Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Heels in Hawaii & other nonsense

While news is slow this time of year concerning college basketball, I noticed that the Maui Invitational schedule has been released and the Tarheels will face Brigham Young in the first round and play either Stanford or Tennessee in the next game. The good news is that Andy Katz back in July had the Heels ranked 2nd (after Wake Forest), Stanford ranked 25th and Tennessee ranked 40th (Brigham Young wasn't ranked).

The bad news is that Stanford is ranked 25th, Tennessee is ranked 40th and Brigham Young isn't ranked. And by that I mean the Heels should win these games but because early season rankings really don't amount to much, and early season losses do, UNC might face some tougher games than fans might expect -- don't forget, two seasons ago the Heels won the early-season MSG tournament by beating Kansas and Stanford. But I guess the lesson from that experience is that it's not how you start it's how you finish.

So what does all this mean? My guess is absolutely nothing. I've been looking for some Tarheels basketball news and it's currently not out there (or more accurately, I can't find it), so I thought I'd see what I could make of the always exciting release of the Maui Invitational schedule.

Changing gears, but on an equally boring note, I found this link via Collegeball that borrows from the baseball stats community a method for calculating "expected wins." If a team wins more than their "expected wins" they're considered lucky and if a team wins fewer than their "expected wins" they're considered unlucky. Anyway, my alma mater, William & Mary, using this formula, was considered a "lucky" team.

I think this is the only time in modern history that the William & Mary basketball team has been considered lucky (unless of course you count that one win way back in 1977 when they beat the eventual NCAA runners-up UNC Tarheels). Of course, this must be taken in context. The formula predicted that the Tribe would win a paltry 4.9 conference games in 2002-2003 (the data look back to the '02-03 season). But being the scrappy bunch that they are, William & Mary exceeded everyone's expectations and scraped out an amazing 7 conference games (while losing 11).

If I'm the recruiting coordinator for Tribe basketball, I might mention that they were one of the luckiest teams in all of college basketball. I mean, anything to get over the hump, right?