Fired Bill Carmody: January 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

"An absolute travesty"

or, "That's the sort of game where the commissioner calls somebody at NU to complain."

obviously the box score says it all:
  • score only 37 points
  • out-rebounded 38-19
  • shoot 43% from the free throw line
  • shoot 26% from three point range
  • 12 different players score for U of I
  • etc. etc. etc.

this against a team coming in at 1-6 in the conference and losers of 7 of last 9. too bad there is no athletic director to which we could direct our displeasure.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Uh oh

don’t look now, but Texas Pan American has won five in a row. they have embarked on a three-game road trip, the last of which is at welsh-ryan next week. today they play 0-20 NJIT (i must confess, i didn’t know they had an NCAA basketball program) and then at chicago state monday.

earlier this week UTPA put up some big offensive numbers, although they were playing Houston Baptist. still, they shot 81% from the line and 52% from beyond the arc. their third leading scorer – Paul Stoll – had 37, 7 and 9, including 16/16 FT and 7/9 from three.

five of the Broncs’ 12 wins are against non D-1 programs, so that’s 42%. then again, 20% of NU’s wins are against non D-1 programs. i’m not saying we’re definitely going to lose, but i don’t think it will be a cake walk. meanwhile illinois is STRUGGALING, but the last time NU won in that building, Julian Bonner was our starting point guard and our boy Nate Pomeday was averaging 8 minutes per game.

Tough crowd

the announcers did a great job the other night talking about how Northwestern fans are usually outnumbered by visiting fans during the conference season. i read a few years ago that despite our location, there are at least three other big ten schools with larger alumni chapters in chicago than us. clearly a lot of those alums like to watch basketball. as a season ticket holder for all of my time at NU – including a year when my group of friends comprised eight of the TWENTY-FIVE student season ticket holders – i witnessed it time and time again. without question the loudest i've ever heard that place was late february in 1997, when Andre Woolridge was wrapping up a regular season in which he led the conference in scoring and assists. the visiting fans in black and gold chanting “MVP, MVP…” had the place absolutely rocking.

not really sure how that phenomenon will change. we have to accept that it will never be an especially large student crowd, despite the fact that those bastards don’t even have to pay for tickets anymore. i've talked about this before, but the issue NU will always face in terms of support is a lack of “automatic” fans. for instance, everyone in the state of wisconsin roots for the badgers, ohio roots for the buckeyes, etc. we will always be missing that, with no real connection to chicago or the state (certainly a near void of athletic achievement is not helping us either). i'm not using this as an excuse, however. there are dozens of teams around the country who turn out competitive seasons every year with no perceptible home-court advantage. on the other hand, most of those teams also have at least one player taller than 6’ 8”

Friday, January 25, 2008

oh yeah, him

so we were reminded during last night's telecast that Carmody was big ten coach of the year in 03/04. while i certainly applaud him for taking that team to a conference record of 8-8, let's take a closer look. that season was a pretty weak one for the big ten, as just six teams were eligible for the postseason. only michigan state, wisconson and and illinois made the tourney, and they lost in the first, second and third rounds, respectively.

since that season we've endured a conference record of 14-40, which will only get worse in the next month. we've seen the mess known as Michael Thompson (the tall one) come and go. we've also seen the football team amass a conference record of 15-17. tennis, lacrosse and softball have all won or competed for national titles. i just hope the new AD, whenever they decide to hire one, pays as much attention to this shit as i do.

I hope Sparty picked up some herpes at The Deuce last night after the game

well that went about as we expected. the most surprising stat is that NU was only out-rebounded 19-11. probably because michigan state made about two-thirds of their shots. although watching the cats try to rebound did provide some comic relief during the beating. in the first half, NU shot an airball which hit craig moore in the face and knocked him out of bounds. later, about midway through the second half, Big Red (more on him later) somehow got an offensive rebound while surrounded by 4 guys in white and kicked it out to Neitzel for a dagger three.

the defense last night was atrocious. it seemed at times that they got a little "charge happy," falling down upon any contact hoping for a call instead of just putting a hand in the shooters face. on offense there were a few backdoor layups, but there were equal amounts of shot clock violations and Jeff Ryan falling down attempting a spin move in the lane.

aside from that 13-0 run when they cut the lead to 7 right before the half (which has to be their best four minutes of basketball in at least three seasons), NU looked like they didn't belong on the same court. segments of that game reminded me of OSU's beat down of us on the football field last season.

now, back to Big Red - this guy. it seems that michigan state always has a big goofy red-haired center. not sure if it is just coincidence or if Izzo knows something the rest of us don't. before Naymick they had this guy, a key contributor off the bench for their national championship team. not much on the web from before 1998, but i bet this guy was in the club too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nothing new to report

i'll be honest, looking at the rest of the schedule, i'm concerned. concerned that i'll run out of material for this blog. i mean, if they go through the rest of the conference schedule and lose every game by between 8 and 26 points, how am i supposed to come up with any insightful analysis or provide any new information and commentary?

i guess the good thing is that without BTN i don't see most of the games, which clearly would be a waste of my time. however, the worldwide leader has decided it would be a good idea to put another NU home game on national television this thursday. not sure why they would do that, but of course i will tune in as raymar morgan dunks on us repeatedly.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More board stats

according to, NU truly is the worst rebounding team in the country. the site measures "offensive rebounding percentage," a measure of the possible rebounds that are gathered by the offense. we come in #341 out of 341 teams, mere percentage points behind the University of Denver and IUPU-Fort Wayne. in terms of keeping other teams from rebounding their own missed shots, we rank #331. and in comparing both lists, no team ranks as low collectively as us.

but it gets better. we also rank #301 in field goal defense, and #338 in free throw rate (which essentially measures a team's ability to score from the foul line). pretty kickass.

Last win of the season

i'm calling it right now. i will go out on a limb and predict a winless conference season plus a crushing loss at home to UTPA at the end of the month.

on the plus side, they did actually out-rebound Chicago State last night, 27-25. coble is playing like a man possessed lately. if i were him i wouldn't wait until the end of the season to announce that he's transferring to arizona state.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pat Forde not impressed

in today's Forde Minutes, Pat accurately calls us out when discussing the term "mid-major"

You're a high-major program if:
• Dickie V comes to campus often enough to be on a first-name basis with the team's equipment manager.
• Your coach's suits cost more than a semester's room and board.
• Your players are mortified when they have to fly commercial.
• NBA scouts are always around. So are agent runners.
• Your star players come with a "support group" of family members, friends, hangers on, hustlers and "advisers" -- all of whom are very concerned about his "touches," some of whom are now employed by the basketball program, none of whom are concerned about his grade point average.
• Coach's weekly radio show is broadcast on at least five affiliates around the state.
• Your locker room is tricked-out enough to be featured on "Cribs."
• Boxes of new gear arrive from your apparel rep every other week.
• The academic support staff backs up its "No Power Forward Left Behind" marching orders by having enough tutors to double-team every player.
• You have at least one suit (assistant coaches, managers, trainers) on the bench per uniformed player.

In terms of on-court performance and fan support, these are your impostor high-major programs in high-major conferences: Penn State, Auburn, Oregon State, South Florida and Northwestern.

Monday, January 14, 2008

So much for one of their "winnable" games

Leading 21-17, Michigan went on a 22-5 spurt over the final six minutes of the first half to take the 21-point lead at the half.

A 45-25 advantage by Michigan on the boards proved to play a large role in the outcome. Outside of Coble, the rest of the NU team hit on just one of 16 3-point attempts.

Friday, January 11, 2008

This can't be the path to success

back in November the chicago tribune referred to our basketball program as "stagnant." that sounds about right. i certainly don't have the answers and can't point to one thing (coaching staff, facilities, student support, etc.) that if changed would make all the difference. but i guess my biggest problem with the program right now is the lack of direction and/or focus. i don't see how anyone can expect them to win when they are at a disadvantage in every aspect.

i know about the academic restrictions, so i understand and am fine with us not getting the same level of talent that other schools pull in. but to me, that makes it even MORE imperative that we focus our recruiting and/or playing style on something that gives us an advantage. the football program has picked up on that pretty quickly. we can't compete straight up with Michigan or Ohio State, so we'll throw out a spread offense run by smart white guys and fling the ball around the field. and that works, for the most part. we're not winning any conference championships, but we compete most of the time. and more importantly it makes the players THINK they can compete. i can't imagine how depressing it must be for Moore and Coble and the rest, to know, even before tip-off, that you're about to get your ass kicked.

so i don't care if it's Grinnell College-level gimmicky, we need to do something different. to just take the court twice a week with less talent and less height and less strength and less speed than your opponent, and then on top of that NOT be a great three point shooting team and NOT work your ass off to get rebounds and NOT play a junk defense and NOT full-court press for 40 minutes... well like i said, i just don't see how anyone could think that will get you to close .500 when playing in a major conference.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A realistic look ahead

so they lose by 19 last night at the barn. let's take a look at the schedule and figure out where there are reasonable chances for victory. of course it would not be impossible for them to beat someone they shouldn't, but at this point i'm not going to plan for that. of their four wins, only @ kalamazoo is noteworthy. keep in mind the loss to Brown and also the "only" ten-point victory at home over savannah state, who earlier this week lost 85-25 to kansas state and set the shot-clock era record by scoring only four points in a half.

15 games left, ten of which are against michigan state, wisconsin, illinois, purdue, ohio state and indiana. if they lose all ten, that puts their record at 4-17. i know bruce weber is taking a lot of heat for the recruiting drop-off in that program, but i still don't think they're bad enough to lose to us. iowa is also struggling, but our only matchup with them is in iowa city, so i'm making that a loss. that's 4-18, with four other games against chicago state, UTPA and michigan twice. even if they beat the two independents and michigan at home, we finish at 7-19. factor in a loss at the big ten tournament, and it's going to be really really hard to get to 10 wins.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Live from 1/2 vs Penn State

here are my observations, in no particular order:

i'm very happy that Kevin Coble's mom is doing well and she looks great, but seriously - mesh sleeves?

tonight NU started a freshman Croatian named Nikola Baran. he looks like one of the Russian bad guys from Spies Like Us.

i actually feel much better about Bill Carmody after seeing Ed DeChellis's record at PSU.

now 4 minutes into the second half. fairly entertaining game but absolutely nothing interesting enough to blog about...

this team doesn't even try to rebound anymore. they are last in rebounding in the country, and now when NU puts up a shot the other four guys just retreat immediately down the court.

the announcers seem all hung up on how difficult it must be for other big ten teams to prepare for the princeton offense. but what they don't mention is that NU is puss enough to get manhandled by the nittany lions, they don't rebound and they only shoot 60% from the free throw line. so why would Bo Ryan or Tom Izzo would waste any time preparing for an offense run by a bunch of slow white guys afraid to go into the lane?

ok i just had to pause and rewind that last play so i could analyze it in slow motion. 4:20 left, down by 12. steal by Moore. as they cross midcourt it is 4 on 1 with another penn state defender trailing. Moore brings it down the left wing as coble sprints towards the basket. the one defender comes out to stop the ball, but Moore starts to shoot and then tries to pass to Coble. for some reason Okrzesik and Williams stop at the top of the arc and stand next to each other. as Moore starts to lose the ball, Okrzesik starts to back up the court (like i said, they don't try to rebound or in this case even get a loose ball.) by now the second PSU defender has come down the lane to cover Coble. as Moore retrieves the ball in the corner, now all 5 PSU defenders are in the lane and the other three wildcats aren't even viewable on screen. he kicks out to Thompson for a long three which is well short. psu gets the rebound and scores at the other end.

screw this i'm going to bed.