227 thoughts on “The Saga Continues”

  1. Interesting. Marcus Giles, Kelly Johnson, and Martin Prado have all been very good for us at second base, though it’s true that none of them were very good for very long. Still, while the position has historically been barren, in the past decade — basically, ever since Glenn Hubbard has been teaching good hitters how to field the position — I’d say it’s been a strength, not a weakness.

    Also, as I said in a comment over at ESPN, it’s true that no single Braves second baseman may have accrued 20 WAR. However, since 2000, the Braves have gotten the third-most WAR out of second base, behind only the Phillies and Giants.

  2. Nice point AAR. It also makes emotional sense to me as I’ve never thought 2B to the black hole 1B has been over the decade (sans the year of “still a douche” and a few of Roachy’s second halves)

  3. Hey everybody, thanks again for the words, thoughts, and prayers. We’re going to lose power this afternoon as there aren’t enough power stations online to support demand. I need to find out if we’re going to have any role in the cleanup.

  4. SEC Final Four is a strong field. Hate to say it, but the Gaytors are looking strong, balanced and relaxed.
    ————–

    Looked up and saw Lincecum on the mound on MLB Channel. That’s when it kicked in for me – how much I love baseball and how close we are to another year.

  5. Prediction: Bench will be Hinske, Ross, Young, Mather,and Lucas. Young and Lucas are both being played like super-utility guys. Schafer’s still swinging and missing too much and showing little patience (8k in 38 PA). I’m really guessing on Mather, but the other options still have options. Giving Mather a month of regular season play to see if he can produce seems wise.

  6. 6—Always nice when the best four are the final four. VU’s run probably ends today, but at least we beat the teams we were supposed to beat. Looking forward to the big tourney and praying we make it into a bracket with Notre Dame as the 1 and BYU as the 2.

  7. @12,

    I am hoping the Vols get the 10 seed in that bracket. Funny you were hoping for the same bracket.

  8. One wonders why they don’t just play the tournament in Lexington, it’s not like it would make any difference in the stands and at least that’s a basketball facility.

  9. 18—Boy, you could really see the 3-games-in-3-days effect in VU’s second-half legs. Played hard, but they screwed the pooch by not wrapping up a bye in the regular season.

    Really looking forward to the next tournament.

  10. I hope just about zero. But given last year when we were “deep in pitching” and wound up scrambling in August, I wouldn’t bet against it, if he is dominating.

  11. Seems to me there are a lot of players who could do what Jimmer Fredette does, if only their teams would let them. He’s talented, but he also makes more bad plays than anybody.

  12. See, it just happened. The announcers are amazed that he could make a double-pump three with a hand in his face, and gloss over the fact that he dribbled out the clock and didn’t get the shot off in time.

  13. He’s taken some awful shots tonight. Sometimes trying to get calls, other times just looking bad. I think you’re underrating a bit how prolific he’s been, though.

    BYU is playing a terrible game. They don’t have size and they’re tired. They can’t compete with SDSU at all.

  14. Maybe, but it also occurs to me that taking 37 shots in a game is a coaching choice. I think he’s the Colt Brennan of college basketball.

  15. Sansho,

    Yeah, the guy takes 37 shots, and is obviously the go-to guy for the team. He is constantly double and triple-teamed by every defense. Yet he consistently manages to make a high percentage of his field goals, and still scores at a better pace than any other player on the country.

    So yeah… if you find me a player in any program, surround him with BYU’s (crap) supporting cast, tell him to take 30 shots a game, and have every other team triple-team him on every play, AND then he scores like Jimmer… then I’ll believe that Jimmer is not an amazing talent. I doubt that you can find me a player like that.

  16. 37 shots is absurd, no doubt (he could have broken 60 easily if he’d gone to the line at all). It was also partly the opposing coach’s choice. He wasn’t being double teamed much at all, so letting him take shots was a decent approach. They’re sorely missing an inside presence at this point and he’s trying to do too much.

    Fredette’s played against better competition than Brennan, but I understand your take.

  17. Also, regarding the double-pump three… No offense, but I don’t think you’ve every played basketball before, or you would realize how hard it is to get off a shot that lands within 10 feet of the basket in that situation.

  18. Well, first, nobody is triple-teamed until they take the ball into the lane, and at that point a lot of players are. And teams run a second guy at him fairly often, but that’s just a common trap defense. I’m not saying he’s no good, just somewhat overrated. Sue me, I like to watch basketball, not one-man-bands.

  19. @29 Yes, but he’d dribbled off the last nine seconds of the clock first, and the shot didn’t count as a result. Who cares what it looked like? You’re right that it’s difficult for one player to do so much, which is why most teams don’t employ that tactic.

  20. I’m probably overstating my case — I’d just like announcers to mention that he tries to do too much, for whatever reason.

  21. Gotta admit that I’m ready for baseball to start and for natural & nuclear disasters to be over.

  22. Ah, Smitty – jealousy is such an ugly trait in a man.

    Kinda like UT Orange is an ugly color in a palette.

    With Lamb out, Gaytors by 20.

  23. The VU-Florida game was so frustrating. Maybe, I am being a homer, but I do not understand how they are that much better to beat us 3 out of 3.

    Also, regarding small flashlights, I don’t have one but I can see how they would be quite useful.

  24. Back in the Toy Dept.

    Kinda hard to get worked up about too much with all this tragedy/disaster going on, but I’ll take a minute’s diversion.

    In a season full of coughed-up games, Georgia’s loss was certainly its worst. I couldn’t watch it—ESPN3 wouldn’t load on my office PC & channelsurfing.net’s been shut down—so Gametracker didn’t do much for context. But you can’t score just 10 points in the last 11 minutes (incl. OT). We’ll see if the expanded tourney field does us any favors today.

    Re: UF
    As much as I hate to say it, the difference between Florida & the rest of the league is that they play with the most composure & confidence down the stretch. They definitely have talent, but it’s their poise that puts them over.

    They have several offensive options & they get a lotta offensive rebounds when they miss. They’ve got a couple bad FT shooters, which could ultimately spell their doom, but they deserve to be where they are. It’s hard not to be impressed with the way they play.

    BTW, caught a helluva Lucinda Williams show Friday night. New band, maybe a little more jammy than I like, but some of the new arrangements really worked, and the new material from “Blessed” was terrific. As always, her voice raised some hairs.

  25. You should be, but your school shoulda played some tougher games in December, too. You can’t be losing to St. Peter’s & Seton Hall.

  26. UNC getting the snot beaten out of them. Not the best day I’ve ever had as a Tar Heel fan.

  27. Some people pick brackets with their head. Some pick with their heart. I pick with that deep pit in my stomach that tells me that Duke will probably win.

  28. There are a number of scenarios where teams that couldn’t beat Auburn or LSU get in before UGA and Bama. If that happens, it will be a travesty.

    I’d love to see UGA as a 12 seed – they’d take some 5-seed’s spot and be sitting pretty.

  29. DOB’s Twitter: Chipper Jones is 12-for-33 (.364) with 4 doubles, team-high 2 homers, team-high 8 RBI.

    He’s going to have 300 at bats before spring training is over. He had 42 at bats all last spring training. I know he wants to show people that he’s healthy, but can we save some of these for the regular season ?

  30. 37—VU was hosed in Gainesville, back before this UF team really hit its stride, but at this point, they’re just too balanced offensively for a team with two starting guards who can’t guard to be able to defend against. Clearly the worst match-up in the conference for VU, in my opinion.

  31. If UGA doesn’t make it, I’m going to give Fox a break and blame it on a lucky 28-footer by Erving Walker.

  32. @46,

    I think the Gators are one of the toughest teams to defend in the country. If they shot better from the perimeter, they would be a real tough out.

    Bama and UGA fans have to be pulling for Ohio State righ now, right?

  33. If they shot better from the perimeter, they would be a real tough out.

    I think they’re a pretty darn tough out, as it is.

  34. .35% isn’t bad at all for a team. I really think their inside game is awesome and hitting some more threes would really open up the inside game to total domination inside.

    They were seventh in the SEC in threes made.

    They have gotten a lot better as the season went on (not that they were ever bad).

  35. The Erving Walker shot & the bogus UT putback helped create UGA’s situation, as did spitting up double-digit leads to Vandy, UF & Bama.

    UF’s Parsons & Boynton couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn today. But they’re gonna be a pain for anybody to play this week. Those guys hit a ton of big shots this year.

    And, yeah, Bama & UGA gotta be rooting for Ohio State.

  36. 50—The last point is key. They didn’t show up today, but they look to me like a talented team that’s peaking at exactly the right time.

    As for Bama and UGA, whatever their fate is — I’m hoping they both get in the field — it’s already been sealed. PSU is a lock.

  37. What sucks for UGA and Bama it that they are going to get overlooked for Va Tech because of the ACC thing. Every year Tech is on the bubble and every year they refuse to play anyone out of conference.

    I think both the Dawgs and Bama should be in, but I have a feeling that one will be left out.

  38. Lunardi’s Latest…

    ON THE BUBBLE

    Last Four In
    Saint Mary’s
    Clemson
    Virginia Tech
    USC

    First Four Out
    Alabama
    Georgia
    Boston College
    UAB

    Next Out
    Harvard
    Missouri State
    VCU

  39. ESPN said Lunardi is like 97% over like 10 years. I have no clue if that is true or not do i care. I think he is a tool

  40. Could anyone tell me what the deal is with the tv schedule and who will be announcing the games on PTV. Thanks.

  41. What is the benefit of getting the number one overall seed exactly? Ohio State by far has the most difficult path, same as Kansas the year before.

  42. Not that this *really* matters, but Georgia played UAB and Bama this season. Swept by the Tide, but beat UAB.

  43. I don’t hate VU’s (5-seed) draw, but I’d much rather have St. John’s (6-seed) draw.

  44. A St. John’s/Florida SE regional semi could be very entertaining. That regional isn’t that scary, though. The East is ridiculous.

  45. I was hoping to somehow get a BYU/Wisc matchup. Alma mater against current school and employer would have plenty of personal interest. Plus I would like to see if Jimmer could outscore them.

    Florida’s a relatively weak 2, and BYU as currently constituted is a weak 3. Pretty good draw for St. John’s…

  46. If someone can explain the logic here, I’d love to hear it –

    I started by asking if it was because he sees Heyward more as a run-producer/RBI man than a top-of-the-order hitter (since I already know why he’s not hitting him third; Gonzalez has made it clear that’s Chipper’s spot long as he’s healthy and productive).

    So, I said, is it because Heyward is a run-producer?

    “That’s the reason – I think he is a run-producer,” he said. “And I think it will give McLouth an opportunity to see some pitches, so he can get going. It’s a good spot for him.

    “I think it works better. Because if you don’t put McLouth second, where do you put him? Sixth? Seventh? And I think, though we don’t have a prototypical leadoff guy, the way the club responded last year to Prado’s move to first, why not? He does OK up there.

    “I think it works for all parties. First of all, for the team — it’s a better lineup. Then for McLouth, for Heyward.”

    This is just willfully…well I am going to say suboptimal but I am thinking of a different word.

    “He’s a run-producer”. Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ.

  47. I think Florida’s in great shape. They’re in the injury part of the bracket, where BYU is the #2; if they get through the first weekend they should have a pretty easy Sweet 16 matchup.

  48. Could anyone tell me what the deal is with the tv schedule and who will be announcing the games on PTV. Thanks

  49. 78 — Normally you wouldn’t think so, but maybe Heyward will steal a million bases in the 6 spot. He better get the green light.

    AAG’s going to hit into a lot of DPs.

  50. Mark Bradley’s national title pick of Ohio State over Florida looks…actually pretty smart, IMO. His upset pick of Georgia over North Carolina is significantly less so.

  51. How the hell can Florida be a 2 if Kentucky is a 4? Their records are separated by one game and the Cats spanked the Gaytors twice in two weeks.

    What’s the point of playing in the SEC Tournament? They obviously quit work yesterday.

  52. Ethan, what’s even more odd is the committee obviously thought K-State was good, giving them a 5 seed, but gave CU no credit for beating them three times. My opinion is that the Big 12 didn’t exactly go out of its way to voice support for CU and the Pac 10 couldn’t/didn’t do much to help either. I’m not sure they had much support from ‘the committee’, which as you can imagine doesn’t sit very well with many supporters of the program.

    What also sucks is when you’re have tickets and are going to Chicago (rumored to be the region where CU was going) to watch the Friday and Sunday games and there is nobody that I want to see play in those games.

  53. My opinion is that the Big 12 didn’t exactly go out of its way to voice support for CU and the Pac 10 couldn’t/didn’t do much to help either

    I think the Big 12, as an entire conference, got little committee support. Arguably, Kansas is the only team that didn’t get under-seeded. Texas a 4? Mizzou an 11? Pretty bad, IMO.

    How the hell can Florida be a 2 if Kentucky is a 4?

    UF was 3 games better in the SEC standings and 13-3 (!) against the tournament field. I think they got that one right, honestly.

  54. Remember when Florida lost to the Jacksonville Dolphins at home? THIS season? Hee.

    No issue here with Florida being seeded over Kentucky; they got their stuff together for the entirety of SEC play. That said, Kentucky was a lot better than their record and are coming on at just the right time. They’ll be a LOAD in the East.

    And yeah, the Big 12 got slapped around serious by the committee.

    @87: The committee always seems to oscillate wildly about the importance of conference tournaments.

  55. Then again, it hasn’t always been clear what a viewer of a conference tournament is looking at. The varying degrees of commitment can be difficult to gauge.

  56. Chipper on Wilkin Ramirez…

    “He’s got some juice, man,” said Jones. “He’s been one of the guys that’s really impressed me this spring. A lot of people said that he was Pedro Cerrano [a fictional power hitter in the movie Major League], that he could hit the fastball but not necessarily the breaking ball. But he hit a slider out dead-central [to center field] today.

    “I’d say he’s got as much pop as anybody in camp.”

    Jones said maybe Ramirez has figured something out when it comes to hitting breaking balls. All the veteran third baseman knows is that the young Dominican has been impressive and has an intriguing combination of power and speed.

    “He can fly,” Jones said. “I don’t know how the roster is going to sit, but he’d be a nice piece.”

  57. Stu,

    I agree with you on Texas; they are a lot better than I think people give them credit for. Mizzou has been awful lately though. I’m holding out hope, but we’re limping into the tourney in the worst way.

    I hate KU, but they should’ve been the #1 overall seed over Ohio State. Alabama got screwed too. The Pac-10 is awful; can’t believe USC made it.

  58. Lol! I was just trying to get a rise out of you guys. I haven’t heard anything about the PTV broadcasts and was just wondering what was going on.

  59. Chip is doing them, I believe.

    FYI did you know the first Atlanta Braves television color commentator was Dizzy Dean?

  60. 75 – Gonna be flying during the Badgers game Thursday night. Thus: probably will miss their lastgame of the year. At this point I do think Jimmer could outscore the whole team. I think a few players could outscore them right now.

  61. UNC, methinks, loses in the second round. We’re tired right now and, based on all the games in the ACC tourney, we like to spot teams 15 point leads.

  62. The Vols have it set up they way they have planned all year. Bruce wanted to impress the world then go in the tank so we could play our tough games early in the tournament. After we beat Duke, it should be easy sailing to the final four where we will match up well against UAB. A UT-Belmont championship game will be fun to watch.

    Sigh, when does baseball start again?

  63. chris,

    I feel the Heels will sneak by LIU and the Washington/UGa winner, but Syracuse in the Sweet 16 will end the heels’ run. UNC can’t consistently hit the 3, and that zone will frustrate the Heels’ interior game.

  64. @103:

    “we like to spot teams 15 point leads.”

    And Georgia likes to build them. Only to lose them.

  65. @96,
    Was at the game yesterday- Ramirez’s homer was a shot. He looked good all weekend.

    Other spring training thoughts:
    – I think they really want Schafer to be the back up. He was the only guy we saw this weekend that played an entire game, and he did it twice (Friday and Saturday).

    – Pitching looked great except for Proctor.

    -Is Andres Galarraga working for the team in some capacity? He was there Saturday and Sunday in a uniform.

    – Chipper was on fire. Really fun to watch him turn on some balls.

  66. Looks like Johan Santana might be out for the season. O Perez back in the rotation? This will be fun.

  67. Although I suspect Ramirez is a training camp wonder, a CF who can hit a little bit would be really, really useful. If by some miracle Mclouth and his understudy were able to do so, boy I sure would like our chances.

  68. It’s funny how any offensive contribution at all from CF would be a significant upgrade for this team. Funny, ’cause that’s what we said coming into last year.

    Re: Hoops
    Any team with guards will give UGA trouble and both Washington & UNC have them. But, I’ll look forward to the 2nd round, just for fun.

    On the surface, the go-go Heels wouldn’t seem to be a great matchup for slow-slow Dogs. Perhaps Leslie could thrive a bit, but UGA’s guards just don’t play that game, and Fox certainly doesn’t want to get pulled into that kind of contest.

    If the Dogs’ guards don’t foul everything up & UGA doesn’t allow Zeller to get off too much (they’ll try to make UNC play more half-court, where he can be a problem), they can stay in a slower-tempo game.

    Of course, the game’s in Charlotte, handling Marshall in transition will be tough & you just hope Barnes doesn’t go crazy; but I think several things gotta go right for UGA, namely Thompkins & Leslie having big games. Getting one of those once-a-month Jeremy Price offensive efforts wouldn’t hurt either.

    I think UNC is one of the more interesting teams out there & could probably win 2 of the other regionals. This one may be too loaded, though.

    BTW, Syracuse is going to be trouble for anybody not sufficiently outfitted down low. But shooting-wise, they’re pretty streaky, too.

  69. It was a LOT of fun watching Bilas, Hubert Davis et all just RIPPING the Tournament selection committee.

    Now truth be told, I don’t pay enough attention to Colorado and Virginia Tech to make an informed decision, but it sounds like they royally screwed up with those teams.

    Where I can make an informed decision is with the SEC and I say this as a Georgia fan above all else, but Alabama got completely screwed.

    Yes, I’ve heard the argument about a weak non-conference schedule and yes, Anthony Grant should make sure and add a couple of harder games next time around – understand that.

    But I don’t see how you don’t factor in the following things above all else:

    1. Conference play – Bama had an excellent SEC record and a winning record vs. the East

    2. Head to head – as happy as I am that the Dawgs are in (and I do think we should be in, but we got a higher seed than we deserved) Alabama beat Georgia twice, head to head, in 7 days, and also beat Tennessee, a 14 loss team that had a strong December, but a weak February.

    3. How you’re playing down the stretch should matter more.

    Alabama completely outplayed Georgia and Tennessee down the stretch, That should matter more than December – because going into the Tournament, who is the team most likely to have a chance to win a round or two?

    My point is this – my Dawgs should be IN – we have the resume overall. But if we’re in, Bama HAS to be in and has to be a higher seed.

    My other confusion is over the seeding of Kentucky and Florida. People talk about Florida’s body of work – but again, head to head, Kentucky won twice and both wins were resounding – UK should have been a 3 seed, Florida a 4 seed.

    Bottomline – SEC should have had 6 teams in with Bama having been the 3rd of those that made it in.

  70. UNC had two tough games in a row and Duke was up for a revenge game after being womped by UNC last week. UNC may have been resting on laurels after winning regular season. Georgia’s bets hope is if Larry Drew II returns.

  71. VT got beat twice by my UVA team and has thug reputation. Throwing ball at dookie’s face did not help them. Losing bad to BC & Clemson in last 2 regular season games and haveing horrible OOC SOS hurt them

  72. @111:

    “1. Conference play – Bama had an excellent SEC record and a winning record vs. the East”

    Had Georgia played Bama’s SEC schedule, they would’ve gone 12-4 too. Maybe 13-3. Keep in mind the Dawgs went 5-1 against the West. Now double that, and add the wins against South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

    “2. Head to head – as happy as I am that the Dawgs are in (and I do think we should be in, but we got a higher seed than we deserved) Alabama beat Georgia twice, head to head, in 7 days, and also beat Tennessee, a 14 loss team that had a strong December, but a weak February.”

    The 2006 George Mason rule: The committee valued body of work over head-to-head. Georgia/Bama wasn’t a zero-sum game.

    “3. How you’re playing down the stretch should matter more.”

    Down the stretch, Bama lost at Ole Miss, were destroyed in Gainesville, and didn’t even bother showing up against Kentucky in the SEC semis. Not exactly a well-oiled machine here.

    Ultimately, though, Bama’s beef is with UAB and VCU. Not Georgia.

  73. @110: Isaiah Thomas and possibly Kendall Marshall will shred Georgia’s backcourt.

  74. D.N.,

    I think some of the Bama ire directed towards Georgia, fair or not, is because they directly can see that the Tide beat the Dawgs 2X in 7 days.

    And you are penalizing Bama for playing in the SEC West – but they went 5-3 vs. the SEC East. (adding in going 1-1 vs. the east in the tournament).

    Like I said, I think my Dawgs should be in – but there’s no reasonable way to argue that Bama shouldn’t also be in and a higher seed. I’m trying to wrap my head around why head to head shouldn’t matter?

  75. Bottomline – SEC should have had 6 teams in with Bama having been the 3rd of those that made it in.

    Agree with much of your argument, Alex, but this is just ridiculous.

  76. I’d have to put Vandy ahead of us, but Alabama was a better team than Tennesse or Georgia — as they showed on the court — during SEC play. The RPI is a joke.

  77. We’re arguing semantics – and since Vandy beat Bama head to head, then I will amend the order:

    1. UK
    2. UF
    3. Vandy
    4. Bama
    5. Georgia
    6. Tennessee

    And Georgia is ahead of Tennessee because we should have won the first meeting (that was the Refs who refused to call the Tennessee player crawling over Trey Tompkins back in a clip that’s been played a ton on ESPN) and a better record.

    But yeah, that should be the order, agree. But I would still put all 6 IN.

  78. Well, it’s obviously more important to put in eleven Big East teams. I am in favor of a rule that if you didn’t finish above .500 in conference play (including the tournament) you can pin your hopes on the NIT.

  79. I think finishing above .500 in Conference play should be an automatic qualifier vs. disqualifier – I can get behind that.

    And again, for those who criticize the rest of the SEC West, as an argument against Bama, Bama has a 5-3 record vs. the East and one of those “bad” west teams, Ole Miss, beat Kentucky.

  80. Bama beat Georgia in Tuscaloosa on Senior Day when Thompkins was playing on a hurt foot, and won in overtime on a neutral court when Georgia negated its own game-winning shot. Does this evidence entirely overrule Georgia playing better than Bama throughout the entire year? Not to me.

    On another note, think back to 2000. Cincy was in line for a solid #1 seed, but Kenyon Martin went down in the C-USA tourney. The committee immediately busted Cincy down to a #2. I dare say the same logic should’ve been used on Tennessee. This isn’t the same team that waxed Pitt. This is a bunch who have all but quit on the cheating oaf at the helm. Only thing keeping them afloat SEC record-wise was the lousy call in Athens and Kevin Stallings apparently owing Pearl money.

  81. Only think keeping them afloat SEC record-wise was the lousy call in Athens and Kevin Stallings apparently owing Pearl money.

    Sigh. I know. I know.

  82. I don’t have time to look it up, but I posted about 2 weeks ago that the SEC tournament means absolutely nothing to the selection committee unless the winner is a team that would not have been selected. Every year all the prognosticators talk about “bubble” teams and how if they just win a few games in the tournament they’re in. It never works that way. Georgia was selected before the tournament and Alabama was rejected before the tournament. I don’t have a problem with this, but I have a problem with all the “gurus” who try to tell us otherwise.

  83. D.N.,

    I can’t believe you have me spending so much time arguing AGAINST my own team.

    2-0 is 2-0. Yes, Trey had a hurt foot and yes, that same first game was in Tuscaloosa – but c’mon, then we should have come back & beat them in the re-match in Atlanta, with more Dawg fans in attendance and Trey was feeling 100%. Seriously, Georgia is a solid team that has an NCAA Tourney resume, no question.

    But Bama was better, hence, they were 2-0 against us and they should be in. The team with the weakest SEC argument is Tennessee.

  84. “But Bama was better”

    Season’s longer than two games. NIT-bound Georgia beat #1-seed Kentucky twice in 2004.

  85. D.N.,

    You’re right the season’s longer than 2 Games.

    Bama 12-4 conference record (only Florida was better at 13-3).

    I believe that covers the entire last 2 months of the season?

    When has going 12-4 in the Southeastern Conference EVER not gotten you into the dance?

  86. “When has going 12-4 in the Southeastern Conference EVER not gotten you into the dance?”

    When your division is that awful.

    Auburn and LSU were two of the worst major conference teams in America this year. Arkansas was bad enough to can the coach. Mississippi State was a train wreck. Ole Miss was at least just mediocre. And that’s it. Two games each against that slate.

    Also, not only is the season longer than two games, it’s longer than 16 games. Bama’s OOC disaster speaks for itself.

  87. Yeah, it says that the team hadn’t gelled yet, JaMychal Green was suspended for the most disastrous part of the season, and Andrew Steele was injured and unavailable. That happens. The NCAA is supposed to put more weight on the later parts of the season. They obviously take late injuries into account in seeding. They should be asking who the best 50 or so teams are now.

  88. Dennis Felton suspended Takais Brown early in the 06-07 campaign, and the Dawgs ended up dropping one to a mid-major. Ended up being what kept UGA out of the NCAAs. It happens.

    “They should be asking who the best 50 or so teams are now.”

    When given this opportunity, Bama lost to Ole Miss and were roundly smacked by Florida and Kentucky. Did you think the absolute non-competitive effort Bama gave Saturday afternoon was worthy of an NCAA bid?

  89. The message has been for the last several years, “Play tougher non conference games”

    Florida, Tennessee, Vandy, Kentucky and even Georgia (to a little lesser extent) all did that. The first four of those teams usually do go out and play big time programs or difficult mid-majors. Every year Virgina Tech is on the bubble and it is because they don’t play anyone.

    I still think Bama should have been in, but not over any of the other SEC teams that got in. The real issue is that they should have been in over VCU. So should have Colorado.

    I like the idea of below .500 teams in conference play no getting in.

    However, in the end it is about your season as a whole, and it should be.

    I have a feeling that Bama will be on the phone trying to line up some big time Big East teams to play next year and they should. They have a great young coach who knows what he is doing.

  90. “They have a great young coach who knows what he is doing.”

    Yep. Bama’s heading in the right direction regardless of the committee’s decision this year.

  91. @128

    Not really. Since we are counting injuries. Scottie Hopson was out for the Alabama game that went to OT. I think the Vols chances improve if Hopson plays. They win that game and they are the two seed in the east.

    I think the committee nailed Tennessee’s seed.

  92. 133—Takais Brown! Now, there’s a douche I’d forgotten about.

    Also, if we’re “counting injuries,” Vanderbilt finished the season with about 2 losses.

  93. 1. Alabama did not go out of its way to play a terrible nonconference schedule. When it was set up, they had no way of knowing that Seton Hall, Iowa, and Providence were about to go into the toilet.

    2. That being said, they should have won those games, and St. Peter’s though they wouldn’t have played them if they’d beaten Seton Hall or Iowa) even without Green.

    3. Losses to Purdue on the road and Oklahoma State in a “neutral court” game in Oklahoma City are permissible.

    4. They peaked a little too soon, but Alabama didn’t play much worse against Kentucky (in a virtual Kentucky home game, I still maintain they should just play in Lexington in what’s at least a real basketball facility) than Florida did. In fact, they lost by less.

    In a side note, what happened to Kentucky getting a #4 seed is what used to happen to Alabama all the time in the Wimp Sanderson years, when we’d be a tourney team already, win the conference tournament, and get criminally underseeded. The worst was in 1990 when we won the conference tournament and got shipped out as a #7 seed in the West, getting that Loyola Marymount team in the third round. If we’d pulled that off, the reward would have been that UNLV team in the regional final. That Alabama team had Robert Horry, Latrell Sprewell, and James Robinson, plus a number of good college players who didn’t make the NBA, and was far better than the #25 team in the country.

  94. When it was set up, they had no way of knowing that Seton Hall, Iowa, and Providence were about to go into the toilet.

    Well … this isn’t football. Schedules aren’t set that far in advance. A year, maybe two, if it’s a home-and-home deal. They pretty much knew who they were getting with those teams.

  95. Those were. Providence was part two of a home-and-home set up a couple of years ago, and Iowa and Seton Hall were in a tournament, again set up before last season.

  96. Right, and I don’t think any of those teams were any worse this year than they were expected to be two years ago. It’s not like, say, scheduling a 2010 football game against Stanford in 2006.

  97. I dunno, Stu. It seems to me that, roster volatility being what it is in college basketball, the possibility of year-to-year fluctuation in talent in would be greater than in college football, especially with middling majors (as opposed to mid-majors). But I have no idea whether that’s been truly borne out.

  98. Look, the one argument used against Bama – and it’s somewhat fair – is the December/Non-Conference schedule. Fine, I can accept that as the one big negative.

    But everything else – 12-4 vs. SEC (including 5-3 vs East) 3-0 vs. Dawgs/Vols and a much better record down the stretch.

    Not to mention that Bama’s defense was as good as anyone’s in most of their games.

    Again, I’m with Mac here…I simply don’t understand the logic as to why December is so much more important than January and February. The committee sends a message that the SEC season and tournament are meaningless? What kind of message does THAT send?

  99. Unless you schedule maybe Duke & Kansas, there’s really no guarantees, year to year, in college hoops. Who predicted that UNC would go in the tank in the 09-10 season?

    I think there’s more fluctuation in college hoops than anywhere.

    Look at Oklahoma. They go from Blake Griffin and a Final 4 team to firing Jeff Capel today. (I disagree with OU’s decision, stupid, but nonetheless…)

    Of course, there are teams like Georgia Tech which hangs onto Paul Hewitt about 4 years too long. But hey, every school does it differently.

  100. My point, Alex and sansho, is that nobody schedules Iowa, Providence, and Seton Hall in the past decade and reasonably expects that they’re scheduling a potential marquee win or “good” loss.

    Keep in mind that I still think Bama should’ve made the field — I just don’t find Mac’s argument that, “Hey, we didn’t know we weren’t creating a tough schedule!” particularly credible.

  101. But they weren’t supposed to be the toughest games on the schedule. Purdue and Oklahoma State were — and were. And if Alabama had beaten Seton Hall in the first round in the Virgin Islands, they would have played Xavier, and past that Old Dominion — two tournament teams. (Clemson was also in that tournament.) So the problem wasn’t the schedule, it’s that they sucked in December.

  102. As Mac points out, the biggest problem isn’t as much that Alabama played teams like Seton Hall, Iowa & Providence that turned out to be shaky, it’s that Alabama lost to those shaky teams.

    Truth be told—and I’d say this if it happened to UGA this year because it’s happened plenty of times before—if you’re on the bubble & you don’t get in, tough titty. Ultimately, it’s on you.

    I get worked up about football, but I can’t get too crazy about a system that now gives you 68 slots, even if I sincerely believe that teams like Bama & Colorado deserve to be in.

  103. @143:

    “Again, I’m with Mac here…I simply don’t understand the logic as to why December is so much more important than January and February. The committee sends a message that the SEC season and tournament are meaningless?”

    Think of it like this:

    Alabama’s Scale Of Goodness Reading, December: -20
    Alabama’s Scale Of Goodness Reading, January: +8
    Alabama’s Scale Of Goodness Reading, February: +8
    Alabama’s Scale Of Goodness Reading, March: +3
    Necessary Scale Of Goodness Reading For NCAA Tournament: +20

    December wasn’t necessarily more important than the rest of the months…it’s just that Bama didn’t do enough to compensate for how lousy it was then.

  104. Mac – @138 “In a side note, what happened to Kentucky getting a #4 seed is what used to happen to Alabama all the time in the Wimp Sanderson years, when we’d be a tourney team already, win the conference tournament, and get criminally underseeded.”

    Repeat after me – “The SEC tournament is irrellevant unless the tourney winner was not going to make it to the NCAA.”

    The whole idea of “playing your way in by winning a few games in the SEC tournament” has been around as long as the SEC tournament has been around, but it has never been a valid argument. I was almost convinced after hearing all the pundits that it may change this year, but it definitely did NOT.

  105. Not only did the cats get shafted at to the #4, they got the toughest 4 sedd possbile. Cuse, Ohio St., West Virgina and Carolina. The east is going to be wild.

  106. I know most are talking b’ball right now but I thought I’d throw this tidbit out there…
    I’ve talked a few times about Joe Mather’s splits. I had a bit of inside information from an STL Sportswriter that mentioned Mather was a lefty masher. After patiently waiting over 2 months, my buddy finally sent me some information.

    Basically, he crunched Mather’s splits for ’08 and ’10. He left out ’09 because of the wrist injury that Joe suffered during the end of the ’08 season. Here’s what the numbers looked like:
    204 plate appearances 54 hits 13 doubles 2 triples 8 hr and 16 bb

    A .303/.392/.593 line from his last 2 healthy years is pretty kickass against LHP. Let’s hope its for real…

  107. @ 150…

    yeah, the East is tough. I don’t like ‘Cuse all that much (it takes one good shooter to kill that zone), but WVU is a darkhorse and, now that i’ve had a day to deal with yesterday’s shellacing, UNC’s got the talent to win the East.

    But OSU is unreal when they play their game. I have them going to the NC game to get beat by Kansas.

  108. Mac, lots of teams sucked in December who made it to the dance. i guess some coaches will have to blow members of the selection committee…btw, have you SEEN Seth Greenberg’s daughters?

  109. #151 – ryan, I just cant get excited about Mather. I dont really pay attention to minor league splits for a 28yr old who cant stay healthy. He hit a HR today, but he’s looked worse than Schafer so far this ST. I dont think he excells defensively at any position either.

    Wilkin Ramirez and Matt Young look like better bench guys at this point over Mather/Schafer.

  110. #156
    Is Furman Bisher ghost-Tweeting?

    It’s certainly up there with 50 Cent’s latest earthquake-related Twit-fests.

  111. I don’t know why the committee never seems to pay attention to the SEC Tournament. It obviously pays attention to others. For instance, UConn went from a seven seed a week ago to a three seed by winning the Big East Tournament. And Penn State went from obviously out of the field (although, given the committee’s proclivities toward random at-large teams, I guess we don’t know that for an absolute fact), to in with their runner-up finish in the Big Ten Tournament. Yet the SEC Tournament never affects anything. I would say maybe they just assume Kentucky will win and so don’t pay attention, but if they were going to do that, you would think they would seed Kentucky like they had won the tournament already, which they obviously didn’t do.

  112. Someone once said that “human intelligence is limited but stupidity knows no bounds.” Not only was the tweet offensive, but she is confusing Japan with China (i.e.,”how they treat their own people.”) Another good quote: “better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are a fool than open it and remove all doubt.”

  113. FYI – for those of you who were not able to get into the other (cool kids) Bravesjournal fantasy baseball league, I have started another yahoo league, if anyone wants to join. Yahoo has started a “franchise” mode you can use, and I am looking to have it be a keeper league (though obviously, this 1st year everyone is starting from scratch). Draft is this Saturday, 8:30 pm Eastern time.
    League ID is 153411, PW is ‘braves’. 12 team, auction draft, 7 offense/7 pitching categories.
    I’ll probably open it to public Friday if it is not full by then…email me at mrfyde – at – yahoo!(no exclamation pt in the real address, of course) dot com if anybody has questions

  114. Mac,

    UNC losses:

    Vandy
    Minnesota
    Texas
    Illinois
    Duke (twice)
    Ga Tech (the only ‘bad’ loss imo)

  115. Ryan, I just checked out Mather’s splits since 2005 (you have to download the spreadsheets from minorleaguesplits.com) and while the split is real — he definitely hits lefties better than righties — it’s not huge.

    Here are the numbers from 2005-2010.
    Against LHP: 423 ABs, .271/.350/.485
    Against RHP: 1182 ABs, .257/.331/.450

    That discrepancy, 54 points of OPS, is about on par with the standard split for a right-handed batter. For example, in 2010, the average right-handed hitter had a .750 OPS against lefties and a .710 OPS against righties.

    However, I may be looking at different numbers than your friend was, or perhaps the minorleaguesplits numbers are incomplete. According to these numbers, in 2008 and 2010, he hit .294/.387/.491 in 177 ABs against lefties. So I might not be looking at a full dataset.

  116. I’m filling out my bracket, and I’m not sure how much weight to put on UF’s loss in the title game. Kentucky looked REALLY good, but Florida didn’t make shots and NEVER got to the free throw line.

    Ehh. I’ll probably just sick ’em in the Final Four because I’m always a big homer in this thing. :-(

  117. @165
    You might be right. I don’t know where he got his numbers.I looked at the spreadsheet you were referring to, and found Joe’s numbers, as to which you seem right about. I’ll ask his source.

  118. HBO has been running this thing on UNLV. It is great. I just watched it on demand and recommend it to all college basketball fans.

  119. Couldn’t bring myself to watch the “Fab Five”. Was it as self-serving as I suspected?

    Did they even mention the over $600,000 the Michigan booster gave them? (And that’s just what is documented.)

    Making Jalen Rose out to be a saint is a sign of the Apocalypse.

  120. I did not remember that Alejandro Pena was the winning pitcher in the 10th greatest game of all-time, at least according to MLB Network.

  121. 170 – I didn’t think so. Granted, Rose was an executive producer with Ray Jackson and Jimmie King serving as producers. But, I don’t they were painted as angels at all. Rose admitted to accepting money and the issues with Chris Webber were fairly depicted. I liked the documentary.

    UK as a four is bad, but it’s not as bad as Colorado being left out. Still, Cal loves to play the “Nobody Respects Us” card and now he has a legitimate reason to. The East bracket is beastly. UNC, Cuse, OSU and UK could all make the F4 IMO.

  122. I enjoyed HBO’s “UNLV” doc, but it felt kinda short. Another 30 minutes would’ve been nice to show the personalities of those pre-1990 teams.

    Re: Fab 5
    While it’s true that 3 of the players were involved in its production, I thought the “Fab 5” doc was pretty fair & did a good job of drawing the cultural lines of the day. Getting Chuck D & Ice Cube to appear were good moves because that team’s story certainly transcended basketball.

    If you weren’t crazy about that group, for whatever reasons, this story won’t change your opinion; if you loved them, it revels in their brief glory for you. The story’s 2 endings—Webber’s infamous TO & the later revelation of malfeasances—as we all know, were pretty bitter.

    While it doesn’t shy away from the shady Ed Martin story at all, it also shows the deep hypocrisies of college athletics. The money that everyone made off that group during its 2 years was pretty staggering.

    FWIW, I thought Jalen Rose came off as one of the more interesting characters in the doc—reflective, cringing occasionally at his youthful jerkiness, but also occasionally still full of himself.

    And how he projected his own abandonment issues about his father—former NBA star Jimmy Walker—onto Duke’s Grant Hill (another guy with a famous dad, Yale/NFL star Calvin Hill) was kinda fascinating. Hill got to live a privileged life with a loving family, while Rose grew up in a rather different environement.

    I generally detest ESPN for a lotta reasons, but I gotta say that some of its 30-for-30-type docs are terrific.

  123. @174,

    It’s going to be Minor, unless his arm falls off. However, at the end of April, if Minor is blowing and Beachy is lighting up AAA…

  124. Alex,
    I found out this morning that my buddy is not as big of a baseball nerd as I am. He calculated Mather’s walks into his slugging percentage. I think that’s probably where the numbers were off. However, his total ABs was 1 AB different from yours for the ’08 and ’10 seasons and he said his average was still the same. New slashline…
    .303/.392/.534
    Here are the numbers he provided for those 2 seasons:
    178 AB 54h 13 doubles 2 triples 8hr 26bb

    I have another email into him trying to find his source. I’m sure it’s someone in the Cardinal’s Organization.

  125. When Chipper goes down there’s probably a good chance we will trade Lowe for Young + cash and both Minor and Beachy will be starting.

  126. I’m kind of falling in love with Minor.

    You are quickly becoming one of my favorite Braves Journalers, Bethany.

  127. Pardon me while I rave:

    Really getting excited about this Braves club.. Almost seems like too much has gone right.

    Spring training doesn’t count, yada yada, but you’d sure rather they all looked good than bad. Every single one of us wanted to see Nate and Chipper bounce back and Freddie Freeman hold his own… and they all have. You had to hope that the Minor/Beachy competition would be one of those no-loser kinds of fights, and it sure looks that way.

    With the arms coming up, the arms coming back, knowing that now and in the near future we’ll have excess pitching to trade for more young talent. Kawakami/Lowe/Jurrjens/Medlen/Beachy.. if enough things go right, all of those guys will be cashed in for payroll relief, good young talent, or both.

    It’s a great time to be a Braves fan.

  128. To be honest, given the Phillies short term injury issues, the Braves could really take advantage with a strong start. A 9-14 April this year might not be so recoverable.

  129. Freeman seems to have fallen back to earth a little lately. He was 0-4 yesterday with 3 Ks and his batting avg has gone from the high 400s to around 300. Nothing to get too worked up about, but I think we can expect this for most of the year. Bottom line, a 260/310/410 clip is about as good as we can hope for. Aything above that will be gravy.

  130. 2 away with WSH and 4 with MIL before a 9 game home stand with 3 against a weakened PHI team. West coast swing at the end of the month is always tough, but at least it’s early while the weather is still nice and everyone is fresh.

    @187, 260/310/410 would be close to a disaster. Freeman’s mle for last season was .290/.340/.460. ZiPS likes him for .272 .333 .442. Anything under .750 and I don’t think you ought to start at 1B at the ML level

  131. Greetings from Nashville, where I’ve just been told 3 times that Mizzou’s victory over Vandy earlier this year was lucky BS lol.

    Minor will win the job, but Beachy is a great insurance policy. JJ really can’t be trusted to stay healthy and Hudson/Lowe are getting up there. I’d be happily shocked if Beachy isn’t starting at some point this year.

    Also, don’t forget Medlen. I think he could make an impact in the bullpen in August/September…especially if Fredi follows the Bobby blueprint of burning out his top guys.

  132. Greetings from Nashville, where I’ve just been told 3 times that Mizzou’s victory over Vandy earlier this year was lucky BS lol.

    Ha!

    Ethan, if you wanna see coughTheNumberOneCollegeBaseballTeamInTheCountrycough, VU has home games today, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If it doesn’t interfere with your basketball-watching or other plans, I’d recommend Friday’s game, which will feature Sonny Gray.

  133. I’d love to, but I fly back Friday afternoon. If I can make it out of the office in time today though, I might try to take in the Purdue game.

    Actually almost stayed at the Vanderbilt Marriott, but ended up at the downtown one.

  134. I went to the game yesterday and had a good time despite the lack of offense on both sides. Minor and Chipper looked great but Freeman took some REALLY ugly swings. I hope that’s not what I have to watch all season. Excited for baseball and a move to Miami!

  135. @196, I don’t think he used a spreadsheet for this. He mentions the B-R play index, which means he probably just ran a search for each position and took the middle guy for the median. In B-R, if you select a bunch of rows, it gives you the mean.

    It’s not that simple because OPS+ at B-R uses a not-simple park adjustment.

  136. @200, Right, but I think I could use the already-calculated OPS+/OPS part, filter by >100ABs per position or whatever determinant you like, and get close.

  137. Man I hope the Braves aren’t as dumb this year as they are in The Show. They just traded Freeman, who was leading in the ROTY vote, for Carlos Pena.

    I think I would die if it were real.

  138. @185 – Phillies have a pretty easy April schedule. If Braves are holding pace on May 1st then we’re in high cotton.

  139. @199, I’ll be in Miami with the lady next week to apartment hunt. I’m shooting for a May 1-15 move-in.

  140. I’ve heard from a fairly reliable source that Pearl will be suspended for an additional 8 games by the NCAA next season and that is it. Not sure how definite that is or even if they could have decided that by now, but I believe my source. Smitty, have you heard anything?

  141. Keith Law went nuts on a podcast today about the insanity of hitting Heyward 6th…

  142. #209
    I heard a Met fan call WFAN the other day from Port St. Lucie & he said, “I’m a Daniel Murphy fan, so I don’t wanna admit yet that he can’t turn a double play, but he looks like a rusty gate out there.”

    Kiss-of-Death Dept.
    Stu,
    In an effort to go with a bracket that nobody else would pick, I took Vandy to win it all, beating OSU in the final & Florida in the Semi. (One out of 4, ain’t bad, right?)

    In reality, I like Florida better & wouldn’t be suprised if Vandy lost to Louisville, but I gotta root for the league & pick something a little crazy, but not exactly impossible.

  143. One can dream.

    #210
    Entertaining, but Law’s obviously not playing attention to the spring numbers. He says McLouth is having “an awful spring” and that we should just play Schafer in CF.

    Not that it’s keeping me up nights (and I’ll admit that I don’t pay that much attention to spring stats either), but for accuracy’s sake: McLouth is mashing (and walking) right now. In 34 PAs, he’s 346/528/538.

  144. And to think the Mets’ new organizing principle was to be “MoneyBall with Money”.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!

  145. @208,

    I don’t think that it’s to the point yet where the NCAA would have any kind of punishment lined up. I think that 8 more games would be a near-miracle result for Pearl at this point. From what I’ve read, he has just as much to worry about with UT’s board (not necessarily the AD) as he does with the NCAA.

  146. @206, Sounds like fun! God knows I’ll need a breather after dealing with realtors all day.

  147. Would anyone else join me in panicing over Jason Heyward’s inability to stay in the lineup?
    DOOOOOMED.

  148. @208,

    There are lots of things flying around about Pearl, but Dusty is right. The NCAA won’t release anything until probably July. that doesn’t mean Tennessee won’t know his fate before then (the NCAA usually works behind the picture with the schools on this stuff)

    Really, the big issue here has become the “bump” thing that happened after his teary press conference. That has pissed a lot of people off. Of course, Pearl has really been stupid in all of this. None of the issues were that big of a deal and would have been minor violations, until he wasn’t truthful in his first interview.

    Had the “bump” issue not happened, UT would have stuck with Pearl. No doubt. Now I say it is 60-40 he stays. If they let him go, it will be soon. Probably right after the Final Four.

    If Pearl is still the coach in July. UT is probably going to stick with him.

  149. Also, if I had to bet. I say Pearl is out at least half of the season, that is at the low end. He will probably get a show cause in his file, which doesn’t mean UT will have to let him go.

    If he gets popped for more than a year, Tennessee will have to let him go.

  150. @205,

    Rob,

    I don’t know how familiar you are with Miami, but be afraid, be very afraid, of the drivers and be very careful. I haven’t lived there in 25 years but I was back couple of years ago and it’s even more congested and dangerous than it was when I lived there (when people were shooting each other on the roads). Drivers are nuts there; old people who can’t see and macho kids trying to show how tough they are on the road. I’d rather drive in New York than in Miami.

    Good luck; it’s an interesting city (and now they have sports which they didn’t when I lived there).

  151. @223, this season would be a great time for Nate to add a data point to the “regression to the mean” data set. ZiPS likes him to return to his career average. It would be a big help.

  152. @224 – It’s hard to imagine nate could be worse this year than he was in ’10, so I imagine we’ll see some positive regression this year.

  153. @ 222

    Rob

    For work reasons, I’m currently living in Bogota – Colombia. If you think drivers in Miami are nuts, then you need to spend a day in beautiful Bogota. Nice city, nice weather all year, absolutely and completely batsh*t crazy drivers. I mean, they prefer to crash their cars instead of using the brakes. It’s unbelievable the level of insanity of the people here once the get into a car. And I’m not talking about macho kids, taxi drivers, etc… I’m talking about old ladies in their BMW and their Mercedes, crashing their cars because they don’t want you to change your lane. I would kill for the chance to live in Miami and deal with their macho kids and old people….

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