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Chat: Ken Pomeroy (Basketball)

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday January 21, 2008 1:00 PM ET chat session with Ken Pomeroy (Basketball).

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Ken Pomeroy is one of the lead contributors to Basketball Prospectus.

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Hey everybody, it's time for another BP chat, basketball style. Bonus points today for naming the Super Bowl player with most career points scored as a D1 college basketball player.

Brian (Milwaukee): Ken, I was wondering if you have kept track of you mid-season predictions to see how accurate they are. At BadgerNation, we have been tracking your Big Ten predicted season records since late December. I think Badger fans have been somewhat intrigued that you are predicting the Badgers to win the conference by two games. How much validity do these predictions have at this point?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Mid-season predictions have not been tested as much as I would like. You can be sure if their accuracy was at a certain threshold, I wouldnít be sharing them with the public but would instead be living a good life in Vegas. Nonetheless, theyíre a reasonable place to start a conversation about end of season records. I donít think Wisconsin is going 16-2, but based on schedule and their ability, I think they have the best chance of the big three (Michigan St. and Indiana) of winning the conference. Assuming they knock off Michigan tomorrow, much more about the Badgers will appear in BP later in the week.

Daniel (Dallas, TX): Hi, Ken. Is there a way to reconcile the differences in the level of competition when you evaluate college statistics? For example, I would think the statistics for a Central Michigan player would be misleadingly superior to those for a Duke player.

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Thereís no question that this is a difficult problem to tackle, but worth tackling. I thought about this a lot when Fazekas was being considered for POY honors last season. I donít think the quality is considered enough when evaluating teams or players, but just how much it should be considered is purely conjecture right now. Thereís enough data out there to make a reasonable stab at how we should adjust individual stats based on the quality of competition, but itís a huge task to manage.

Dexter Fishmore (New York, NY): Ken, was UCLA's loss to USC (i) just one of those days, or (ii) a sign that the Bruins are not, in fact, one of the nation's superpowers this year?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Perhaps a sign that superpowers can and will lose games? I think it also shows what you get from a young team like USC - inconsistency. On Saturday they played great and met UCLA on an off day. To me that game was more about USC positioning itself for an at-large than anything else. Keep in mind USC is the 4th least experienced team in the country. There could be much improvement in the next few weeks.

Mark (Milwaukee): Marquette: Bad week or something to be concerned about?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): It woiuld be nice if they could play a game that wasn't over with 10 minutes. That seems to go for the entire Big East these days. The shooting is really becoming an issue, and all the Tom Crean offensive rebounding drills in the world can't cover that. I'd say some worries are justified.

James (Cleveland ): Donovan McNabb?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Regarding my bonus question at the start...I'm talking about this years Super Bowl...

Steve (North Dakota): Hey Ken, is Darnell Jackson the most improved player in the country this year?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): I'm sure I'm missing something, but if for no other reason than to give Drake some chat time - how about Leonard Houston? Jackson always had impressive rate stats, now he's getting the PT. In his first three seasons, Houston didn't play much and when he did, he didn't do much. Now he's playing and he's the go-to guy on a 16-1 team. I'm not saying Drake is going to go deep in the NCAA Tournament, but their turnaround is stunning.

coolpohle (Elkhorn, WI): Hi Ken. Your Mountain West conference looks awfully competitive right now, with about 5 teams looking to have a shot to win the league. Who do you think will win the regular season and conference tournament and do you see someone getting an at-large out of the MWC?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): As usual, teams at the top of the MWC are beating each other up. BYU is the best hope for an at-large considering their non-conference play, but chances are, they won't win the regular season. Somehow this conference always finds a way to send two teams. Once again, they'll be low seeds, whoever they are.

Kevin (NJ): Along the same lines as the Marquette question...what are your thoughts on Texas A&M's recent performance? Is this just a team that can't play a road game?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): I think they fooled some folks in non conference play. They seem to be having trouble with size these days. By the way - kudos to Frank Martin at KSU for his offense/defense substitution of Michael Beasley in the first half of the A&M game on Saturday. Say what you want about Martin, but I give him credit for creativity in keeping Beasley on the floor for parts of that half when he had 2 fouls. Most coaches would not have been so bold.

bronnerea (Boston): Ken, how far can Syracuse's youth sustain them this season? Do they have any chance at a tournament run or, with all the injuries, are they more likely to be an NIT team with a solid core coming back next year?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Well, I was disappointed they let the Nova game get away. The schedule gets tough now, and it's hard to see that 7-man team getting enough W's to get an at-large. That said, I'll pay money to watch Paul Harris any day. They'll be fun to watch next season if everybody comes back.

Bird (Knoxville, TN): Re: the trivia question, is Kenny Lofton playing for the Giants or Patriots this year?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): I guess it's oddly refreshing that it appears nobody watched football yesterday. I'll give a hint: the player in question was a turnover machine in college and was a turnover machine yesterday as well. No, it's not Brett Favre.

Nick (California): How good is Stanford now that Brook Lopez is back and worked into the rotation?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Stanford's the Wisconsin of the West in my opinion. Lopez is great, but his supporting cast is not going to grab any headlines. Nonetheless, the finished product is solid and functional. I'm salivating for Stanford at Wazzu in two weeks.

Nick (NYC): Kansas sits at 4th in Adj. O and 2nd in Adj. D. If the season ended today, would that be the best finish by a single team in both categories? Who has been better in that regard?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Well, Florida was 2nd and 5th in '06, but that was after a dominating tourney run.

Michael ((NY, NY)): R.W. McQuarters?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Yes! RW played some ball at Oklahoma State. I actually have no idea if he was turnover prone as a hoopster, but it made for a good story. I think I am just projecting Byron Eaton onto him.

Cody (Idaho): Does Gonzaga have any shot this week against Memphis, now that they are finally at full strength?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Well, they have a shot, for sure. Not much of one, but it exists. The Zags actually play some D, and with Heytvelt and Daye inside, they can make the lane an inhospitable place. It will be incumbent on those guys to stay on the floor somehow. That won't be easy.

Mike ((Holmdel, NJ)): Do you think that your ratings might serve as an even better prognistication tool if they weighted recent games more heavily than games earlier in the season?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Well, they actually do. This is one of the things that has been tested. Each game gets about 4% additional weight. This has been tested, and works the best as an average.

jrobs7777 (Phila): Is the fact that the A-10 "middle of the pack" has recently upset the top few a good or bad thing for the conference for the sake of projecting the NCAA tournament?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): It's bad mainly for URI, because Saint Louis really hasn't been middle of the pack in terms of quality. Overall, though, the A-10 is still in line to be nicely rewarded on Selection Sunday.

Bryan (New Orleans, La.): Now that the conference schedules have started, is there any way a C-USA makes the tournament without beating Memphis? If not, do you think a team of C-USA all-stars could beat Memphis?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Hey, great hypothetical question. Can we pull Morris Almond back from the NBA/NBDL? If so, then I say a CUSA all-star team could give the Tigers a run. But if it's up to Stefon Jackson and Robert Vaden, then I say no. Memphis pummels the rest of the CUSA combined. If only Gjio Bain was healthy to handle Dorsey. For those of you not familiar with CUSA, I'm sorry for the obscure references.

Jim (Houston): Ken, what is the biggest upset, per your ratings, that you can remember?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Retroactively, the Central Michigan 69-68 win over Notre Dame in the 2004 season ranks up there. It brings up an interesting fact. Teams in my top 50 are only 30-26 in one-point games against teams in my bottom 100 the last four years. A nugget for those that put too much stock in clutchness.

Bread (NV): Has Vance Walberg resurfaced with another job yet? If I was AD at a WAC school I would offer him an assisstant coach job.

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Oh I'm sure Vance will find work in the offseason. It's nice to have John Calipari as a reference. His situation makes the point that the players are more important than the system, at least for the vast majority of programs.

Jim (Salt Lake City): What's happened to the WAC this year? Is Utah State the team to beat? Perhaps Boise State?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): The single greatest implosion of a conference I can remember. There's this perception that they scheduled up this season, but they didn't Last seasons RPI SOS was 13, this season it's 22. And they've won fewer games against that schedule. The conference race is going to be a dogfight. Don't give up on Nevada. Unfortunately, the race is merely for conference tourney positioning.

Bob (Madison): Are you surprised by the lack of notable mids this year? Seems to me that the Valley, MAC, MWC, Colonial, WAC don't have near the number of high performers they have had in recent years. Looks to me that the committe will be debating a lot of .500 clubs from the P10, BE, and ACC for those last few bids.

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): I don't know. The recent past indicates that it's a lot tougher for .500 teams form major conferences to get in these days. There are some good reasons for that and some not-so-good reasons for that which may the topic of a future column. But the bottom line is that the non-power leagues may not get their usual quota, but they'll be represented.

Bread (NV): I thought the Vance Walberg case made the point that real estate prices are more important than the system.

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): Or that Vance does not value an ocean view as much as the rest of us would.

Alex (Washington, DC): What has happened with Karl Hobbes' GW squad. Was their recent success an aberration or are their struggles a result of injuries?

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): It has been a rather meteoric fall for GW since the gaudy record of two seasons ago. Trying to win with ACC castoffs (Wynton Witherspoon and Cheyenne Moore) hasn't exactly been a recipe for success. The Colonials have been the biggest victim of the rising tide in the A-10.

Ken Pomeroy (Basketball): With that, I'll wrap things up from BP HQ. Enjoy the week's worth of games, everybody!


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