Tuesday, 11 April 2006

Poach your own coach

To the extent I care about University of Memphis basketball—i.e. absolutely zero—I am happy that John Calipari will not be moving to Raleigh to coach the N.C. State Wolfpack. At least it means that there’s still a slim chance I’ll see a celebrity at mom’s church next time I go.

Thursday, 30 March 2006

George Mason: appearing in the Final Four at taxpayers' expense

I’ve already asserted that George Mason University’s basketball team shouldn’t be held up as some sort of exemplar of the triumph of classical liberalism. Another data point in this critique arrives from Indianapolis Star writer Mark Alesia, whose paper surveyed all of the public colleges and universities in NCAA Division I and found that the average public institution subsidizes its Division I athletic program to the tune of $5 million per year.

Those plucky underdog classical liberals at George Mason’s athletic department reached the Final Four on $1.1 million of “direct institutional support” and an additional $7.57 million in mandatory student fees, much of which were picked up indirectly by the taxpayer through grants or loan subsidies. Good old George would be proud. (þ: UD)

Monday, 27 March 2006

George Mason: ridiculous poster boys for libertarianism

Will someone explain to me exactly how George Mason’s run to the NCAA Final Four is supposed to be a victory for libertarians? Yes, the economics and law faculty have a few more libertarians than the average (although this is offset by the political science faculty), and yes, George Mason wasn’t much of a federalizer, but I’m unconvinced how a team full of “scholar-athletes” (read “partial qualifiers”) who I doubt can even spell “libertarian” at an institution that receives millions of dollars of subsidies from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the federal government every year represents some big victory for classical liberalism.

Saturday, 18 March 2006

NewsRadio Quote of the Day, Adam Morrison edition

This one’s from Jimmy James, after Matthew returns from vacation with a moustache (“President,” season 3 episode 1):

Jimmy: Every man has the right to sex himself up however he sees fit, but you… you look like you belong at an amateur porn convention.
Matthew (enthusiastic): Thank you!

Sports musings of the day

Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys on acquiring the locker room cancer known as Terrell Owens. I suppose if there’s an NFL coach that can handle Owens’ ego, it’s Bill Parcells, but I can’t see this working out over even the medium term.

Congratulations also to the Blue Devils on making it back to the Sweet 16; the only category of the contest where George Washington bested Duke was in the attractiveness of their cheerleading squad (admittedly a matchup in which the Blue Devils frequently falter).

Finally, after praising WRAL for their telecasting work the first two days of the tournament, I have to issue a major demerit to our CBS affiliate for not airing the first five game minutes (and possibly more) of the Florida/Wisconsin-Milwaukee matchup on one of the umpteen available digital channels, instead of making us all sit through the interminable foulfest at the end the Duke–GW contest.

Friday, 17 March 2006

12:29 away from a really good weekend

As of this moment, 16-seeded SUNY Albany is leading #1 seeded UConn by seven ten seven ten eight points.

Update: Curse Albany and all they stand for.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Rhetorical NCAA question of the day

Would it kill CBS Sports to buy a couple of HD cameras for their New York studios? Considering they could ammortize the cost across their NFL and NCAA operations, this seems like a no-brainer.

That said, I am somewhat impressed that WRAL and Time Warner are giving us two HD feeds (which may be the only HD feeds they’re transmitting, knowing CBS’ cheapskate ways) and all four regions in SD. If only I really cared about basketball…

Actually, it’s a HD sports bonanza today: World Baseball Classic on ESPN HD (although I could have lived without seeing Bud Selig in hidef), the NCAA tournament on CBS, and an NBA double-header on TNT. No hockey, but what can you do?

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

NCAA tournament thoughts

A couple of disconnected thoughts about the NCAA basketball tournament thus far:

  • If the NCAA wants us to treat the play-in game as part of the “real” tournament, they’re going to have to do better than producing “Opening Round” bunting for the scorer’s table. At the very least, they need to call ESPN and tell them that they’re not allowed to do bush-league phone-in blowout material over the game action. More realistically, the “opening round” needs to be a real round, with four play-in games—one for each region. And the games need to be played in front of a crowd that gives a shit about the outcome, which you’re not generally going to find in Dayton, Ohio.
  • I’d never accuse the selection committee of showing favoritism toward generating good product, but it’s a mighty convenient coincidence that a lot of good, name-brand major conference teams are free to play deep into the now NCAA-owned-and-operated NIT rather than facing a second-round “big dance” exit against like likes of UConn or Duke.

My brackets, incidentally, are pretty boring; I’m not at all sold on Gonzaga or Tennessee doing much in the tourney. I picked Duke to win it all, over North Carolina (in my Yahoo! bracket) and Boston College (in my ESPN bracket)—I think otherwise the two brackets are identical.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Cranky student alert

It’s just as well that I have labs on Thursday and Friday for my methods students; I think they may be too traumatized to understand the lecture on the difference of proportions and chi-square tests. Hopefully they will recover for next week.

Vaguely-related NewsRadio quote of the day (paraphrased):

Catherine: Good job, Dave! It takes a big man to fold under pressure so quickly.

Story of my life…

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Easier decisions

The news that the Duke-UNC game is available in high-definition on ESPNHD, but will be blacked out in Durham in favor of Jefferson Pilot’s craptacular standard definition broadcast (which, no doubt, will be poorly upconverted to HD on our CBS affiliate), has tipped the balance in favor of me watching House on Fox (in HD) at 9 rather than via TiVo delay.

This is one of those days I wish I were a Nielsen family.

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Quote of the Day, NCAA hoops edition

Duke’s J.J. Reddick, quoted on himself and his friend, Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison, the leading contenders for the National Player of the Year award:

[W]e’re both competitors and we’re both really, really white.

You don’t say…

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

A night inside Cameron

One of these decades, I’ll master the black art of taking photos with my camera phone. Until then, here’s the fruits of my labor—a scoreboard shot from the women’s basketball game after the Blue Devils denied Pat Summit her 901st win as a head coach on Monday night:

Final score in Duke-Tennessee game

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

The joys of not going to Cameron

Seeing your students covered in blue paint: meh.
Teaching late enough in the day that I don’t have to worry about students skipping: ok.
Getting a break from student emails: nice.
Dick Vitale’s microphone not working for the first few minutes: priceless.

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

College basketball thought of the day

I can’t even pretend to care about the ACC-Big Ten challenge (much less college basketball in general), and I was falling asleep on my sofa a few hours ago while watching good TV, yet for some silly reason I’m wide awake and watching Duke–Indiana on TiVo delay with Dickie V anyway.

They must put drugs in the water supply here; that’s the only explanation.