Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Morning News: Upset Of The Year? Also, Jarrod Shaw Suspension & Talking Kansas/Baylor

We can't believe it either, guys.

UTEP Suffers Perhaps The Upset Of The Year It was only me and a handful of parents of players watching the end of UTEP/New Orleans, but UTEP just might have suffered what will end up the worst loss of the season. And yes, their leading scorer (McKenzie Moore) was suspended. But no, that's not an excuse. New Orleans had not won a road game in two years and hadn't won a game against any Division I opponent since beating Texas-Pan American in overtime on February 6th. They hadn't beaten a team in the Pomeroy Top 250 since December 2nd, 2009 (yes, they took two years off from Division I basketball, but still...). Vegas didn't even bother having a line on this game (as far as I could find), but Pomeroy had UTEP a 23 point favorite. To put that in perspective, that's what #1 Arizona would be favored by (+/- 1 point) at home against Yale.

Tim Floyd actually was the head coach of New Orleans a long time ago, from 1988 through 1994. But his old program has probably ended whatever slim at-large chances UTEP had. They came into this game having only lost to Kansas, Iowa and New Mexico State (twice), with a nice win over Tennessee. In fact, they had almost beaten Kansas, losing only by four. But it's pretty tough to overcome a loss to Pomeroy #347. Just a brutal, horrible result for UTEP.

As for New Orleans, I had to create a post tag for you for the first time, and you just collected your first victory over a Division I opponent this season. Congratulations! Enjoy this one, because it will be the highlight of your season.

Jarrod Shaw Suspended Indefinitely For Utah State Jarrod Shaw has been suspended for a violation of team rules. As Shaw is the team's leader in points (16.1) and rebounds (7.8) per game, this is a pretty significant loss. Utah State did not have a Tournament resume yet (no wins over likely RPI Top 50 opponents, along with losses to BYU and Pacific), but they were a bubble quality team. They were going to have a chance to put themselves on the bubble in Mountain West play. Unless Shaw comes back soon, however, they might be able to forget about that.

Improperly Rated: Kansas And Baylor Editions On a slow news day, I wanted to briefly touch on the ratings of Baylor and Kansas. Jeff Goodman isn't the only major media personality to argue that Baylor has been better this season so far, he's just the one I like to make fun of because he's famous for doing a terrible job of rating teams in November and December and then denying that he was ever so wrong when February rolls around. Saying Baylor has a better resume than Kansas so far? Probably true. But that they've played better? Absolutely not, and it's not even close.

As I talk about all the time, there is a difference between resumes and team quality. In the long run, all teams are going to win approximately 50% of games that come down to the final minute - I don't care how clutch or un-clutch they are. So teams that have won a bunch of close games get overrated while teams that have lost a bunch of close games will be underrated.

In this case, Kansas has two impressive double-digit victories (Duke and New Mexico), but also has three losses to elite teams, by an average of 4.3 points per game. A few balls bounce the other way? Kansas is 10-0 against a brutal schedule, and Jeff Goodman is telling us that anybody that doesn't have the Jayhawks #1 in the country is a moron. What about Baylor? They beat Kentucky, though the margin of KU's two big victories make those wins more impressive. Baylor also beat Charleston Southern by 5, South Carolina by 2 and Dayton by 1. They're a few bounces of the ball from being 5-5 and considered an NIT team.
Kansas is an elite team that will contend for a 1 seed in March. The media may be killing them now, but they'll be singing a very different tune once February rolls around and Kansas's luck in close games starts to even out.

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