Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UWM Needs More Pass-teurization

Pun City went to a couple UW-Milwaukee games last week, some mixed results. Both were poorly attended, primarily by students, which are looking like fair weather fans. In fairness to them, literally (outside) and figuratively (subpar team this year), it was bad weather last Wednesday vs. South Dakota State and Sunday vs. Tennessee Tech. Above: Student Section brutally empty on Sunday
Above: X-treme zoom found the students on Wednesday.
Above: The students weren't the only ones missing on Wednesday.
This blog was also up to something on Sunday: taking stats. The hypothesis this blog was trying to prove was that certain players were ball hogs (ahem, Ryan Thornton and to a much lesser extent Avery Smith). This blog had been informally keeping track of pass-to-shot ratios for Thornton only earlier in the year. Most games he had the same (or more) shots than passes. This is virtually impossible to do in basketball. Granted, Thornton doesn't play too many minutes, and some players' roles can be defined as shooters, lending to less passes, but this guy was seemingly out of control. Unofficially, he had a couple games with 2 passes, 3 shots; 3 passes, 3 shots, 2 passes, 5 shots. Bear in mind these included inbounds passes, passes 70 feet from the basket, anything.
Pun City also found out it's tough to track passes without the benefit of replay, so aside from the pass not being an official stat in the first place, these are very unofficial statistics.
Starting with the least selfish players, here's UWM's breakdown:
Nick Hansen - 7 passes, 0 shots
Marcus Skinner - 7 passes, 0 shots
Kevin Massiah - 1 shot every 13 passes. (39 and 3)
Allan Hanson - 1 shot every 8.1 passes. (81 and 10)
Charlie Swiggett - 1 shot every 6.8 passes. (61 and 9)
Ricky Franklin - 1 shot every 3.75 passes. (15 and 4)
Paige Paulsen - 1 shot every 3 passes. (27 and 9)
Sam Mauldin - 1 shot every 1.67 passes (10 and 6)
Avery Smith - 1 shot every 1.57 passes (11 and 7)
Roman Gentry - 1 shot every 1.3 passes (13 and 10)
Ryan Thornton - 1 shot per pass (1 and 1)
Myles McKay also played but did not make any passes or attempt any shots.
Now, the shooting percentages from the game:
Sam Mauldin - 66.7%
Charlie Swiggett - 44.4%
Allan Hanson - 40.0%
Paige Paulsen - 33.3%
Roman Gentry - 30.0%
Avery Smith - 28.6%
Ricky Franklin - 25.0%
Kevin Massiah - 0.0%
Ryan Thornton - 0.0%
Thornton and Smith were the only 2 Panthers in the bottom 4 for both shooting percentage and "unselfishness." This is a small sample size, but this blog still thinks at the very least that Thornton and Smith are not very efficient for the Panthers. To coach Rob Jeter's credit, the pair seems to be getting decreased playing time. Mauldin started in place of Smith, and Thornton saw only 1 minute of action after averaging 3:40 per game the rest of the season.
Here's hoping UWM and each of its players continually become more efficient and unselfish over the course of the season.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Julius Peppers presents the Top 69 Football/Basketball Combo Schools

Frequent Pun City reader Moike and semi-frequent Pun City reader Chris recently challenged this blog to rank the top combination football-basketball schools from the recent past. Trying to do it as easily and moderately scientifically as possible, this blog took the final AP poll from the last 3 years in football and basketball, and ranked everyone that received a vote. Appearing on all 6 polls was the ultimate goal, with low (i.e. #1) rankings being valued the most.

This blog ranked every school listed in order. Bear in mind a few things:

A) Some of these schools don't offer D-1 Football (or any football). This means they can't get into more than 3 of the polls. For this preliminary ranking, this blog didn't rank the best 3-poll team any higher than the worst 4-poll team. The idea is to have an awesome team to watch from fall through spring.

B) When two schools were very close, appearing in 2 different sports' polls garnered a higher ranking.

C) Especially for the 1-poll teams, this blog used common sense, anecdotal evidence, and generally lazy ranking techniques. But you didn't compile this list, so you're going to have to deal with that.

D) This didn't include the 2006 football season. This blog realizes the season's almost over and blah, blah, blah, but since it's not over and that could significantly skew the results, Pun City used slightly older data. Also, this blog realizes that the AP does their final poll for basketball before March Madness begins, so this isn't the greatest ranking system, but it's consistent and it's the same provider as the football poll that this blog is using.

Here goes:

1. Texas

2. Florida

3. Oklahoma

4. LSU

5. Boston College

6. Connecticut (Yes, their football team received votes twice in this span)

7. Iowa

8. Pittsburgh

9. Utah

10. West Virginia

11. North Carolina State

12. Ohio State

13. Wisconsin

14. Louisville

15. Kansas

16. Texas Tech

17. Nevada

18. Georgia Tech

19. USC (Get a basketball team, losers)

20. Duke (Get a football team, losers)

21. Gonzaga

22. Georgia

23. Illinois

24. North Carolina

25. Miami (FL)

26. Oklahoma State

27. Kentucky

28. Tennessee

29. Auburn

30. Michigan

31. Florida State

32. Washington

33. Syracuse

34. Boise State

35. UCLA

36. Arizona

37. California

38. Michigan State

39. Cincinnati

40. Southern Illinois

41. Virginia

42. Minnesota

43. Pacific

44. UTEP

45. Virginia Tech

46. Villanova

47. Wake Forest

48. Memphis

49. Alabama

50. Maryland

51. TCU

52. Stanford

53. Nebraska

54. Clemson

55. Bowling Green

56. Purdue

57. Navy

58. Fresno State

59. Arkansas

60. Arizona State

61. George Washington

62. Northern Illinois

63. Texas A & M

64. Oregon State

65. Bucknell

66. UAB

67. Charlotte

68. Utah State

69. Winthrop

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wisconsin Cleans UWGB's Clock, Breaks Their Own

Pun City was able to take in the UWGB vs. Wisconsin game last Wednesday for its 11th college basketball game in 6 days. Among the many stoppages of play for a very foul-plagued game, the game also had a delay in the first half when one shot-clock stopped working. After crews were unable to fix the clock in a timely manner (hiyo!), they resorted to having a worker at the scorer's table hold up placards showing the remaining time on the shot clock in 5-second increments. This blog's photographer is once again subpar, but you can see the card being put down just below the "A" on the floor in the first photo. Among the other few looks they gave us was the shot clock shown below. After a long spell where both clocks were turned off, they put one on but showed Zero for the shot-clock. This was bizarre because the game clock was still counting down. Eventually the game staff got both clocks working, but this was among the longer stretches (and very likely the longest) this blog has ever seen a game go without a shot clock.

Wisconsin did look good though, so this blog is still expecting big things out of the Badgers. A Final Four season would not be out of the question, and this blog would almost expect it with the amount of depth they have.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The John CBE Thompson Classic Blues Brothers Band Classic Tournaments

Pun City just completed a whirlwind of College-basketball-watching inactivity. This blog was able to spectate at 10 games in 5 days all within a 2-block radius in Milwaukee. From Friday through Sunday, UW-Milwaukee hosted a round-robin tournament including Washington State, Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), and Radford. Blowouts all around as Washington State beat UAB, UWM, and Radford; UAB lost to WSU, then beat Radford and UWM; UWM beat Radford, then lost the final two, and Radford went home empty-handed.

Unfortunately Pun City didn't charge its camera so the only photo documentation of the UWM tournament (the John Thompson Classic) is the first picture.This first photo is the prize Pun City won for anchoring the winning halftime contest relay team. Despite being handicapped with an old dude in khakis and loafers, Pun City was able to motor its sweatpants downcourt with enough alacrity to take out a team of 2 jeans-clad students.
The photo above shows (poorly) Craig Kuphall, now with his name added to the back of his jersey. This blog apologizes for its photographer, Pun City would have fired him long ago if his salary could be beaten.

This is a comparitively pristine photograph of Marquette walk-on Tommy Brice, also having had his nameplate added.Note the back of Maine player Mark Socoby's jersey. No "America East" patch above the numerals.

This is in contrast to teammates Jon Sheets (5) and Junior Bernal (12). If these crystal-clear photos don't illuminate what the "America East" patch is, Pun City can assure you that it's basically this logo against a white background with blue stitching outlining the patch.

Anyway, the Monday-Tuesday tournament this blog saw pitted Maine against Detroit in the opener Monday (at 4:30!). Detroit struggled mightily but did win a close game after Maine had led for around 36 minutes.

Marquette then struggled even mightilier (despite having an absurd disparity in foul calls in their favor), eventually beating Idaho State in overtime.

Maine fell to Idaho State in the Tuesday opener. Marquette then stomped Detroit. Detroit perhaps understandably has not yet posted their story on the 87-45 loss in which Marquette led by 24 at the half.

This blog's opinion of the 8 teams it saw this week:

1. Washington State

2. Marquette

3. Idaho State

4. UAB

5. UWM

6. Detroit

7. Maine

8. Radford

WSU was the only team to dominate in each game they played. Marquette did not live up to its #17 ranking in the Idaho State game. ISU showed great defense and maturity in staying with MU despite the suspect calls. UAB was alternately electric and stagnant on offense, producing mixed results. UWM played as a team only when it was too late and has a long road ahead of them this year. Detroit struggled in each game but has enough athletes to win ugly. Maine makes the most of their talent, but as you might expect at a hockey school, there isn't much to go around. Radford didn't show much heart in any game. If in the end there can be only one Highlander, this blog is guessing it won't come from Radford.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Edgewood Doesn't Ruin Black Panther Party

Pun City got to check out the UW-Milwaukee vs. Edgewood College basketball game at Milwaukee. UWM took care of business, 77-53 this time. Edgewood was a division lower than UW-Parkside, who gave UWM more than they could handle.
This blog thought UWM looked better than the first game (obviously it would have been hard not to). Expectations should not be very high for this team, however. The offense has yet to be run smoothly. Fortunately, the team was able to penetrate within the structure of the offense last night, as opposed to their first game where a number of possessions were disorganized and poor examples of the Swing offense.

Freshman Ricky Franklin was very solid, both running the offense as a point guard and scoring from beyond the arc. Marcus Skinner followed up a very good opening game with a less-than-spectacular 2nd outing, fouling out and scoring 2 points.

The Panthers will not be bottom-dwellers, but are very unlikely to win their 3rd Horizon League tournament title in a row. The inexperience of this team seems like it will prevent them from finishing above 4th in the conference. They are fortunate to have a head coach as qualified as Rob Jeter to lead them through this season, where they should improve with each game and hopefully sneak up on some teams late in the year.

Most likely a low seed in the Horizon League tournament that will outperform their seed.

Here's a picture for all those UWM fans though:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Marquette Avoids Stritch Marks

Pun City was able to take in the Marquette-Cardinal Stritch game last night, and fellow Grafton alum Nick Longley was playing for Cardinal Stritch. This is cool because this blog played against him in a rec league last year. (This may or may not have been an NCAA violation).

Also note Lazar Hayward's presence after getting cleared by the NCAA, and his headband.

Walk-ons Craig Kuphall (#45) and Tommy Brice (#42) don't have names on the backs of their jerseys. This is in opposition to the scholarship players such as Hayward in the first shot.
Marquette won 99-70 and led through most of the contest.

The Bucks have banners around the scoreboard instead of in a corner as they previously had hung them. This logo banner is new.
Extreme zoom from this blog's actual seats in the upper deck.
Not much zoom from the seats this blog moved down to on the first level. Attendance was low for the exhibition.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

UW-Parkside Rangers: No Picnic Basket Snatching On Their Watch

This blog got a chance to take in some College Hoops tonight. It was, in a word, X-treme. UW-Milwaukee, a young team but even so a 3-time defending Horizon League champ, got beaten by Division II UW-Parkside. 77-71 in a game Parkside led throughout. The Rangers' biggest lead was 30-16. This was an extreme zoom shot from this blog's upper deck seat. Still not a bad seat though.
UWM killed itself on the free throw line, an under-reported fact here.
The Panthers are very young, but it could be a long season. This team obviously tried to win the exhibition, falling short and hardly threatening. In the process, it was demonstrated that they had little command of the swing offense, often degenerating into a pickup game atmosphere where players ran into each other and didn't spread the floor.
One bright spot was Marcus Skinner (2nd from the left, above) who scored 17 points and was fairly dominant when he was in the game. Despite not being in foul trouble, Skinner didn't get what this blog would consider an amount of playing time commensurate with his abilities. Skinner had a decided height advantage over the Rangers, and he was using it very effectively. It is possible head coach Rob Jeter didn't want to exploit the height advantage against a Division II school, as the team would not learn as much from this strategy. The problem with that philosophy is that, even in an exhibition setting, it does not look good to one's fan base when you lose to a D-2 school. UWM's recent run of success raised expectations (probably unfairly), but its mid-major status means that sellout crowds aren't the norm, so turning off some fans with this kind of a loss is not a good sales pitch.
That said, this blog is sure that Rob Jeter knows what he's doing, so chances are this was more of an aberration than a sign of things to come. If nothing else, the UWM staff has a lot of game film with which to teach from. No one expected this type of a game from the Panthers, even knowing that the team returned less than 15 percent of its scoring from 2005-2006. The fact that such an inexperienced team would still be expected to blow out Parkside speaks to the respect college basketball fans have for Rob Jeter's program. Hopefully they turn it around, Pun City's got 15 more tickets to use at the Cell this year.