Posts Tagged With: Sports

What I Will Be Reading Next Week

I will be making my way slowly through this list of the best sports journalism of all time.

On the nightstand: Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays, by David Foster Wallace

On the shelf:

How to Sail Around the World, by Hal Roth. I am trying to figure out whether I like the idea of sailing around the world better than I would like sailing around the world. If I decide I want/can do this I'm going in June.

Maiden Voyage, by Tania Aebi. Tania sailed around the world at 18 in a 35 foot boat with no previous experience. If she can do it I can.

Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell. I reread Politics and the English Language for class last week and remembered how much I enjoy Orwell's style.

The 4-Hour work Week, by Timothy Ferriss (again).

Coming soon on Link+:

The Story and Its Writer, by Ann Charters. This book was recommended to me by a former teacher.

How to Cheat at Everything, by Simon Lovell. Currently I'm too accomodating and nice.

I am reading more and more short stories, because they can be finished during a meal or before bedtime. Unfortunately pleasure reading is at the bottom of my priority list. I could use a vacation, a campus-wide Internet shutdown, or more efficient work habits. Hopefully I can make a dent in this list. Or at least decide that I'd rather not read some of these books.

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Adding (Real) Competition to the NHL

Slate's Nate DiMeo has a good article in Slate about how to make the NHL more interesting. I think this would be great. Winning the Stanley Cup is an unrealistic expectation for 20 of 30 teams in the NHL right now; I think there should be more incentives to keep teams innovating and making the on-field product better. Sure, there is the glory of making the playoffs despite long odds, but at best you are going to get 5 or 6 more home games, and two weeks' worth of excitement; a far more likely scenario is being out of the playoffs by mid-season. I add potential rules changes to the drive to save the NHL - change the ice to fit international standards (wider and longer).

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My thoughts on the Tournament, seeding, and scoring systems.

Penn vs. A&M The story of the tournament so far has been the lack of major upsets. The lowest seed still remaining is #7 UNLV, and many strong teams survived the tournament's first weekend. I watched Penn play Texas A&M live, but missed a lot of the other action. Here are a few of my thoughts on the tournament: 1) If the seeding committee wanted to design the bracket so every higher-seeded team would win every game, they would set it up differently from the way it is now. They would set it up as 1 vs 9 5 vs 13 3 vs 11 7 vs 15 2 vs 10 6 vs 14 4 vs 12 8 vs 16 Which means that the current arrangement isn't as high-seed friendly as it could be, and which means that lower seeds (like Penn) can complain they had to play too difficult of a team, and the committee can say, "The higher seeds won every game, clearly our seeding process was good" and they can both be somewhat right. 2) Has anyone tested to see if the committee suffers from a recency effect in seeding teams (Syracuse gets a 5 last year, A&M gets a 3 this year, Oregon gets a 3) for the tournament? It could be tested with win percentage in the conference tourney vs. performance against the seed expectation. I think win percentage alone is over-rated by the committee. There are strong teams that play tough schedules and lose some games (North Carolina), and teams that get lucky and win more than they should against average teams (Long Beach State). 3) Can the preponderance of higher seeds getting to the Sweet 16 can be explained through the same probability as last year's brackets, or was the chance made more likely by the NBA age rules change? I hypothesize that the disparity between the best teams and the average teams in college basketball was made greater by the presence of players who would have jumped straight to the NBA, but instead played a year of college ball. 4) Tourney pools should give points for correctly picking teams to lose games in the tourney. For example I may pick Wisconsin to lose in the second round to GT, which may be because I think GT is good or it may be because I think Wisconsin will choke against whoever they play. So if Wisconsin ends up losing to UNLV, I think you should still be able to earn points in your pool. Otherwise if you have a team still 'alive' in your bracket vs. a team that you called incorrectly (say I picked Duke to play UCLA in the Sweet 16) even if you think the team that's still 'alive' is going to lose, you should pick them to win cause it's your only chance at getting points. 5) I really enjoy reading Ken Pomeroy's website, if only because they employ statistics and analysis to justify their opinions, rather than talking off the cuff. Here's an explanation of what he does at his website.

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Free Trade & Sports

The idea of protectionism, when applied to a sport like baseball or basketball, is ridiculous. Say the NBA suddenly decided to limit the number of foreign players that could be drafted to four players in the upcoming draft. In the name of "protecting" American players at home. Arguments are made by American players - "they're taking our jobs," "American talent isn't as developed as foreign talent so we need quotas," or my favorite, "Foreign players are better than we are and they will play for less money than we will." This idea is ridiculous - when Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, or Steve Nash play games, the quality of play is better and tickets are cheaper. More fans (I think) would be willing to go see a better quality game, too.

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We Root For These Teams To Lose Next Week

If these teams lose, Penn gets a better seed and a better chance of winning its first round game: #1 Yale - Gotta make the NCAA's first, two combined Yale losses or Penn wins will do it. Davidson/Appalachian State - most likely competing for one bid between them Holy Cross Vermont Butler Memphis Southern Illinois/Creighton/Mo State, by any team in the MVC that's not in Nevada UNLV/Air Force BYU Xavier/UMass to any team in the A-10 that's not in Winthrop VCU/Drexel/Old Dominion Gonzaga/Santa Clara

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February Madness – Penn Basketball’s NCAA Tourney Chances (Or, Oh God, I Hope They Give Us Washington State And Not Memphis)

Penn is in control of its own destiny after a Yale loss last week to Cornell and a victory last night over Cornell. Five games left - at Harvard and Dartmouth, home to Brown and Yale, and at Princeton. In all likelihood the title will come down to Penn vs. Yale at the Palestra. A win there means we can lose any other game and still have 2 losses against Yale and Cornell's 3. A loss likely spells a playoff against Yale for the Ivy League title. I will be rooting for every single possible upset over the next few weeks besides my dear old Penn. I hope Winthrop goes down in its conference tourney, I hope Appalachian State loses, I hope Nevada, Gonzaga, and Holy Cross, lose, I hope Boston U wins the CAA tourney and Iona wins the MAAC tournament. The more upsets in the one-bid conferences, the more at-larges get eaten up and the more teams get seeded below Penn, giving us a better shot at winning against our first round opponent. In Penn's range, here are teams I'd love to play and teams I'd hate: Memphis: I have better chances of getting action on a Monday than Penn has of beating Memphis. The same can be said for Kansas, who beat a not-terrible Nebraska by 53. Texas A&M: Big, strong, athletic, we're screwed. Butler: Butler is a very good team that for the large part will beat inferior opposition. Even if they did lose to Illinois-Chicago, who we beat. Clemson: I would not be that happy about playing Clemson. A very athletic quick team that will expose our lack of defense and frontcourt. However they have struggled lately. Washington State: A team that plays grinding defense and runs the clock 35 seconds a possession. Sounds familiar, except these guys can win every now and then. We can beat Wazzu, especially if it is a low scoring game. Air Force: I am dancing inside if we land Air Force. They will underperform in the NCAA Tournament. Duke: Duke sucks, plus they rejected my application last April. I am also dancing inside if we get to play Duke. Ibby Jaaber will rip Greg Paulus for 10 steals. Paulus will never be able to show his face again.

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