While we try here at Big Ten Geeks to be on the cutting edge of all things Big Ten hoops, we admittedly fail miserably when it comes to covering the other 330 or so Division One teams. So what is a hoops geek to do to get his or her fill on conferences that don't move at a snail's pace?
Why, buy this book, of course.
I received my copy last week, and I must say, it's better than expected. Yes, it contains a lot of thought-out words on the prospects of all of the teams in the major basketball conferences (including not only the BCS conferences, but also the A10, the Missouri Valley, Conference USA, and the Mountain West), and lots of numbers you won't find anywhere else (Tim Blackwell of UMKC had the 14th-best Assist Rate in the Summit League). But there are two things that make this basketball annual tower over all other comers. For one, these guys aren't just rubbing their chins for a few moments before commenting on a team's forecast for the upcoming season. Numbers are offered (both Auburn and Kentucky lose a lot from last season - but Auburn loses over 80% of their minutes, while Kentucky loses about 50%. That difference means something). And while numbers aren't everything (and Gasaway and Pomeroy reach outside the numbers when appropriate), they are important.
The second thing that separates this book are the essays. Gasaway, for instance, has a very interesting observation about turnovers in the college game - and a solid theory on how that might change this year. Pomeroy has a great piece studying some conventional game strategies (does icing a free throw shooter work? When a team is down by 5 late, do they shoot a 3 or a two?). And there's a lot more. College Basketball Prospectus will make you a smarter fan, if nothing else, and will probably make you a bigger fan of the college game as well.
So go forth, and purchase said book. But if you're real short on cash, we'll be giving away a copy right here on Big Ten Geeks (no, we're not above ripping off ideas here). But wait - there's more! Said book will be autographed by the titans of tempo-free, John Gasaway and Ken Pomeroy. It goes without saying that this piece of memorabilia will improve your chances with prospective dates (*).
The contest? Well, the obvious reason we blog here at Big Ten Geeks is because we're genuinely interested in this stuff. And although we initially thought we would be in the business of spreading information and opinion, I feel as if we've actually been on the receiving end quite a bit. We love questions that make us think, especially when we don't know the answer right away, and we go off running to a spreadsheet. Those get our toes a' tappin'.
So send us a question, something that makes us run off to those spreadsheets. It doesn't have to be about the Big Ten, but that might help.
The entry that is the most interesting (and within our ability to answer...which might be the real limitation on this contest) wins. Failing that...we'll just send a copy to the person who can guess the combined height and weight of myself and Mike. We'll do it Price is Right style - closest without going over.
We'll let this contest run through the end of next week, so that should give everyone some time to think up some questions.
And if you're too impatient for all that, get your copy today. It's well worth the money.
(*) Almost certainly not true.