Fun With Predictions (Is There Any Other Way?)

We’ve been pummeling you with various statistics in the past few weeks. Points per possession, turnover rate, etc. are all keys to better understand how games will flow and telling in a team’s true strength. You need them.

But kind of like a coach giving his kids a day off, we’ll (for the most part) have a little more fun today. Let’s be clear, though: shell drill at 6am Monday.

We’ll start with another MNFC dandy, as told to Dopirak (whose job probably became 1,000 percent more fun this season):

“With about two minutes to go when we’re down eight, nine, 10 points — this is my greatest disappointment — they jogged down the court,” Brady said. “That is something that will never happen again. That idea, well, we’re out of the game. If you’re out of the game or you think you’re out of the game, take your backside and put it on the bench, we’ll put someone else in for you. That is really what I just talked to my team about. If you’re going to half-ass it down the court, then half-ass it down the baseline and put yourself on the bench. That will never happen again.”

***

Four games tomorrow have the “better” team, at least if you go by the standings, on the road. Early insight: I’m picking all four road teams to win, but I wager I’m wrong twice.

Start with the four, and then go with the two:

VCU at Hofstra: High Noon, The Comcast Network, MSG+ teevee. We’re unsure if the Rams are mad, focused, tired, or all of the above. The extra day before heading out to The Island is certainly helpful. And while Hofstra has the home bed advantage, they actually faced a tougher travel schedule than VCU. The Rams rested and zipped up after the recent storm, while Hofstra played in Wilmington on Wednesday and then fought through it to get home.

(And if I’m Pecora, I’m checking the roster to make sure everybody chose to come back. It’s going to be 62 degrees in Wilmington on Monday. I’m just saying…)

Here’s a data point: Hofstra has won two of the past three over VCU on The Island. Chuckie is back, and Good Corny was half the trap that sprung Dennison. Corny playing defense?

Despite all of that, this becomes a game of pace and I like VCU to hurry things along. Things look promising for The Pride until a Larry Sanders block lands in the ninth row at Mack Center, rattling the Ghost of Adrian Uter (whose ethereal plane is often confused with his hair).

VCU 67, Hofstra 60.

Drexel at Towson: 4:00pm tip, CSN teevee. I’m not sure a trip to Williamsburg to beat the 1-8 College playing without its second leading scorer qualifies as a “big” road win. But PKs bunch can at least build from there–Tony Franklin is playing more steady at the point, and Rocky Coleman’s minutes are increasing. This is important only because Rocky Coleman is one of my favorite players in the league.

Bruiser needs Tra Hawthorne to have his own personal “@W&M” game. Hawthorne hasn’t made half of his three point attempts in any game since the first of the year, and he’s nailed more than two from deep only once, against UNCW back when that really didn’t count for anything.

With all of the hullabaloo we’re spouting about the Dragons balance and multiple contributions, Hawthorne is a senior and has done this before. They’re going to need him in February.

Drexel 72, Towson 66.

George Mason at Old Dominion: 7:00 tip, CSN teevee. Back on January 10, Mason had its way with the Monarchs and a lot of things were surprising then that–through the infallible lens of hindsight–shouldn’t have surprised us.

This one is a Skins Game, of sorts. ODU has gone along all season, posting par-bogey-bogey-par-double bogey-par. The Monarchs are still in it because everybody plays all 18 holes (22 if I had my way!).

Blaine Taylor rolled in a 20-footer for birdie on Wednesday and won a hole. However to collect the skin, they are going to have to validate it with a home win over the Patriots.

As for Mason, they’ve been cruising along posting mostly birdies and pars and winning their share of skins. They were a bit unlucky when their attempt at Dayton clanged off the flagstick and into the hazard, and the past two games they’ve bogeyed holes because they had to take their driver out of the bag to get his grip repaired.

It’s been a solid round, though, and the driver is back in the bag, which will keep them from trying to do things they cannot do.

Mason 61, ODU 59.

JMU at UNCW: 7:00 tip. The Hawks get more interesting as the season rolls on. Montez Downey and Dom Lacy are becoming the players they were supposed to become, and Chad Tomko has seemingly shaken off a bad case of the Charles Jenkins’s. Plus, you have two of the best freshmen in the conference in Jerel Stephenson and Kevon Moore.

That’s not bad. That’s small, but that’s not bad. Ah, what those guys wouldn’t do for Vladie Kools, no?

(Super Side Note: without looking one thing up, a eight-man all freshman team just entered my head: these two Dub kids, Devon Moore and Andrey Semenov from JMU, Tony Franklin from Towson, Quinn McDowell from WM, Ryan Pearson from Mason, and Sammie Givens from Drexel.)

Mull had it right the other day (or yesterday, or some time in past five days when I remember reading it) when he said that he has no idea how many wins it will translate into, but UNCW is looking much, much better.

JMU isn’t exactly physically menacing. Only two players on the JMU roster tip the scales at more than 200 pounds: Matt Parker, who sees less floor time than the kid who mops up sweat, and Dazz Thornton, who does more than tip the scales.

This is another good matchup for The Dub, but I think I like Kyle Swanston to stop his Lionel Ritchie (fronting The Commodores) impersonation.

JMU 83, UNCW 78.

***

The other two:

Delaware at Nor’easter: 1:00pm tip; check out gonu.tv. See, I’m not buying the whole let down thing for two reasons. First, Poor Bill doesn’t coach that way. He’s somehow found a way to convince this team they don’t have anything to let down from. Hence, there’s no let down if you aren’t up. It wouldn’t surprise me to see an interview with Matt Janning in which The Cap’n states they need to win in order to have a shot at getting a bye in the CAA tournament.

Second, a letdown would be counterintuitive to the whole shovel thing. We’ll get into that in detail when I see it. Pictures, please.

As for Monte, Poor Monte (hey, wait!). I may have figured out why the Hens have all that talent and all those losses. Delaware is near the bottom of the conference in O-PPP, D-PPP, and floor percentage (hey wait!).

Oh, I think Nor’easter stands a great chance of losing again. It just isn’t happening here.

Nor’easter 75, YouDee 61.

Georgia State at The College: 5:00pm tip, CSS and WSKY teevee. We’re eschewing statistics as much as possible today, and any pop culture or hoops or political spin I could put on this would only be a cheap shot. (Insert your own cheap shot here.)

Based on the Wobblier Wheels Theory, one of Ptolemy’s lesser known mathematical postulates (but certainly more significant than that pesky Almagest), I’m going with the home team.

Tribe 55, Panthers 49.

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~ by mglitos on January 30, 2009.

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