Sunday, November 25, 2012

UCLA's Tyler Lamb to Transfer: Thanks, Shabazz

Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times reported earlier today that UCLA junior guard Tyler Lamb will transfer to parts unknown.

Lamb's exit statement said all the right things, thanking his teammates and coaches for what he called an "unparalleled" opportunity. In the next sentence, though, Lamb sounds the alarm that should clearly explain his true motivation.

More parsing after the jump.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holy Crap, Morehead State Coach Sean Woods Is PISSED (w/ VIDEO)

For college basketball fans of my generation, watching the legendarily irascible Bobby Knight berate and occasionally manhandle a player usually drew yawns. It happened so often with The General that the shock value wore off.

It's been long enough since Knight left coaching that we thought the "mouth off to me and I will whip your ass in front of everyone here and yo' mama" coach-on-player rant was obsolete in the college game.

Thankfully, we have first-year Morehead State coach Sean Woods bringing cranky back.

Video of a public evisceration after the jump.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Honestly, Maryland Refreshingly Honest About Big Ten Money Grab

College sports fans are a hell of a lot smarter than they were a decade ago about how the conference-realignment sausage gets made. As the University of Maryland announced its intention to join the Big Ten, it became the first school willing to give the unwashed masses that kind of credit.

Instead of blathering on about "academic culture" and "ideological fit" and "Delany's ass looks hot in a pair of Wranglers" and all the other reasons people give for awkward hookups, Maryland president Wallace Loh and athletic director Kevin Anderson looked dead into the camera lenses and microphones and pulled back the usual curtain of bullshit.

It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TBI vs. AP vs. ESPN: Poll Dancing Week 2

We all have our various perspectives on how useful the polls are in college basketball since, unlike the sport that decides how everything in college athletics plays out, hoop actually makes teams play for a championship instead of awarding it to whichever SEC team is most popular that year.

Those who take some interest in the polls may also take some delight in savaging others for their opinions. Gary Parrish at CBS loves to take aim at people with his Poll Attacks, which is a not-even-thinly-veiled game of "I'm A Million Times Smarter Than You And I Can Prove It." (Usually, he can't.)

Poll Dancing is so much less violent than Poll Attacks, and it's merely an assessment of TBI's Top 25 side-by-side with the AP and ESPN, examining the three for differences.

There may be some pointing at outliers, thanks to the good folks at, but I don't really need the ego stroke that Parrish appears to.

We'll dig into the ballots post-jump.

Monday, November 12, 2012

#TBIronMen for College Basketball's Opening Weekend

This will become a Monday staple here on TBI. I like to call it the #TBIronMen of the Week. Since all we have is three days of work to operate from, it's more like #TBIronMen of the Weekend.

What it is: a purely statistical look at the top 20 or so player performances of the week(end). Candidates are culled from the daily leaders at and their performances are weighted using the ESPN efficiency formula, which reads:

Pts + Reb + 1.4*Ast + Stl + 1.4*Blk -.7*TO + FGM + .5*TGM -.8*(FGA-FGM) + .25*FTM - .8*(FTA-FTM)

Got all that? Good.

Anyone who records a 40-plus rating in the course of a game is a candidate, and all their linescores over the course of the week(end) will be examined. Players have to pack an overall average rating of 35 or better to be #TBIronMen candidates.

Players who have multiple 30-plus games will get precedence over guys with just one big game and some slow nights, even if the more consistent guys' averages don't quite measure up. The repeat studs will also get a five-point bonus to aid their ranking.

In addition, there are bonuses and deductions for team performance.

  • If a player's team loses, it's a five-point deduction unless that team is considered to be playing a paycheck game against a power program. Examples include Southern Utah's loss to Gonzaga and NJIT falling to Providence (although in the Friars' case, "power program" is used very loosely).
  • If a player is on a power team that loses what should be a paycheck game (see: Florida State vs. South Alabama), that's a 10-point deduction and pretty much screws his chances from the jump. Conversely, winning that kind of upset is grounds for a five-point bonus.
  • If your team is playing a non-Division I opponent, it's a three-point deduction even with a win. Grow a pair and play someone with a pulse. Lose to a non-D-I opponent (lol, Howard and Rice), and you can simply GTFO.

I keep including the hashtag in front of TBIronMen as a subtle hint. I won't ask you to plug your favorite players' linescores into the formula, but you can still feel free to tweet me, using that hashtag, or leave comments here nominating your favorite IronMen of the week(end). Because I'm a full-service blogger, I'll do the math for you, and we'll see how many deserving guys get left out.

I'll get into more detail as we go along, so click on past the jump and let's check out the inaugural top 20.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Couple of Shameless Plugs, If I May

First off, nothing but love to CollegeBasketballTalk's Troy Machir for adding TBI to the #NBCMustFollow College Hoops Directory. Right now, he's the only person I know cooler than Jim Boeheim, who coaches in sunglasses.

Secondly, I put together a couple of Purdue-related stories for Bleacher Report over the weekend. When I'm not opining here, you can find me there. Here's the full portfolio so far.

A recap of the opening loss to Bucknell can be found here.

A piece on the pissed-off Boilers crushing Hofstra right here.

Check back tomorrow for the inaugural #TBIronMen list from the season's opening weekend. That will become a weekly fixture, calling out the players who had the hottest full weeks (or weekends, in this case).

The other weekly fixture will be coming in the next couple of days. Poll Dancing is my take on the AP and ESPN polls, comparing them to my own top 25 rankings.

Stick around and tell your friends to swing by.

Friday, November 9, 2012

TBI's College Basketball Opening Weekend Viewers' Guide

My job sometimes conflicts with my passion for hoops. During this opening weekend, there are a lot of fun games that I'd like to take in, but I'll be restricted by a need to focus on the football games I'm broadcasting Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Still, there will be a lot of excellent games to check out over the next three days, and it will take a quick remote with fresh batteries to keep up with all of it. Not all are televised, but all should be.

A ranking of the top 10 games this weekend can be found here.

TBI's examination of the best basketball from Friday to Sunday tips off after the jump. (All times Central, since that's the zone in which I live.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cranky Coaches Coming Out Against Grad Transfer Exemption (or: Shame On You, Matt Painter)

The 2011-12 NCAA waiver allowing graduated student-athletes to play immediately at their new schools, provided the new school offered a grad program not offered at the player's previous stop, doesn't seem particularly insidious on the surface.

To the contrary, it's a carrot. It's a pot of immediate-gratification gold at the end of a player's four-year rainbow, letting him decide where he can spend his final year of eligibility if one of the first four was compromised. The player is also bound to continue his education even beyond the Bachelor's degree that a sizable number of athletes don't bother to finish.

But coaches are getting pissed off about the continued use of this exemption. Who and why, exactly? Read on.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Basketball Times Mean to Calipari; Drops Hammer on Kevin Ollie, UConn

Every five years, the Basketball Times evaluates those college basketball programs and coaches that have won two-thirds of their games over that span. The schools are ranked on winning percentage, NBA players, graduation rate, academic reputation (according to US News and World Report) and a vote of panelists assessing program cleanliness.

The 2012 release is out, and in the midst of some heavy hitters are some surprising mid- and low-majors.

The winner probably won't surprise you, but I guarantee there's one top-five school that will draw a response along the lines of "WTF?" More after the jump.

Conference Calling: The Top 13

So, the 31 in 31 series has met its unfortunate demise. It was an ambitious project for a one-man operation, especially when said man has family and work obligations to contend with and no media monolith like ESPN or CBS behind him providing a paycheck.

If that paycheck came, it would seriously help defray the other stuff, so if anyone's willing to donate...ahem.

Since we didn't reach the upper echelon of the conference rankings, let me at least disclose where the top 13 leagues ranked in this season's TBI list...after this here jump.