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Monday, August 15, 2011

Pro Golfers Swing Differently than Amateurs: Stanford School of Medicine Study Shows Biomechanical Differences: Hip Rotation Initiates Downswing

Jessica Rose, PhD, and a team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have obtained valuable new insights on the golf swing. As John Sanford writes:
"For the first time, several key rotational-biomechanic elements of the golf stroke in its entirety, from backswing to follow-through, were analyzed, and then the data were used to generate benchmark curves, said Jessica Rose, PhD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and senior author of the study."
The medical object of the study was of course to study golf-induced injuries by studying swing fundamentals. It was found that pros do in fact swing differently than amateurs:
"Researchers analyzed several biomechanical elements of subjects’ golf swings, including S-factor (tilt of the shoulders), O-factor (tilt of the hips) and X-factor — the relative rotation of the hips to the shoulders, measured in degrees — which is considered key to power generation. Previous research has shown that pro golfers who hit the ball far generally have a larger peak X-factor than their peers, but this study is more extensive in that it considers X-factor in relation to other rotational biomechanics of the golf swing over the full duration of the motion."
Of immense use to all golfers, pro or amateur, and immensely valuable to teaching professionals, the study found for the first time scientifically that it is hip rotation that initiates the downswing:
"Conrad Ray, the Knowles Family Director of Men’s Golf at Stanford University and a co-author of the study, said the findings give scientific backing to the elements of golf-swing form that professionals have long understood are vital for generating power. The study also helps to clarify some unresolved questions about golf-swing biomechanics, Ray said. “One question that always comes from students is, ‘What starts the downswing?’” he said. “People have had different answers. Some would say the hands, or others would say the shoulders or the lower body. But the study confirms that rotation of the hips initiates the downswing. So that, to me, is an interesting finding.”"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mentoring, Coaching, Leadership: March Madness and Winning: Teams that Make the Final Four Usually Have One Thing in Common: Head Coaches Who Understand the Secrets of Good Coaching

...Mentoring. Coaching. LEADERSHIP. 
...In ANY Organization.
...Learn from Sports.
This is an amended edition of a previous posting on the

Secrets of Good Coaching

Secret Number 1
: Recruit the Right Players and Hold Them to Higher Standards

Stephanie Storm
quotes perennial winner and head football coach Larry Kehres:
"You have to recruit good people, then assist them in their development."
Milan Simonich quotes Kehres at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concerning his recruiting of players:
"I only ask them three questions, but they're important.... Are you a good man? Do you have a passion for football? Do you plan on getting the grades you're capable of?"
Stephanie Storm in the Akron Beacon Journal of November 28, 2003, writes:
"Football might be the focus of the coach's life, but he teaches his players that their values ought to extend beyond the field.

During football season, players' grades actually improve.

Coach says it's important that we hold ourselves to higher standards, especially when so much attention is focused on us during the season,'' wide receiver Randell Knapp said." [emphasis added by LawPundit]
Kehres expects his players to give their best, every day. As quoted by Nancy Armour at
"I'm proud of the fact that our men do learn that you have to do, day in and day out, what you're supposed to do," Kehres said. "I don't expect (victories). However, do I expect a certain level of performance throughout the offseason in terms of what we do and then, in the season, in how we practice so that we would have a chance to go down that path? Yes, I expect that."
Secret Number 2: Prepare Your Team to Play with Passion and as much Perfection as they are Capable of Achieving

Larry Kehres says
"The job of a coach is to prepare his team."
This involves training in all of its aspects, including mental and physical preparedness.

As Milan Simonich writes at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"He [Kehres] took a solid program and turned it into a spectacular one by emphasizing precision, mental preparation and weight training."
Players on and off the field must know what responsibilities they have and what action they are to take in any particular game situation. A player who is undisciplined off the field is not likely to exercise discipline on the field. It is the whole player that counts.

The onus hereby is on the COACHES. Kehres is quoted by Al Eisele at the Huffington Post:
"I always try to get the assistant coaches who work with me to understand that if there's no learning by the kids, there's no teaching.... I've tried hard to get the coaches to accept that as the only measure of performance, and there are just no excuses accepted. If there's no learning, there's no teaching....."
That standard of teaching and learning demands extremely knowledgeable and effective education of players.

Stephanie Storm in the Akron Beacon Journal of November 28, 2003, writes:
"Kinnard and many other team leaders point to the precision with which the program is run, the attention to every detail all the way down to scheduling the number of minutes for each practice drill, as a main reason for their overwhelming success."
The result of that philosophy is awesome. It produces winners.

Milan Simonich writes at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"He works for perfection," said Matt Caponi, a senior defensive back and a Baldwin High School graduate. "That's how his offense has been for the last three years -- perfect." ...
On the field, Kehres lays down a singular challenge to everybody who pulls on a helmet. "I expect them to play better than they ever thought they could," he says."
Coaches, when is the last time one of your players called your offense - perfect?

Jack Ewing, president of Mount Union College, is quoted by Milan Simionich at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as saying about Larry Kehres and the football team program:
"This is a culture of excellence that I have never seen before."
Every coach creates a "culture" of some kind by his coaching. What is yours?
Secret Number 3 : A Coach Must be Absolutely Objective at All Times 

Effective coaching demands absolute objectivity about the skills, strengths and weaknesses of players and coaches, on both sides of the ball. Wishful thinking is at the heart of bad decision-making.

If you have a weaker team than the opponent - accept it. A weaker team can beat a stronger team if the coaches correctly recognize that they are weaker and take proper measures to try to offset that weakness. Here we can point to Stanford's incredible record upset of USC 24-23 in football, even though Stanford was the underdog by more than 40 points (a record). Prior to that game, as Ted Venegas, Columnist for wrote at Yahoo sports:
"The Cardinal have completely revamped their approach defensively. Before this season, they ran a passive 3-4 defense which was of the read and react variety. This year, they do nothing but attack.... Defensive coordinator Scott Shafer came to the conclusion that Stanford did not have the talent to remain passive, so they have to force the action."
The Stanford upset of USC was enabled by good coaching under the leadership of football director and head coach Jim Harbaugh and the Stanford coaching staff, who objectively recognized their weaknesses and compensated for them. Look at the success Harbaugh subsequently had at Stanford with good players.

The principle also applies to basketball. Tubby Smith, former basketball coach at Kentucky, who in his first year at Minnesota had a 5-1 record as opposed to 2-6 the previous year with much the same players and a similar schedule, says about coaching:
"If you're not skilled enough offensively, defensively you can make up for it with hustle and sheer determination and effort," Smith said. "We feel like we have to overachieve."
Secret Number 4 : A Coach Must Work Optimally to Develop the Players He Has

Stephanie Storm in the Akron Beacon Journal of November 28, 2003, in "Team Concept Rules" writes about Larry Kehres' assessment of players as follows:
"When he [Kehres] thinks back to the start of the run that began Mount Union's dominance, Kehres remembers a meeting held among the team's staff in the early '80s when he was an assistant.
'We just decided to quit pouting about what we didn't have and concentrate on improving the players we had,' Kehres said.
'We went with the idea that if some of the players we recruited weren't as good as some others when they arrived, it was our job to help them catch up,' Kehres said. 'It was sort of, "Come on, let's quit whining and feeling sorry for ourselves and make the most of what we've got."
What happens when you do not develop players properly (required in college ball) but expect them to perform automatically (as is more likely in the NFL) can be seen at Notre Dame, where Charlie Weis, a former NFL offensive coordinator, went 3-9 as the head coach of the Irish. As Posted at (and cited at BlogIron) by Kevin Donahue:
"Charlie Weis is an outstanding offensive mind - without question - but he is failing as a head coach.

There is nothing in his resume to suggest that Weis is capable of developing talent. He certainly didn't have to develop players in the NFL, just show them the plays, tweak here & there, and collect the trophies. But now - with his team needing it the most - Weis is not developing talent at Notre Dame.
Good recruits are coming into the Notre Dame system and - but for their own inner passion to excel - languishing under Weis. There is no such thing as marked improvement, it is simply a transaction with Weis. It almost as if the recruits are NFL free agents, signing with the team and then expected to use their talents to improve the team. There's nothing to suggest that Weis is actually taking a player from one level and ELEVATING his game to the next level. And this is Weis's Achilles' heel - he isn't developing players."
Nebraska had the same problem with Bill Callahan, who had proven himself as an offensive coordinator, but not as a head coach, having inherited a Super Bowl team for one successful season and then going 4-12 the next year. It is one thing to develop offensive plays for professional football players at the top - both Callahan (Oakland) and Weis (New England) were offensive coordinators for Super Bowl teams - but it is an entirely different matter to head coach a college team, that may not have the talent at all to execute effectively many of the plays that a brilliant offensive mind can come up with. Plus, equal attention has to be paid to the defense. The job is simply a different one and a coach must adapt coaching to the personnel that he has. 

Secret Number 5 : A Coach Must Adapt the Style of Play to the Players Available 

Stephanie Storm in the Akron Beacon Journal of November 28, 2003, quotes Kehres about the style of play that a football team should have, dependent on the players available:
"Some years you don't have the kind of players you need to say, run the option,'' he said. 'As a coach, you can't just do what you want to do. You have to match it to the ebb and flow of the kind of players you have."
Especially coaches who rely on a "fixed system" and then try to force that fixed system upon their players, whether those players are suited to that system or not, are not likely to be successful. Larry Kehres adapts continuously - to the times and to his players.

Let us tune in to Division III football and the blog, the D3 Football Daily Dose, where commenter Mainjack writes as follows about Mount Union's head coach Larry Kehres ("LK" in the posting quoted below), :
"I’ve been a bit surprised that no one has mentioned how LK has adapted his teams over the past 15 years to stay ahead of the curve. In the early 90’s when the west coast offense was first starting to creep into the language, LK embra[c]ed it, and blew people away with his 5 wideouts and wide open passing. Back in those days as soon as MUC got anywhere near mid-field, they were going for the bomb. As the 90’s came to a close, and defenses were figuring out the west coast schemes, LK went to a very good running back, a blocking fullback and a tight end. Chuck Moore and Dan Pugh helped remake the Mount union offense, and allowed the passing game to be as successful as it needed to be. Now you have Kmic absolutely carrying the load behind a massive offensive line, with deep threat possibility in Garcon, and two or three other receivers doing damage on short routes……when necessary.
Football is cyclical, but LK has always stayed one step ahead of where the game is going, which is why they have not had many down years (if you can call one loss a down year)."
Secret Number 6 : A Coach Must Concentrate on the Basics 

One of the things that shocked this writer about the Callahan-coached Huskers was that they seemed to have forgotten how to block and tackle with passion, i.e. the most basic skills required of a top football team. Coaches who spend all their time designing plays and looking at films of opposing teams are not going to be successful if the basics are thereby neglected. The game must still be played - on the field - not just on the drawing board.

One coach who understood this was UCLA's fabled basketball coach, John Wooden, who made his highly touted players run basic basketball drills like shooting layups continuously, as he explained, so that layups would be made automatically during game situations and not be missed. The same applies to tackles in football.

Indeed, the attention to fundamentals by John Wooden was legendary. As written by Kyle Colvett for Inside Tennessee at
"The most basic of football skills and behaviors need to be emphasized. John Wooden, he of the ten NCAA basketball titles at UCLA, the Wizard of Westwood, used to begin the practice season with an entire session on how to put on socks and shoes. Players were troubled by blisters and foot problems and he discovered that the players didn't smooth out all the wrinkles around their heels and around their little toes, places where the blisters were prone to occur. He sometimes noted that they didn't lace their shoes properly or that they wore shoes that were a size too large. Such details mattered."
Secret Number 7 : Yelling and Screaming is NOT Good Coaching, but Ritual and Routine ARE : Sports Psychology, Mental Fitness and Mental Discipline

See in this regard, for example, Secret Ingredient at, which is about sports psychology. We mention it here because sports psychology is immensely important, and as pointed out there, quite correctly:
"Studies show that yelling and screaming does NOT work with 94% of youth football players… and it can make it even harder for them to improve...
Varsity high school football coaches that use routines and rituals with their teams are three times as likely to have a winning record...."
That is absolutely correct. We have seen time and again on playing fields where coaches, parents, relatives and fans are screaming and yelling at their players, all to no avail.

SCREAMING AND YELLING are a sign of poor coaching, poor parenting, poor relations to other people, and poor spectating. It is a sign that you are unable to cope rationally with the situation that faces you. It is evidence of a lack of mental fitness and an absence of mental discipline. This does not mean that one can not be intense and enthusiastic, but it does mean that coaches yelling and screaming at players is simply a waste of time. John Wooden is quoted as saying:
"Intensity makes you stronger. Emotionalism makes you weaker."
The job of any coach is the same as that of any parent or educator, it is the job of rational instruction. Such instruction often best involves ritual and routine, to improve focus and reduce error.

Bill Cole, founder and CEO of Procoach Systems, Silicon Valley, California isolates four characteristics of mental strength that are important for winning: 

1) Very high personal standards (Larry Kehres agrees) 
and accountability

This applies to conduct off and on the field 

2) Unrelenting mental discipline

On a champion soccer team that we coached, for example, players were not allowed to yell at other players or to argue with referees - these were grounds for us, the coaches, to immediately remove a player from the field. Players were expected to concentrate on THEIR playing of the game and on nothing else.

3) Confidence-building by focused practice - achieving permanence of skills through practice

For example, we often see people at golf driving ranges, senselessly hitting one ball after the other as fast as they can, gaining nothing from the exercise. Practice must be focused on gaining permanence in a given skill. Practice must focus on "perfecting" something, which means that time must be taken to concentrate on what is being done. John Wooden is quoted for this:
"Do not mistake activity for achievement."
4) Focus on the process - not focus simply on winning or losing

Studies show that the difference between equally-talented champions and non-champions is the absence of fear in champions - they are not haunted by the fear of losing, but concentrate on the process of winning, doing what it takes to win, regardless of the specter of losing.

Selected sites touching upon good coaching are:

Wooden's Pyramid of Success
"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." - John Wooden
The Mental Game Coach (TM)

Training and Coaching Tips for Youth Basketball Practice by Bryan McCormick

No-How Coaching
by Coach John Gagliardi, some of whose No-Hows are:
  • No fear of being different
  • No throwing away money
  • No top-heavy staff
  • No reverence for titles.
  • No busy work
  • No substituting Mission Statements for doing the job
  • No withholding honor earned
  • No substituting reams of paper for action
  • No being a jerk
  • No focusing on mistakes.
  • No substituting putzing for achieving
  • No celebrating the heros only
  • No overloading by overanalysis
  • No fear of taking a risk
  • No giving power to setbacks
  • No settling for less than the best
  • No focus on winning everything for soccer coaching
Football Training - soccer coaching links
Football Coaching Strategies - by the AFCA - detailed at Human Kinetics
  • Running game—Tom Osborne, John McKay, and Darrell Royal
  • Passing game—Bill Walsh, Steve Spurrier, and LaVell Edwards
  • Defense—Dick Tomey, Barry Alvarez, Dave Wannstedt, and Jerry Sandusky
  • Kicking game—Spike Dykes and John Cooper
  • Philosophy, motivation, and management—Eddie Robinson and Joe Paterno
The AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) has more books
- check your online bookshop
Football Tools - Training Systems, Playbooks, DVDs etc.

Monday, March 21, 2011

2nd Follow-Up Posting on the Correlation Between Basketball Team Assists and Game Results

This 2nd follow-up posting follows the 1st Follow-Up Posting on the Correlation Between Basketball Team Assists and Game Results for NCAA and NIT championship tournament basketball games. Prior to this 2nd follow-up posting, the team that led in assists had won 42 games and lost only 8 games with three games where assists were tied. That stat can now as follows be summed to 55 won and 13 games lost by the team that led in assists with 4 games tied in assists.

Further NCAA Division I championship tournament games (the team that led in assists won 11 games, lost 4, with 1 game tied in assists)
  • Richmond beat Morehead State 65-48 and the Spiders also led in assists 18-7 (recall that Eagles had only 11 assists in upsetting Louisville and we predicted they would lose this game)
  • Connecticut beat Cincinnati 69-58 but trailed in assists 12-10 as Kemba Walker scored 33 points with 5 assists for the Huskies and Uconn won the game at the foul line making 25-30 free throws to only 10-14 for the Bearcats (recall that Cincinnati trailed in assists in beating Missouri and we predicted they would lose this game)
  • San Diego State beat Temple 71-64 in 2 overtimes and the game was tied in assists 13-13 (recall that the Owls trailed in assists 12-10 in beating Penn State and we predicted they would lose this game)
  • Kentucky beat West Virginia 71-63 and led in assists 12-9
  • BYU beat Gonzaga 89-67 but trailed in assists 18-17 as Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points with 6 assists for the Cougars, who won the game on long distance shooting, canning an uncanny 14 of 28 3-point shots, i.e. 42 points on 3-pointers !
  • Florida beat UCLA 73-65 and led in assists 13-12 (recall that the Bruins trailed in assists 13-20 in beating Michigan State and we predicted they would lose this game)
  • Butler beat Pittsburgh 71-70 but trailed in assists 21-12 as the Bulldogs beat the Panthers via 12 of 27 3-point field goals, among other things
  • Wisconsin beat Kansas State 70-65 and led in assists 12-7 as Wildcat guard Jacob Pullen scored 38 points, but the Badgers won the game mostly at the free-throw line on 19 of 23 conversions to only 15 of 22 for K-State, which befits the Wisconsin record of being the best free-throw shooting team in the country this season, currently at 82.3%, which would break the Harvard NCAA record of 82.2% set in 1984
  • Kansas beat Illinois 73-59 and led in assists 17-16
  • Florida State beat Notre Dame 71-57 and led in assists 15-12 as the Fighting Irish converted only 7- of 30 3-point shots and 8 of 32 inside field goals
  • VCU beat Purdue 94-76 and led in assists 26-20 (!) as both teams played strong team basketball with VCU winning the accuracy match with a 57% to 45% FG percentage
  • Duke beat Michigan 73-71 but trailed in assists 13-12
  • Arizona beat Texas 70-69 and led in assists 17-13 as freshman Jordin Mayes was the difference in 19 minutes of play with a season-high of 16 points, 6 of 7 field goals, of which 4 of 4 were 3-pointers (his season average is 46% and if he plays more than 19 minutes in upcoming games, look out for Arizona)
  • North Carolina beat Washington 86-83 and led in assists 18-17 as Tar Heel freshman guard Kendall Marshall had 14 of those assists (!)
  • Ohio State beat George Mason 98-66, even after falling behind early 11-2, and led in assists 23-13, 15 of those by freshman guard Aaron Craft off the bench, as the Buckeyes made 61% of all field goals, including not only 16 of 26 from 3-point range but 7 of 7 3's by the game's leading scorer, 6'5" senior David Lighty
  • Marquette beat Syracuse 66-62 and led in assists 15-11
Further NIT championship tournament games  (thus far 2 of 3)
  • Kent State beat Fairfield 72-68 but trailed in assists 16-12
  • Wichita State beat Virginia Tech 79-76 in overtime and led in assists 18-10 (who is going to beat the Shockers in the NIT tourney?)
  • College of Charleston beat Cleveland State 64-56 and led in assists 15-9  
  • Northwestern beat Boston College 85-67 and led in assists 27-13

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Follow-Up Posting on the Correlation Between Basketball Team Assists and Game Results

The team that led in assists won 14 games and lost 5 games with 1 game tied in assists in NCAA Division I competition. IN the NIT the data thus far was 12 games won by the team that led in assists, 2 tied, and only 2 lost.

Here is an update, including the last 16 NCAA tournament games in the Round of 64 and 1 NIT game. The team that led in assists won 16 of 17 games so that in 53 games, the team that led in assists won 42 games and lost only 8 games with three games where assists were tied (Won-Tied-Loss 14-1-5, 12-2-2, 16-0-1)

  • George Mason beat Villanova 61-57 and led in assists 12-10
  • Ohio State beat UTSA 75-46 and led in assists 26-6 (amazing stat!)
  • North Carolina beat Long Island 102-87 and led in assists 21-19 (hats off to the Blackbirds for a game well played and won by the Tar Heels only on the boards and at the free throw line)
  • Marquette beat Xavier 66-55 and led in assists 13-11
  • Washington beat Georgia 68-65 and led in assists 10-9
  • Syracuse beat Indiana State 77-60 and led in assists 17-13
  • Notre Dame beat Akron 69-56 and led in assists 16-10 and that was a good thing because the Fighting Irish otherwise won the game only at the free throw stripe as Akron actually made more baskets
  • Florida State beat Texas A&M 57-50 and led in assists 14-12
  • Kansas beat Boston University 72-53 and led in assists 19-10 (recall that KU ranked 2nd nationally on this stat in the regular season)
  • Purdue beat St. Peter's 65-43 and led in assists 12-9
  • Illinois beat UNLV 73-62 and led in assists 21-10
  • VCU beat Georgetown 74-56 and led in assists 14-12
  • Texas beat Oakland 85-81 and led in assists 14-12
  • Michigan beat Tennessee 75-45 and led in assists 20-10
  • Arizona beat Memphis 77-75 but trailed in assists 16-11 (this indicates to us that Arizona probably will not go far in the tournament)
  • Duke beat Hampton 87-45 and led in assists 17-4 (the Pirates forgot about team play)
In the NIT, Colorado beat Cal 89-72 and led in assists 13-12 (that stat is still a bit weak for the Buffaloes, but they are making great strides forward under first year head coach Tad Boyle)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kansas Led NCAA Basketball Division I Teams in Assists During the Regular Season: It's a Team Game and The Team with the Most Assists Usually Wins

Which NCAA Division I basketball team led the nation in average assists per game during the regular season 2010-2011?

The answer is currently 2nd-ranked Kansas: 17.9 assists per game.

We noticed some years back that one of the most important statistics in college basketball besides the final score is the total assists stat.

Basketball is at its core a team game and the team with the most assists usually wins. Of course, a stronger team is likely to have more assists just because of the strength of its players and because it scores more baskets, but a strong team without a good team game will likely lose to an equally strong team -- or even a somewhat weaker team in terms of personnel -- that has a better team game.

Let's take a look at the box score stats of all the NCAA Division I tournament games thus far as an example:
  • Clemson beat UAB 70-52 and led in assists 17-10
  • N.C. Asheville beat AR Little Rock 81-77 in OT but trailed in assists 19-17 (we think AR Little Rock would/should have won this game had their star Solomon Bozeman not fouled out prior to overtime)
  • VCU beat USC 59-46 and led in assists 11-4 (very poor team play at USC)
  • UTSA beat Alabama State 70-61 and led in assists 14-13
  • West Virginia beat Clemson 84-76 and tied in assists 15-15
  • Kentucky beat Princeton 59-57 and led in assists 12-8
  • Butler beat Old Dominion 60-58 and led in assists 11-8
  • Pittsburgh beat N.C. Asheville 74-51 and led in assists 18-9 (sophomore Travon Woodall was in the game for only 23 minutes and had 6 assists (!) but was only 1 for 6 himself on field goals, so let him play but not shoot)
  • Florida beat UCSB 79-51 and led in assists 22-8 (6'10" forward (!) Chandler Parsons had 10 assists)
  • BYU beat Wofford 74-66 and led in assists 14-8 (Jimmer Fredette not only scored 32 points but led all players in assists with 7)
  • Wisconsin beat Belmont 72-58 and led in assists 13-12
  • UCLA, record national champion, beat Michigan State, also a perennial powerhouse when it comes to NCAA tournaments, 78-76, but was lucky to win, trailing in assists 13-20, and winning the rough game only at the free throw line with 30 of 47 foul shots to only 16 of 21 for Michigan State
  • Gonzaga beat St. John's 86-71 and led in assists 20-9
  • Kansas State beat Utah State 73-68 and led in assists 14-10
  • Morehead State beat Louisville 62-61 but trailed in assists 14-11
  • Richmond beat Vanderbilt 69-66 and led in assists 14-12
  • Temple beat Penn State 66-64 but trailed in assists 12-10
  • San Diego State beat Northern Colorado 68-50 and led in assists 11-8
  • Connecticut beat Bucknell 81-52 and led in assists 20-6 (Kemba Walker led all scorers with 18 points AND 12 assists -- that is player dominance)
  • Cincinnati beat Missouri 78-63 but trailed in assists 15-14
In 20 games thus far, the team that led in assists won 14 of those games, tied in assists in 1, and lost 5, and even if a game was lost, the stats were close, except in one game only which was decided by free throws, i.e. where assists and field goals played a secondary role.

So, how useful is this information?

We expect ALL of the teams that won in the Round of 64 but had fewer assists than their opponents to LOSE in the Round of 32 (i.e. UCLA, Morehead State, Temple and Cincinnati).

Similarly, we expect teams with a large dominance of assists to be especially strong in the coming round(s) (i.e. Pittsburgh, Florida, Connecticut), because the number of assists points to their strong TEAM game. Both Gonzaga and BYU also did well in terms of assists but they play each other in the Round of 32 and so one of them must fall. (The big difference for Gonzaga in their recent win streak is 6'4" guard junior Marquise Carter, moved by Coach Mark Few from point to off guard, who is strong defensively, and who scored 24 points against St. John's, and also had 6 assists AND 6 rebounds for the Bulldogs -- that's All-American play. Indeed, Carter was an NJCAA All-American. Ever since Carter was moved into the starting lineup 10 games ago, and has been playing 30 minutes or more per game, Gonzaga has been winning impressively. Early in the season, e.g. in the Bulldogs worst loss, 81-59 to Washington State, Carter was not even in the starting line-up and scored 0 points.)

Logically, if a winning team has only a so-so performance on assists this may indicate that those teams may be over-rated. San Diego State, for example, which was not impressive at all in its game, may be one of those over-rated teams.

Just as a check on the theory, a look at the NIT games thus far shows that the team that led in assists won 12 of 16 games thus far in the tournament, tied in assists in 2, and lost only 2:

NIT Tournament First Round
  • Alabama beat Coastal Carolina 68-44 and led in assists 12-7
  • New Mexico beat UTEP 69-57 and led in assists 16-13 
  • Missouri State beat Murray State 89-76 and tied in assists 16-16
  • Miami of Florida beat Florida Atlantic 85-62 and led in assists 11-6
  • Colorado beat Texas Southern 88-74 and led in assists 19-14
  • California beat Mississippi 77-74 and led in assists 17-11
  • Fairfield beat Colorado State 62-60 and led in assists 14-11
  • Kent State beat St. Mary's 71-70 and trailed in assists 17-13
  • Boston College beat McNeese State 82-64 and led in assists 17-10
  • Northwestern beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 70-61 and led in assists 17-16
  • Oklahoma State beat Harvard 71-54 but trailed in assists 13-9
  • Washington State beat Long Beach State 85-74 and led in assists 17-12
  • Virginia Tech beat Bethune-Cookman 79-54 and led in assists 21-13
  • Wichita State beat Nebraska 76-49 and led in assists 18-6 (as a Husker alum I can say that the coaching of the Cornhuskers basketball team is badly in need of improvement or change, given that disastrous statistic - the worst in all of the NCAA and NIT games thus far, showing virtually no team game at all. The NU coach blamed the loss on poor shooting, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for a coach who preaches defense but does not seem to understand how to generate team offense).
  • College of Charleston beat Dayton 94-84 and tied in assists 11-11
  • Cleveland State beat Vermont 63-60 and led in assists 16-10

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Publicly Owned Green Bay Packers: A Model for Professional Sports ?

We have been Steeler fans for many years but if the Green Bay Packers should win the upcoming Super Bowl, they would, in a sense, be the "people's" champion.

Patrick Hruby has a great article at on the unusual status of the publicly owned Green Bay Packers in professional football at
Super Bowl: The publicly owned Green Bay Packers could be the model for a better way to organize and administer professional sports. - ESPN

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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