Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Rivalry Week Continues Edition

ACC teams are 4-14 outside the conference against teams currently in the Top 25.

Since expansion in the ACC, the only team to reach the Sweet 16 other than Duke and UNC is BC. They did it their first season as an ACC member.

Thus far this season there have been 14 halves in which six different ACC teams have failed to score even 20 points.

The UNC at Duke matchup is the first time since December 1st that Duke has played a ranked team.

Until going 8-for-16 last Saturday vs Iowa State, Jacob Pullen (Kansas State) had not shot 50% from the field in a Big 12 game…currently he has just six more assists than turnovers in league play.

Baylor has not beaten anyone in the Big 12 with a winning record.

It’s a good thing Tennessee are a strong offensive rebounding team because they miss plenty of shots. How about 44% from the field, 32% from the three (11th in the SEC)?

According to ESPN, last Saturday’s 149 Division I games, included 72 decided by six or fewer points (two possessions) or went into OT. That’s 48% for those of you scoring at home, making it the closest collection of games in at least two years. The second most suspenseful day with 100 or more games was February 20, 2010 (42%).

Location, location, location: Kentucky is nearly unbeatable at home----extremely beatable on the road.

In their initial eight ACC games, Maryland is 3-1 on the road and 1-3 at home.

Here is an interesting look at the life of the college ref from ESPN’s Pat Forde:

Blow the whistle on overworked officials

Because The Minutes is basketball-addicted, watching the Iona-Fairfield game late this past Friday night came naturally. So did tuning in the next day at noon for West Virginia-Villanova.

That's when The Minutes noticed something ridiculous: official Brian O'Connell (30) worked both games -- one in Bridgeport, Conn., the other in Philadelphia, with tipoffs just 15 hours and more than 150 miles apart.

This is an approximation of O'Connell's timeline Friday and Saturday:

The Minutes is blowing the whistle on the workload of referees like Brian O'Connell.

Work the game at Fairfield, which ended after 11 p.m. ET. The earliest he could have left the arena would figure to be 11:30.

Drive to his home in Middletown, N.J., which Google Maps puts at roughly a two-hour trip. Estimated arrival home: 1:30 a.m. No idea how long it took him to unwind and go to sleep.

Officials are expected to be at the arena at least 90 minutes before tipoff, so O'Connell had to be in the gym in Philly by 10:30 a.m. Driving distance from Middletown is about 90 minutes, which pins his departure from home at no later than 9 a.m.

Assuming O'Connell groomed and ate breakfast, he was probably up by 8. Which gives him a maximum of 6½ hours of sleep, and quite likely less.

Can a guy adequately perform a physically and mentally demanding job on such a tight turnaround? Yes. But it isn't easy. It opens up the ref to second-guessing if he has a bad game. And -- key part -- this was only part of O'Connell's grind.

Fact is, the WVU-Nova game was O'Connell's fourth in four days, according to And, for good measure, he worked another the next day: St. Peter's at Canisius in Buffalo, N.Y. Then he did Manhattan-Iona on Monday in New Rochelle.

That was his 11th game in 13 days. Through Sunday, he has worked 52 games this season.

One of the big problems in college basketball is officials overscheduling themselves all winter, resulting in fatigued refs when the games are their most competitive, contentious and important. They're independent contractors, free to sign up for as many games as they can work -- and most of the good ones will work a ridiculous schedule in search of profit.

John Adams, the admirably candid NCAA supervisor of officials, said O'Connell is "a quality official, a guy I really like." But he didn't like the sound of O'Connell's Friday-Saturday work schedule.

"It feels to me that any more than four games a week, you're probably entering into the law of diminishing returns," Adams said. "And eight hours of sleep before going to work a game would seem to be prudent."

But if O'Connell's schedule sounds crazy, it's relatively sane compared to a recent run by Ted Valentine (31). He's nicknamed "TV Ted" because he's on the air more than Anderson Cooper -- and he likes to make his presence felt. Check out this run:

Works an 8 p.m. ET tipoff at Alabama, Jan. 29. Works a 2 p.m. ET tipoff at Kent State, Jan. 30. Works the next four nights in Jackson, Miss., High Point, N.C., Birmingham, Ala., and Charleston, S.C.

The Minutes has no idea how you even get from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Kent, Ohio, in time for a 2 p.m. game. Or how TV Ted's work schedule is good for anything but his bank account.

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