Education, public discourse and ideas…

Bonus: has an interesting ranking of the all time bets NBA teams. The discussion is interesting as well.

Press coverage: Paul Krugman attacks an attack on Elizabeth Warren:

Yesterday Politico posted a hit piece on Elizabeth Warren, alleging that she’s being hypocritical in her opposition to a key aspect of TPP, that’s interesting in several ways. First, it was clearly based on information supplied by someone close to or inside the Obama administration – another illustration of the poisonous effect the determination to sell TPP is having on the Obama team’s intellectual ethics. Second, the charge of hypocrisy was ludicrous nonsense – “You say you’re against allowing corporations to sue governments, yet you were a paid witness against a corporations suing the government!” Um, what?

And more generally, the whole affair is an illustration of the key role of sheer laziness in bad journalism.

Think about it: when is the charge of hypocrisy relevant? Basically, only when a public figure is preaching about individual behavior, and perhaps holding himself or herself up as a role model. So yes, it’s fair to go after someone who preaches morality but turns out to be a crook or a sexual predator. But articles alleging that someone’s personal choices are somehow hypocritical given their policy positions are almost always off point. Someone can declare that inequality is a problem while being personally rich; they’re calling for policy changes, not mass self-abnegation. Someone can declare our judicial system flawed while fighting cases as best they can within that system — until policy change happens, you have to live in the world as it is.

I see this attack on Hillary Clinton as being similar (the attack: she wants to overturn Citizens United, but still welcomes support from 527 groups). To me, this is like advocating for a rules change, but playing within the rules prior to said change. I am fine with either side doing it.

Education One secret is that most students really don’t want to be educated. They are fine when learning is painless but ultimately, they want the grades, credits and credentials:

Dear Students:

The collective attitude you have shown toward reading and writing during the past semester is neither new nor surprising. You are not well-suited to do either. To your credit, you hate ignorance, as I do. To your discredit, you really only hate being shown that you are ignorant, through encountering words and ideas that are foreign to you and your immediate experience. Rather than look them up and learn about them, as is moronically simple these days, you disdain them, and then complain that you do not understand them. This complaint is disingenuous because you show no interest in having them explained.

Rather, you want to be relieved of responsibility for knowing them, and for reading the works that contain them. In short, you do not want to be educated, or even to go through the motions of education. What you want is a degree, and if there existed a system of academic indulgences, you would gladly fork over four years tuition to receive one without having to waste time going to classes. For a little extra, you could get someone like me to drop by and, for about a half-hour, confirm your base prejudices, the ones you’ve gotten from television and the movies and video games and life in general. You have written about these prejudices incessantly: why brute force is an answer for everything, why the whole world, with its little invisible workers everywhere, has come together for your material and personal happiness, why you live in the greatest country in the history of the world, led by its greatest leader, why your ethnic group has undergone suffering that leaves you preeminent over us, who are all racists… I will not go on.

I have read your stories about anime characters, complete with super-deformed doodles, your tales of extraterrestrials and werewolves and vampires. It is interesting that your eyes turn to the supernatural world so often, since you have such an impoverished notion of this one. […]

Note: I don’t think that, in this regard, much has changed since the time I was in college as an undergraduate; we were that way also. It is more comfortable to rationalize what you already know.

Public discourse: I think that honest discussions such as this one are a good thing; note that both of these students have some serious misconceptions.

However I really don’t like the headline. This is why: (opinion to follow) all too many times, people come to honestly held opinions and are loudly shouted down as “bigots” when they express them.

Examples: many of us have indigent family members who are lazy, dumb and perpetual moochers. So, it is easy to extend what we see in our own lives to conclude that laziness and stupidity is what causes poverty.

We see inner city riots and see mostly blacks. So, given that we humans are hard wired to “reason” inductively, it is easy to conclude that there is something wrong with black people.

We read about people leaving the US to join ISIS. We come to conclusions…without realizing that we are reading about extreme outlier behavior!

The same thing applies to lottery winners; the winners make the paper; the far more common “didn’t win diddly squat” people do not (in fact you are more likely to die in a car crash while driving to buy a lottery ticket than you are to draw the winning number)

I’d like to see more honest discussion and less “shouting down”.

Attitudes don’t help either. All too often I’ve seen conservatives make their own opinion as the benchmark for what is moral and patriotic. All too often I’ve seen liberals make their opinion as to what is bigoted or misogynistic. And all too often those setting their own opinion as the standard are those who are very limited in intellect and lacking in anything resembling accomplishment. I think that too many are overconfident in their own judgement and unaware of what they may be missing.

May 22, 2015 Posted by | basketball, NBA, political/social, racism, social/political | Leave a comment

NCAA predictions, Apple and the Poor…

Swim: 500 easy, 6 x 100 on 2:10 (alt fist/free; 1:53-1:57), 2 x 200 on 4 (3:31, 3:33), drill/swim, count (4 x 25; 22-23 strokes), off strokes.
Not much; just enough.


Basketball: how did do? Ok.

Paul Krugman: talks about the new Apple products which allow for you to be tracked. But it also helps one avoid time wasting line waiting. The principle:

Consider the Varian rule, which says that you can forecast the future by looking at what the rich have today — that is, that what affluent people will want in the future is, in general, something like what only the truly rich can afford right now. Well, one thing that’s very clear if you spend any time around the rich — and one of the very few things that I, who by and large never worry about money, sometimes envy — is that rich people don’t wait in line. They have minions who ensure that there’s a car waiting at the curb, that the maitre-d escorts them straight to their table, that there’s a staff member to hand them their keys and their bags are already in the room.

And it’s fairly obvious how smart wristbands could replicate some of that for the merely affluent. Your reservation app provides the restaurant with the data it needs to recognize your wristband, and maybe causes your table to flash up on your watch, so you don’t mill around at the entrance, you just walk in and sit down (which already happens in Disney World.) You walk straight into the concert or movie you’ve bought tickets for, no need even to have your phone scanned. And I’m sure there’s much more — all kinds of context-specific services that you won’t even have to ask for, because systems that track you know what you’re up to and what you’re about to need.

Poverty One of the biggest divides among my friends is how poverty is viewed. One group (conservatives) see most of it as the result of bad choices made by someone (though they acknowledge that bad things can happen from time to time) whereas others consider it mostly fate (a function of where one was born), with a few outliers here and there who managed to escape it. You see this debate born out in the newspapers; for example, consider the argument over whether or not there should be laws dictating what people getting public aid should be able to do (point, counter point)

One frequently hears the phrase about the poor “being demonized” (here some food stamp recipients are being called “leeches”) and some try to compare public aid programs to tax breaks.

That is “apples and oranges” for the following reason: suppose there is a new law that reduces the effective income tax rate on someone making 1,000,000 a year from, say, 18 percent to 15 percent. That person is still paying 150,000 year in income taxes, whereas it is likely that the public aid recipient is paying 0 (though paying sales taxes, payroll taxes, etc.) Who is contributing more to society, even after the tax break?

Also, consider the following: people are poor due to bad luck (say, untimely accident or being a kid born into it), bad decisions or due to being incompetent and dumb. Though one might have some empathy for those who have terrible luck, no one holds unfortunate people in esteem; who wants to believe that they are one untimely illness, lay off or accident from being just like that? That is too scary to contemplate.

And as far as poor people who make idiotic decisions, surf to the “leeches” post and note that one of the entitled sounding welfare mothers has SIX kids!!!! SIX!!!!

Such stupid, irresponsible behavior is often the rule rather than the exception:

Edin sees in these obstacles to full-time fatherhood a partial explanation for what’s known as “multiple-partner fertility.” Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

Multiple-partner fertility is a formula for unstable families, and it’s really bad for children, which Edin acknowledges in the book. But rather than view “serial dads” as simply irresponsible, Edin suggests that they suffer from unrequited “father thirst,” the desire for the intense experience of being a full-time dad. Consciously or not, they keep trying until they finally sort of get it right, usually with the youngest child, to whom they devote most of their resources at the expense of the older ones.

Yes, many poor people behave in a way that worsens their plight and adds to the public aid rolls. That is undeniable.

Of course, the astute might wonder about “correlation vs. causation”, in that: does poverty cause stupid behavior or is it the other way around? There is some evidence that it is the former.

But none of this makes it easy to sympathize with them; they are the easiest people in the world to look down on.

One of the most difficult things to do is to ask: “ok, where would I be had I been born in different circumstances, or had something bad happen to me?” It is easy to fantasize how one would have overcome but…statistically speaking, reality is different.

No, I am not wealthy but I don’t lack either. My parents weren’t rich but they gave me love, a safe place to live, plenty to eat, fun stuff to do and gave me access to good schools. And I had just enough…well…not really talent but just enough abilities to get the degrees and modest credentials that got me a steady job.

April 11, 2015 Posted by | basketball, politics, politics/social, poverty, social/political, swimming | 2 Comments

Sports Center, PC-ness, kids are NOT scientists, etc.

I’ve often heard that “children are natural scientists” followed by our schools taking that out of them. Frankly, that is nonsense. Science is hard and often counterintuitive as Adam Rutherford writes:

But evolution is not obvious at all, and it took thought and experiment and hard tenacious graft to reveal that truth. The real structure of the universe – the atomic, subatomic and quantum – was concealed from our eyes for all but the tiniest fragment of our tenure on Earth. We humans are awful at perceiving objective reality. We come with inbuilt preconceptions and prejudices. We’re dreadful at logic, and see patterns in things that are not there, and skip over trends that are. We attribute cause and agency to chance and coincidence, and blame the innocent as the root of all manner of evil. We use the phrase “common sense” as an admirable quality for scrutinising the world in front of us.

If this all sounds misanthropic, it’s not. Blind, directionless evolution gave us the gumption and the tools to frown at what we see, and ask if it really is how things are. Science is quite the opposite of common sense.

Our senses and psychology perceive the world in very particular ways that are comically easy to fool.
Common sense deceives us all the time: the horizon tells me the Earth is flat; people seem to get better after taking homeopathic pills; spiders are dangerous; a cold snap ridicules global warming. Of course, it is tricky to challenge someone’s opinion successfully if it is based on their learned experience. But that is exactly what science is for. It is to extract human flaws from reality; it is to set aside the bias that we lug around. Our senses and psychology perceive the world in very particular ways that are comically easy to fool. But the great strength of science is that it recognises the human fallibility that cripples our view of the universe. The scientific method attempts to remove these weaknesses.

This needs to be taught; it does NOT come naturally.

Yes, kids are naturally curious but undisciplined exploration will usually lead to nonsense.

But children are not scientists. As ever, anything of value comes with effort, not by grace. Science is a particular way of thinking, not beset but enabled by doubt, and it comes from teaching.

Double Standards Part I
When does a teacher get light punishment for seducing and raping a student? Answer: when the perpetrator is female and the victim is male:

Erica Ann Ginnetti, 35, was arrested in January in Lower Moreland after police were tipped off when the victim showed photos and videos of the woman to his classmates. According to court records, the photos included images of Ginnetti in a bikini, and others in just her underwear or thong. A video sent to the teen showed her undressing in a “sexually charged manner.”

The teacher and student were in frequent contact in July 2013, after the two had sex in her car parked at an industrial park.

Ginnetti pleaded guilty last year to sexual assault and disseminating sexually explicit materials. The maximum sentence for the two crimes was seven to 14 years behind bars, reports. Instead, Judge Garrett D. Page gave the woman just 30 days of jail time. Ginnetti will also have to register as a sex offender.

But..think about it. Somehow, male on female rape is…”scarier”; the act can be done aggressively and penetration is asymmetrical. The above: well, it does sound creepy and “yucky” and I can see how it can cause emotional and psychological harm.

Kentucky basketball fans are “heartbroken” that their team had to “settle” for a 38-1 season and a Final Four appearance (sounds wildly successful to me…but I digress).

So some of them (predictably) rioted and burned things:

Thirty-one people were arrested after Kentucky fans set fires in Lexington, police said, after the Wildcats’ undefeated streak came to a stunning end at the hands of Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament Saturday.

Sporadic fires were seen being set as the large crowd, chanting anti-Wisconsin slogans, gathered on State Street, which is adjacent to the University of Kentucky’s Lexington Campus.

Lexington Police Department spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said the crowd set fire to multiple objects, while a number of people were injured — some of whom were transported to a local hospital for treatment. None of the injuries were serious, Roberts said.

I don’t see anyone defending this behavior, but I miss the widespread statements about “those people” being “thugs”.

Double Standard: the “N-word” and its use.

We see white students widely condemned and expelled for use of this word (I think that the expulsions are improper, by the way).

Now a black student uses it…and it gets noted but no big deal is made of it. And yes, the black player uses it when referring to a white player?

A reporter asked Karl-Anthony Towns a question about Frank Kaminsky during Kentucky’s press conference after its Final Four loss to Wisconsin, and Andrew Harrison appeared to mutter a snide remark under his breath.

He’s frustrated, he’s heartbroken, and he probably never would’ve said this if he thought anybody could hear him. But still. Those mics are very, very sensitive!

Harrison apologized on Twitter early Sunday morning and said he called Kaminsky to wish him luck in the final.

A satire site made fun of this: (and anyone who doesn’t think that the Wisconsin basketball team is athletic has rocks in their head)


But you know what? In my opinion, this is a case of a frustrated, heartboken young man letting “locker room” talk slip out in public. To me, this really indicates that he saw the Wisconsin player as another basketball player; just another member of the larger basketball fraternity. This isn’t the PR that the public likes, but I doubt that this is a big deal to the athletes.

This is similar to what Colin Kaepernick said:

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Kaepernick used the N-word last week when he was penalized. In the Levi’s Stadium locker room after the game, Houston told the Tribune he didn’t hear anything.

Now that Glazer’s report has been out there –- though denied by Kaepernick -– Houston confirmed that is what happened.

“He was just saying inappropriate language,” Houston told the Tribune on Monday night at MetLife Stadium. He said Kaepernick cursed at him, including using the N-word.

Asked if he was insulted, Houston said it’s more a “cultural thing.” Houston reiterated that he incensed Kaepernick on the play by saying “nice pass” at the end of a Kyle Fuller interception.

This is Sportcenter:


April 6, 2015 Posted by | basketball, big butts, butt, racism, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Short videos that I never get tired of watching

Basketball: Larry Bird Scores 60


Social issues

Bus Fights



Monty Python:

Larry David

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).

April 4, 2015 Posted by | basketball, butt, evolution, football, morons, movies, religion, republicans, science | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wet walk, climate change and women’s basketball

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.

Of interest:

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.

Women’s basketball

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.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | basketball, science, walking | , | Leave a comment

So so 5K

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.

NCAA Basketball
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.”

March 21, 2015 Posted by | basketball, running | , , , | 5 Comments

Corporatism, college basketball experience, and Illinois State vs. Green Bay

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.

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.

March 19, 2015 Posted by | basketball | , , | Leave a comment

Hills and Patience

Workout notes I may or may not lift this afternoon; I might work a bit first.
I went outside to run 6 miles. I did a 22 minute warm up and then:

5 x 290 meter (.18 mile) hill between 1:34 and 1:37 on the 5 minutes, with jog rest (about 24 minutes total)

22 more minutes of running, which included one hard 350 meter (.22 mile) hill taken hard enough for me to have to walk a few steps. I feel some lung burn, as I should.

So this was about 6 miles total; the day was sunny, crisp (46 F) and windy. The idea is to strengthen my legs for faster track work, which I’ll start in a month or so.

Keep in mind how the past 4 basketball seasons have gone under the current coach:

MVC records:

2011-2012 2-14 (7-25 overall)
2012-2013 7-11 (18-17 overall, 2 CIT wins)
2013-2014 7-11 (12-20 overall)
2014-2015 3-15 (9-24 overall)

Yes, the first season was an injury riddled, transitional season in which the team had to resort to playing with walk-ons and former student managers. The second season was an improvement, though one wondered what was going to happen as 2 of the best 3 players on the team graduated. The third season was a step backwards and the 4’th season: the best you can say is that the team won a conference tournament game (52-50 overtime win against a dreadfully bad no. 7 seed) and that some of the home losses were close.

And so our outgoing athletic director is interviewed in today’s paper:

JS: Any regrets?
Cross: “From a process and decision-making standpoint, I don’t have any regrets. The regrets have to do with how this business works. Ultimately, winning and losing matters to a lot to people. I wasn’t here two weeks in 2010 when I told my wife, ‘No question in my mind, Bradley can be great. But I hope there’s enough patience for that to happen.’ Unfortunately, there isn’t enough patience.”

Uh…I suppose one could argue that some of the non-revenue sports (e. g. track and cross country) did VERY well. But men’s basketball is the athletic face of the university and, at one time, the one sport that produced revenue for the athletic department. Now look at the FOUR YEAR record and look at the direction.

Note: during this time, he INCREASED the season ticket prices for men’s basketball. Really.

Bradley Basketball season-ticket prices will increase for the first time in six years, but the school is adding benefits for all season-ticket holders and introducing improved premium seating at Carver Arena, according to the 2013-14 men’s basketball ticket plan announced today.

Bradley enjoyed one of the best turnarounds in the nation during the 2012-13 campaign, improving from 7-25 in 2011-12 to 18-17 this past season while advancing to the quarterfinals of the Postseason Tournament. Bradley’s improvement at home was pivotal in the overall turnaround as the Braves were 14-4 at Carver Arena (11-4) and Renaissance Coliseum (3-0) to equal the most home wins since the 1993-94 Braves went 16-0 at home.

Though season-ticket prices will increase in all of the Carver Arena sections for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign, Bradley will continue to offer budget-friendly and maintenance free season-ticket packages in designated upper-bowl sections at Carver Arena. In addition, five of the season-ticket levels will include games in Bradley’s on-campus arena at Renaissance Coliseum. In all, Bradley will offer season-ticket options at seven different price points with new labels: Courtside, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Red and White.

So: raise prices as the team’s record gets worse…the predictable result: average “paid” attendance for the season was 5726 per game.


That is easily the worst figure since 1991 (and actually well before that) and it has been dropping over the past few years:

2010 9339
2011 8447
2012 7640
2013 6557
2014 6984 (carver games)
2015 5726

And keep in mind, these are tickets sold; during this past season the actual turnstile count was in the neighborhood of 1/2 to perhaps 2/3 of the “tickets sold” number. Even sportswriters from opposing teams have noticed. (and here)

There is more too this; after all the AD had a boss. And, at times, it appeared that the situation was like this:

“Down” (for years) was really “up” and those who wanted to make changes gave us no reason to have confidence that they knew what they were doing.

So perhaps the newest wave of changes will put us back in the right direction.

Note: given that we’ve had so much change, so soon, I understand that is MIGHT not mean getting a new basketball coach. I am in favor of sitting back and letting the new athletic director do his job.

March 17, 2015 Posted by | basketball, running | | Leave a comment

Post Season College Basketball: Missouri Valley Conference

I’ll have more to say about the women later as the NCAA announces the brackets tonight.

Men: Nate Silver has a cool “probability of winning the game” bracket here.. Of interest to me is that Wichita is given a 72 percent chance of beating Indiana and a 34 percent chance of reaching the Sweet 16; Northern Iowas is given a 75 percent chance of beating Wyoming and a 43 percent chance of reaching the Sweet 16.

Though I watched a lot of live basketball, I don’t know much about the rest of the country. Surprisingly I’ve seen 3 NCAA teams in person this year; Robert Morris (who was horrible early) made the play in game. RM stated 5-9 (early win over Bradley) but finished 14-5 and won their last 6 in a row.

I am also following Illinois State in the NIT and have a ticket to their first round game vs. Green Bay. They play 45 minutes away from where I live; that is a reasonable drive. If they win, they play the winner of the 1 vs. 9 game (Old Dominion vs. Charleston Southern) and, IF they win, would only play a second home game if Charleston wins.

Loyola is in the CBI (home game vs. Rider) and Evansville is in the CIT with a home game vs. IPFW.

March 16, 2015 Posted by | basketball | | Leave a comment

Bradley Men’s basketball: retain Coach Geno Ford?

Yes, I know; the on the court performance was dreadful this season as it was for 3 of the 4 years:

MVC records:

2014-2015 3-15
2013-2014 7-11
2012-2013 7-11
2011-2012 2-14

But prior to that:

2010-2011 4-14
2009-2010 9-9
2008-2009 10-8
2007-2008 9-9

So, the current coach inherited a ship that was sinking. Now, no one would call his tenure successful.

But the current University President is being forced out as is the current Athletic Director; right now there might not be the proper people in place to do a proper, careful search for another coach.

And a bad hire means 4 more years of bad basketball; keeping the current coach means no more than one.

And…he might turn it around (though it seems doubtful).

The best move might be to retain for one more season and see what happens next season.

Yes, I know; attendance has fallen sharply but, well, I am not completely sure that all of the drop is due to poor performance, though some of it surely is.

Bradley has a much older than average fan base and, well, some of the fans move to warmer climates, others lose their mobility and some..well..die.

Newer generation: it is tough to attract new fans when there is so much basketball on television and, while I think that Bradley can definitely do better than they did in their past 5 seasons or so, I really think that Bradley’s new ceiling is more or less what happened with the previous 2 coaches:

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)

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)

March 7, 2015 Posted by | basketball | | Leave a comment


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