My 100th post: A happy hoops Saturday

“I even keep that basketball underneath my pillow. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep at night.” – from Cheech and Chong’s “Basketball Jones.”

OK, it’s obscure. But it seemed a fitting way to start this milestone blog post. I’m as hooked on basketball as the title character in that somewhat politically incorrect novelty tune from the Seventies. Click here and give it a play.

I spent Saturday the way I spend most Saturdays this time of year — either watching or attending college basketball games. I’ve divided my Sports Reporting class into coverage teams to give them the experience of writing a game story and I sent the first group from the class to Wingate’s South Atlantic Conference basketball doubleheader with Brevard. Results were a split, as the women won an easy 82-56 victory, an uptick on a real roller-coaster of a 9-7 season.

I couldn’t stick around for all of the men’s game, which Wingate lost 88-87. The Bulldogs (10-6) rallied from a 12-point haltime deficit to take the lead late in the game. But they couldn’t hang on and missed a last-second shot for the win.

Odd statistic of the day #1: Brevard’s top two scorers in the men’s game had 33 and 30 points respectively. The other five players for the Tornados combined for 25.

I finished up the evening covering Queens’ home game with Conference Carolinas rival Pfeiffer for The Charlotte Observer. Click here for my story.

I’ve written previously about Pfeiffer and Coach Dave Davis’ unusual approach to the game. Click here for a little background on this system, which makes use of frequent five-for-five player substitutions. To describe the pace as “uptempo” would be an understatement.

This season, their record isn’t spectacular (8-5 at this writing), but their offensive output certainly is. The Falcons are leading the nation’s Division II teams in scoring, averaging 108.4 points per game. I know it’s not the same thing, but in the NBA, only the Phoenix Suns are doing better than that.

The fewest points they’ve scored in a game is 83 in a loss to Belmont Abbey and they rang up 137 on Washington Adventist, a little NAIA school in the Washington, D.C. , area.

Queens hung with them for one entertaining half in Saturday’s game. After 16 first-half lead changes Pfeiffer led 57-55 at halftime before pulling away in the second half for a 120-106 win.

Odd statistic of the day #2: Coaches will often look to a statistic called “bench points” to gauge the effectiveness of their non-starting players in a game. Points off the bench for Pfeiffer in this game: a staggering 100. The Pfeiffer athletic website led with this figure in its game report, and it’s interesting but a bit misleading.

In that previous post, I compared the Pfeiffer system to ice hockey — sending new sets of players into the game every one or two minutes, guaranteeing maximum effort during the time they’re on the court. What Davis did Saturday was the hockey equivalent of sending out the second or third line, players whose primary role may be something other than scoring, to begin the game.

I’ll have to talk about that one with the Sports Reporting students when we get to the class session on which statistics are meaningful and which aren’t.


About theoldperfessor

I'm a college professor, teaching journalism and public relations classes at a small private university, and a freelance writer.
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