Blogging the Bloggers: Falling dancers, Nets fans, Pete Carroll and more

– DEADSPIN profiles the possible new owner of the Golden State Warriors, billionaire Larry Ellison.

– GUYISM has the story of how Nets CEO Brett Yormark yelled at a Nets fan who was wearing a bag on his head.

– BIG LEAGUE SCREW discusses Pete Carroll’s explanation of the Charlie Whitehurst acquisition.

– CAN’T STOP THE BLEEDING makes an argument for increased use (and definition) of the term “mid-major.”

– THAT NBA LOTTERY PICK has video of a New York Knicks dancer failing at her job/hobby.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

What exactly is a mid-major?

After the 2010 NCAA Tournament bracket was released, there were some that complained about how the committee paired too many mid-majors against each other in the first round.

There are 15 non-BCS schools on seed lines 5-12 in this bracket. Eight of them are playing each other. Thanks, NCAA. Just what the fans want.

If eight are playing each other, there are seven teams that are playing BCS schools. As Larry Brown Sports somewhat correctly points out, part of the reason there are four mid-major/mid-major matchups is because there were several mid-majors that had very good seasons and were rewarded with high seeds:

Moreover, if you’re rewarding the smaller-schools for having good seasons, then you have to give them a high seed, and they will accordingly be matched up with another small school. That’s what happened with New Mexico, Temple, Butler, and Xavier. Drop those teams down in seeding and then you’re really being unfair, but at least you get a mid-major against a BCS school, right? Pointing out the few mid-major vs. mid-major matchups also ignores the several other cases where mid-majors play BCS schools in the first round. So Gonzaga playing Florida State, Xavier getting Minnesota, Notre Dame drawing Old Dominion, BYU getting Florida, Houston drawing Maryland, and San Diego State having a chance to upset Tennessee means nothing?

That’s true to a point, but it’s also about where the BCS schools are seeded. No teams from power conferences are seeded #12, two (Minnesota, Washington) are seeded #11 and are playing one mid-major (Xavier) and one BCS school (Marquette), and three (Missouri, Florida and Georgia Tech) are seeded #10 and are playing two BCS schools (Clemson, Oklahoma St.) and one mid-major (BYU).

Basically, if you’re mid-major was good enough to get a #5 seed (Butler and Temple) you’re going to get a matchup with a mid-major or small school #12 seed (UTEP and Cornell) that the committee doesn’t deem as strong as teams like Minnesota, Washington, Missouri, Florida or Georgia Tech. If you’re Butler or Temple, do you want to play one of those teams in the first round? My guess is that the Bulldogs and the Owls are relatively happy with their matchups (UTEP and Cornell, respectively).

You may have noticed that I differentiated between a team like UTEP and a team like Cornell. All non-BCS conferences are not the same. The term “mid-major” is somewhat ambiguous and quite fluid. I would define a mid-major conference as one that would get one non-automatic bid in the NCAA tournament during a good season (i.e. a non-BCS conference that often gets 2+ bids counting the conference’s automatic bid). Obviously, other factors like program funding, conference-wide attendance and conference revenue could also be considered.

The “mid-major” wiki page lists the following conferences as mid-majors:

* Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10)
* Big West Conference (BWC)
* Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
* Conference USA (C-USA)
* Horizon League
* Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)
* Mid-American Conference (MAC)
* Missouri Valley Conference (MVC)
* Mountain West Conference (MWC)
* Ohio Valley Conference (OVC)
* West Coast Conference (WCC)
* Western Athletic Conference (WAC)

A quick look at Jeff Sagarin’s college basketball ratings shows that these 12 conferences occupy spots #7 through #16, with the Big West ranked #18 and the Ohio Valley ranked #22.

My point is that all non-BCS schools aren’t built the same. There are two other groups — mid-majors and small schools — that make up the rest of the conferences and it’s somewhat fluid between the two. So if Cornell upsets Temple, it wouldn’t be one mid-major knocking off the other, it would be a small school (from the Ivy League) knocking off a mid-major power.

Five things that need to change about college basketball

Despite the rather lackluster 2009 NCAA tournament, March Madness is – historically speaking – the most exciting sporting event in the country. Still, as I watched the games this year, I noticed that a few things need changing. Here are my top five gripes about college basketball:

1. No more one-and-dones.
I understand why the NBA wants an age limit, but the one-year-out-of-high-school rule is hurting the college game. Amongst the major programs, there is little continuity season to season and it has thrown blue-chip recruiting on its head. Some of the best coaches in the college ranks are reluctant to recruit the top players because they know they’re just going to have a hole to fill the following summer.

Players should be able to declare for the draft directly out of high school. But if they decide to enroll in college, they must stay a minimum of two seasons. Typically, high schoolers that are good enough to be drafted are good enough to stick in the league. If a high schooler enters the draft (but doesn’t hire an agent), he can always pull out and enroll in school if it doesn’t look like he’s going to be drafted in the first round. This is the same rule that college players have to follow. (And yes, I realize that this is the NBA’s fault, but it’s still a problem for college basketball.)

Roy, back up three feet. Your guys will be able to hear you just fine.

2. Get the coaches off the court.
One thing that drives me nuts about college basketball is the leeway that the officials give head coaches. They’re allowed to stomp around the sidelines like petulant children, throwing hissy fits anytime a call doesn’t go their way. Okay, so maybe the refs are instructed to give the coaches some slack on the proverbial leash, but that doesn’t mean that head coaches should be running onto the court to shout instructions to their teams. It seems like every game there is a near-collision between an official running downcourt and a head coach that is stepping on the sideline (or is on the court all together). I’d like to see the official call an automatic technical if he sees the coach step on the sideline – that would clean this up really quickly.

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2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Already Knew

While every year has its own host of surprises, there are always those stories that simply fit the trend. Sure, it can get repetitive, but if we don’t look back at history aren’t we only doomed to repeat it? Every year has its fair share of stories that fell into this category, and 2008 was no different.

Our list of things we already knew this year includes the BCS’ continued suckiness (Texas-Oklahoma), how teamwork wins championships (KG, Pierce and Ray-Ray), and the #1 rule for carrying a handgun into a nightclub – don’t use your sweatpants as a holster. (Come on, Plax. Really? Sweatpants?)

Don’t miss the other two parts of our 2008 Year-End Sports Review: “What We Learned” and “What We Think Might Happen.”

Brett Favre can’t make up his mind.

The biggest story of the summer was all the drama surrounding Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. This saga has been covered to death, but there’s one detail that never seemed to get that much play. At the start, it looked like the Packers were making a bad decision by moving on so quickly even when Favre decided he wanted to return. But when the news broke about Favre’s near-unretirement in March, the Packers stance became much more clear. They were ready to take him back after the owners’ meetings, but he called it off at the last minute. At that point, the Packer brass was understandably finished with Brett Favre, much to the chagrin of a good portion of the Packer faithful. – John Paulsen

The Chicago Cubs’ title drought is not a fans-only phenomenon.

The 2008 Cubs were easily the best team the franchise has assembled in decades, but they still couldn’t win a single game in the playoffs, and the reason is simple: the pressure finally got to them. Sure, they said the right things to the press about how they didn’t care about what had happened in the past, but don’t believe a word of it; there wasn’t a single person in that dugout that wasn’t fantasizing about being part of the team that finally, mercifully, ended the longest title drought in sports history. Once ESPN picked them to win it all, however, they were doomed. Ryan Dempster walked seven batters in Game 1, which matched his total for the month of September. The entire infield, including the sure-handed Derrek Lee, committed errors in Game 2. Alfonso Soriano went 1-14 with four strikeouts in the leadoff spot, while the team as a whole drew six walks and struck out 24 times. The team with so much balance in the regular season suddenly became the most one-dimensional team in baseball; take Game 1 from them, then sit back and watch them choke. And now that this group has lost six straight playoff games (the team has lost nine straight dating back to 2003), it isn’t about to get any easier. Get a helmet, Cubs fans. – David Medsker

If you’re going to wear sweatpants to a nightclub, leave the gun at home.

If winning a Super Bowl is the pinnacle of an NFL player’s career, than shooting yourself with your own gun in a nightclub has to be rock bottom. Case in point: Plaxico Antonio Burress. Just 10 months after helping the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg while at a nightclub. Apparently the (unregistered) gun was slipping down his leg and when he tried to grab it to keep it from falling, the lucky bastard wound up pulling the trigger and shooting himself. And that wasn’t the worst of it because as Plaxico found out, New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. He was arrested, but posted bail of $100,000 and is scheduled to return to court on March 31, 2009. If convicted of carrying a weapon without a license, he faces up to three and a half years in jail. He shouldn’t expect special treatment, either. The mayor of New York wants to be sure that Burress is prosecuted just like any other resident of NYC. The Giants, meanwhile, placed him on their reserve/non-football injury list and effectively ended his season. While “Plax” definitely deserves “Boner of the Week” consideration for his stupidity, what’s sad is that in the wake of Washington Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor’s death, most NFL players feel the need to arm themselves when they go out. Maybe players can learn from not only Taylor’s death, but also Burress’s accident so further incidents can be avoided. – Anthony Stalter


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