Brown—Basketball professor.
b) Jeff Van Gundy—Basketball junkie.
c) Steve Kerr—Best analyst on the air today.
d) Marques Johnson—Good natured and enthusiastic while keeping his focus on the game.
e) Bill Raftery—Just pair him with Sean McDonough as a play-by-play guy. He’d be great.
f) Bob Valvano—Not as talkative as his late brother, but was a coach and sees the game that way.
g) Ernie Kent—Former Oregon coach has improved a lot in his second year on air.
h) Bob Wenzel—Former Rutgers coach is an underrated analyst.
2) So I’m having a good, relaxing day, no big problems, then it dawns on me that when baseball season starts, my A’s Opening Day starting pitcher could very well be Bartolo Colon. End of good mood.
How does a guy signed off the scrap heap become your #1 starter?
1) A’s also have an infielder in big league camp named Wes Timmons, who spent this winter as a substitute teacher. I’m guessing the Angels and Rangers don’t have lot of guys who spent the winter handing out reading assignments in European History, or picking up lunch trays in the cafeteria. Just a guess.
-- If HBO comedian Bill Maher gave $1M to President Obama’s campaign, what are these greedy oil ba$tard$ giving to politicians? They’re being allowed to rip off the entire country for billion$. Maher merely steals money from HBO.
-- Anyone who doesn’t draft Robert Griffin III because of his height shouldn’t be drafting players; he’s taller than Drew Brees, who last time I looked was a pretty good player.
-- Apparently JR Smith was fined $1.06M during his brief time in the Chinese league, mostly for missing practices; Yahoo! Sports says that represents about one-third of his salary in Asia that he forfeited- over there, no practice, no pay. I coached JR Smith in baseball when he was in 8th and 9th grade. He hasnt changed one bit.
-- Cincinnati made only 8 of 31 2-point shots in its 60-56 win over Louisville Thursday; they were 11-27 behind the arc. Unusual.
-- Looks like Brandon Inge is going to try and stick with the Tigers by moving to 2B, with Cabrera moving to 3B and Fielder playing first.
-- I’d be all for the NFL expanding to an 18-game schedule, but only if the players are on board with it. I love football Sundays, and it would be a way for the league to increase its TV revenue, much of which gets passed on to the players. But if the players are dead-set against it, then it’s a bad idea.
Saturday's List of 13: College basketball by the numbers. Keep in mind there are 32 D-I basketball leagues.
13) Best shooting league in America is undoubtedly the Summit League (South Dakota State-Oakland-Oral Roberts); they rank #1 in 3-point %age, #1 in 2-point %age, #2 in free throw percentage.
12) Worst shooting league, as usual, the SWAC; they rank #31 behind the arc, #31 inside it, #32 at the charity stripe.
11) Home teams have had the best seasons in the SEC (55-23) and Mountain West (30-14); they’ve done the worst in Big Sky (32-33) and MEAC (42-44).
10) 15 of 44 Mountain West games were decided by 4 or less points or in OT; that and the Sun Belt (28/90) have had the highest percentage of close games. WCC (8 of 68) and MAAC (8 of 81) have had the lowest percentage of close games- those leagues have defined haves and have-nots.
9) Fastest-paced games are played in the Great West (I’ve never seen one of their games), MEA/WCC. Slowest-paced games, not surprisingly, are in the Ivy and Big Dozen. Teams in Great West include Utah Valley, North Dakota and Houston Baptist. 2nd-worst league in country.
8) Effective FG% is the same as regular FG%, except a made 3-pointer counts as 1.5 baskets, because its 3 points. Summit League leads country with a .526 eFG%, with Big Sky #2 (.516); lowest eFG%s are SWAC (.462) and CAA (.463).
7) Leagues with highest percentage of turnovers, which usually translates to most teams playing pressure defense and running on offense, are SWAC (22.1%) and Southland (21.8%).
Leagues with lowest percentage of turnovers are Patriot (18.3%) and MVC- teams in those leagues play just about all half-court ball.
6) Big East leads country in offensive rebounding %age, with underrated Atlantic Sun #2; not surprisingly, the two non-scholarship, or low-scholarship leagues, Ivy/Patriot Leagues, are last in this category. Teams that run any type of Princeton offense mostly shun offensive rebounding.
5) Leagues where the highest ratio of free throws are shot are SWAC and MEAC. Lowest ratio of foul shots tried are in ACC and MWC, which would be regarded as finesse leagues (but don’t tell them that).
4) Highest %age of blocked shots are in SEC (Anthony Davis) and CAA (10.8%). Missouri Valley/Summit Leagues have least amount of blocks.
3) CAA is a stellar defensive league, at #2 in blocks and #1 in steals (11.1%). MAAC is #2 in steals (10.7%).
Patriot/WAC have the lowest %age of steals.
2) Leagues with highest %age of 3’s tried are Mountain West (#1 tried, #24 made), Southern Conference (#2 tried, #23 made).
Leagues with lowest %age of 3’s tried are SWAC (#32 tried, #31 made), OVC (#31 tried, #15 made).
1) Best foul shooting leagues?
Patriot is #1 (73.9%), Summit is #2 (73.4%).
Worst leagues? SWAC is worst (64.3%), Southland is #31 (65.3%).