Tuesday, January 31, 2006

book three

Amazon informs me that book three of the Brateamus trilogy is out. Ptolemy's Gate.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Minnesota - 61, Indiana - 42

Thanks to CBS regional coverage, which decided that we folks in Durham would enjoy watching unranked Kentucky play unranked Arkansas, I wasn't able to see the latest debacle in The Barn.

As always, I was worried heading into the game. I always worry, even when we're playing a team that is winless in the B10 in six tries, including home losses against Northwestern and Michigan (by 16!). But even in my most pessimistic mood I didn't expect this - to not even be competitive.

CBS Sportsline has a great feature - Full Play-by-Play for games. It might even be more disgusting than watching the game. Here's some excerpts:

18:18 MN Zach Puchtel made Layup, Assist J'son Stamper
16:17 MN J'son Stamper made Layup, Assist Adam Boone
15:26 MN Vincent Grier made Layup
9:42 MN Spencer Tollackson made Layup
8:12 MN Adam Boone made Layup
5:51 MN Maurice Hargrow made Layup, Assist Vincent Grier
4:29 MN Vincent Grier made Driving Layup
2:35 MN Zach Puchtel made Layup
25.0 MN Vincent Grier made Tip-in
17:58 IN Marco Killingsworth missed Layup
16:08 MN J'son Stamper made Layup
6:53 IN Marco Killingsworth missed Layup
5:46 IN Marco Killingsworth missed Layup
5:39 IN Marco Killingsworth missed Tip-in
5:01 MN Vincent Grier made Layup
2:55 IN Marco Killingsworth missed Layup
1:23 MN Vincent Grier made Driving Layup

Bear in mind that Minnesota is a team that was trying desparately to find ways to score points.

I guess layups work pretty good.

Jinkies - we have games against UConn, at Wisconsin, and at Illinois coming up. This could get ugly. Er... uglier.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Home cooking in the B10 - data analysis

I think home cooking is just part of playing on the road in the B10. Everyone plays the same number of home and away games, so it evens out in the end. Sure, it's frustrating when we're on the road - just like it's frustrating for the opponent in Bloomington.

However, after seeing the foul differential in the Indiana @ Iowa game and the MSU @ Michigan game, I decided some research was in order.

There have been 34 B10 games so far this season. I looked at each one and noted the number of fouls on the home team and the away team. Here's the results (raw data is at the bottom).

Total games = 34
Average fouls/game = 33.4
Average away fouls/game = 18.3
Average home fouls/game = 15.2
Average foul differential = 3.1

* Home team has more fouls in 10 of 34 games.
# Away team has 8 or more fouls in 8 games.
Home team has 8 or more fouls in 0 games.

Obviously those are some pretty significant numbers. I think the last two are particularly interesting. An 8 foul differential is obviously pretty darn big -- it NEVER happens to the home team, and it has happened to the road team a whopping 24% of the time.

So then I wracked my brain trying to think of an explanation for this difference that didn't involve biased officiating. I came up with one alternative explanation. Obviously, some foul differential is the result of the trailing team fouling late in the game, and since B10 home teams win at a remarkable clip this might account for the difference. Of course, there's a cause-and-effect problem there, because it could be that home teams win at a remarkable clip BECAUSE of the foul differential, so without having data about the fouls committed in the last 3 or 4 minutes of the game, I don't know how to test my hypothesis.

Anyway, here's the raw data:

A H
nw @ pu 18 16
ps @ uw 20 12 #
ms @ um 26 14 #
mn @ il 15 13
iu @ ia 25 9 #
ia @ ms 17 15
os @ ps 17 18 *
pu @ iu 24 21
il @ nw 12 16 *
um @ mn 18 16
pu @ ps 13 16 *
mn @ ia 25 16 #
nw @ um 7 14 *
uw @ os 21 14
il @ iu 22 17
ms @ os 12 16 *
ia @ ps 17 19 *
nw @ uw 21 14
um @ il 20 20
mn @ pu 18 16
iu @ ms 20 12 #
os @ pu 16 10
ps @ nw 11 17 *
uw @ mn 18 23 *
ms @ uw 24 16 #
pu @ um 23 16
il @ ia 25 12 #
nw @ mn 8 14 *
os @ iu 25 16 #
ia @ uw 18 14
ps @ os 12 14 *
ms @ il 17 12
pu @ nw 18 16
um @ iu 18 12

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quick Quilts

I received the January issue of Quick Quilts on Saturday and the March issue yesterday. They're great! Thank you. The Reindeer quilt looks like a pattern that I could use my punch needle on. It would be a great Christmas decoration.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Indiana-Purdue makes it official

Indiana is 4-1 without playing very well. We lost our only road game handily (no shame in that at MSU), and in our four home games we:

- beat Michigan in a game that was in doubt in the final 2 mins
- beat OSU in a game that came down to the final possession
- beat Illinois in a game that came down to the final possession
- beat Purdue in a game where Purdue was still in the game late in the second half

While it's great to win each of those games, none of the wins were particularly impressive in terms of how Indiana played. Indiana shot 45%, 49%, 40%, and 39% in those games, respectively. Vaden, Ratliff, and Strickland seem to be struggling with their shots (which REALLY hurts us), and Allen is not coming around like we'd like.

Our defense is playing well and our rebounding is improving, but by and large I don't think Indiana is playing very well right now.

On the bright side, Iowa needed triple overtime to beat Minnesota in Iowa City, then Minnesota lost at home (again) to Michigan while Iowa lost by 30 at Michigan State. Iowa, as is their habit, seems to be playing worse as the season progresses and suddenly the game at The Barn looks like a must win for the Hoosiers (I don't want the Gophers to get their first B10 win against the Hoosiers).

It's starting to look unlikely that MSU will be worse than 12-4 in the league (even if you assume we beat them in Bloomington - a big assumption), so IMO Indiana needs to play much better to win the B10.

Moving Vaden back to the 4 would be a good start.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

condo

Any good news about the condo? I hope so. How many people have looked at it? Do you get any feedback from your realtor? I enjoyed making that "Crazy Eight" quilt for Chris & Daves new baby so much that I have started one for Elizabeth's baby. I haven't received my quilting mag yet. I'm really looking forward to it.

IU-Illinois: What a completely bizarre game

1. We beat the 5th ranked team in the country, and yet I don't think we played well at all. We started and ended the game playing basketball just about as poorly as it can be played. And in the middle of the game when we outscored the Illini by 26 points, I thought we played average basketball.

2. The "4 Guard Naysayers" were exactly right in their complaints... for once. Vaden had a truly awful game. On defense he was eaten alive by Pruitt and Augustine, and he wasn't able to get that back on the offensive end at all. He missed shots, turned the ball over, and made bad decisions - which is completely uncharacteristic. Even at the very end, he missed that last free throw that could have ensured that the best Illinois could do was force overtime (with Brown and Randle out and Augustine with 4 fouls)... and he's a great FT shooter! It was like Vaden pulled all his "off games" together and decided to get rid of them all at once.

3. Those two threes that Ben Allen hit during our big first half run were great, but oh my goodness, anyone who thinks we should play Allen at the 4 instead of Vaden to improve our defense and rebounding is obviously not watching Allen except when we're on offense. Yikes. He played 9 minutes and had 3 fouls, 2 turnovers, and 0 rebounds... and it showed. We really need Allen to get things together on the defensive side of the ball, because that 3 point shot is a real weapon, if we can afford to keep him on the floor long enough to shoot it. C'mon, Ben.

4. What to say about Marco Killingsworth? He was terrible in the first half. He turned the ball over over, he missed layups, he got pushed around, he got frustrated with the refs, and he got called for an absolutely correct intentional foul when Indiana had possession. Then in the first 15 minutes of the second half he was unstoppable offensively and helped Indiana build up our biggest lead, including hitting some big free throws. Then our fifth-year senior made two jawdropping, boneheaded turnovers in crunchtime, resulting in 5 Illinois points when the game was completely in doubt. Should we be happy that his 23 points helped us win... or worried that he played like crap for half his 34 minutes on the floor?

5. Thank goodness that Wilmont is playing so well, because Ratliff is still struggling badly. Heading into the season, I really believed that Ratliff would be one of our best players... then he got injured, and it seems to have had a tremendously large impact on him. I was hoping for a big improvement, yet he was playing better last season than he is now, and he's been playing for a lot of game now since coming back from injury. C'mon, AJ, we need you.

6. Lewis Monroe's defense is extremely underrated.

7. Whatever happened to home cookin'? I'm sure there's an Illini fan out there complaining about the officiating right now, but they're out to lunch. As people probably know, I'm not big on blaming refs for losses, especially on the road, because I think that's just the way it goes and the human element to officiating is simply a part of the game. But good gravy, I thought the officiating was peculiar last night. That charging call on Vaden late in the second half was embarrassing. And Pruitt was (to his credit) manhandling IU players all night - and one thing he did all night was pretend he was an NFL lineman when an IU big man would run into the lane. Pruitt would go up and block him, stopping him in his tracks. By my eye, this resulted in two fouls... one on Ben Allen and one on Marco (the intentional foul). He did this about 30 times. And just to be clear, I think Marco's frustation intentional foul was a dumb move and a good call - Marco needs to be smarter than that. But I can certainly empathize with the frustration.

8. We held Dee Brown and James Augustine to 16 points and still almost lost the game.

9. Our starting backcourt of Monroe, Strickland, and Vaden combined for 14 points, and we still won the game.

10. I'm really happy with the win, but I'm not sure how many positives we can take away from this game beyond the W.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's hard to overstate the importance of tonight's game

Let's face it, the 3 best basketball programs in the B10 right now are Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Not Indiana. This season represented the first time in awhile where Indiana, Iowa, Ohio State, and Michigan all had teams capable of shaking up the pecking order in the B10. How's it going so far?

Illinois, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are ranked #7, #11, and #15 in the latest AP Poll. And Indiana is #13.

MSU lost on the road to Illinois and Wisconsin, like everyone else, but then beat IU at home and OSU on the road to solidify themselves as one of the B10 elite. Wisconsin continues to be Wisconsin - unbeatable at home, and capable of stealing wins on the road (at Minnesota). Illinois might be the most vulnerable. They lost at Iowa and struggled at home against Michigan - but won.

MSU won at OSU - the first team to win a road game at one of the Top 7 B10 teams. This is Illinois' second chance to pull off that feat. If they can win at Indiana, the Big 3 pecking order remains the status quo, and Indiana (like OSU) starts to once again look like a pretender.

If Indiana wins, the Hoosiers hunt to get back to elite B10 status moves another tiny step forward. Taking care of OSU, Michigan, and Illinois at home is expected of elite teams. Purdue and Northwestern are our two other home games in the first half of the B10 season, so a win tonight makes it extremely likely that IU would be undefeated at home at the turn. And the road games at Iowa and Minnesota would be full of opportunity. Hoosier fans will be dreaming of B10 titles - and at least competing for the B10 title will seem assured.

If Indiana loses... well, we'll have a home loss with two tough road games coming up and the high possibility of reaching the turn at 4-4, fighting for a spot in the NCAA tournament with the other bubble teams.

Okay, so that's a bit melodramatic. But nonetheless, this game is huge.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The "Big Seven" B10 teams are 9-0 at home

Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, MSU, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State are a combined 9-0 at home.

In addition, none of the Big Seven has yet to lose a road game against the Little Four.

There's no mystery to what's going on here. No one has any idea who is going to win the B10. Until one of the Big Seven wins on the road against a Big Seven team, everyone's in the same boat. Indiana has to hold serve at home against Illinois. If we do that, we're still in the hunt, just like everyone else. No one has gotten themselves an advantage yet.

This weekend, the big chance for some to get an advantage is MSU at OSU. If MSU wins that game, they get an edge. The rest of the games (NW @ UW, UM @ Ill, Iowa @ PSU) will more than likely continue the present trend. If OSU beats MSU, then we head into next week with essentially all seven teams clumped together once again.

(The only caveat there is Wisconsin, thanks to the unbalanced schedule -- if every Big Seven team wins 2 of their road games against Big Seven teams, Wisconsin wins the B10 outright)

Next 4 games

Indiana's next four games are:

Illinois
Purdue
@ Iowa
@ Minnesota

In my opinion, we have to go 3-1 in those games to have a legitimate shot at winning the B10. We have to protect the home court, so obviously the Illinois game is huge. Beating Purdue in Assembly Hall ought to be a given. Then we need to split on the road against Iowa and Minnesota.

Let's say we lost both those road games. I think we need to be 12-4 to win the B10. That would mean that in the last 9 games of the season, not only would we need to win all our home games (including the game against MSU), but we'd need to go 3-2 on the road against Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois, Purdue, and Michigan. No one wins at Illinois and Wisconsin. That leaves no margin for error.

Losing at MSU is not a big deal. But we need to win on the road somewhere, and those Iowa and Minnesota games are winnable.

Monday, January 09, 2006

DJ White out for the season?

Rumors suggest that DJ has rebroken his foot and will miss the rest of the season. Should get a definitive word later today.

Man oh man, that would really stink.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Some Indiana vs Ohio State stats

This is just a data comparision - I'll leave the analysis to the group. I'm mostly using Pomeroy Team Ratings and Big Ten Wonk's tempo-free stats for the comparisons, because I think it's good data.

Sagarin Rank:
Indiana - 9 (SOS = 47)
Ohio State - 8 (SOS = 219)

RPI Rank:
Indiana - 14 (SOS = 26)
Ohio State - 9 (SOS = 121)

Pomeroy Rank:
Indiana - 9 (SOS = 36)
Ohio State - 17 (SOS = 96)

Ohio State's Schedule to Date (with Pomeroy Rank in parantheses):
Ohio St. 81, (285) Chicago St. 52
Ohio St. 79, (59) Butler 69 (OT)
Ohio St. 69, (67) Virginia Tech 56
Ohio St. 81, (60) Saint Joseph's 74
Ohio St. 92, (242) Norfolk St. 59
Ohio St. 85, (186) Belmont 75
Ohio St. 70, (65) Iowa St. 67
Ohio St. 74, (205) Tennessee St. 65
Ohio St. 87, (164) Gardner Webb 58
Ohio St. 78, (23) Louisiana St. 76

All were home games except St. Joseph's and Iowa State, which was played in Iowa (though not on ISU's home court). Of course, OSU plays PSU tonight at home. Indiana will be the second true road game for the Buckeyes.

The team stats are all based on rank within the B10. Again, definitions for these stats can be found at Wonk's site. The important thing is that Wonk controls for number of possessions in a game - it's how many points a team scores per possession that matters, not how many points they average per game (because that's not an apples to apples comparison).

Possessions Per Game:
2. Indiana (70.8)
6. Ohio State (68.5)

Points Per Possession:
2. Indiana (1.15)
3. Ohio State (1.15)

Opponent Points Per Possession:
3. Indiana (0.90)
7. Ohio State (0.94)

PPP Margin (the diff between the first two numbers):
2. Indiana (+0.25)
3 Ohio State (+0.21)

Effective FG %:
1. Indiana (.630)
3. Ohio State (.572)

Opponent Effective FG%:
3. Indiana (.449)
6. Ohio State (.472)

Turnovers Per Possession:
4. Ohio State (.205)
9. Indiana (.224)

Opponent Turnovers Per Possession:
6. Indiana (.219)
8. Ohio State (.218)

Offensive Rebounding Percentage:
9. Ohio State (33.4)
10. Indiana (30.4)

Defensive Reboundng Percentage:
1. Indiana (73.5)
10. Ohio State (67.7)

Here's some notable individual stats - rank here is also across the entire B10.

Points Per Weighted Shot:
1. Foster, OSU 1.73
2. Suhr, IN 1.68
5. Butler, OSU 1.44
7. Strickland, IN 1.39
10. Killingsworth, IN 1.32
16. Wilmont, IN 1.24
18. Vaden, IN 1.23
25. Lewis, OSU 1.20
29. Mayes, OSU 1.17
30. Dials, OSU 1.16
40. Monroe, IN 1.12
41. Calloway, IN 1.12
48. Sullinger, OSU 1.10
77. Sylvester, OSU 0.79

Rebounding Percentage:
7. Killingsworth, IN 16.7%
9. Sullinger, OSU 16.2%
16. Dials, OSU 14.9%
17. Wilmont, IN 14.7%
33. Lewis, OSU 10.4%
38. Vaden, IN 8.7%
42. Monroe, IN 8.4%
48. Foster, OSU 7.6%
51. Sylvester, OSU 7.3%
53. Suhr, IN 7.2%
56. Strickland, IN 7.0%
61. Butler, OSU 6.6%
62. Calloway, IN 5.9%
78. Mayes, OSU 4.4%

Assists Per 100 Possessions:
8. Butler, OSU 9.5
12. Vaden, IN 8.4
13. Calloway, IN 8.0
14. Mayes, OSU 7.5
19. Monroe, IN 7.1
20. Sylvester, OSU 7.1
31. Killingsworth, IN 5.1
36. Sullinger, OSU 4.8
40. Strickland, IN 4.3
46. Foster, OSU 4.0
51. Suhr, IN 3.5
58. Lewis, OSU 3.1
62. Wilmont, IN 2.6
77. Dials, OSU 1.1

Turnovers Per 100 Possessions:
1. Killingsworth, IN 8.6
9. Vaden, IN 6.2
15. Calloway, IN 5.9
22. Lewis, OSU 5.2
33. Dials, OSU 4.6
39. Sullinger, OSU 4.3
43. Foster, OSU 4.2
45. Sylvester, OSU 4.2
50. Monroe, IN 3.8
54. Mayes, OSU 3.6
65. Butler, OSU 3.1
76. Strickland, IN 1.9
79. Wilmont, IN 1.3
80. Suhr, IN 1.2

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Michigan at Indiana

1. Robert Vaden is quickly climbing my list of all-time favorite Indiana basketball players. If he stays four years, he has a great shot of unseating Greg Graham at the top of my list.

2. Heading into the game, Michigan was 7th in the B10 in offensive rebounding percentage and Indiana was 1st in the B10 in defensive rebounding percentage, which makes UM's offensive rebounding in the first half even more inexcusable. There were lots of contributing factors to this though, including:

2a. DJ White is completely focused on blocking shots, especially off his man, which is great for creating tough shots for the opposition, but really terrible for our rebounding.

2b. We're not going to play many teams that have frontcourts that can make Vaden at the 4 such a rebounding liability as Michigan, thank goodness.

2c. It's incredible to me that someone with Marco Killingsworth's physique can be taken so completely out of his game via physical play. Michigan pushed Killingsworth around and it worked like a charm - Killingsworth got frustrated, jawed at the officials, and didn't respond positively (and not for the first time). He came through big at the end, and overall didn't have an awful game, but Marco is supposed to be the guy taking the opponent out of his game through physical play, not the reverse. Marco, this is the Big Ten... the officials are not going to save you.

3. I like that Indiana can beat a team like Michigan even when we don't play well. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather see us play well, but let's face it, the B10 is going to be a long, hard slog through the mud, and the team that wins the title is going to be the one that can figure out how to win some ugly games on off-nights.

4. I hope Ratliff is okay. That ankle roll looked ugly.

WalMart has hard floors

This I discovered while proving my wifely and motherly devotion on New Year's Eve by waiting in line for an hour at Super WalMart to purchase 1 of the 4 Xbox360 harddrive systems available at midnight. Yes, I rang in the New Year with a woman sporting a single tooth. This, of course, being the walmart employee who rang me up. But 2 sore buttcheeks later, we are the proud owners of a new xbox.

Condo on the market!

Our condo's officially on the market now! Though it's only an outside photo, if you'd care to view the listing: http://www.realtor.com/FindHome/HomeListing.asp?snum=3&locallnk=yes&frm=byzip&mnbed=2&mnbath=1.5&mnprice=70000&mxprice=75000&js=off&pgnum=1&fid=so&mnsqft=&mls=xmls&areaid=27703&typ=1%2C+2%2C+4&poe=realtor&zp=27703&sbint=&vtsort=&sid=05EC8C89C68BC&snumxlid=1054276180&lnksrc=00002