31 December 2013

Is this a bad shooting team?

Our GAMBLE Reports have highlighted just how bad NU’s offense has become under CCC.  Part of the offense’s struggle is perfectly understandable with the coaching transition.  As the weeks go on and the offense goes further in reverse some blame ought to be placed on CCC.  That this year’s offense is 100 rungs below last year’s decimated team suggests CCC’s offensive coaching is bordering on negligence.

Proponents of the coaching change have been quick to throw CBC and his recruits under the bus in an attempt to insulate CCC from criticism. This agenda to lower expectations and shift blame to CBC -- even with NU players as collateral damage -- comes as no surprise.  Noticeably absent in this shameless tactic are facts.  Carmody Court is here to put meat on that bone.

One common excuse given for CCC’s poor offense is that this “bad shooting team” is unable to take advantage of open shots.  On its face this claim is hard to wrap one’s head around since CBC recruited shooters.  Did NU players suddenly forget to shoot?  To dig into the merits of this assertion we began with a review of the individual player statistics. 

Individual Player Analysis

There are six players on the roster for whom a kenpom comparison can be developed: Crawford, Sobolewski, Cobb, Demps, Olah, and Abrahamson.  To reduce the effect of injuries we used the 2012 season for Crawford’s baseline and 2011 for Cobb. Below is a summary of the changes in a few key offensive statistics from the baseline year to this season.

The cleanest and simplest measurement for comparing shooting is FT%.  Free throws are a constant and independent of offense.  Four of these six players are shooting free throws BETTER this year (all but Demps and Abrahamson).

The next cleanest measurement for shooting comparison is 3P%.  It’s not as clean as a free throw analysis but like free throws the 3P distance is more or less constant and is a shot practiced with regularity.  Four of the six players are shooting BETTER from beyond the arc (Crawford, Sobolewski).

Finally we compared ORtgs.  Although it isn’t directly relevant to the bad shooting team assertion it is on point for NU’s offensive woes.  Once again four are playing better on offense (Crawford, Sobolewski)

Note that three players from 2013 (Hearn, Swopshire, Marcotullio) not included in the above analysis shot about 35% from three.  The two players from 2014 (Taphorn, Lumpkin) not included in the analysis also are shooting about 35%.  A wash in other words.

So an examination of the individual statistics does not support excuse that this is poor shooting team. Maybe looking at the forest would?

Team analysis

As a team NU is shooting 71.3% from the charity stripe which is good for #119 in the land.  Top third doesn't sound so bad to us.  

Last year NU shot 67.9% which was ranked #220.  In addition this year’s 71.3% is better than the 69% shot in two of the NIT years, a hair below the 71.4% shot in 2010 and 1.7% below the 2011 team.  We don’t think folks in their right minds – or even the CBC haters – would claim the NIT teams were bad at shooting.

For 3P% this year’s team is shooting 33%.  This is below average (#195 ranked), a smidge below last year’s 34% clip and well below the NIT years when NU shot between 35.7% and 38.6% as a team.  This team statistic does give some legs to the argument that this team is bad at shooting.   

But…… when one takes out Sobolewski from this year’s statistics the team is shooting 37% from three which is within the NIT years range.  That is not scorching the nets good but is also much better than one would expect from a bad shooting team.

Dave Sobolewski

When we first dove into this analysis we were coming up scratching our heads trying to explain why this offense is so bad.  Individually most players are improved in shooting percentages and rating.  As a team the shooting percentages don’t look so bad either especially when one accounts for Sobolewski’s abysmal 3P%.  And it was with this last thought is when the light went off.  The problem is Sobolewski.  That’s unfair to Sobolewski – more accurately the problem is Sobolewski in CCC’s offense.

Sobolewski’s struggles this year are not a revelation.  Fans and even the press have started to dig into this storyline.  Per kenpom his ORtg is down from a mediocre 97.9 in 2013 to a very poor 81.1.  The dropoff is due to the drop in 3P%, a much higher turnover rate and a lower assists rate. 

Sobolewski has been the biggest loser from the coaching transition.  Why? Because he is being asked to do things he simply can’t do well such as breaking down a defense on the dribble drive and creating for others.  This bears out not only in his increased turnovers but in a much higher free throw rate.  Remarkably his assist rate has dwindled even with these marching orders from CCC.

At this point we think Sobolewski needs to see a sports shrink if NU’s offense is going to recover this year.  One alternative hope is that Demps could pick up some more of the slack, but NU recruiting two PGs for next fall doesn’t sound like Demps is what CCC is looking for in his PG either.

CCC’s Role

Sobolewski’s struggles this year is a cause for concern when it comes to CCC’s ability to lead NU to the NCAAs and beyond.  Not so much because one player is really struggling but rather that CCC hasn’t demonstrated he can amend his offense to fit the personnel.  It’s evident the offense is broken and some of the blame for that is CCC’s inability to take better advantage of what he’s got on hand.  What happens in the future if for whatever reason CCC does not have an active roster that adequately fits his offense???????

A good coach molds his offense to his personnel.  Instead of continuing with this losing proposition of Sobolewski dribble driving his way into turnovers -- and to a lesser extent Cobb -- why not try to run an offense that takes advantage of the players’ strengths?  

30 December 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.09

NU (7-6) played its final two non conference games since we published GR 1.08.  

NU 58 Brown 52
Depaul 57 NU 56

kenpom predicted NU would win both games.  A split of these games is not good and does not bode well for the looming B1G slate.

Both games were expected to be tight affairs but not quite the defensive battles (to put a kind spin on it) that materialized.  The end result is a lower kenpom overall rating (down 9 spots to 125 and now just 7 above the 2013 season), a much improved AdjD (up 38 spots to an impressive 46 which is better than CBC's best defensive team -- 56 in 2005), but a woeful 252 AdjO (101 rungs below even the hamstrung 2013 team and much worse than CBC's worst offensive team -- 196 in 2005).

Next up is the B1G opener at home against Wisconsin.  NU is predicted to lose 63-56 with just an 18% chance of winning.  Far be it from us to question the wisdom of kenpom"dom" but we give NU a snowball's chance in hell of staying within double digits much less an 18% chance of winning this game.

kenpom even predicts NU will win 5 games in the B1G although only three games are actually predicted to be wins (three home squeakers against Purdue, Penn State, and Nebraska).  If that happens we may have to rename this blog "Collins Court".  More likely however is an NU squad that fails to win double digit games on the season and sadly finishes ranked below the personnel-beleaguered 2013 squad.

17 December 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.08

NU 86  Mississippi Valley State 64 (F)

On the surface it sounds like a good win.  Not true.  It wasn't a bad win.  It was just a non-event statistically speaking.  Essentially went as predicted by kenpom. 

The offense looked a tad better and the defense a wee bit worse.  And one could split hairs to say that NU did better than expected without JerShon Cobb who was out with a mild ankle sprain.  Meh. The kenpom overall rating needle was unchanged.  That is hard to do and in and of itself noteworthy.

Next up: Brown.  NU is predicted to win 69-64.  We don't have a good feeling about this one.

11 December 2013

Nightmarish thought

Perhaps induced by the coach k locker room appearance we had a terrible thought.  What if NU players start slapping the floor on defense?  All joking aside if that were to happen we might need to find another favorite team.  Please Lord don't let this happen.

08 December 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.07

NU 51 W Mich 35

A game right out of the 50s but with a three point arc.  Not that the three point arc figured much into the game.

But a win is a win is a win is a win is a win.

 The kenpom figures are improved overall though it should come as no surprise that the offense figures dropped and the defense figures improved.  CCC compares favorably to the 2013 train wreck.  For now.

The win is the good news.  The bad news was:

ARGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That's fingernails on chalkboard disturbing.  All we need to do is surround dr jim with Laettner Hurley and Wojo to send us to the funny farm!

05 December 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.06

NCSU 69 NU 48

It was ugly as the score suggests. In fact so ugly that we feel compelled to start comparing this train wreck of a season to another train wreck season: 2013.  Behold the new and improved GAMBLE Report! 

The comparison to the NIT years is getting outright pathetic.  #144 NU is now ranked 78 rungs lower than during the NIT years.  The #157 offense is a woeful 132 spots worse, and the #147 defense is only 24 better.  So much for the hopeful notion that improved defense would offset diminished offense.

Now the 2013-14 seasons and 2012-13 seasons are train wrecks for completely different reasons.  Last year it was extraordinary personnel losses. This year it's CCC's inability to make effective use of a roster geared toward the Princeton Offense.  The former was unavoidable but the latter was.  Thanks again dr jim.  Can we stand up and pull up our pants now?

This season is quickly shaping up to be similar or even worse than last season.  That's right.  CCC has a full complement of CBC's players** and his team is looking like it might compare unfavorably to last year's team that had just 7 scholarship players by the time it had to travel to Columbus on Valentines Day.

Hard to believe?  Look at that last line of GR 1.06.  Incredibly NU is currently ranked 12 spots worse than last year.  Not only was CBC able to squeeze out more offensive production from his severely depleted lineup but the real shocker is that he coaxed them into slightly better defense to boot.  Wow.

** Mike Turner and Jaren Sina may beg to differ.

04 December 2013

Paging dr jim

We just wanted to quickly say thanks.  Thanks for focking us NU basketball fans over for this season and likely next season.  We haven't had reason to forget about the team since our buddy Kevin O'Neill roamed the sidelines.   We need the break after that exhilarating football season.  Can't have too much fun being an NU fan now can we?  Thanks again doc for thinking of our well being.

CCC has the built in excuse that he doesn't have the players for his system.  That is true.  Doesn't make it go down any easier especially knowing that CBC would've had NU at worst 8-1 right now and not 4-5 and with no hope.  Yeppers!  The dr Jim gamble is really starting to hit home now.  Tune back in two years to see how it looks to be panning out.

We do appreciate the laugh from that basketball savant LTP.  Check out this gem of a quote:  "It’s also been flat out unfair to Coach Collins to have Drew Crawford’s injuries hampering the roster against tough competition."  Seriously?  Two missed games for one player and it's poor CCC.  Yet last year three players were gone for entire conference season including Drew and a fourth was lost halfway through conference--and what did BC get?  Sorry coach you had your chance already.  That's the way the cookie crumbles.  Thanks for the laugh oh wise one.

GAMBLE Report 1.05

NU has gone 1-2 since our last GAMBLE Report with a home win against Gardner Webb and two losses in Las Vegas to Mizzou and UCLA.  Not surprising that those three games took their toll in GAMBLE Report 1.05.

Overall NU's 121 ranking is at its lowest point for the season ... 55 spots behind CBC and only 11 slots improved over last year's injury-marred season.  This is bad.

The 118th ranked offense actually inched to a new high water mark though still 93 spots behind CBC.  Propelling the offense forward has been better shooting (eFG%) and getting to the line more often.  The biggest problem with the offense continues to be turnovers.  The hope is that these will be cut down with time as players get used to driving and dishing.  We can already see Sobo doing a better job of getting into the lane under control. 

The defense is ranked 140 which is easily the low mark for the season and is now just 31 spots better than CBC's much maligned defensive effort.  All four factors contributed to the 40 spot drop since GR 1.04 but eFG% was the key contributing factor: it dropped an eye popping 92 spots.  This eFG% is still 79 spots ahead of what teams shot against CBC's teams, but this gain is offset by a dramatic drop in forced turnovers that the 1-3-1 generated as well as more fouls committed by CCC's base man defense.  Rebounding continues to be much improved as to be expected from better rebounding positioning created by man defense.

Tonight NU travels to Raleigh to battle NC State.  Seeeeaaaaaacaaaaaaaaattttttttt!

23 November 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.04

NU trailed the IUPUI by 11 points midway through the second half but rallied to a 63-61 win.  The game changed when 3-2 NU went to a 2-3 zone.  Who is IUPUI?  Does it matter?  They were ranked 296/351 by kenpom.com prior to the game.  Their heady play at the Welsh boosted them to 278. 

Sanjay Lumpkin was our player of the game.  His stats were not that impressive but that was because foul trouble limited him to 26 minutes. 

Enough of that recap.  Let's get to it:

GAMBLE Report suffered from the IUPUI nailbiter.  NU's overall ranking dropped to a season-low #113.  Both offense and defense efficiencies dropped with defense now at its season-low ranking.  Offense continues its general trend of better protecting the ball.  Free throw rate dropped which combined with poor shooting explains why this game was so close.  NU's defense continues to improve its adjustment to the new foul rules, and the defensive rebounding continued to improve (see Lumpkin).

21 November 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.03

NU stomped UIC at the UIC Pavilion last night to the tune of 93-58.  While this year's improved defensive effort continued with NU holding the Flames to 0.84 points per possession, the story of the game was the offense finally coming to life.  NU had 5 players score in double digits and more impressively 6 players whose offensive ratings were over 120 with the team overall scoring 1.35 PPP!

GAMBLE Report 1.03 notes:
1.  Overall ranking improved by 23 with NU up to #87.  However this is still 21 spots worse than our CBC baseline.
2.  Offense ranking improved by 45 and now lags the baseline by 95 spots.
3.  Principal reason offense improved was an incredible 115 spot jump in eFG% (still trails baseline by 32). 
4.  OR% and FTR also notably improved with FTR well ahead of the baseline (178 spots).
5.  Defense ranking continues to be stable and is improved over baseline by 93 spots.  The longer this stability keeps up the more reasonable it will be to set commensurate defensive expectations for this team.
6.  Defense eFG% continued improving (up 46 spots and now 199(!) spots improved over baseline)
7.  Defense FTR continued to improve marginally (up 19 spots and 109 baseline).  This could be a sign the team is adapting to man defense and new foul rules instituted by NCAA this year.

18 November 2013

GAMBLE Report 1.02

NU lost to Illinois St last night.  At home.  The halftime score was ISU 40 NU 22.  It is not a stretch to project that this will be the Redbirds' largest halftime margin on the road all year long.  What a travesty!  Seriously.  WTF?

Of course the loss has made the GAMBLE look worse.  You may notice a couple tweaks has been made to the GAMBLE Report.  We've added a column for overall team ranking (leftmost figures) because the bottom is relevant after all.  We've also added space for a time series of comparisons (i.e., CCC spotted CBC a big head start -- is he making headway into that lead much like his team did against ISU in the second half?)

The overall statistic shows that for Gamble Report 1.02 ("GR 1.02") NU is now 44 spots behind where it was under CBC.  This is primarily because the offense really stunk it up last night (CCC has fallen 30 spots further behind CBC), though the already improved defense stretched its lead marginally. 

The underlying four factors are really in flux on offense but were surprisingly stable for defense given the small sample size.  For offense the eFG% that was already down in GR 1.01 went down by 77 more spots in GR 1.02.  On the flip side the TO% increased 127 spots from embarrassing levels to now merely average.

15 November 2013

GAMBLE Report - Edition 1.01

What can NU fans expect from the changing of the coaching guard? What will be the effect on NU’s offense? Defense? NCAAs prospects?

Well. No one really knows because Coach Chris Collins has ZERO track record as a head coach. The best anyone can do is to extrapolate from Duke where CCC spent time as a player and assistant coach. That extrapolation is flimsy at best given the myriad differences between a Coach K-led Duke squad and a CCC-led NU squad.

We’ll leave it to others to flail around and try as best they can to use Duke as a model for NU’s future. We will let the facts speak for themselves. So without further ado let us introduce the first installment in our series: Grading our Alma Mater’s Basketball Ludicrous Experiment Report (a/k/a the “GAMBLE Report”).

As we are wont to do we will rely primarily upon the unbiased kenpom data for our GAMBLE Reports. Our baseline comparison will be the gently rising Great Plains-like plateau where Coach Carmody had grown the program over the 2009-2012 NIT years.

It's early but so what?  We are curious and so are you.  On offense things don't look so good.  The biggest problem has been not taking care of the ball which may be a symptom of an offense that asks players to create by driving and dishing as opposed to the regimented Princeton Offense that moves the ball around through systematic passing to get an open shot.  This difference also bears out in the FTR which is improved comparatively.  CCC's offense is doing a relatively poor job of generating easy shots. Behind that drop in eFG% is a drop in 2P% which in our minds mean fewer layups.

The defense is now better thanks to improved rebounding and on ball defense.  The man defense primarily employed by CCC does have its downside in that it is creating fewer turnovers and forcing NU defenders to foul more often.

On the Chris Collins Gamble

So Dr J went and hired himself Chris Collins.  Our reaction?  In a word: GAMBLE. 

In some ways the hire makes perfect sense.  Local boy.  Young and energetic.  Reputed strong recruiter.  Son of a generally well-regarded former Bulls head coach.  Right hand man to Coach K.

In other ways this has the makings of a total clusterf#@#k:  Zero head coaching experience – the first such hire in the Big Ten in over 40 years!!!!  Zero experience recruiting to a school with NU’s reputation.  Not to mention the dude is a former Dukie player AND coach.  The former just makes him annoying, but the latter makes him potentially the next on the list of failed Coach K acolytes.

What’s done is done.  No use crying over spilt milk.  Water under the bridge.  Time to turn the page.  Bygones.  Fill in your own blahdidety blah blah saying here that speaks to the calm and rational approach to the changing of the guard.

Only time will tell whether this GAMBLE pays off.  We sincerely hope it does.  Though we can’t help ourselves from keeping a running tally of how the experiment is going.  Do indulge us as we compare from time-to-time the Carmody past with the Collins present…

19 March 2013

On Jim Phillips

I was wrong.

This time last year I wrote Jim Phillips showed “his chops” when he ignored the squeaky wheels for change and retained Bill Carmody for the 2012-13 season.  No.  In retrospect I can now see that I was beguiled by a man who is more interested in furthering his own future than in doing what he believes is in the best interest of Northwestern athletics.

Before all you Jim Phillips acolytes fire up the venomous emails about shooting messengers with grinding axes and what not please re-read the previous sentence for two keys words.  I even italicized them for you overzealous vigilantes who may be lacking in the reading comprehension department.

He believes.  On March 16, 2013 Jim Phillips fired Coach Carmody.  Why?  Some have suggested ulterior motives, but we are not cynical enough to think the decision was anything other than because he believes he can hire a better man for the job. 

This isn’t about whether he is right or wrong in that opinion.  My hubris would need to be at least the size of Jim Phillips’ to say the dude is flat out wrong for firing Carmody.  I am a big enough person to admit that there is a chance--as small as it may be--that Phillips is right in his judgment.

To get back on track the point of this blog post is to point out what these events say about the makeup of one Dr Phillips.  To me I can’t help but conclude that Dr Jim Phillips is a charlatan who has beguiled me and most NU alums into thinking he’s after their school’s best interests when it is first and foremost about Jim Phillips and his career and, oh yeah, he’ll try to do what's good for his employer when the situation allows.  Hell he has even hoodwinked his peers since I saw today that he is among five finalists for AD of the year.  With that kind of success we can only expect more of the same from Dr Jim until there are enough people paying attention to him and his history.

Am I crazy?  Am I really just bitter about the reality that there will never be a Carmody Court and lashing out at the beloved Great Wizard, Dr Jim Phillips, who strangely has operated behind the men’s basketball scenes for the entirety of his tenure while closely and visibly tending most other NU sports?  Or maybe we’re just na├»ve in our expectations that an AD should do his job no matter what.  Read on for yourself and draw your own conclusions:

Dr J: As I said during my press conference, in the end my decision to fire Bill Carmody wasn’t about this particular season.  It was about the last 13 years.

CC:  At this time last year weren’t the last 12 years good enough to keep Bill on the payroll?

Dr J: At the conclusion of every season and for every sport I complete a timely and comprehensive review of the season.  As you well know I completed that process last year for Bill and held a press conference announcing Bill would be retained.  Part of that evaluation included the performance over the prior 11 years.

CC: In other words the difference between the two reviews was the 2012-13 season.

Dr J: Uh... That’s not the full story.  As I said at the press conference, we were down to one year on the contract, I didn’t think an extension was warranted, and only one year remaining would hurt recruiting.

CC: OK.  Fair enough.  So what you are really saying is that you weren’t willing to extend Bill’s contract, even if only for just one more year, on the basis of the 13 years.  Did I get that right?

Dr J: I don’t disagree.

CC: OK.  Then what would it have taken to warrant an extension?

Dr J: Again.  As I said last year we no longer use internal benchmarks for this program.  The training wheels are off and athletic success matters.  If we were preparing for our trip to Auburn Hills, or even if it were Dayton, we would not be sitting down to this hypothetical interview in your head.  By the way I wasn’t sworn in on the Holy Bible.  I’m not saying that I’m fibbing here.

CC:  Your attempts to divert attention will not work here.  Essentially it was NCAAs or bust this year then?

Dr J: It would’ve been tough to can the guy after winning the NIT, and I might’ve lost some sleep over a loss in the finals at MSG.  I do love NYC and Broadway, but you’re not far off. 

CC: Didn’t we learn from WWI that ultimatums were a bad idea?

Dr J: You’re comparing this situation to The Great War?  I think we’re done here.

CC:  You’re right.  Let’s cut to the chase.  How could you possibly hold Bill to something “not far off” from NCAAs or bust given all of the personnel losses to his team this year?  Need I go into the detail?

Dr J:  Please don’t.

CC:  JerShon Cobb.  Best guy in practice and most highly acclaimed recruit on the team.  Suspended one year for undisclosed reasons.  Why are you smiling Sir?

Dr J: Am I?

CC: Yes you are.  Sanjay Lumpkin.  In preseason practice the most promising of the seven freshman including the redshirts.  First can’t play because of mono.  Then redshirted for injury.

Dr J: Yes.  Poor Sanjay.  No one wants to see a kid go through mono.  I know from personal experience.  My freshman year at coll

CC: Drew Crawford.  2nd Team Big 10 last year.  Second highest returning league scorer.  Senior leader.  Shut down in non-conference to get a medical redshirt.  You’re smiling again Jim.

Dr J: Was I again?  Sorry you just reminded of a dinner I had with Morty the night after Bill broke that news to me.  Of course I called up Danny to express my sympathies.  And Drew as well. He had put so much effort in during the offseason to get ready for his NBA push.  You have no idea how hard these kids work.

CC: Yes.  I know Sir.  Jared Swopshire.  Glue guy from a winning program and X-factor for wins/losses.  He goes down halfway through the B1G season and NU goes winless thereafter.

Dr J: Yeah, I was starting to sweat after that 4-6 start conference start despite all those other losses, but I knew Bill had no chance after Jared went down.  Did I just say that out loud? 

CC: Yes.

Dr J: Can I strike that from the record?

CC: No.

Dr J: There is no official record!  Jokes on you fool!

CC:  Sir.  Please. Need I go on? 

Dr J: Look it.  Clearly Bill had no chance to make the NCAAs this year with all the adversity his team faced.  And I feel so bad for those young men.  It’s so tough to lose games with all the hard work you put in year round.  Have you ever played intercollegiate sports at the highest level?  I haven’t, but these young men have a bond you and I will never understand, and each loss takes a serious toll as they don’t want to let down their peers or their coach.  Whom they all revered by the way.  Which is what made this all so tough.

CC:  I appreciate your frankness here, and I am sure this season was very tough on the team.

Dr J: No problem.  I really do love those kids.  Honestly.  Anyway what was I talking about. . . Right.  It was a raw deal for Bill this year, but 13 years is a really long time to go without making the NCAAs.  Where else besides Northwestern could a coach be employed for that long without making the Dance?  The Ivy League?  Sure but this is the Big Leagues.

CC: If you really felt that way then what difference is there between 0-12 on NCAAs and 0-13?  Is there a difference?

Dr J:  Look.  There isn’t a difference.  But, I was willing to give Bill one more shot.  He’s a good guy, classy, he was on a good run by Northwestern standards, and he had two years left on the contract.  So what's the downside here, right?  I leveled with Bill last year and told him the deal.  I felt I owed him one more season.  That’s fair right?

CC: Well…

Dr J: Put yourself in my shoes.  Let’s say you weren’t in the tank for Bill and wanted someone who could create some buzz around the program like Fitz does.  You have no idea how important that is for a place like Northwestern; it's what has been holding back this program for far too long.  Could you really have gotten rid of him last year when he was coming off four NITs, one more than the entire NIT history of the school prior to Bill, not to mention the first 20 win seasons in school history, back-to-back?  Not many care that he won a few games in the NIT, but some do.  What would you do?

CC: If I really believed as you do that Bill was not right for the program?  Then yes I would’ve fired him last year.  That’s my job as AD.  To do what I think is right for the program.  Not what is best for me or what is practical.  It takes some backbone to be a leader.

Dr J: I showed backbone this year.  Look at those fools on the message boards.  I know you’re just gritting your teeth here and now.

CC: No.  You took the opportunity of an injury riddled season to make a move.  That’s a coward’s way out.

Dr J: Hold on there fella.  I knew you were pissed about this decision, and I can understand that, but let’s not get personal.  Frankly, I wanted to fire the guy back when I arrived but couldn’t because I was new to the job and his buddy was still president.  I’ve been waiting five years to do this.  Some would call me a saint!

CC: I wouldn’t.  I’d say you’re even more negligent in doing your duties than I thought.  Just stop before you dig your hole any deeper.  I had respect for you before this dialogue, but I know better now.  You’re not an exemplary AD.  I may live in an ideal world, but to me an AD should DO HIS JOB and make the tough decisions for the betterment of his university no matter how difficult, no matter how unpopular, no matter how damaging it might be for his career.   

Dr J: Talk to me in 20 years when you grow up and understand how the real world works.

Believe what you want, but this rant isn’t about the decision to fire Carmody.  At worst it’s just an attempt to blow off some steam for being fooled by Jim Phillips this time last year.  But as they say fool me once shame on you…  We see you now Dr Jim.

We bloggers really aren’t even dyed-in-the-wool Carmody fans.  Yes we think he’s a good coach.  Yes we think he should be NU’s coach next year.  But we are Northwestern fans first and foremost and will in all likelihood rally around the new guy.  For those of you who are slow on the uptake the name of this blog was tongue-in-cheek and started in fun to be the “Win” to firebillcarmody’s “Wang”. 

01 February 2013

Preview: Purdue at NORTHWESTERN

Saturday's game at The Welsh is a battle of equals and a must win if NU is to make a run at a fifth consecutive NIT.  Purdue is 4-4 in B1G and NU is 3-6 but those records are misleading.  NU has gone through the meat grinder while Purdue has most of its grinding ahead.
Don’t take our word for it.  Kenpom has NU at #89 (the same as at the start of the season! But we digress) and Purdue #78.  NU is predicted to win by three points and has a 60% probability of winning. 

  • Purdue has been poor away from WL (Clemson excepted); NU has been poor at WR (Minny excepted)
  • Both teams are struggling on offense and showing sporadic improvement on defense.
  • Neither team can shoot free throws.
  • Both teams are poor at grabbing defensive rebounds.

  • It was news to us that Purdue is B1G’s most interior-oriented team.  2pters account for highest percentage of points which is partly a reflection of their propensity to effectively crash the offensive glass (#3/12).
  • NU likes to jack 3 pters.  Don’t be surprised to see NU:Purdue attempts about 2:1.
  • Purdue can block shots and NU gets shots blocked often.
  • NU gets to the line often making poor FT shooting a bigger problem.
  • NU likes to steal the ball while Purdue does not.  This is good for NU because Purdue is turnover prone.
Skinny on Purdue Players
  • Byrd can shoot from distance.  Can’t leave him.  Terone Johnson is so-so.
  • Hammons is inconsistent.  Contest his shot and he is likely to miss even from close range.

Keys to Game
1.  Alex Olah staying between Hammons and the rim. 
2.  Stay in Byrd’s hip pocket.
3.  Win the turnover battle
4.  Drive and dish

We'd also like to see NU try to crash the offensive boards early.  If Purdue burns NU for fast break points then abandon that strategy.