9/17/2012 10:56 PM

I'll offer a quick recap of my Wooster Fighting Scots and the North Coast conference.  This is only my fourth year in the game so this is my first with all of my own players, so I had high hopes.  "Had" being the key word there since I delivered pretty much a disaster of a recruiting season last time around.  That left my team a little short-staffed and it has really limited my options for game planning.  To be honest, sucky players have also limited my options.  Early on I thought it was possible Wooster would go 3-7 in non-conference but we ended up losing a couple close ones and a couple not-so-close ones to finish 5-5.  RPI recovered from some earlier embarrassment to sit at 162, not nearly good enough for post-season thoughts but I think there are plenty of opportunities ahead in the conference season.

Speaking of the conference, the North Coast may not have any ranked teams and only one NT lock right now but we are sporting the 3rd highest conference RPI going into the conference season and we had more non-conference wins that anyone but the mighty Great Northeast.  This is easily the most wide-open I've seen the conference in my four seasons so this should be really interesting to watch.  Hopefully Wooster can make a run at a return to post-season play.  With the roster I've got, I think a PT bid is a realistic goal while a huge winning streak and an NT bid is a less-realistic goal but more fun to think about.  Mostly I'm working on revamping my recruiting strategies and already looking forward to next season.  Don't tell my players, I don't want to make them feel unloved.

9/19/2012 6:30 PM (edited)
Thought I would offer a snapshot of a few teams that have caught my attention... both are likely to make some noise in the post season:
Colorado
coach:  bdpoor
11-0 currently, RPI #2, SOS #20
Best win so far:  @ Gustavus Adolphus (rpi 41)
We will know they are for real if:  they beat CSU, Eastbay on 9/22 or 9/29
strengths:  David Demery, SG; also, nice athleticism and defense ratings across the board.
weaknesses: Youth (only one senior, who only plays 10 min/game); speed maybe a tad low for some of the guards; rebounding might be suspect against elite teams; ball handling low by guard standards (although maybe this just doesn't matter as much as I think).
Overall:  Very nice team, suspect his real splash will be next season.  That said, with the right match-ups and a good night of RNG he could find himself deep into the post season this year.  

There's one more team I'll highlight a little later....


9/18/2012 3:41 PM

HS coaching staff on paper seems to have little to worry about. We lost to #3 and #5 RPI and we beat #7 and #17. RPI and SOS are solid at 11/21., ranked #6. However, in Abilene, we base seasons on the scale of making the Final Four as great, and S16 as rebuilding. And what we're seeing is losses to NT contenders who we could possibly meet as S16 matchups. For a team who made FF last season and only lost two guys from last year, we aren't happy. Also, even the bad SIM teams we are having solid wins over, but not destroying them like we thought.

The reasons are obvious, with our solid but not spectacular 54/50/53 "Big3" rating, and only having two dominating rebounders. Outside of the starting guards, speed is average. Poor FT shooting (64% on the season). In all, this is the resume of a team who could miss out easily on 12+ points at the line in a tournament game, and that runs press but isn't that athletic or fast (see Syzmanski, starting SG who's fouled out of three games). We have elite perimeter shooting still and very good rebounding to make us scary, but in all, this could be a massively disappointing season for HS come tournament time. The two freshman probably aren't going to be impact players as SR. I didn't want to have to recruit 6-7 next season, so I got the "best available", but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't just cut one next season anyway.

For those not watching the ASC, #9 Texas Lutheran is in the same boat. Losses to #1 and #6 RPI, and beaten everyone else (some of those being very good teams), but with still troublesomely low Big3 ratings. TX has been horrible for recruits recently, and it shows on both these teams. SIM Mary Hardin Baylor is somehow managing a nice season despite being mediocre.

9/19/2012 6:30 PM (edited)
Palm Beach Atlantic
coach:  osgonlz
11-0, RPI #53, SOS #300
Best win so far:  home vs. Howard Payne (rpi 52)
We will know they are for real if:  they beat Piedmont on 9/20 or win 9/27 vs. Greensboro.  Unfortunately, neither Piedmont or Greensboro are at the top of their game this season, but these are the best tests in the regular season that I see for PBA.
strengths:  6 seniors, 3 juniors.  Solid Athleticism, Defense and speed.  Balanced scoring, good threats from 3-point range.  Good FT shooting team.
weaknesses:  center/forward position not super athletic, and little weak on defense rating (Rock and Sexton).  
Overall:  This is the same blue print I use to build my teams.... so obviously this coach knows his stuff ;]    
That said, I think this team can make the sweet 16 and has an outside chance at the final four.  It's so hard to tell since the schedule hasn't been challenging.  With his versatility and depth, I think he'll have a great post season.  Next year he'll be rebuilding, but has up graded the schedule.  If he can use this prestige bump and he sticks around in D3, I think we'll hear from him again.

9/18/2012 8:42 PM
Colorado is definitely performing above the expectation I had for them. I thought bdpoor would need one more year to build things to the very top echelon, but it appears his arrival might come one year sooner than anticipated. Colorado is a scary, scary program in D3 any time it's in the hands of a skilled coach. (as-is Palm Beach Atlantic, which might be the second-best D3 gig in all of HD in terms of location...)
9/19/2012 5:42 PM
I like both Colorado and PBA that brian highlighted.  PBA hasn't played the toughest schedule, but I do think they're legit.  Numerous high quality scorers, good Ath/Def, several very good rebounders, at least a couple very good BH/P guards.  I'm curious to see how they do against Piedmont tonight, but I think they're way better than their current RPI.

Colorado has more weaknesses imo, but still a solid team with a stud player in Demery.  I think their undoing will be the very low BH/P.  They really only have 2 "true" guards and that's nowhere near enough.  Impressive that bd has them 12-0, #2 RPI, but I don't think they're quite that good this season.  I completely agree that CO is a dynamite place to recruit from in D3 and that they should be a big factor in the future.

9/19/2012 6:29 PM
since I am bored at the moment and like to check out other teams when I have the chance... I'll do a short profile on another very impressive team so far this season:

Buena Vista
coach:  westcoast22
12-0, RPI #13, SOS # 74
Best win so far:  at Kalamazoo (9-2, RPI 32)
we will know they are for real when:  actually, I think they have already proven they are 'for real' - several impressive wins - five versus top 100 RPI teams.  Plus he beat Vasaar on the road in the pre-season (I don't know if either coach played their best line-up though).  He also has a few more games that will test him (Cornell, Dubuque).
strengths:  Jr. Bart Saul is impressive on the inside, Sr. PG Schroeder is scoring quite well despite low PER.  I'm too lazy to link all the good players (there are some other really good guards)... so to summarize he has 4 players shooting over 52% while scoring 10+ points per game. 
weaknesses:  rebounding is the only flaw that stands out to me.  that said, BV is averaging about 1/2 rebound more than opponents per game.  This team only has one senior which means the IQ (does that matter?) isn't maxed out yet..... also you could say this team is a little young with 5 jrs and 6 soph. 
overall:  Quite frankly, the more I looked at this team, the more impressed I am.  This team has it all and I think they can make a deep run this season and next.  It will be interesting to see if the somewhat low rebounding can be overcome (although he has soph Decoteau developing nicely on rebounding and ath).  You don't see teams score this effectively often (#4 FG% in D3, behind some good company such as CSU, Eastbay and Defiance). 
9/19/2012 6:44 PM
Thanks red, spas, and brian, i think CO has the ability to do some damage in the tournament but i tend to agree with spas that it would be surprising to make a deep run with the guardplay being so thin. I'm hoping that in a few years we can step up and be in the same realm as the traditional Rupp powers/the evil empire.
9/20/2012 12:02 PM
Good call on the lack of guards at Colorado... although the way some folks are recruiting these days I am beginning to wonder if BH/Pass matters.  Clearly folks are really targeting A/SPD combo as much as possible.  I guess Colorado will be an interesting test case about how much this can be pushed.  Even if bdpoor grabs another guard or juco guard, he'll sill be in a deficeit...
9/21/2012 12:00 PM
I know I'm failing this thread horribly this season guys -- I apologize and hope folks will still talk D3 basketball here. 

Here's the midseason projection report for post-season berths by conference. The first number is the number of teams currently ranked 1-64 on the projection report. The second number is the number of additional teams in the 65-96 range. No, I haven't counted to see if it all adds up correctly...as always, if a conference's first number is a zero, it currently projects as a league where you'll need to win the CT to be in the Big Dance.

American Southwest 4/0
Capital 1/0
Centennial 0/2
CUNY 1/1
CCIW 1/1
Coast 1/1
Commonwealth 2/0
Empire 2/1
Freedom 2/1
GNE 9/0
Heartland 3/1
Iowa 3/1
Little East 1/0
Michigan 3/1
Midwest 0/1
Minnesota 1/0
NESCAC 2/0
New Jersey 1/0
N. Atlantic   (None)
NCAC 2/3
Northwest 4/1
Ohio 2/3
ODAC 2/0
Penn  (None)
Skyline 3/3
So. Cal. 4/2
St. Louis 1/1
SUNY 0/2
University 5/2
Upstate 2/0
USA South 2/2
Wisconsin 0/2

9/21/2012 12:53 PM
I think you did the math wrong or did a typo on the GNE line, it says "9" there.

Oh wait....
9/21/2012 1:49 PM

Hats off to coach windixies of Whittier for knocking Colorado from the land of unbeatens...

Game Results

Clearly Colorado's lack of guard were exposed and had too many turnovers and couldn't handle the press.... or could they?

Actually, rebounding (36 to 25 advantage) & in your face defense (41% FG defense) won the game for Whittier. 

 

9/21/2012 1:53 PM
Big game tonight for Millsaps... facing a very savy Sewanee team on the road.
9/21/2012 8:20 PM
Posted by brianxavier on 9/21/2012 1:49:00 PM (view original):

Hats off to coach windixies of Whittier for knocking Colorado from the land of unbeatens...

Game Results

Clearly Colorado's lack of guard were exposed and had too many turnovers and couldn't handle the press.... or could they?

Actually, rebounding (36 to 25 advantage) & in your face defense (41% FG defense) won the game for Whittier. 

 

Very true, this game was a little humbling for us and clearly exposed the lack of depth at the guard spots. Hats off to windixies though, he's got a solid team, he's just had some tough luck to this point.
9/23/2012 10:48 AM
Anyone notice that Millsaps is again having an incredible regular season?  We could be seeing back to back Coach of the Year awards from brianxavier.  Incredibly, he is able to play freshmen extensively and still beat the competition night in and night out.  I doubt there is another coach in Rupp that knows the competition better than bx...on the rare night where the opposing team's talent matches up, you better believe that bx will game plan to exploit any hole, no matter how small it may be.  Incredible.
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