Arguments about Stuff and Nonsense
Speaking of nonsense, is the #1-rated (pro-style)QB in the nation coming to Indiana? I hope a solid string of O-Line recruits is also in the offing. Still, that's some great nonsense!
Another less-great nonsense thing I've seen floating around lately is that the US Women "choked" away the World Cup. I'm not sure that fits with my view of "choke" so much as a missed opportunity. Given the US WWC team barely got into the tourney at all, barely got past the first round, and never had more than a one-goal lead on the Japanese, it's hard to justify the term "choke" with this case. The US & the Japanese got hot at the right times, and while the US played better, the PKs just fell the other way. I think maybe the US team let expectations be set rather high when it comes to PKs due to their ice-veined finishes against Brazil. From a lifetime of watching (and occasionally playing) soccer, let me tell you that nothing other than PKs is a clearer distillation in sports of the metaphor "sometimes you eat th' b'ar, sometimes the b'ar eats you."
Anyway, at some point I hope to put together an Indiana men's soccer preview. I need motivation, tho, as family, summer reading, and job searches have kept me pretty busy.
Some college basketball stuff is happening, too. Bright young light Drew Cannon over Basketball Prospectus posted an interesting top 100 NCAA players list, and then was part of a wrap-up discussion with regulars Pelton & Gasaway and newbie Todd Dybas. This is on the heels of his "what to expect from freshmen" article from which I've been doing some number-crunching of my own - post upcoming! What I want to nitpick is his picks for all-conference, especially the Big Ten.
First team: Draymond Green, Robbie Hummel, Jared Sullinger, Jordan Taylor, Deshaun Thomas
Second: William Buford, Tim Hardaway, Trevor Mbakwe, John Shurna, Christian Watford
Third: Melsahn Basabe, Aaron Craft, Jordan Morgan, Brandon Paul, Brandon Wood
I think Green, Hummel, Sullinger, and Taylor are all smart picks. DeShaun Thomas I shake my head at a little bit - not that he doesn't have potential, but next season the ball goes first into Sullinger's hands in the paint. Thomas will get PT 'cause he can shoot the three, but he had a hard time carving out minutes last season when there wasn't another true 4 on the team, and now he'll have to compete with McDonald's All-American Amir Williams and talented transfer Evan Ravenel for minutes. I just think Thomas won't be featured as much as, say, William Buford, who I think should be on the first team.
The second team I have no problem with except for Indiana's own Christian Watford. Watford should benefit from Cody Zeller's presence and from hopefully being healthy, but I don't foresee his two-point shooting percentage or his block, steal, or offensive rebound rates rising enough to boost him to the top of the league. He should be a solid scorer for the Hoosiers next season, but top-ten? I'm dubious. I'd boost Basabe and probably the unmentioned Lewis Jackson onto the second team before Watford.
For the Third team I won't debate Brandon Wood (defensible, but wouldn't be my pick) but I will debate the inclusion of Jordan Morgan and Brandon Paul. I cannot see including Jordan Morgan over Ralph Sampson, Luka Mirkovic, and what would be my pick- Delvon Roe. Furthermore, Morgan can obviously rebound, but I'm pretty interested to see what kind of shooting numbers he can post without Morris breaking down the defense to feed him a diet of open lay-ups. And of starting centers, only the graduated Jarryd Cole & Andrew Jones had lower shot-block percentages than Morgan. Brandon Paul could be worthy of all-conference selection, I suppose, but it just seems unlikely. He's always been a gunner, and next season I expect his assists to go up, sure, but I also expect his turnovers to rise and his shooting percentage to fall. I would suspect a sophomore like Josh Gasser or true points like Tim Frazier or Bryce Cartwright would do better than Paul both statistically and in efficiency terms - even if their teams are less talented overall. And for that matter, Verdell Jones did better in my per-possession efficiency ranking than Paul last season, despite playing the bailout role and struggling through injuries.