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That's....that's actually kind of brilliant?  Each team plays 8 conference games that count, and then the assigned cross-division rivalry games are played each year but don't count towards the conference title game.  Additionally, when that rivalry game would be a conference game, you can swap out that 9th game for something else.  Add on one more required BCS non-con opponent, and you have all the SoS required for the Nat'l playoff.  

Still better off with 8 games and two non-con BCS opponents (as it would reduce guaranteed in conference losses).

1 year, 10 months ago on Alabama-Tennessee As A Non-Conference Game? Steve Spurrier Has A Schedule Suggestion


I cannot speak for others, but I wish to offer an alternative to the reasons to root for an underdog.  I root for underdogs because, 90% of the time, they should not be true underdogs.  A great example of this is the NCAA basketball tournament (aka march madness).  I regularly root for the 13 seed to beat the 4 seed, or for the 12 seed to beat the 5 seed.  I do not do this because I think it's a great story.  I do not do this because they are a "feel good" team.  I do it because, frankly, they should never have been an underdog.  I do it because I take great joy watching those who have been rewarded for playing mediocre basketball in a major conference get their ass handed to them by those who are better, but were never treated as such.  This is especially true with teams such as Duke, who are regularly favored to win games they shouldn't be, and are given preferential treatment any way it can be given.  


We see this happen over and over in the sports world (or even the real world).  In the sports world, it happens because money is not made based on better talent, but instead better marketability and team popularity.  ESPN, the NCAA, ABC, NBC, etc make their money when the most popular teams play each other.  They don't make money when a less popular team is on the bigger stage.  This results in many many teams being underdogs in a big game, or prevented from even playing in a big game, when they shouldn't be.  I think, if you really asked around, this would be at the root of why people favor underdogs.  It is because we believe, inherently, that the underdog might actually BE the better team / player, and now that they finally have the opportunity to show it, we want them to.

2 years, 4 months ago on Jonny Flynn: The Underdog Down Under


I'm not sure I would understand the point of that Rudy Gay trade for the rockets.  He isn't good enough to bring you a championship, but he is good enough to help you maintain mediocrity, which is the rockets problem.  Is there really a strong belief that he'll suddenly make a jump and become a superstar player?  I just don't see it in his style of play or ability.  This trade would just stick the rockets into mediocrity for another 3 years.  What would be the point of that?  Better to just trade everything for draft picks, completely suck, and hope a transcendent player falls to you in the draft, or trade the equivalent of that for Howard and hope he stays.  If he leaves, you still get to start over and try to get that top 2 draft pick.  

2 years, 10 months ago on Great Exercises in Internet NBA-Related Postings 6-6-12


 @Jared Dubin Oh, I readily understand that he is a superstar and takes far more of the clutch Thunder shots than Harden.  I just thought it was interesting that one player could so skew the superstar results, especially when that player probably shouldn't be taking clutch shots that aren't layups.


Westbrook has a lot of skills at this point in his career, but shooting outside 3 feet isn't one of them (37% for 3-9 feet, 37% for 10-15 feet, 43% for 16-23 feet, 31% from 3 point land).  Those last second shots should always go to Durant (45%, 40%, 46%, 38%) or Harden ( 30%, 62%, 38%, 39%) depending on if it is a 3 pointer or inside the arc.  Westbrooks 43% this year on 16-23 footers is about 5 or 6% above his career average from that distance, while Hardens 62% is a stupid 19-20% higher than his career average.


I think it would have been a much better comparison if they had, in addition to showing the overall shot percentage of the superstars, also shown the percentage of open clutch shots they made (as plays designed to get them open often do, especially inbounds plays) and the percentage of guarded shots they made.


All data courtesy of


2 years, 10 months ago on Great Exercises in Internet NBA-Related Postings 6-5-12


Sigh.  You really need to remove that Henry Abbot article.  By any measure, it is terrible.  It measure ALL superstar field goals vs open field goals for role players, and includes Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Tim Duncan in the roll players list.  All of those are guys who will readily take the last shot for their team.  Additionally, he leaves out entirely the potential free throw benefit of having the "superstar" (a list which includes Danny Grainger, I mean, really? He's a superstar now?) take the last shot.  


Not to mention it doesn't actually give a metric for defining superstar, they just picked guys.


As an additional aside, if you take out Russel Westbrook, who should never shoot a last second shot for the Thunder over Harden or Durant, well, ever, the FG% of his chosen selections becomes much more even for the superstars vs open shooters.

2 years, 10 months ago on Great Exercises in Internet NBA-Related Postings 6-5-12