LEXINGTON, Va. -- I think we can chalk up the weekend voting on the Ultimate Project contest
an unqualified, unmitigated disaster. There were more complaints about the voting mechanism (clicking through either brought up a "please log in" screen or a full-screen ad to start your own poll) than actual votes, and the number of those went from three to 10 back down to one the few times I checked in on the tally. A poll that continually resets itself isn't really a poll, it's more like the type of sham election you'd see in an island dictatorship.
The moral is that free web polls suck. Next time, I'll spend the 10 minutes necessary to program one myself.
So to decide this, we're going to take a page from the Hugh Hefner playbook. By the time you reach grad school, you've learned that the voting for Playmate of the Year is open to all Playboy
readers, but in the end the ballots are thrown out and the boss makes the final decision. I hate to bring a popularity contest for sweaty basketball-playing men anywhere near that context, but that's what we're faced with today. The Ultimate Project
for 2008 is...John Allison
of Kennesaw State, the 7-1, 220-lb. "Scottish Owl" who is the first from his country to play Division I basketball. Allison, a sophomore, is averaging 4.9 ppg in 17 minutes. Stuart Rankin
would be proud.
Jake in Philly, you are this week's winner of one (1) bright orange stuffed Bally
, the official mascot of this here website. Write back in using the form
with your mailing address, and use the same e-mail addy you used last week during your original submission. Those trying to unlawfully wrangle a free Bally out of us will find their mailbox mysteriously stuffed with sexy sexy catalogs in 4-6 weeks. Try to get yourself off that
mailing list, Chester Cheater.U'useful Stat of the Day
The first time we tried this stat-of-the-day thing, we'd have guest stats from coaches, broadcasters, sports information directors, even a player or two. That's the kind of fun we're looking for, and it saves us time thinking up stuff, which is always helpful.
Today's U'uSOD comes from Eric "Rainman" Moyer from the Atlantic Sun office. They call him that because he makes it rain... stats on journalists.
I spent the day going through all the Division I stats and found that Campbell's Jonathan Rodriguez and Santa Clara's John Bryant are the only two players in the country to have at least tied for the team lead in both scoring and rebounding in every team game this season. Rodriguez has led by himself in every game while Bryant shared the scoring lead in one game (11/17 vs UAB with Perry Petty).
Indeed, Bryant (recovering
from a summer stabbing) has opened his senior season with seven straight team leadership doubles for the WCC's Broncos, and reigning A-Sun MMBOY
Rodriguez has done the same five times in a row for the Fighting Camels. They are both good at basketball.
But both have missed double-doubles twice. In Campbell's first two games, Rodriguez led the team in both stats but nabbed seven boards vs. Chowan and eight against UNC Asheville. The Camels didn't really need the boards -- they scored 79 and 94 in those games, both wins. The two of eight times Bryant has failed to hit 10 rebounds, against Florida Atlantic (seven) and Arizona (eight), Santa Clara has lost games in the sixties.Relativity
This time around, we're looking at two sprawling eastern seaboard conferences that have abruptly reversed fortunes in the past two years. In 2006, the Colonial Athletic Association was tearing up both national postseasons and sending a green-and-yellow team to the Final Four, while the Atlantic 14 was still struggling under the weight of its recent expansion, trying to figure out where the Nineties magic went. In 2005, a conference that once regularly sent four or five had as many teams Dancing as did the MEAC.
Things have changed. The CAA is squarely back in one-bid land, while the Big A shifted back up to three in 2008. This season, teams like Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island and Temple have been in the news, beating power-conference teams and generating a lot of buzz for a (re-)breakthrough four- or five-bid season. The Colonial has been largely invisible in the conversation, and its fans aren't even showing up
at my ESPN chats anymore.
But head-to-head, the CAA has performed extraordinarily well against the A-14, compiling a 5-2 mark against the league too cool for BracketBusters. Aside from two Rhode Island wins over VCU and Northeastern, Old Dominion is 2-0 (Charlotte and Richmond); Delaware, James Madison and Hofstra have also picked up wins against the other league's dregs.That's not what folks remember, however. The real difference between these two conferences has been how they perform against the big boys. The CAA is 3-15 against the eight top leagues -- count Northeastern's early win over Providence as the only victory over the Big Six, and George Mason's Nov. 22 win over East Carolina and VCU's 12-pointer over New Mexico a week later. Otherwise, a lot of missed opportunities to earn respect. In 2006, it was a much different story
The A-14 is 11-22 against the Big Six and the two money leagues, and that .333 batting average is right around where it was last season. It's not the percentage, it's the eleven
. It's the perfect record (3-0) against the Big Ten, Xavier's wins over Memphis and Virginia Tech and Missouri and Auburn. It's about making the most of some of those opportunities, and that's something that the CAA just hasn't done this year.Hello, Bally Tuesday
Since people seem to like research projects, this week's Bally giveaway is gangsta-geek's dream. With conference play sprouting up everywhere, here's a question for you to answer. Name a team in a league below the Red Line that was swept over two games during the regular season by a regular season champion, then defeated that team in the league tourney (whether that was in an early round or the title game) and then
went on to the NCAA Tournament. There are a few teams that have done this that I can recall, and this will likely end up being a random draw or best-answer deal. You have until Friday, use the form
, good luck.