Monthly Archives: March 2009

Back to the Future

gilbert-arenas-med

Ladies and Gentlemen, Gilbert Arenas is back! OK, it may not be the best idea in the world. The Wizards season is pretty much over. Seems kinda dumb to bring back your star for nine games and risk further injury (prone does not even start to cover this guy). Why not cut your losses, give him more time and maybe give your franchise a little better odds when it comes to the draft lottery? I guess the Wizards could also use some ticket sales to raise some cash and this is the guy that’s gonna do it for you.

Anyway, here’s the action: Continue reading

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Filed under Announcements, Basketball, NBA

Baseball vs Cricket Averages

bdd_mr_cricket

So I decided to go ahead and try and create my baseball style averages for cricket, reverse engineering Henry Chadwick‘s conversion of the key cricketing statistic to baseball, to try and get a sense of a batsman’s worth from something beyond their average. The average is an incredibly useful tool in cricket, but I guess there are a few others which are starting to gain some currency. Strike rate, particularly in the short form of the game, is key, but conversion rate (the number of times a half century becomes a century) is perhaps underweighted when the worth of a batsmen is considered.

It forms part of the following numbers, anyway, though more by inference than a direct comparison. I think the most useful way of conceptualising this is that the first number reflects the rate at which a batsman scores over fifty (regardless of whether they went on to a century), the second the frequency with which they score a century. The closer the numbers, the better their conversion rate.The final number is their batting average.

Like baseball, it’s rendered as a decimal figure, with 1.000 being perfect, that a batsmen scores fifty or better every time they bat. What’s interesting about the numbers is how well they tally with baseball, that the best bastmen of our time have a score of consequence roughly one in every three times they head out to bat. I’ve taken a random smattering of the great batsmen of our time, plus a few noteworthy New Zealanders. Obviously Ryder’s numbers are skewed at the moment, but they back up the extremely favourable impression we have of him. Anyway, here they are…

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The Heavyweight Champ

Jesse Ryder celebrates after his maiden double century

Jesse Ryder celebrates after his maiden double century

Pretty good week for New Zealand sports fans huh? First The Warriors hold their nerve against the reigning premiers, then Alison Shanks wins gold in the individual pursuit… Now we’ve got the somewhat improbable spectre of India three down for 79 (no 23/3, but still…) with the small matter of 340 more runs between them and the follow on.

I don’t think any of us scripted a day like this against anyone this summer, let alone India, but this topsy turvy tour continues to delight in the endless surprises it throws up. Jesse Ryder is looking awfully like the kind of batsman oppositions grit their teeth and plan around at the start of a series. You know when you line up Australia and have to pencil 100 runs a test next to Ponting’s name – same goes for Pietersen, Chanderpaul, Smith and a few other batsmen round the world. Ryder’s now scored 768 runs in eight test matches, and looked extremely solid doing it, and maybe we’ve found the rock around which can anchor our batting. Even when Richardson was at his stolid best, or Fleming and Astle their most fluent, none ever strode to the crease with as much assuredness and force as Ryder is at the moment.

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Filed under Cricket, News

You Can't Handle Me

Sunday’s win over Manly was one of the greatest performances the Warriors have ever put together. You never want to say that a team has turned a corner, but there was certainly the sense that every prior incarnation would have felt justified in losing that game, rather than finding a way to win.

The thing that impressed me most though, wasn’t Jones’ miraculous play, but our composure after some plainly dirty play from the Sea Eagles. On a perfect afternoon in Sydney there were 26 handling errors, evenly split between the teams. Obviously I paid less attention to Manly’s, which seemed to be generally of the lapsed concentration variety (understandable given the astounding bulk of this Warriors team), but of those attributed to the Warriors a number came from some considerable work being put on the ball in the tackle. Continue reading

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A Good Time To Be Indian

harba

When the best thing you can say about a match from New Zealand’s perspective is that we avoided an innings defeat, you know it hasn’t gone according to plan. 10 wickets is comprehensive enough anyway, but the stubbornness McCullum and O’Brien showed was pleasing in terms of staving off that ultimate humiliation.

The good thing about a loss like this is that it can’t help but force changes. The batting line-up had an off match, though one of our top six went to a dubious decision in each innings, but ultimately those guys deserve another shot. A seam bowling attack comprising Mills, O’Brien and Martin (Franklin considers himself a ‘batsman who bowls’, so let’s leave him aside) is manifestly inadequate, and definitely lacking in the variety and sheer danger to win matches at this level. All of these guys have their moments, for sure, but they’re too infrequent to pass muster, and Mills wouldn’t be playing test cricket for any other nation in the world. But this loss, like all the others on this tour, feels more like defeat at the hands of a better team, and less like a regular New Zealand implosion, than most in recent times. Continue reading

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The Skinny Post: Sexy March Insanity with Presidential Trimmings

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Now that's some vertical leap

It’s March! And all over America, portly white guys and the white women who love them are screaming: Have you filled out your Bracket? Who’s in your Bracket? Are you in the office pool with your Bracket? Is your Bracket still alive? Are you Bracket Busted?? WHO YA GOT???

What the f*ck is a Bracket? says I.

The Bracket is the tournament structure of the qualifying 64 teams making the Division 1 playoff tournament in NCAA Mens Basketball. Just making the final 64 is a triumph for most schools, but for the 20 or so College Basketball powerhouses its the most severe test of their multimillion dollar programmes and their long and successful history as cradles of their sport.

Its a severe test because collegiate basketball is the best and most fair version of the sport played. Pro basketball has more studs, skills and spitting (and only slightly more illegitimate children) but at the collegiate level the games are faster, purer (flopping at this level means only you probably play for Duke) and generally way more exciting.

And March Madness is the pinnacle. Continue reading

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Filed under Basketball, Guest Post, The Skinny Post

And The Winner Is…

…a quick follow-up post from Dave’s earlier post about NCAA/March Madness…
obama-fist-bump
Barack Obama was recently elected as the boss of America, and challenged to heal the ills of the world – starting with the economic crisis, global heating, and those annoying South Africans with their accents and their ergonomic office chairs. Most would be daunted by the task, but not Obama, who decided this week to focus his energy on a bout of very public time wasting. The results are after the break – President Barack Obama’s NCAA Bracket, written by hand, and the result of hours (hundreds of billions of dollars worth) of consultation. Continue reading

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