Monday, June 11, 2012

Sign of the Apocalypse?

First it was Mark May saying Notre Dame will go to a bowl next season and now this? What gives? Why are they jumping back on the Fighting Irish bandwagon?

Simply put, Trev Alberts hit the nail on the head: PLAYERS! Charlie Weis will reap the benefits of his stellar recruiting classes. The star will still be wet behind the ears a little bit, rest asure, the Irish will be back. Maybe sooner than one expected!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tale of the Tape Tips In Favor of the Irish

During the postseason you hear the adage, "You can throw statistics out the window", a lot. In most instances that is true, especially in a single elimination event like the NCAA Basketball Tournament. But when it comes to Thursday's First Round game between 5th seed Notre Dame and 12th seed George Mason, it is hard to overlook.

Here are the up-to-date Division I NCAA Basketball Statistics leading up to the Tournament:

Scoring Offense - Notre Dame 14th (80.6); George Mason 146th (69.9)

Scoring Defense - Notre Dame 211th (70.5); George Mason 42nd (62.3)

Scoring Margin - Notre Dame 26th (10.1); George Mason 48th (7.6)

Field Goal % - Notre Dame 79th (45.9); George Mason 42nd (46.9)

FG % Defense - Notre Dame 55th (41.2); George Mason 83rd (41.9)

3pt. Field Goal % - Notre Dame 5th (41.0); George Mason 161st (35.2)

Free Throw % - Notre Dame 43rd (73.6); George Mason 127th (70.4)

Rebound Margin - Notre Dame 20th (5.8); George Mason 47th (4.1)

Assists per game - Notre Dame 1st (18.9); George Mason 165th (13.2)

Personal Fouls per game - Notre Dame 8th (15.0); George Mason 14th (15.5)

Assist-to-Turnover Ratio - Notre Dame 2nd (1.46); George Mason 69th (1.11)

In what will be a hard fought contest, individuals could dominate the outcome, as well as, a good supporting cast. Below are the statistics for individuals that can change the course of Thursday's game.

Points - Luke Harangody 25th (20.8)

Field Goal % - Will Thomas 7th (63.9)

Rebounds - Harangody 18th (10.2), Rob Kurz 100th (7.5); Thomas 13th (10.5)

3pt. Field Goal % - Kyle McAlarney 13th (44.8), Kurz 92nd (39.8)

Free Throw % - Kurz 42nd (85.1)

Assists - Tory Jackson 15th (6.1)

Both the Irish and Patriots have dominate big men in Big East Player of the Year Harangody and Mr. Reliable Thomas; but Notre Dame should do well with a little deeper bench and great outside shooters. If George Mason is going to concentrate on the inside and deny Harangody looks, the Irish will have some open looks behind the arc with McAlarney, Kurz, Zellar, and Ayers, to name a few.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at the X-factors for both the Irish and the Patriots.

As always GO IRISH!

Unoffical List Surfaces with Surprising Names

A list of names has surfaced from the Golden Dome today for the successor of departed Athletic Director Kevin White. A list of 15 potential candidates from the Board of Directors and Fr. Jenkins' Office has been whittled down to six. Three names that have been mentioned already and three that are rather surprising.

The common names to be on the list are Notre Dame alums Gene Smith (Ohio State AD), Steve Orisni (SMU AD), and interm ND AD Missy Conboy. The next three names do not have any ties to the University whatsoever, but have been very successful.

Craig Littlepage (Virginia AD)
- BA (University of Pennsylvania)
- 1st African American AD in the ACC
- Has made great progress in upgrading UVa's Athletic Facilities.
- Solid fund raiser and was named one of the best businessmen in athletics according to Forbes Magazine.
- Former Head Basketball Coach at his alma mater Pennsylvania and at Rutgers.

Jeremy Foley (Florida AD)
- BA (Hobart College); MS in Athletic Administration (Ohio University)
- Has never finished lower than 7th in the All Sports Director's Cup.
- Directly responsible for more than $180 million in capital improvements.
- UF became the first program in collegiate history to own both the men's basketball and football national titles in the same calendar year.
- Named the Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal National Athletic Director of the Year in June of 2006

Bob Bowlsby (Stanford AD)
- BA (Moorhead State University, MN); MA (University of Iowa)
- Former AD at Iowa
- Had unprecedented success and growth in the area of fund raising and facilities at both Iowa and now Stanford.
- Elected chair of the NCAA Olympic Sports Liaison Committee .
- Former Committee Chairman of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball.
- served as an Executive Committee member with both the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association and served in 2002-2003 as President of the I-A Directors group.

Fr. Jenkins is going to be in contact with the respective institutions this week to ask for permission to speak with Smith, Orisni, Littlepage, Foley, and Bowlsby. More information about the search will be provided once it becomes available.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hawaii Five-O Pt. 4: Give Me Some Poi Edition

The fourth part of our look back at Hawaii's 2008 Football season takes us to the Warriors contests with Boise State and Nevada.

After winning two straight over rival WAC foes, Hawaii traveled to Boise and faced the 15th ranked Broncos. The Warriors held Boise State to its lowest first-half point total of the season and trailed just 10-7 at the break. But once again turnovers would prove to be very costly to Hawaii.

The Warriors turned the ball over four times in the second half, including its first two possessions after the break, to allow the Broncos to pull away and secure their 27-7 victory. In all Hawaii's Inoke Funaki threw five interceptions with Boise State sophomore defensive back Brandyn Thompson recording three of the picks.

The Warriors came out strong on both sides of the ball to begin the game. The Warrior defense forced Boise State to punt after four offensive plays. The Hawaii offense took over on its own 14-yard line and proceeded on a 15-play drive that took nearly half the quarter. The Warriors, however, saw the drive stall deep in Bronco territory when they were stuffed on a fourth-and-one.

Hawaii once again was held under 300 yards of total offense (288) and gave up seven sacks to the Broncos.

Getting back to the island was all what the Warriors needed as Greg Alexander connected with Malcolm Lane for a 24-yard touchdown with 20 seconds remaining to lift Hawaii to a 38-31 victory over Nevada.

Alexander took the reigns of the Warrior offense after Funki went down in the first half. And Alexander didn't disappoint. The junior quarterback finished 17-of-22 from 205 yards and two touchdowns in one half’s work.

Hawaii won despite being out-gained 481-331. Hawaii had just 42 yards of offense in the first half but the Warrior defense and special teams helped the team stake a 14-10 lead at the half.

The Warriors pulled off the win after a fourth-quarter rally by the Wolf Pack. Nevada erased a 14-point deficit and tied the game with 1:31 left before Alexander's last second heroics.

Hawaii has now evened their record to 4-4 with two road contests looming at WAC doormats Utah State and New Mexico State. Will the Warriors struggle once again on the road are will they come out prevailing?

Come back tomorrow to find out!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Jack Not So Nimble: Swarbrick is your Typical Lawyer

In today's South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick claimed he did not interview anyone for the head coaching position and that he knew Charlie Weis was still his man to get the Fighting Irish back to the promise land.

Unfortunately for Jack, I've got one word for you: BULLSHIT!

If Mr. Swarbrick knew about these realizations of retaining Weis, why did it take so long to make the announcement?

And indecisiveness was not a factor, Swarbrick insists, in why it took four days after Saturday night's 38-3 waxing by USC to make an announcement. Finding a day when he could meet in person with Weis was a critical step, but not the first.

"The analysis took a lot of time," he said. "I talked to a lot of people. I gathered a lot of information and it had to involve a substantive and lengthy discussion with the coach. You can only do it on the timetable you can do it on. And frankly I'm skeptical that there's any cause and effect between those four days and the decision any recruit makes."

First off, it has become widely documented (ESPN and Irish that both Charlie Weis and Jack Swarbrick did, indeed, speak with each other after the Southern Cal game. Weis flat out asked Swarbrick last Sunday if he should be going out hitting the recruiting trail, and was told to do so by the first year athletic director.

If Swarbrick knew he was going to retain him and spoke with Weis, why did he have to wait till December 8th to make any announcement?

Secondly, Swarbrick was quoted as saying he didn't interview anyone, "I didn't do it," he said. "No one representing the university did it. I didn't authorize any intermediary or third party to do it. It just didn't happen."

Interesting, because in that same story in the South Bend Tribune and Irish both are citing Swarbrick as saying he did contact others.

“…polled resources from across the sporting spectrum, tapping the expertise of sources in the NFL, college football and inside Notre Dame. Swarbrick said the feedback confirmed his preconceptions and let him reach a conclusion before meeting Weis back on campus on Dec. 8.”

So what exactly and who were these sources Jack was trying to gauge from? Why was he out on the West Coast for four days after the Southern Cal game?

If he knew all along, why did he wait so long? It just doesn't make sense to prolong an announcement if he wasn't looking around. Basically Swarbrick is not being truthful about his dealings.

The Burning Questions to Ask Swarbrick:
Q. Why did you wait so long?

A. Because he was getting the final word from feelers about their interest in the coaching position.

Q. Why were you on the West Coast for over four days?

A. Is it because Urban Meyer's agent was on the West Coast, and that Boise, Idaho is not too far off the beaten path.

Q. Why did media leak the return of Weis hours after Cincinnati's Brian Kelly was reported as saying he is not interested in other coaching jobs?

A. Because Swarbrick and Jenkins could not land Kelly, as he used ND as a leverage piece to negotiate more to his contract.

Q. Why lie about not looking around and contacting others about the position?

A. Swarbrick didn't want this to affect recruiting, even though it would no matter what the outcome will be. Also he didn't want to reveal that ND was snubbed by a home run candidate (Bob Stoops), a proven winner with an out clause to come to Notre Dame (Urban Meyer), a perfect fit for central casting (Brian Kelly), and a up and coming offensive genius from a Mid-Major (Chris Petersen).

If you look at the big picture of this, Jack Swarbrick is a lawyer through and through. He's a spin doctor and will say anything to not only make himself look good, but show he was supportive of Charlie Weis from the get go.

I hate to break it to ya, but Lawyers lie. Heck they defend criminals, don't they?

At least it would have been a good sign to know that he was going out looking for the best possible coach out there to turn this ship around. It would have shown that he is looking out for the best interest of this program and university.

Instead he stands by a coach who lost to their first 8-loss team, and has the worst 2-year loss total in school history. What makes this worse is the fact that Notre Dame is now third in All-Time wins and is falling fast!

He needed to try something, because Weis is just not getting the job done in developing players and putting a winning program out on the field. Hopefully this is not a sign of Simple Jack's predecessor!

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack is totally full of shit!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Through the Sands of Time

Just how important was Notre Dame's 68-59 victory over Kansas State on Tuesday night? Let's just say that this is what the NCAA selection committee will determine from the haves to the have nots!

Currently on the ESPN Bracketology (11/26 issue), the Big East has eight teams slated to make the Big Dance: Connecticut (9 seed, South), West Virginia (12 seed, West), Louisville (3 seed, West), Marquette (3 Seed, South), Villanova (9 seed, Midwest), Pittsburgh (8 seed, East), Syracuse (6 seed, Midwest), and Georgetown (2 seed, East). The conference as a whole, has the fourth best RPI ranking and will only get better once Big East action takes place starting in January.

The Irish have placed themselves in a good spot with their quality win over the Wildcats. Hopefully Kansas State will do their share by having a decent year in the Big 12. One positive so far in the loss column for the Irish is that Baylor is standing at 6-1 on the season. This is the best start for the Bears since the mid 90's.

As for the the potential eight March Madness bound Big East schools, I looked at their current national ranking, overall record, RPI ranking, and overall strength of schedule and compared that to the Irish. What you will see is that Notre Dame is in good shape to make it two years in a row to the NCAA Tournament. If the Irish can snag around 10 to 11 conference wins, they're in, no questions asked. If the number dips to 9 wins, then it might be bubble time. Syracuse last year had 10 conference wins, unfortunately for the Orange, their only quality non conference win was over Charlotte! So ND's win against Kansas State is huge.

Here is the breakdown of the 8 potential Big East NCAA Tournament Teams:
Connecticut (NR), 5-2, 59 (RPI), 47 (SOS)
West Virginia (NR), 5-1, 61 (RPI), 135 (SOS)
Louisville (14), 5-1, 20 (RPI), 30 (SOS)
Marquette (11), 4-1, 26 (RPI), 27 (SOS)
Villanova (25), 5-1, 63 (RPI), 145 (SOS)
Pittsburgh (12), 7-0, 53 (RPI), 220 (SOS)
Syracuse (NR), 6-2, 32 (RPI), 23 (SOS)
Georgetown (5), 6-0, 89 (RPI), 290 (SOS)

Notre Dame (NR), 6-2, 50 (RPI), 55 (SOS)

I'll dive even more into the quality wins and losses category for each of these teams as well. Once again, you'll be pleasantly surprised and breathe a sigh of relief for the Irish's chances.

Quality Wins and Losses
Connecticut: Wins (Gardner Webb); Losses (Gonzaga and Memphis)
West Virginia: Wins (Auburn and Oklahoma); Losses (Tennessee)
Louisville: Wins (UNLV and Miami of Ohio); Bad Loss (BYU @ home)
Marquette: Wins (Oklahoma St.); Losses (Duke); on deck @ Wisconsin
Villanova: Wins (Bucknell); Losses (NC State); on deck LSU and Temple
Pittsburgh: Wins (St. Louis); on deck @ Washington, Duke, and Oklahoma State.
Syracuse: Wins (Virginia and Washington); Losses (Ohio St.); Bad Loss (UMass @ home)

Notre Dame: Wins (Kansas State); Losses (Baylor and Georgia Tech)

Obviously the sands of time can change all of this, but if last Tuesday is any indication, the Irish will be dancing, and you can take that to the bank!