Bradley lost to New Orleans 64-51 at home; the lead was 8 at the half. Bradley shot 53 percent from the free throw line and 31.5 percent from the field. That is painful. Then again, BU has TEN freshman on the roster; one senior started and one sophomore played significant minutes.
New Orleans isn’t that good of a team; they lost 79-61 to Bowling Green and 95-75 to Duquesne. They beat one NCCAA D-2 team (D-2 of a non-NCAA division).
Oh well…growing pains for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Ok, the crowd was relatively sparse (slightly larger than last year’s) and BU went in as a 2 point favorite. Ball State took an 8 point lead in the second half but Bradley rallied to win 54-53. The win was sealed by an intentionally missed BU free throw with 2.2 seconds to go (Ball State had no time outs to use, so the missed free shot forced them to rebound and take a desperation shot).
No, this was not exactly a preview of the NCAA Final Four. But BU has one junior, one sophomore and one senior; the rest: all freshmen. So I’ll take it.
Bradley Men’s Basketball exhibition: Bradley defeated Edgewood College (D-3) 78-42; of note that the halftime score was 35-18, with all of Edgewood’s first half points coming from 3 point shots.
Basically, the young Bradley team (almost all freshmen) was simply too big and too fast. But the deal here is that the team actually made its lay ups. That is a big change from last year.
I’ll miss the next women’s exhibition game this Saturday but be able to make the subsequent games.
Illinois at Purdue: yes, the Illini are FAVORED (by 1.5 to 2.5 points) even though Purdue hammered Nebraska last week. Illinois holds an edge in the Sagarin ratings as well. Nevertheless…well, Illinois won there in 2013, in part due to two missed field goals by Purdue. Let’s just say that this isn’t a “ESPN GAMEDAY” type game.
Though Illinois gets its chief running back back, I’d have to pick Purdue to win.
Kansas at Texas The spread is on the order of 28-29 points or so. Yes, Kansas is terrible, but should Texas be such a large favorite against ANYONE? I note that it appears as if the home fans have given up:
This is 15 minutes prior to kickoff against Oklahoma State this year.
It looked a bit better at the end of the first quarter, but still lots of empties:
Texas to win; Kansas to cover.
Navy at Memphis
Yes, Memphis is a better team; they are undefeated and whipped Mississippi at home. Navy’s lone blemish is a loss to Notre Dame. The spread is 7.5-8.5. I think that Navy’s ball control keeps the game close. How close? Ugh..7-10 points sounds about right. I might call it 31-24 Memphis and take Navy to (barely) beat the spread.
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh Notre Dame is a 7.5-9 points favorite (8 seems typical) and, though Pitt lost last weekend, they usually give ND fits. I am calling a straight out upset here; I hope that I am wrong.
So my calls:
Winning: Purdue, Texas, Memphis, Pitt.
Spread: Purdue, Kansas, Navy, Pitt.
Basketball: Larry Bird Scores 60
Honest Best Man Speech
Easter Egg Hunt
Career Builder ads
Foghorn Leghorn gets his wave function collapsed
Other (possibly NSFW; some sexual humor)
Friends try on tights (gluteal nudity).
Today: I walked; I figured that I need to walk more. I did the hilly Cornstalk 5.1 course in 1:11:54 (14:05 mpm pace); it was overcast, dark and a bit slippery.
Climate change Last night I went to hear Harold Brooks speak: he is a NOAA scientist. He spoke about thunderstorms and climate change.
1. When it comes to rain, the total volume hasn’t changed much. BUT the way we get it has; we get a higher percentage of it from strong storms.
2. When it comes to thunderstorms, wind shear and available energy are the two big factors. Climate change has reduced the former and increase the latter; these are competing effects.
3. The models are pretty much in agreement as to what will happen (over time) during the winter, spring and fall. What is open is what will happen during the summer: more storms? Fewer? Wet? Drought? No one knows and the models can’t reach even a tentative conclusion.
Yes, there is a huge difference between the great powers and those lower seeds in the NCAA tournament. Attendance at the games isn’t so great either, but part of the reason might be the unusual start times.
I looked at last year’s races, and this year’s 5K (Interplanetary) is more or less in line with them: 5K in 25:27, 71 out of 269, 5’th in my age group (55-59 male; about 3 MINUTES from being fast enough to place, and no, that isn’t close :-))
7:59/16:10 or 7:59/8:11/9:16
I jogged about 2 miles from our house to the start where I met Barbara and Tracy. I did NOT feel good on my jog down; in fact I wondered if I was even going to be close to being under 26.
Day: sunny, no wind (rare for Illinois), chilly; tailor made for running.
And yes, there was a TON of cute spandex; severe eyestrain day.
I made a mistake and perhaps got a bit impatient during the first mile; I got there in 7:59 which, given my current conditioning, was perhaps 10 seconds too fast. I could tell that I faded a bit as we went around the Goose loop as I started to lose places.
Still, 16:10 at mile 2 wasn’t that bad but just a bit afterward, I pulled off of the course to walk perhaps 5-10 seconds. I am not used to feeling “race bad”; some speed work during the week, as well as this race, will take care of that. Dianne went past me so I tucked in behind her and let her pull me along. She finished stronger than I did (8 seconds faster; most of the gap came in the final 400 meters or so); my last 1.1 was 9:16 (8:25 pace)
Afterward I went back for Tracy and then met up with Barbara at the end; she walked the mile and then went 1.5 miles more.
I watched Wichita State women get eliminated by a strong California team (seeded 4’th in their bracket); it ended 78-66 but it was 78-58 when Cal emptied their bench with under 2 minutes to go. This was one of those “death by 1000 cuts” blowouts; it started close and every 2-3 minutes or so, Cal had extended their lead by a point or two.
Now the Golden Bears play the Texas Longhorns, which are a team I used to watch from 1985-1991. UT even won a national title and made another final 4 those years. A Sweet 16 was *almost* automatic for them; during that era I saw the Wichita coach play for Tennessee.
I note that ALL of the Missouri Valley teams are gone; Drake, Northern Iowa and Missouri State all lost their first NIT games.
On the other hand, all of the MVC men’s teams won their games: Northern Iowa and Wichita in the NCAA, Illinois State in the NIT and Evansville and Loyola in the EIEIO.
This might not be by chance.
I think that men’s basketball is deeper than women’s in that there is a bigger talent difference between the seeds; that is, the talent difference between a men’s 13 vs. 4 seed is less than the difference between a women’s 13 vs. 4 seed.
There is historical data that bears that out
I don’t know all of the factors, but I have a conjecture as to one of them: there are greater social (and monetary?) rewards to being good at basketball if you are male than if you are female; hence I think that if any male has any talent in basketball, college scouts will find them. So the talent pool is bigger and more spread out, since there is a limit to the number of players that can be put on scholarship at any one school.
Among the women: my guess is that many “hidden gems” remain hidden; those that are discovered get snapped up by the BCS type schools leaving less top talent for the mid majors.
This is part of the reason that sports records (e. g. world records for track events) continue to improve; as financial rewards improve, more talent is mined.
Many complained when the UCLA men’s team got an NCAA berth. Now they are in the Sweet 16.
In honor of that:
Yes, there were players of yesteryear that could “get up there.”
Last night I drove 45 minutes (each way) to watch Illinois State beat Green Bay in an NIT basketball game.
In the first half, ISU got off to a 10-2 lead but then started taking bad shots (GB was in man to man). Also ISU stayed in a zone and frequently rested their big, shot blocking center (who had some turnovers on offense), hence GB got some inside scoring.
At the half, it was 31-24 Green Bay, though Green Bay shot 16.7 percent from the free throw line! That was to cost them; ISU was shooting 20 percent from the field.
The second half started with a 13-2 run by ISU; they made some changes to their zone and their big center made life miserable for GB’s post players; he had 6 blocked shots to go with 8 rebounds and 15 points; ISU’s small guard got 18 points and their star had 17 and a small forward had 14; it was a very balanced effort.
Though ISU outscored GB 45-25 in the second half, it was only 57-51 with 3 minutes to play when GB had to take risks. Those backfired and ISU went up 65-51 with just over a minute to go, ISU cleared the bench. GB promptly hit a 3, got a turn over and two free throws; suddenly it is 65-56 and the starters went right back in. They eventually game out again and the final was 69-56.
Overall, though I am a Bradley fan and not an ISU fan, it was a very fun game to watch; the building was full of energy. The 10,000 seat arena was half full (turnstile count was just under 5000) and LOUD, and yes, ISU has a lot of gray haired fans just like Bradley does (BTW, I am 55 and was probably the youngest one on the early shuttle; that wasn’t the case on the return shuttle).
They featured a neat park and ride shuttle service from a lot that is perhaps 3/4 of a mile way; had I known it was that close I just would have walked. Concession prices were reasonable (3 dollar hot dogs) by modern standards.
COMMENTARY ABOUT THE FAN EXPERIENCE
Given that I am not a fan of either team but was there as a fan of basketball, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience. Mentally, I made the mistake of comparing it to the usual Bradley basketball experience instead of comparing it to the two EIEIO tournament games I went to in 2013 (which I enjoyed as well).
I was directed to a ISU basketball fan board and many ISU fans also remarked on the atmosphere.
1. They said that many of the long time season ticket holder seats and corporate seats were sold to others; hence some of the more passionate fans who were normally upper bowl fans were lower.
2. The fans weren’t quite as spread out (due to the “purchase for this game only” selling) which contributed to the noise.
3. There weren’t the usual dreary “at every frigging time out” sponsor stunts and promotions; there was more band and less canned music.
But one can say the same about the two Bradley EIEIO games I went to 2 years ago, though these were played at the much smaller on-campus arena rather than at the larger Carver Center.
So…it is my conjecture that increasing corporatism is really hurting the “live” college experience. BUT: programs need money and can’t win without it. And athletic programs such as ISU have subsidies much larger than what Bradley can sustain..and they have a football program to generate at least some revenue. Illinois State athletics gets a 12.7 million dollar subsidy from their school (scroll down to 122).
So, what are you going to do? I have no answers.
Now, Bradley has hired a new athletic director (highly credentialed and a Peoria native; he was previously the deputy AD at Northwestern) and right now he is everyone’s “golden boy/savior”.
Personally: I am interested in seeing how he handles the budget issues and how well he does at the PR end of things. Remember that fans are a fairly sensitive bunch. Example: when the previous AD pointed out that the lower crowds at games weren’t the main drivers in the revenue losses by pointing out that the cheaper, upper bowl tickets really don’t bring in that much money, he was accused of disrespecting the fans who bought cheaper tickets. (Note: at a place like Bradley, the first half of the arena is usually filled by expensive seats; what makes a sell out is the cheaper tickets being sold; hence the average marginal revenue drops when the crowd gets larger)
As far as the on-the-court performance, well things could hardly get much worse than they currently on (BU finished 10 out of 10 this year). But if one looks at the previous two coaches:
1991–92 Bradley 7–23 3–15 9th
1992–93 Bradley 11–16 7–11 7th
1993–94 Bradley 23–8 14–4 2nd NIT Quarterfinals
1994–95 Bradley 20–10 12–6 4th NIT Second Round
1995–96 Bradley 22–8 15–3 1st NCAA First Round
1996–97 Bradley 17–13 12–6 2nd NIT Second Round
1997–98 Bradley 15–14 9–9 5th
1998–99 Bradley 17–12 11–7 2nd NIT First Round
1999–00 Bradley 14–16 10–8 5th
2000–01 Bradley 19–12 12–6 2nd NIT First Round
2001–02 Bradley 9–20 5–13 8th
Bradley: 174–152 (.534) 110–88 (.556)
2002-03 Bradley 12–18 8–10 T–5th
2003–04 Bradley 15–16 7–11 T–6th
2004–05 Bradley 13–15 6–12 8th
2005–06 Bradley 22–11 11–7 T–5th NCAA Sweet 16
2006–07 Bradley 22–13 10–8 4th NIT 2nd Round
2007–08 Bradley 21–17 9–9 T–5th CBI Finals
2008–09 Bradley 21–15 10–8 4th CIT Finals
2009–10 Bradley 16–15 9–9 5th
2010–11 Bradley 12–20 4–14 T–9th
Bradley: 154–140 (.524) 74–88 (.457)
Not much difference in the overall records or in the post season record; the previous coach had a better conference record.
Note: Tulsa (who made some Sweet 16s) was a member of the conference; similar to Wichita State right now.
People don’t want to hear this, but the first coach (Jim Mollinary) probably got Bradley to its ceiling. Yes, he played a deliberate type of basketball (very defense oriented) and his religiosity was a bit off putting to me. But his players graduated, there weren’t scandals that I was aware of and I’d be thrilled with those on-the-court results.
At the time, I thought that he was fired prematurely.
Well, it will be interesting.
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