U.Va. hoops: Not boring!

I like seeing defensive basketball played well, and the University of Virginia men’s team has been doing that frequently recently. The team stakes its game on intensive defensive pressure, often holding opponents to fewer than 50 points and sometimes even fewer than 40 points in games. The local crowd applauds blocks, tips, and steals vigorously and gets really loud when the defense forces the opponent into the last 10 seconds of the shot clock.

Over a couple of weeks, there was a flurry of discussion about whether the style of play constituted boring basketball. The coach dismissed the criticism and the team seems to enjoy the crowds’ enthusiasm for its defense.

I was just looking at the changes in U.Va.’s offense and defense over the past three coaches.* I noticed that the defense has, indeed, improved in recent years, as reflected in Ken Pomeroy’s opponent-adjusted points allowed per 100 possessions. The trend is clearly that the recent U.Va. teams are giving up fewer points. And, the trend is that U.Va. is clearly scoring more points per 100 possessions, too. So, how boring is that?

Of course, the tempo at which Tony Bennett’s teams play (adjusted tempo is Mr. Pomeroy’s metric; possessions per 40 minutes adjusted for opponents) is markedly lower than the pace at which previous teams have played. Why is the recent trend toward slower play? Virginia does not often race the ball up the court after other teams’ made baskets or after gaining possession via a rebound or steal. The team runs a set offense routinely. But, remember, Virginia is a team that forces the other team to use a lot of the clock, and that reduces the number of possessions, too.

With a win Monday night, this not-so-boring-to-me brand of basketball would make U.Va. the first school outside of North Carolina, Duke, and N.C. State to win consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference regular season titles outright.

*For 2015, the data reflect only the first 28 games.

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Change the naming of hurricanes

Over at ClimateNameChange.org there is this too funny video. It won’t even take three minutes for you to watch it, so don’t hesitate, click now!

Flash of the electrons to my pal Frank for turning me on to this.

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3-on-3s

I saw a wonderful photo by Timothy Clary of Julius Erving, Oscar Robertson, and Bill Russell at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on 14 February 2015. Seeing Mr. Clary’s photo in a newspaper, I pretty much immediately thought, “I’d take these three guys against just about any other three guys who ever played the game.” I’ll start with a couple of interesting match-ups, just for grins. Feel free to put your own in the comments:

  • Magic Johnson, Michael Jordon, and Wilt Chamberlain
  • Jerry West, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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Thm Lone Bellow moved to a bigger venue

So, The Southern isn’t capacious enough to hold the crowd that will greet The Lone Bellow. Thm folks’ show sold out in a few days and now it has been has been moved to the Jefferson.

I snagged more tix. Friends are coming to town for it.

Thm’ve surrounded themselves with wonderful musicians on the albums and videos. Check “Fake Roses” for an example. So, I’m really looking forward to this event. I want to see what band they bring with them and their wonderful voices (harmonies) and whether thm and their band can get me out of my seat.

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Thm Lone Bellow

It took me many months (like until just today) of listening to and watching videos of performances by The Lone Bellow to realize that I didn’t know the names of the band members. What! Who are thm?

I’ve been listening to them while I work. I’ve hummed their songs while I drive. I can sing along when I watch the many variants on their YouTube channel. A couple of songs have been ear worms from time to time.

I’ve been telling people about this group that blends their voices together so well. I’ve bought tickets to see them perform in March. I’ve told people to watch for when the come on tour in their neighborhoods.

But, wait! Who are they, individually? Well, in addition to the content on the site I noted in the first paragraph, one can always consult the Wikipedia entry. But I realized tonight that, after this intense romance, I didn’t know the names of these folks.

In a way, who cares? They’re a band, a troupe, a happy, non-threatening gang; a choir who play instruments, too. Some energetic singer folx…. And we’ll see them at the all-ready sold-out show at the Southern in March!

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Prescient or Same-old-same-old?

The passing of Mario M. Cuomo, former Governor of the US state of New York, makes me wonder whether he was so savvy that he saw the future or he was just describing conditions that keep recurring. In his speech to the 1984 Democratic National Party Convention, he pitched what I consider one of the most cogent and moving counters to Mr. Ronald Reagan’s economic polices.

Mr. Reagan’s policies were implemented and we have suffered the consequences ever since. Mr. Cuomo anticipated it. He called it. He suggested compassionate, humane alternatives, as in this source for the full speech and these briefer excerpts.

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Can you believe it?

Those tree-hugging, Nobel Peace-Prize winning, one-world people are at it again. On 1 November 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released another report—actually batch of reports—alerting us that climate change is real. There will be colder colds. Hotter hots. The oceans will be higher and more acidic. Our human activities are causing the changes and most of it has happened in my lifetime. It is the most extreme change in 800,000 years.

It is possible to mitigate the effects and we shall have to adapt to the changes, but we have to start doing things now. By the end of this century, or sooner, things are likely to be out of hand.

It’s as if they think we only have one Earth!

This link goes to the 40-page summary for policymakers, this link goes to the 116-page full report for those without time challenges, and this link goes to the IPCC Web site where one can find links not just to the summary but to the papers of the working groups and other materials generated by those lovers Polar Bears and other living things.

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