houksyndrome's picture



MEMBER SINCE   September 27, 2016

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Comment 08 Apr 2020

Minor correction:  Nunge didn't win Mr. Basketball but was runner up.

Went with Leslie, Mike G and Freeman.  Leslie vs. Gabe was tough.  Both were favorites of mine when they played but I've been siding with the big men so far so I went with Leslie this time to even it out.  

Comment 02 Apr 2020

Wow.  Your first game was '85 Michigan?  LOL.  Talk about starting at the pinnacle.  I forgot about that 2004 OSU game.  That was a favorite of mine too.  I had an obnoxious neighbor who was a huge Ohio State homer and never missed an opportunity to put down the Hawkeyes.  He was standing next to me in the stands that day and didn't have much to say.  Just stood there with his arms crossed and a pissed off look on his face for three hours.  That might be the most fun I've ever had while hanging out with him.

Comment 02 Apr 2020

I think Brunner will back Toussaint down and/or shoot over him.  On defense, he'll sag way off of JoeT and encourage enough jump shots to win.  

If Toussaint improves his outside shot, it will be different but, for now, I took Bru.

Comment 02 Apr 2020

That stupid Indiana game.  That was an early start, especially for me out on the West coast.  My poor roommates woke up to the sound of me screaming a blue streak at the television, punching things and drinking their alcohol.

They still make fun of me for it.

Comment 02 Apr 2020

FIRST:  ISU vs. Iowa in either 1999 or 2000 (probably 1999 because it was in Ames).  I don’t quite know how to say this but I was an ISU fan back then, so, I was, uh, rooting against Iowa that day.  Fast forward a couple years later to my freshman year at Iowa.  I saw my first game at Kinnick Stadium, against Miami Hydroxide, and my days as an ISU fan were over:

I think the 2001 Michigan game (that we lost) was when I really became a hard core fan.  Up to that point, I was still scarred by my previous ISU fandom (i.e. beat crappy teams but get absolutely annihilated whenever anybody good comes to town).  Iowa stood tall that day and went punch for punch with one of the "elites" that day.  I was in the very last row of Kinnick stadium, leaning against the brick wall.

LAST:  Holiday Bowl vs. USC.  Soooooo much fun.  My parents were in town for the game and we all went.  It was my wife’s first Hawkeye game.  I was ecstatic pretty much the entire time.  Ihmir Smith-Marsette and The Sneaks.

BEST:  Ooooh Boy.  Everyone in my college friend group always said the 2002 Purdue game.  That’s not the choice for me and it’s on account of the fact that I left at half time because I had passed out the night before while wearing contact lenses.  When I woke up we went straight to the stadium and I was still wearing the contacts and my eyes were just killing me (plus our pass defense was getting shredded).  So I went back to my dorm room and watched that insane second half on TV.  For me, the best is 2003 Michigan.  That is my quintessential Kinnick Stadium memory.  I didn’t think we could win that game beforehand, thought we were gonna get blown out during the first half and then, boom, magic.  2004 Wisconsin was also a fun one, made even more fun by the fact that one of my best friends missed that game by getting a public intox because he was making fun of a cop while walking into the stadium.  The cop warned him “I can make it so you can’t see the game” and Mike, just, laughed in his face.  Aw man, Mike was a legend.

WORST:  2002 ISU.  I took this loss hard.  So hard that I pretty much told the three friends who had come down from Ames to watch the game and party with me to piss off back to Ames.  The Rose Bowl sucked but: 1. I left in the second quarter (was getting blasted by the Sun, couldn’t see anything - field level seats behind an end zone is bad, btw, don’t buy those seats - and felt claustrophobic, like a Roman legionnaire at Cannae) and found this awesome little bar in Pasadena that I still go to whenever I’m in the area (Lucky Baldwins).  2. I got to see Christian McCaffrey put on probably the best individual athletic performance that I have ever witnessed in person.

Comment 26 Mar 2020

On the season, we outscored our opponents by about 0.12 points per possession when Garza was on the floor and 0.03 points per possession when Garza was on the bench.  I wonder what those numbers are like for Toppin.

Comment 26 Mar 2020

During the Ken Pomeroy era (2002-present), 29 teams have won a share of the Big Ten regular season title in Men's basketball.  Only one team, 2014 Michigan, did so with a defense that was outside of the top 65, nationally, in adjusted defensive efficiency.  That team was 89th nationally, on defense, and 3rd on offense.  That would be the only team with a statistical profile similar to ours (elite offense, leaky defense) to win the league.  There are only five teams (out of 29) that won the league without having a top 40 defense.  So we've got work to do on that end of the floor if we are to live up to the preseason rankings.

Comment 26 Mar 2020

A lot of big men get their shooting percentages inflated by being the recipient of easy "guard-generated" buckets (i.e. drive and dish, pick and roll, lobs etc.)  Seemed to me that Garza was getting his baskets by beating the opposing team's center one on one.  That plus the fact that the Big Ten was INSANE at center this season really makes me feel like Garza's season > Toppin's season.

Comment 26 Mar 2020

I have 504 tracked possessions in which Pemsl played and 1366 possessions on which he didn't play over the course of 27 games.  What do you think is an acceptable sample size for this? 

I don't have recordings for the other three games.  More data would be better but they only played thirty games this year because the tournaments got cancelled.

It's true that correlation =/= causation.  But that doesn't mean we should simply dismiss correlative data because it doesn't match our preconceived ideas about each player.  I happen to think that Pemsl is a good defensive player and the possession tracking data is consistent with that notion.

The main confounding factor that I can think of is that Pemsl was going up against the other team's bench players who weren't as good the starters.  That is certainly a possibility and I have no way of controlling for that.  However, I can tell you that I did the same possession tracking over the second half of last season and, in that cohort of games, our bench lineups gave up more PPP than our starters (and also scored more than our starters).  We will find out what the long term trends are regarding this in future seasons.

Comment 25 Mar 2020

No doubt that's part of it.  Bench players get inflated by my metric because they are going up against the other team's bench (or tired starters).  However, I did this tracking last year and found that our starting five gave up fewer points per possession than our bench lineups.  So it isn't universally true that bench lineups give up fewer points per possession than starting lineups.

Comment 10 Mar 2020

Obviously, this is an individual award.  But I like how Garza acknowledges his teammates and the program as essential for the success that he has had this year.  Those aren't hollow words either.  They are true.  One of the reasons why post offense is dying off is that it is hard to get the ball into the post if the defense is determined to take that away.  It requires a coordinated effort by all five players to feed Garza the ball.  Post entry passing is a (dying) skill and our guards are good at it.  It's not just the post entry pass itself either, it's seeing how the defense is playing and getting the ball to the person who is in position to make the post entry pass.  So this award reflects very well on our team and their ability to execute a game plan in the face of determined opposition.  

Garza's ability to stay active, even when he's drawing multiple defenders / being denied the ball is truly remarkable.  I can tell you from personal experience that when you are being defended in that manner, it is easy to become passive and simply say "OK, I'm being doubled/tripled, working hard to get the ball and score against this defense is futile/detrimental, my teammates had better score or we are going to lose".  Well, for us this season, that wasn't an option.  Fredrick missed time with injury, Wieskamp has been slumping, Toussaint/Connor/Evelyn/Pemsl provide value in other ways but they generally aren't going to carry the scoring load.  With the possible exception of Nebraska/Northwestern, we weren't going to beat any Big Ten teams this year without Garza scoring a lot of points.  His ability to maintain a successful mindset in the face of these challenges is inspiring.