TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume X, Number XX – January 24, 2007
Welcome to this edition of the tenth (it's crossed the line from generating wan smiles to causing outright grimaces of pain), yes, we said tenth, season of Two Dukies Pick the ACC. Rob and Matt invite you to sit back, start filling out your forthcoming Burger King application, be wary of the hazards of al fresco urination, and don't go outside and pee all over what we've assembled below. Or at least be careful.
The TWO DUKIES name and material are, for some absurd reason, affiliated with http://www.dukies.com, and for even more preposterous purposes, copyright 2006-2007 Rigel Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved, including the right to offend as we see fit.
Matt's comments in blue.
Rob Mac K's selections in green.
#4 NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (17-2, 4-1) @ WAKE FOREST (9-9, 1-5)
First, a tearful goodbye to the Fat Slob (no, not Andy Reid - - the other one) as he leaves Dallas and, hopefully, the NFL, as in forever. Always hated the guy. And he didn't have the coaching skills anymore to compensate for his award-winning personality. His exit was so ill-timed, though, that it makes you wonder if fellow elastic waistband investor Reid was behind the clock management. Memo to Jerry Jones: please do not hire Little Bum Phillips.
Since there is nothing to talk about in this space, I will answer a question from longtime reader BB, who may or may not have enjoyed my article on ESPN's discovery of team rebounds, and asks:
"Do you know how ESPN (and other news outlets) are able to systematically update box scores and team stats? I mean, 5 mins after a Holy Cross-Bucknell, the whole box is online. They can't have people who manually enter in this stuff, do they?"
The answer is no, they do not have people who enter it manually. I can't address Division II or Division III, or the NAIA, but every Division I school has at least one person present at each game who is paid by the NCAA to track and record what become the official statistics for the contest. Although technological advances may have changed the landscape in the several years since I last wangled a media credential and sat on press row, I believe it's still true that the higher-profile the conference, the more official stattrackers are present. If it's the MEAC or the SWAC, everything other than the score, personal and team foul totals, and the timeouts left (which are jointly kept by the "fourth official" and the scoreboard operator) is often logged by just one person. At an ACC game, it's more likely to be three or four people with individual sectors of responsibility.
Stats are tracked using very sophisticated, yet easy to use, software. I obtained a copy of one of these programs (there are several, and I don't know if he NCAA mandates the use of the same one by all of its member schools) a couple of years ago, and had fun doing a little amateur stattracking for a game I watched on TV. The one thing I learned immediately is how much individual judgment enters into the equation.
The software packages in general use require you to preload the rosters for the competing teams. From there, you must be careful to get the substitutions right as the game progresses - - this is one of the three major activities you perform. Another is making sure you record when the clock starts and stops, and the final big task is entering made and missed shots with the mouse on a shot chart that appears on the screen when the clock is running. You get to dial up a player's name automatically from the preset menu that pops up (hence where having recorded who's actually on the court becomes important), and you're set.
Everything else flows from there. Every missed shot requires a rebound, including a blocked shot (this gets most complicated during volleyball activity around the rim). A shot is not blocked unless it leaves the shooter's hand. Assists are pure judgment calls, as are steals - - more critical is assigning turnovers. Basically, you record a made FG, then decide if an assist (almost always a maximum of one per score - - this is not ice hockey) is warranted. Similarly, you also make certain to record a turnover, and then decide whether or not someone from the opposing team actively forced it, earning a steal. You can credit a steal if, for example, one center ties up the other, resulting in a held ball and a favorable arrow changing the possession. However, it's not required.
As nifty as the software behind this stuff is, it's not hard for someone who's really good to record a whole game by oneself - - but again, "bigger" settings usually mean more people to help.
And to answer BB directly, ESPN doesn't have anything to do with the official statkeeping. Now, for games that they broadcast, there is usually a statistician who keeps track of things, but as technology has improved, that person is now less of a stattracker and more somebody who has a monitor in front of him or her with real-time stattracking, and uses it to relay purportedly interesting statistical items to the commentators.
The official boxscores posted online are, I'm told, "balanced" after each game, making sure that the number of rebounds equals the number of missed shots, et cetera, and then they are uploaded to a site where any subscribing news organization can grab them and format them to fit its own individual web-based style. However ESPN was doing its formatting, some moron didn't have team rebounds right, as explained over the weekend, accounting for the silly inaccuracies in the boxscores in that department over the last several years.
I hope that's helpful. If anyone would like to continue this discussion (I absolutely love basketball statistics), please comment below or e-mail me.
North Carolina-Chapel Hill 2, Wake Forest 0.
North Carolina-Chapel Hill 3,000, Wake Forest 0.
GEORGIA TECH (13-5, 2-3) @ MARYLAND, COLLEGE, PARK (15-5, 1-4)
I'm not suppressing a yawn here - - more like the yawn is suppressing me. Wow. UMCP took VPI to overtime over the weekend, but like Sweaty after too many Rolling Rocks and not enough Cialis at a Dewey Beach party, just couldn't close the deal. No priapism warning needed here. Move along.
Meanwhile, Tech was blasted by the Tools and now sits at an unimpressive 13-5 and 2-3. Too early for a little bracket projection? Not at all - - Goonardi has been at it for months. The BugThugs are a major benefactor of the Gregory Newton Honorary Fund for the Benefit of Duke's ACC Opposition, because thanks to Duke and supposedly "#11" Memphis - - who will stay in the Top 20 for the remainder of the year because of the sick joke that is now CUSA - - the Institutional Insects have a right even to be mentioned when the NCAAs are discussed. Take those two wins away, and there isn't much else.
Given that the Beads have won only once this season in the ACC, despite the usual prognisticoids calling them a sleeper team, etc., Huey would be well-advised to pocket a win here. A 2-4 mark could put his young, Clinchless players into a spiral from which there is no return, particularly considering that the rest of the ACC sked is not too favorable, and a mid-February triumph over U-Con is unlikely to cut much ice with the Selectostiffs. Also, I want to see Garyland at 1-5. Very important.
Georgia Tech 80, Maryland, College Park 79.
Georgia Tech 81, Maryland, College Park 74.
VIRGINIA (11-6, 3-2) @ NORTH CAROLINA STATE (11-7, 1-4)
I miss Macrocephapete, but Lameo is managing to do roughly the same inept job in C-ville, just without the huge head and zany personality. Meanwhile, Sid Lowe is still recovering from that evisceration by the Blue Devils over the weekend, and reassuring himself by looking at how long the NCSU administration allowed Teloitte & Douche principal Consultant Herb to remain on the payroll. ACC trap game, and we're picking it.
North Carolina State 77, Virginia 74.
North Carolina State 80, Virginia 77.
#19 CLEMSON (18-2, 4-2) @ #10 DUKE (16-3, 3-2)
It's great that the Blue Devils righted the ship. Actually, to be overly frank, it's a huge, Preparation H-level relief. (I've heard.) 3-2 in the conference is not bad, but this week is really the test, with two very winnable home games against sterner opposition than the victims of the current three-game ride. Why are the games winnable? Because I don't believe that the Poohs match up well with Duke, and then there's the whole Sean Williams deal. Even though the Nutcracker's squad just saved its season.
First, the Tiggers. Their 4-2 is pretty unimpressive - - the destruction of Williams-less BoCo, a nine-pointer in Raleigh (*only* nine?), a one-pointer over the BugThugs at home, and a two-pointer in TeeHee. The losses, of course, were the ritual sacrifice to the Tools and UMCP's sole ACC victory. In contrast, if you toss out Duke's loss to the Thugs, a team with which Clemson also obviously had some trouble, the Blue Devils' 3-2 mark isn't really that bad, since VPI has performed pretty well overall, and Duke beat the bunny teams by some serious margins.
Clemson, like Duke, can defend. Hammonds remains the lockdown guy, and Mays has done a fine job in the post. There's plenty of size on defense, but not an overwhelming amount of speed, and that's where I think Duke can start to build its offensive attack. No one should be able to stay with McRoberts, and since Hammonds will probably cover Nelson, Scheyer may get some opportunities against K.C. Rivers, who's one of the defensive weak links for Purnell's Pussies. Paulus should not be dominated by the 6-0 Vern Hamilton on either side of the ball - - but he has to stay in front of him, and not be taken to the rack repeatedly, as he was by James and, to a lesser extent, Gordon.
Clemson's big problem this season is that they are geared for a physical game, but they are absolutely BRUTAL at the line - - even worse than most past Tiger editions, which is really saying something. 57.8%??? Hamilton's ridiculous 42.2% is the most glaring. That's for a guard?? Wow.
However, there's something else to be taken away from Clemson's free throw shooting numbers - - the attempts are low. The Tiggers have taken 320 charity shots, while Duke has attempted 432. That says to me what watching Clemson several times this season has confirmed - - they are scoring their points the easy way, in transition and off of mistakes by the other team. And, yes, Hammonds, Hamilton, and Rivers can shoot from arcland, which has helped their squad enormously.
However, add Duke's defense into the equation, and transition baskets and open threes probably exit stage left. And if that's true, Clemson is going to be very hard pressed to win this one in Cameron. Cya next time.
Duke 72, Clemson 63.
Duke 70, Clemson 64.
Last Edition: Rob 6-0 (1.000) Matt 6-0 (1.000) Guests 0-0 (0.000) This Season: Rob 33-10 (0.767) Matt 33-10 (0.767) Guests 3-4 (0.429) TD in Guest Editions 5-3 (0.625)