Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tyler Hansbrough's Pro Potential

I wanted to get in a quick post after reading this great article from a favorite writer (John Hollinger) of mine on the pro potential of top college players. There will be more on the state rankings when I get back to Minneapolis. Below is the link to the article:

Below is his ranking of the top 20 rising major college basketball players (excluding freshmen) of 2007-2008 based on stats:

Player School Rate

  1. Chase Budinger Arizona 688.37
  2. Ty Lawson North Carolina 627.02
  3. Roy Hibbert Georgetown 615.39
  4. Ryan Anderson California 608.03
  5. Darrell Arthur Kansas 588.19
  6. Lawrence Hill Stanford 578.01
  7. Chris Lofton Tennessee 566.91
  8. Patrick Beverley Arkansas 546.71
  9. Darren Collison UCLA 545.07
  10. K.C. Rivers Clemson 540.85
  11. D.J. White Indiana 531.81
  12. Wayne Ellington North Carolina 530.73
  13. Jamont Gordon Mississippi St. 522.97
  14. Tyrese Rice Boston College 515.87
  15. Wayne Chism Tennessee 510.45
  16. Josh Heytvelt Gonzaga 510.31
  17. Tyler Hansbrough North Carolina 500.11
  18. Jodie Meeks Kentucky 494.64
  19. Luke Harangody Notre Dame 494.2
  20. Danny Green North Carolina 489.96

As you can see Tyler Hansbrough isn't one of the top 2 pro prospects on his own team. I have always said/wrote that Ty Lawson was a much better player than Hansbrough and the above rankings confirms that not only is Lawson a better pro prospect but so is Wayne Ellington. However, both Lawson and Ellington combined get about 1/10th the press than Psycho T gets. As a Duke fan I would much rather see UNC without Lawson than without Hansbrough. Anyway you slice and dice it, Tyler Hansbrough isn't a good basketball player and has very little pro potential. The media love him because he is white, plays for a good team, and is scrappy. In fact if you google (fans of should get this) Tyler Hansbrough and scrappy you get back 1320 hits in only 0.29 seconds. (Side note I googled Tyler Hansbrough is awful and got 7680 hits in only 0.28 seconds).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ranking of the 50 states

Sorry for the delay in between posts. First I was busy with work and preparing for my Christmas vacation. Now, I am relaxing and enjoying the vacation. Here are some quick hits before I get to the ranking of the states.
  • On my plane trip home I don't know what was more concerning: 1) Seeing one of the copilots yawn or 2) Seeing a guy in the bathroom pick up and talk on his phone while he was hmm occupied.

  • The Alumni basketball game that I was in training for went well. I made two 3s, a layup, and had a few assists for the team that ended up winning by 20.

  • The Vikings provided my brother-in-law with a great Christmas gift in rolling over for the now in control Redskins.

  • I finished 1st, 3rd, and 3rd in my three fantasy leagues. Now I am debating what to do with my winnings. The top 3 choices are half of a big screen tv, a Playstation 3, or saving most of it. The crazy thing was that I was a total of 6 points away from finishing 1st in all 3 of my leagues.

  • I finished Season 4 of 24 and thought that it was the best season I have seen. If I had to rate the seasons in order (I haven't seen all of 6 yet) this would be ranking from best to worst: Season 4, Season 1, Season 3, and Season 2.

  • I saw the movie Juno yesterday with some friends and can definitely recommend it to people who are interested in seeing a clever, low budget film. The only problem with it was that it got my friend to continually repeat "As far as (blank) goes she/he is totally boss." The lines in the movie are hilarious, so I guess I can't fault my friend for repeating it so much.

Anyway, on to the meat of the post. I have been discussing with my friends for awhile about a "ranking of the states" post. The original idea came from a discussion with one of my friends from North Dakota. I always like to comment on how North Dakota is kind of like the cold Mississippi and I have no clue why anyone would live there. It seems like there is nothing to do there, no jobs, no sports, and on top of that is freezing cold. If you are going to be in a cold state at least live in a city like Minneapolis where there are things to do, plenty of jobs, and a relatively nice sports scene.

If anybody needs a reason why they should live in Mississippi over North Dakota all one needs to do is check the weather at any given point. For instance I just checked and it is 20 degrees with a wind chill of 10 degrees in Bismarck, North Dakota. In Jackson, MS it is 50 degrees with a wind chill of 48 degrees. Now there isn't much to do, not many jobs, and no professional sports teams in Mississippi, but at least there is the fact that it is warm. With that being written here are 10 states worse off than North Dakota on my ranking of the 50 states.

*Ranking is based off subjective stats like people (2), vacation (1), weather (1), attractions (1/2), sports (1/2), and state's identity (1/2) and objective stats like jobs (1), intelligence (1/2), disposable income (2), and cost of living (2). The ranking is based on a 10 point scale with 10 points being the best and 1 point being the worst. The ranking is then multiplied by the number in parenthesis and added together to give a total grade. Obviously this ranking should be taken for what it is worth.

50. Vermont: "The Green Mountain State" What is the state known for: Maple Syrup

There isn't much going for this state outside of syrup and intelligence. While both of those are important things I would rather live in state that wasn't as cold, had at least one professional sports team , and also had at least one Fortune 1000 companies. Another thing that isn't in favor of this small state that easily gets confused with New Hampshire is that the disposable income rank is only 22nd while it is 10th most expensive place to live. If only I would have given more weight to intelligence then Vermont with a 34.4% the adult population being college graduates would definitely be higher than a state like West Virginia. Unfortunately for Vermont though I rate weather more important than the intelligence of a state.

49. Maine: "The Pine Tree State" What is the state known for: Lobster

This state was kind of a shock for me since I loved the one and only day I spent in the state. The food was excellent and if I could ever find a way of incorporating the ranking of food in the state then this state would definitely be higher. The problem with Maine is that the weather is awful, there isn't much of a sports scene (minus hockey and who cares about hockey), and it is expensive to live there (14th most expensive) compared to how much you make (35th in disposable income). I am willing to reconsider the ranking of this state though because of the fact that I did really like being there and think it would be a great state for a vacation.

48. West Virginia: "The Mountain State": What is the state known for: Outdoor Activities

While this state was above average in cost of living (7), vacation (6), and weather (7), it was way below average when it comes to sports (2), jobs (1), intelligence (3), and disposable income (1). There are no professional sports teams, a high unemployment rate of 5% with only 1 Fortune 100o company (Wheeling Pittsburgh). and the lowest % of people over 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher at only 15.1%. As much as I enjoyed whitewater rafting on the new river I think this state is better served as an outdoor vacation destination than a place to consider living.

47. Rhode Island: "The Ocean State": What is the state known for: Being the smallest state.

There isn't much to write about the smallest in size (not population where is ranked 43rd) state. According to the Ocean State's motto is "Hope", so I guess one can only hope that there is something worthwhile about Maude Read Farnum's native state.

46. Oregon: "The Beaver State": What is the state known for: Crater Lake

I have heard good things about both Oregon and more specifically Portland, but this state still managed to find itself in the bottom 10% of the states. The reason for this was high unemployment (5.5%), a high cost of living (12th highest), and a low disposable income (33rd ranked). The gap between disposable income and cost of living (minus 21) was the largest negative gap with the exception of the state ranked at 46.

45. New Mexico: "Land of Enchantment": What is the state known for: Aliens

This state easily could be rated as the worst state and you would find no complaints from me. There isn't much of an identify with the state and there is little to no sports scene. Also, on top of that it has an average cost of living index (ranked 23rd), but the disposable income rank is an awful ranking of 46th out of the 50 states. The strange thing is that the state has a low unemployment rate (3.1%) as well as two Fortune 1000 companies, which would seem to suggest a higher disposable income rank. Apparently though, the land of enchantment whose motto is "It grows as it goes" hasn't done enough of growing the wages of its employees.

44. Montana: "The Big Sky State" What is the state known for: The big sky

This state looks like a perfect example of a state that would be great to vacation at (Glacier National Park), but not the best state to live. There doesn't seem like there is much to do in this cold, large (4th largest state), and poor state.

43. Wyoming: "The Equality State" What is the state known for: Yellowstone

The disposable income rank of 9th (37K, which is between Virginia and Delaware) was surprising for the state with 1/36th population of metro New York City, but I guess when then aren't many people (only 500K) then it only takes a few rich ones to increase your ranking.

42. Idaho: "The Gem State" What is the state known for: Potatoes

The song of Idaho is "Here We have Idaho", but really it should be "Here we have jobs in Idaho." The state has the lowest unemployment % of any states as 97.5% of people in Idaho have jobs. Also, 3 Fortune 1000 companies have their headquarters in the Gem State. Now if only this resulted in a better disposable income (ranked 44th) then we would see Idaho ranked higher.

41. Michigan: "Wolverine State" What is the state known for: Cars

As the domestic car market has gone, so has the economy in the state known for cars. Unemployment in Michigan is at a staggering 7.7%, which makes it 1.6% points worse than the next state. The weather is bad and now that I have a few more Ohio St. connections I can't say many nice things about the people either. I guess if I don't have anything nice to write, I will just end this post on the worst 10 states by writing nothing at all.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mailbag Part 3

I just got word that my high school is having an alumni basketball game in 10 days. That means I have 10 days to get back in shape. Anyway, here are a 6 more questions that I received.

Do the television writers really deserve a union? - LM

Yes, they deserve a union. The fact of the matter is unions are legal in the United States and if the TV writers think they deserve a union then they are legally able to set one up. Whether or not they “deserve” it is almost pointless. A question about whether or not someone seems to deserve something seems like it would be better reserved for a legal case such as “Does Michael Vick deserve 23 months for dog fighting?”

Can Sex in the City the Movie can compare with Sex in the City the TV show - or should they have left on a high note? - LM

It depends on if you thought the series finale was a high note. I personally found it a little disappointing that all four females ended up with a guy. The entire show was about these close, independent female friends who didn’t need the approval of males (except for Charlotte ) to complete them. It was almost if the male species was just another topic of conversation along with shoes, friends, and drinks. To end up so traditional with every girl getting her knight in shining armor was in my mind somewhat disappointing.

That being written, I definitely think they can do a Sex in the City movie. It would be tough cramming so much into a movie, but the good news is that the character development would already be accomplished through the TV show. The key point would obviously be the main plot line. You wouldn’t want to be as cheesy as Big and Carrie getting married (a la the Saved by the Bell movie), so you would have to pick something that would have some legs. As long as the writers could come up with a one or many conflicts then I think a movie would be a great idea and a huge box office draw.

Why does Randy Moss seem like such a jovial, nice guy now that he's playing for the Patriots? - LM

They are winning, he respects Brady and Bellichek, and he is playing for a contract. Never underestimate the power of the paycheck.

Why is health insurance such a scam? - LM

Not only is health insurance a scam, but all insurance is a scam. I have car insurance that I pay $1400 a year on despite the fact that I have never gotten in wreck. If I were to get in a wreck then my car insurance would go up. If I were to get into another wreck it would go up even more. Insurance companies are there to make money and will set there rates so that they can make money. The overall net of that if the insurance companies are making money and the general populace is losing money. This doesn’t even touch on the fact that health insurance is something that is so much more serious than something like car insurance. I don’t know why the government can control our roads, our police, etc and people are fine with that, but once you start talking about health care some people get upset. I think the government should control health insurance and make it as easy as possible for Americans to get the type of health service they need.

Why do I like bands so much less once they become popular? - LM

The reason being is that you want the band to be 100% committed to the music. Just like I love it when basketball players say that they would play the game for free, you would probably equally like it if a musician said the same thing about strumming a guitar. When a band isn’t popular then they are only possibly making enough money to get by, but hardly enough to go buy a sports car. Therefore you can better assume that they are playing music for their love of music. Once they become popular some people (like you) think that they sold out and that all along they weren’t interested in the music, but rather the pot of gold and the end of the rainbow. That taints your appreciate of their music because you think of it less like an art and more like a commercial entity.

Also, you are snobbish when it comes to bands and you like to like bands that the general public (like me) have never heard of because that reinforces your own personal image of being an elite music connoisseur.

Are you a liberal? - LM

No, I am progressive.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mailbag part 2

I am pleased with how the first Mailbag went and how after it was posted I saw a 500% increase in questions within 24 hours. Since, it seemed to go over so well I will answer 4 of the 10 questions I received today below. As always keep the questions coming and I will be writing in to give you my best answers:

Can I hate Tom Brady and the Patriots and still be considered a good American? For awhile there I thought that President Bush was planning to send them to the Middle East to win the War on Terror? – BC

First off, I didn’t know President Bush was still in charge of the country. I like to think I follow up on national news (I read, the New York times, Time magazine, and other news sources when I get a chance), and I could have sworn that Hillary, Obama, Rudy, Romney, or Huckabee was the current president. (Yes, I am referring to all the presidential candidates with one name as if they were Nene or Madonna.)

However, I should get to the real meat of the question. It is a simple question with a simple answer of yes you can hate both the Pats and Tom Brady. Tom Brady is starting to reach a Michael Jordan type level of love from the media no matter what he does. Watch the games and don’t listen to the announcers. You will see Brady cursing his offense line on a play against the Redskins when they were up 38 in the 4th quarter after they jumped the snap. You will see Brady going out of his way to talk trash to Anthony Smith after Moss scored his first TD against the Steelers. Mike Ditka thought that Brady shouldn’t have lowered himself to Smith’s level and would have been better served just ignoring the comments. I agree with him.

(By the way how has this “guarantee” story gotten so much airplay lately. A reporter asked if he expected to win and he said yes. He said he could guarantee a win if "we do what we got to do" and "if our special teams come through for us." What was he supposed to say? What professional athlete not playing for the Miami Dolphins doesn’t expect to win every week? This whole story was ridiculous and should never be one of the lead stories for Sportscenter).

The main reasons to hate Brady are:

  1. He is a Yankees fan as evidenced by him wearing a Yankees hat around town.

    Why is a New England icon wearing a Yankees hat? Isn’t that the equivalent of Eric Montross walking around Chapel Hill with a 2001 Duke NCAA champion sweatshirt? I would give him a free pass if he grew up in New York and was a childhood Yankees fan. The only problem with this is that he grew up in California . He grew up in a place that was closer to Juneau, Alaska than New York City . You can definitely dislike Brady for being a Yankees fan.
  2. Brady left actress Bridget Moynahan when she was pregnant with his child. This is not okay where I come from because a child out of wedlock is not an option. If he was in the south then Bridget Moynahan's father would come by Brady’s house one night with a shotgun and tell Brady that he better “do right” and propose to her.
  3. He is the most superficial athlete since Jordan . For one he left his pregnant actress girlfriend for a Brazilian supermodel. And tell me the picture below isn't of a superficial person:

  4. He is a jerk to refs. He gets in their face and yells at them in a way that Bob Knight would get crucified over. However, since Brady is a great player, media friendly, and good looking he gets a free pass for acting like an out of control idiot whenever one a call doesn’t go in his favor.

As for hating the Patriots you will get nothing but agreement from this Dolphins fan. Check out Gregg Easterbook’s column a month and a half ago about the Good vs. Evil game between the Colts and Patriots:

If Santana goes to Boston , how do the Twins fill the void, especially in a division where teams like the Tigers make epic trades that show that they mean it? –BC

Bill Smith and the Twins are in a dangerous situation. I don’t want to sound callous, but the best thing to happen to the Twins would be if there was a new owner. A new owner hopefully would be willing to pay the team's top players, and therefore Twins fans would be looking forward to the day when Santana starts on opening day for the new stadium in 2010. The reason that is callous is because the only way there will be a new owner is if Carl Pohlad passes away.

Since the above paragraph isn’t an option here is how the Twins should fill the void and keep pace with the Tigers and Indians in the Central Division. They need to trade Santana for Jacoby Ellsbury and some young pictures. Ellsbury would hopefully be the type of hitter who would make this year’s lineup (along with Delmon Young, but minus Torri Hunter) a much better lineup than last year. The reason the Twins were not competitive last year was not because of Santana (who was only 15-13), but was because they couldn’t score any runs. The Twins scored 718 runs all of last year, which was 25th out of the 30 teams. In order to compete with the Tigers (who scored 169 more runs) and the Indians (who scored 93 more runs) they need to get more people on base (.330 OBP%, which was 19th out of the 30 teams) and hit more home runs (118 HRs, which was 29th out of 30 teams). There OPS (on base plus slugging) was ranked 27th out of the 30 teams. Any way you slice and dice it they need to score more runs.

If the bad side of things is the batting, then the optimist would look at the Twins pitching. Even with the failures of Sidney Ponson and Ramon Ortiz at the beginning of the year the entire pitching staff gave up only 725 runs, which was only beaten by 6 teams. (The awful news is that the Red Sox gave up the fewest runs without Santana). The pitching should still be in good shape with the unbelievable bullpen, Boof Bonser, Kevin Slowly, Scott Baker, and Francisco Liriano. All of the their young pitchers should be better this year and hopefully collectively make up for the loss of the great Santana.

Adding a few decent bats to the lineup and hoping the young pitchers improve their performance is the best way for the Twins to fill the void and make it back to the playoffs.

Who will be the first ACC player to slap Taylor King just for living? – BC

Tyler Hansbrough. I saw the replays of the NC State game from a year ago and could see Hansbrough being really frustrated after Taylor King hacks him across the face when he is going up for a shot. Just in case you don’t know who Taylor King is I will let you in on someone who is becoming one of my favorite Duke players on this team. He is 6-6 freshmen forward from California , who jacks up threes as if he was Kyle Korver. To give you some perspective on King over 67% of his made field goals this year have been 3 pointers. Kyle Korver’s career 3 point to field goal % (from now on I will refer to it as 3PT2FG %) was 66%. The entire Duke team’s 3PT2FG % is 31% and they are a 3 point shooting team. The national average of 3PT2FG% is 29.5%. Therefore Taylor King’s 3PT2FG % is over 2 times the national average. It is cliché but he shoots with no conscience and still makes 47% of his 3 point attempts.

Do you think it's appropriate for Cornhusker fans to get the word Nebraska tattoo'd on their back? And did these people even go to UNL? - LM

Yes, it is definitely appropriate to get the word Nebraska tatto’d on their back. First off, I have a rule in life that if it doesn’t hurt me or others then I usually have no problem with what someone does. If someone wants to get a Nebraska , butterfly, or Chinese symbol tattoo then more power to them. Second, it is good for these people to show so much pride in their state/university. There are so many people who just coast through life without really caring about anything. At least these people have something to care and be passionate about.

As for your 2nd question, no most of them probably did not go to UNL. If you (or others) want to read a great book about extreme fandom then you should read Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer by Warren St. John. In the book St. John asks a bunch of fans why they are such big fans of Alabama football despite never taking a class there. Their response surprised him and me because he said that these fans think that attending the school somehow dilutes your ability to root for the football team. Anyway, below is the breakdown on the probability that they went to school at UNL:

  • The majority of the 1.7M residents in Nebraska are Cornhusker fans. I would say close to 90% even though that is just a guess.
  • There are only around 17,000 undergrads curently at UNL.
  • Therefore if you took those 17,000 undergrads and generously (due to the fact that number of undergrads has risen over time) multiplied the average number of undergrads per year (4,250) by the average number of years an American lives (77) and you would get 327,250 possibly undergrads at UNL out there in America.
  • If you took the total number of possibly undergrads (which is an inflated number, but helps provide a ceiling) and divided it by the state’s population you would get 19%. That 19% represents the highest number of past or present undergraduates of UNL that live in Nebraska .
  • There are other factors (grad school, dropouts, people who move away from Nebraska, etc) that are not taken into account, so I will concede that the 19% is definitely not the best number you can use, but it will serve the purpose of this argument.

I think that at most if only 1 out of every 5 people you meet in Nebraska took classes at UNL there is a great probability that most of the Cornhusker fans (which we guessed as 90% of 1.7M or about 1.5M fans) you meet probably did not go to school there.

Tomorrow, there will be 6 more questions I will get to.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Al Jefferson, the Twolves, and my first Mailbag

Today was another depressing day watching the dreadful Dolphins lose to the Bills. My fellow Dolphins fan and I went to Nba City Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis to watch the game. The food, service, and game was not good, but overall it was an enjoyable experience. The reason being was that 6 Timberwolves players showed up to eat and watch the games. First there was the 6-11 Theo Ratiliff and his $11.6M expiring contract. After that came in my least favorite player in the Nba Rashad McCants (McCan't play in the Nba) from the University of North Carolina. I wanted to ask him about what it was like that he was no longer in the "jail" that was UNC. (For those of you who don't know Rashad McCants once said this about UNC "You're not allowed to say certain things, but once you get out of jail, you're free. (I'm) in my sentence, and I'm doing my time.") Thankfully I refrained from saying anything to him.

After McCants , Ryan Games came in and was followed shortly by Antoine Walker, Gerald Green, and Mississippi's own Al Jefferson. After McCants, Ratliff, and Gomes left I went over and congratulated Walker, Green, and Jefferson for their big win over the Phoenix Suns last night. They were all very appreciative. I told Big Al that I was also from Mississippi and watched him play high school basketball when he was at Prentiss High School. He responded with a "for real" accompanied by a fist pound. After I was finished fawning over the best low post player in the Nba he shock my hand (he initiated it) and thanked me for coming over. He (and Antoine Walker and Gerald Green) handled the situation (a fan randomly coming up to them) exactly how I would have handled the situation if I was in their shoes. They were all gracious and very polite. I am now officially deeming Al Jefferson as my favorite non-Utah Jazz player in the league.

Anyway, in the tradition of one of my favorite college football writers Stewart Mandel I will be doing my inaugural mailbag. My mailbag will be a combination of sports and personal questions, so if you have anything you wanted answered let me know. Overall I don't think Mandel has anything to worry about since the questions my readership is somewhat limited compared to his, but anyway here it goes:

Why does everyone wear Yankees hats? - M

Answer: There are a few reasons why no matter where you are in America and even to a lesser extent the world you see so many hats with the unmistakable NY logo:
  1. New York City is the largest city in the United States and also just happens to double as the media capital of America. New York teams therefore get more attention and thus have more fans. The Yankees even have their own TV channel (the YES Network) devoted entirely to the Yankees and New Jersey Nets.
  2. The Yankees win. For all the talk about people disliking frontrunners, it isn't true. People like winning teams. The Yankees have won 26 World Series titles and will continue to add to that number as the continually spend more and more money on their team.
  3. People tend to idolize New York City. Whether or not it was Seinfield, Sex and the City, or whatever it is portrayed as the best (and only) place to be in the world.
  4. America is from all statistics a fat country. The most famous Yankee player of all time was a fat player, who according to the 100% injury rate blog "claimed his daily breakfast was a pint of whiskey mixed with a pint of ginger ale in a pitcher of ice, followed by a porterhouse steak, four fried eggs, fried potatoes, and a pot of coffee." ( I am not writing that there is a correlation, but it was a good excuse to bring up that story.

What do I think of Bo Pelini being brought in for Nebraska? -Johnny

Answer: I love the move for Nebraska football. It is tough for me not to trust Tom Osborne on this decision since he is one of the greatest football minds of the past 100 years. Osborne could have brought in Pelini, Turner Gill, or anyone short of Cam Cameron and I would have thought he made the right move.

I am excited for next year because Pelini should come in and immediately help a defense that was embarrasing this year. I might even have to make a trip down to Memorial stadium next year to go see the Cornhuskers in person.

That is it for now (I know it is a short mailbag, but I will need to get more questions) as I need to go dream about Roddy White and Marques Colston getting at least 6 points tomorrow, so that I can win in fantasy. Yes, I just had "dream","fantasy", and two football players in one sentance.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stop the presses

They called a foul on Tyler Hansbrough. I saw it. It was during the 1st half of the Kentucky game. I thought everyone would like to know that it is possible for the refs to call a foul against Hansbrough. In another note so far in the game Tyler Hansbrough has shot 6 free throws (which is 6 more than every player from Kentucky combined).

Other quick hits:
  • M made a good catch when she saw Patrick Paterson pick his nose in front of the espn camera. This wasn't that bad until we saw him eat what he picked. He seems like a great player, but because of that I am glad he didn't pick Duke.
  • Miami U played a disappointing MAC championship game. Maybe next year.
  • Miami U's basketball team (this is a big day for Miami sports) is up 1 point over Louisville though. Go Redhawks.
  • Tim Pollitz has scored 81% of the Redhawks points today against Lousiville. If you haven't seen this guy play you have been missing out. He is a 6-6 post player from Canada who is unstoppable.
  • M just asked if UNC were the Yankees of college basketball.

I have never been a bigger Kentucky fan.