March 23, 2014

"After asking his team how it wanted this game to end, [Bo] Ryan said he polled his club on who its best defender was."

"The players looked at him, silent. He answered for them: He was the best defender, because Oregon only hit one of two free throws after the technical foul he picked up just before the break."

34 comments:

harrogate said...

Bo Ryan is in my opinion the most underappreciated of the "big name" coaches in college basketball. That guy is incredible. His teams are always so much fun to watch.

Last night's game was incredible, although I am not sure they would have pulled it out if the location had been more "neutral." Definitely that Milwaukee crowd wound up playing a huge factor in the game.

I've got Wisconsin in the Final Four. Hopefully they will kick ass next weekend!

surfed said...

Gooooooooooooo Gators. See you Badger guys in the Elite Eight.

Bob Ellison said...

Maybe college basketball is becoming boring. I heard some guy on NPR yesterday saying the field is basically flat, that we haven't had a dominant team in years, and all 64 teams had a shot.

He says this is because the great players leave after one or two years and go straight into the NBA.

This echoes something I read a while ago, probably from Bill Simmons: that a truly great player wastes his time and money playing more than a year or two in college. He could rake in several million dollars more by going straight to the NBA as early as possible.

The March Madness "franchise" (that's the word they use for branded money-making schemes) was built upon fan interest in predicting the future winners. If the ability to predict goes away, March Madness will die.

harrogate said...

"The March Madness 'franchise' (that's the word they use for branded money-making schemes) was built upon fan interest in predicting the future winners. If the ability to predict goes away, March Madness will die."

Of course it is true that the flight of elite players from the college game after a year or two has added a lot of parity to the college game overall. This has its downsides as well as its praiseworthy elements. Still and yet, while "mid major" conference teams have made it to the Final Four with more regularity, we have not seen one of these teams cut down nets after a championship game. Perhaps this year with Wichita State, we will see that change. Perhaps.

Still, Bob, I disagree with the claim you make, that the harder it becomes to predict winners, the less interest in the tournament we will see. I am a product of the Carolinas and fully embedded in the culture of college basketball obsession, and what I see is an *increase* in enthusiasm for the game, when tournament outcomes are at their most turbulent. I see this to be especially the case among casual fans of college basketball, the types of peoople who tune in only during March and love nothing so much as a great narrative arc with their sports.

The NCAA behemoth is doing just fine with the tournament and the television networks will make more money than ever off of it in the years to come.

Now, if only there was a way for the Universities to try to funnel some of that gazillion dollars into their ostensible purpose--ahem, Academic Mission--we'd be getting somewhere. But let's not get crazy. That would be like suggesting the Universities are suppoosed to have a different agenda than the television networks. Fucking crazy talk, that.

MadisonMan said...

They were seeded #2. Of course they're in the Sweet 16. They should get to the Elite 8. Because they were seeded there.

Right? Do I understand this right?

Bob Ellison said...

harrogate, very interesting comments.

What would you say about paying the players?

harrogate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
harrogate said...

I am not sure about the argument for paying the players. I do think it is very arguable that the players are exploited inasmuch as the NCAA sells jerseys with players' numbers and names on the back, and makes money hand over fist with television deals: these numbers of course dwarf the "free college" players receive (even in this era of skyrocketing tuition).

On the other hand, what do you pay them? How much is enough? You cannot possibly pay them anything near what the networks and the athletics departments are pulling. And, why must everything come down to the bottom line? Is not the value of the education and degrees they are being offered worth more than the price tag of tuition? As a defender of higher education being worth more than its immediate dollar value and worth more than going to "trade school" to learn to do something obviously "useful" (not a popular position in this current political climate, I know), I want to say that the athletes get a better deal than critics sometimes imply.

My main beef with college athletics is not that the players go unpaid. It is that the money and the rhetoric surrouinding these sporting events moves in a separate sphere from academic mission. A University system with robust sports teams should use the resources generated from those sports to resist the adjunctification of faculty and the privitization of staff, etc.

I for one am uninspired by CBS and Alabama Athletic Department making a gazillion dollars for the sake of entertainment only. For that sort of profit-maximization, we have the wholly private market of professional sports. For collegiate athletics, money should always be flowing back to academic mission--not just into the pockets of network executives and into administrative bloat.

Bob Ellison said...

"For collegiate athletics, money should always be flowing back to academic mission--not just into the pockets of network executives and into administrative bloat."

"Should" is a wishful word. Those basketball (and even more so, football) stars are worth far more to the colleges than the art-history majors.

They get athletic "scholarships". That makes sense.

But I don't like the free-player aspect. Why can't those young athletes demand a share of the profits? Because the NCAA is an unholy monopoly that prevents that.

Also, it's bad for the sport. College basketball is one of the purest, most exciting, most fairly refereed sports around. We should reward players who participate.

harrogate said...

" 'Should' is a wishful word."

Why yes, yes it is. But you asked me my opinion, and so there it is.

"Those basketball (and even more so, football) stars are worth far more to the colleges than the art-history majors."

And in my opinion--and I say this as a great lover of college sports--there are a few things wrong with the priority-set that makes this sentence true.

garage mahal said...

Great hug between Bo Ryan and Barry Alvarez after the game here.

They said that was the loudest game ever played at the Bradley Center. The Mahal house erupted when Brust hit that cold-blooded three to go ahead. Wow!

dreams said...

Bo Ryan seems to have a dry quirky sense of humor, good coach.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't like the idea of paying college athletes, but maybe pay their dental bills for life.

harrogate said...

Interesting. What has you in mind of the dental bills, specifically?

Joe said...

"Those basketball (and even more so, football) stars are worth far more to the colleges than the art-history majors."

Ignoring the fact that most colleges lose money on sports despite all these lucrative contracts.

Tying sports to learning institutions is inane.

dreams said...

Most college players are just happy to be able to play college sports. If it wasn't for the very small percentage of college black athletes who have the talent to go on to pro sports, I don't think there would be this debate.

rehajm said...

A great game that I would have missed had they not crammed it in between all the commercials I was trying to watch. I can't ever recall so many stoppages of play during the tournament...

As for paying the players, no doubt this is professional sport where the labor isn't adequately compensated, though I'd strongly suggest that compensation shrink slightly for every missed free throw.

ndspinelli said...

"Let them eat cake" says Marie Antointhouse.

harrogate said...

spinelli,

You're just biding time until Opening Day. You know it and I know it. Who do you like this year, anyway?

dreams said...

The big popular college sports like football and basketball bring in revenue that is used to finance other college sports. We all know that only a miniscule percentage of college athletes are talented enough to be able to play pro sports.

Bob Ellison said...

Opening Day was two days ago.

dreams said...

Fran Fraschilla the former college coach and current ESPN analyst has two sons playing basketball at Harvard and Oklahoma as walk-ons. He is paying their tuition (yeah, he can afford it) so they can play college ball, of course they're getting a good education too.

The unspoken impetus for paying the college athlete is the unacknowledged belief that a college scholarship for a black college athlete has less value due to his deprived background and or other politically incorrect reasons.

harrogate said...

Bob:

D'oh! And here I am so dialed in to college hoops that I up and missed it. Thanks for the heads-up. I bet spinelli knew about it though.

ndspinelli said...

Harrogate, I'm in SoCal and get a lotta Angels/Dodgers propaganda. I don't think either are going to win the WS. I go w/ the Nationals and Tigers, w/ the Tigers winning. How 'bout you?

harrogate said...

I got Tigers / Braves. But Braves love to choke so who knows?

ndspinelli said...

I often pick the Braves and I'm always disappointed.

Bob Ellison said...

Red Sox. Without the player who recently defected and whose name shall not be written or uttered out loud near me, but who once executed a perfect strait steal of home, it'll be difficult.

But Red Sox.

Bob Ellison said...

Uh, "straight steal".

EMD said...

But Braves love to choke so who knows?

Braves pitchers dropping like flies

I've got Rays/Dodgers.

ndspinelli said...

EMD, Puig helped spark the Dodgers last year. He is very immature and selfish. I see him hurting the Dodgers this year. He may eat himself outta the league like Fernando did.

mrs. e said...

"Interesting. What has you in mind of the dental bills, specifically?"

I believe she's referring to the shot Dekker took to his mouth that dislodged a tooth or two.

Personally, I'm hoping for a Badger/Shocker face off in the Final Four. Would love to see how they match up.

Carnifex said...

Shockers taken care of...you're welcome.

Paying players... I'm of 2 minds about that.

1) the money the schools but in particular the NCAA makes off the kids is obscene, and to not reward them also is inherently unfair. Yeah, they get a scholarship...blah blah blah. That's comparing millions to thousands. If you don't have a thousand, and you get it, its nice. If you work, and some quasi-government agency reaps billions from your product, then no, it sucks.

2) There are enough shady characters in college sports. Any increase in money floating around will merely draw more of them. Being in Kentucky i follow college Bball like a religion, and there are tons of stories about the abuses the players, coaches, fans etc, take that never makes the media. A glaring example is the UNC grade scandal. 20 years of grade inflation to keep players eligible, and the only coverage it gets is in the NCState student paper.

Carnifex said...

As far as Bo being a good coach...he's a system coach. He has a system that works 80% of the time. John Wooden said when you play in the NCAA you will have 2 great games, 2 average games, and 2 bad games. If your opponent has his great game the day you have an average or below average game, you're going home. That's where the upsets come in. Duke had a subpar game, Mercer had their A game.

But if both teams have their A game going, then something else will determine the winner. It may be luck, it maybe talent, or coaching. The system coach though, has a system, and he will not change. Why should he, it works 80% of the time. So an innovative coach will have an advantage there.

System coaches don't need great talent. Their system is what brings the wins, so usually they loose that advantage to a comparable school.

That leaves luck.

The UK/WSU game is an example of how the luck works. WSU takes a last second 3 to win the game. If it falls, the WSU coach is a genius. If it doesn't, then Calipari cheated(you know you were thinking it).

Here's the twist. Calipari is the system coach. His system is predicated on getting the best players he can. Better than everyone else. And hope he can teach them enough to win.

WSU and UK both played their A game, and it came down to a coin flip that we were lucky to win.

Phaedrus said...

Bo Ryan is 16 -12 prior to this year in the NCAA with one appearance in the elite 8, no final four, no NC. So he's having a great tourney so far but they are a #2 seed so they are expected to be in the elite 8 minimum. Especially since they played in a home environment. Other teams get this benefit once in a while too esp Duke. Anything less than Elite 8 is less than expected based on seed.