Somebody who will never disparage my favorite band, Steely Dan.
Mike de Courcy of the Sporting News, he joins us on the Adam Gold show. How are you, sir? I'm much worse than I was before I found out there's actually people out there with musical tastes that bad. I suppose I should have known that. Yeah, it really is hard to believe. That was really disheartening. Yeah, my friend Bill Voth will never return on the program for that, but that's fine.
This is an interesting, I'm glad we have, I've thought so far in advance to have you on the program today. I think we set this up sometime last week and I saw Ken Palm, somebody put out a Ken Palm list of top college basketball conferences that had the ACC behind the Mountain West. Now we understand that top to bottom, I get it, but historically bad teams will drag your league down if you don't have enough weight at the top and the ACC's got some historically bad teams. That's not the only reason why the ACC is down, but I mean Louisville is 330th in the net. I know the net's bad, but it ain't that bad. Yeah, the net isn't bad. It just isn't what it should be.
Basically the net is like a dime store Ken Palm and it was supposed to be something, it was supposed to be, it is improvement on the RPI. So it was, I guess at least it's measured. Yeah.
Oh yeah. Because the RPI wasn't measuring much of anything. It was basically measuring how good your opponents were or your opponent's opponents were.
It was really antiquated. And this is basically just a predictive metric that's dressed up as not a predictive metric. If you look at Ken Palm and you look at the net, it's not that much different. There's a strong correlation there.
So if you believe in what Ken's doing, then there's not much reason you should have a problem with the net. If you look at the rankings, they're not that dissimilar. I'm sure there are some different outliers in each one because everybody's formula is a little different, but I don't think the NCAA's foundational metrics should be a predictive metric. I think that's just backwards. So why didn't the NCAA just cut Ken Palm a check, cut Ken Pomeroy a check and just use his ranking?
They could have. I would have much preferred that they, not that ESPN needs the money, but I would have preferred they cut ESPN a check and use the strength of record metric, which is I think a really effective metric to that does not consider point spread, but only considers the strength of your performances. So how much you win matters, how good your opponents matters are matters, how, how, how much you play on the road and on neutral floors and how you do that really matters. And that really should be all that goes into it. To me, I don't think that, uh, that, uh, whether or not you beat somebody by 20 or you beat somebody by five should really matter to the NCAA. And I don't, I, and on, and it really doesn't matter to me. And I, and I know that like, maybe if you get bad and you use those predictive metrics, you make money. I don't know. Cause I don't bet and I'm not going to, so maybe they're good for that, but I, you know, and, and in terms of the other stats that you can find on Ken Palm site, they're magnificent.
I mean, uh, efficiency and offensive rebound percentage and all this other stuff. It's fabulous. I mean, I agree 20 bucks a year for that. And it's, you know, the best 20 bucks I'm going to spend in a year, but I don't think the NCAA should be using that sort of that, that, that approach to decide how teams are grouped.
By the way. I mean, if you pick the right numbers, you can, you can buy 10 lottery tickets and you might win a generational wealth. Uh, Mike, of course, if you get lucky, you just got to get, you got to get lucky. I have put some money on the Powerball and the mega million. I have a threshold. If it's not a billion dollars, I'm not interested. I'm not here. I'm not here for your 990 million. If it wasn't talk to me when it's a B and, and, uh, and not an M. All right.
So let me, let me get to the top of this, uh, this issue for those of us here. Cause we saw Duke go down to Miami and get just absolutely swallowed whole. And then we saw North Carolina try to outdo them.
And I'm not fooled by the last eight minutes of the game where they made it single digits. It was a, they were non-competitive against wake forest. Uh, and right or wrong, the two biggest names in your league will always leave the perception of what your league is. And right now to varying degrees, Duke's in better shape than North Carolina. I think neither team is great. And if North Carolina doesn't wise up, they might not make the NCAA tournament all true.
Absolutely. At this point, the, I it's pretty close to, and I'm not going to say it's all the way to, but it's pretty close to the number one thing that North Carolina has going for it on its resume is that it begins with the words North Carolina, right? That's that's reality. Uh, I, I was watching, uh, I don't remember what game, but Linardi was on, uh, with Seth and, uh, uh, and, and whoever was the host and the Fonzo Ellis and, and talking about how he thought that prior, maybe it was during the weight game. He talked, talked about how he thought that prior to that game, he thought that they were being a little bit generously seated at eight, nine game.
And I, and that was, you know, I'm sitting there doing that every week and I'm like, yeah, that's kind of where my head is. And then they go out and, and, and finish off that loss. And it's like, okay, so are we going to be generous or is, is keeping them in the field a generous act?
Um, I probably will because you don't go from an eight, nine game to all the way out on one result. But I, you know, I, I think if you look at their resume, they're down around one and seven in quad one. I mean, they're getting really dangerously close to not being a tournament team as, as they're performing now. Their best win is NC State. Yes. And I think NC State is good. So yeah, they're very good. Right.
Very good. To me, NC State is a much more solid NCAA tournament team, although they don't have great, they've only got five combined quad one and quad two wins at this point. So they still need a little bit of beefing up. Maybe it helps seating, but as long as they don't do something silly, I think that we're talking about an NCAA tournament team for sure. And maybe one that it'll be seated in the top half of the draw. But yeah, North Carolina's best win is that, and maybe their other best win might be College of Charleston at this point.
Right. I mean, it certainly doesn't hurt to have that. At least, at least it's a win against a, you know, a top, a team in the top dozen teams, uh, in terms of seedings. Uh, it hasn't helped them that Ohio state has gone the opposite direction. That seemed like a really good win at the time.
Uh, it's lost, you know, it's lost a lot of its own. They, Michigan is coming on and helping out a little bit. Um, and you know, they do have wake at home. So, you know, they've got some, they've got enough there that when I put them in the bracket, I can defend it, but they're getting to the point now where, I mean, I think when you, when you've got Clemson, Miami and NC state coming up to them, to two of them at home and then at state, you know, that's really gonna declare whether or not you're making this. If you perform in those games, like you did against wake, and I don't think they will, but if you were to do that, you probably take a loss in at least one of those. And you certainly aren't going to win at state playing like that.
So, uh, you know, I think that that, I think they have real problems, but they also have a lot of solutions in their uniforms. Just a question of getting them to play to their ability. So how do you put in perspective, the team, what I know that the team that went to the final four was a combination of talent and hot streak. And I kept saying this before the season started, don't sleep on the loss of Brady Manick and what that meant. So it's not exactly the same team, but it's 80% of the starting lineup and the top sub from last year in puff Johnson.
How do you put it into some perspective? What has happened? Well, first of all, it began, began with injuries. Uh, they, you know, they had Armando was hurt for a little while.
Uh, he's missed time. Uh, he missed that game. Most of the game at Virginia, a game that at the time they seem not likely to win, but competitive to win. They, and they, and they were competitive in the game, even with Armando playing limited minutes and puff being injured at the start of the year, really hurt their depth when they were playing early in some of the back-to-back tight tournaments. I thought that hurt them when they were up in, in Oregon.
That was a disastrous week. Yes. There's a phenomenon that I came up with. Um, and it's rare, but when I was watching the Vegas team in the early nineties with, uh, Larry Johnson and Stacy Augman and, uh, and that group, uh, I remember looking anytime they subbed for a starter, they had five great players. And anytime they subbed, especially on the perimeter, cause they had a couple of interchangeable big guys, but if they subbed one through four, it looked like one of those cars, like, you know, those donut tires. I don't think there's been as many cars as they used to.
Yes. Like that's what it looked like. You'd have four tires, three tires that looked like they, you know, like steel belted radios and all.
And then you'd have that one little skinny tire. That's what it looked like when they stopped. And I think that was true for Carolina until puff got ready until some of the freshmen got more acclimated.
I think that's what it was for Carolina early. And that bothered them. And that knocked down their confidence. And I thought there was an element of, it was going to be hard with this team to convince them that November, December, January mattered because they kind of took it off last year and still made the championship game. So it was going to be hard to convince them to be at their best in those months because they knew they could still flip, or at least they figured they could still flip the switch like they did last year. And all of a sudden they're tearing through March. So I think that those are two of the problems that developed.
And then I think there are others that have come forth maybe as a result of those, or maybe independent of them. I do wonder, I've never been of the mind that the committee really looks at the front of the jersey, but I wonder if they're going to get the benefit of the doubt because they really, other than the game against State, they have not looked consistently against good teams like an NCAA tournament team. They just have not. What's your, what's your read on Duke and their ultimate ceiling? Yeah, I think their ceiling is high because they have ability, but I don't see them getting anywhere near it because they haven't found a consistent formula for success. I think Kyle Pilipowski has been tremendous, but I don't think they've always played well off of that.
They don't seem to have, they don't seem to have a secondary concept. They, when they can get the ball to Kyle in dangerous positions, they're in good shape. And if they can't, then they struggle to get anything going.
And that's, that's been a problem for a while. Not that there aren't occasions when this guy or that guy can make a basket. They've got really talented guys, but they don't seem to have a real second option that they want to go to, whether it's schematically or personnel wise, they don't seem to have that. I think some of it has come from the, the necessity to, to, to put Proctor on the ball more, you know, through injury. And also because that's, it's, it's one of those situations where one of the guys can pretty much only play point guard and the other guy can do more.
So let's put the guy who can only do that in charge and then let's play off of that. And I don't think that they get, that they're as dangerous offensively as they were toward the end of last year as a result. If, if they had somebody who could get inside of the defense and create offense for himself or others, Duke would be amazing, but they don't have anybody who can get past his man.
No, nobody. Some against that again is injury related. You know, they've had multiple injuries on the wings. Maybe Durek Whitehead could do that. That's kind of what I'm talking about.
You know, that if he were, if he were available, you know, from, from the jump to now, he'd be a completely different player and much more confident. And maybe that becomes one of those things that, that helps break down defenses that are now stacking themselves up to basically stop Kyle and not that concerned about the rest. That's why I think state's the best team in the league or not the best team in the triangle. I think it's either Miami or Virginia is the best team in the league, but I think state's the best team in the triangle because they have two guys who can get from the wing to the basket. They might not always finish, but they could get there.
I don't think Duke has any guys that can get there. Yeah. And now, you know, now state has to prove that on a more regular basis. Uh, they, I think, I think you're right. I think they can do that. But some, some of, you know, I see Kansas win games that I don't think they should wear. I've seen Carolina win games that I didn't think they should have won. And I always thought that there was at least some element of, and not the rest, but the guys, like the guys putting those jerseys on, like I'm at Kansas, I'm not losing cause I'm at Kansas.
Right. And, and I think there, you know, I think that you have to, you have to fight through that in the opposition, you know, in the, uh, the other, uh, the other teams have to, you know, play past their jerseys or better yet, if you're a state player, remember 83 happens, 74 happened. It can happen again. Well, that's the, that's the beauty of basketball that, I mean, I just said before that Loyola of Chicago made it to a final four, right?
St. Peter's came, uh, got to the elite eight. I mean, anything is possible in basketball because you can do everything right. And the ball just doesn't go in or somebody just goes nuts, especially with the three point shot, like almost any result is possible in basketball. It doesn't work in other, like in a sport like football, it doesn't work because it's just such a physical test, but in basketball, it can work.
It doesn't make a difference who you are. You can lose. Um, but you know, so maybe that's what happened in North Carolina last year. I didn't think that it was completely, uh, you know, a shot in the dark. I thought there was a lot of talent that were involved, that was involved there. I think Brady Manick meant a lot more than anybody wants to admit. One more thing. And this is, this is about UNC, before we say goodbye to Mike DeCorcio of the Sporting News, at TSN Mike on Twitter.
How much do you think maybe some people are regretting a decision to come back? Not Armando, Armando is pouring it out. I love Armando Baycott.
I know you wrote a great piece about him, not only the player, but the person earlier in the year. But this is not about whether or not Baycott should have come back, but maybe there's some other players that maybe think they should have gone. Well, they may not be having fun now, but I think you're seeing that none of them, literally none of them would have been relevant at the next level. Right.
At this point. So they, if they had gone, they'd be in a different place and they'd be maybe happier or less happy. I don't know, but they wouldn't be in the league where they would be happy just to be in the league. I mean, they might, you know, they might be in Turkey or they might be in Fort Wayne or whatever, but I don't think any of those guys could sit there and say, if I had left, I would be in the league right now.
They wouldn't, none of them is talented enough to do that. They needed to be developed in that. And that development has stalled. I don't think Caleb love has gotten to be a better player than he was a year ago. And I do still think that he has that ability, but I don't see, you know, I don't see the product of the off season labor to get better in the way he performs. Now I see pretty much the same player we saw a year ago, although less judicious than when we saw him at his best. Yeah.
Caleb, Caleb love needs, needs to commit to being a driver first and then let the rest of his game come. But it's fun to shoot from 26 feet. Didn't you know that? It wouldn't be for me cause I might not hit much. Oh my gosh. I can't, I could barely reach from the free throw line.
Now, Mike, it's, it's really sad. I used to be, I used to be like not terrible. Cherokee parks and I played in a, had a three-point shooting contest against my old friend, Joe obvious. And I forget who else. And we won and I actually made some threes.
Now I'd have to like turn and, and throw like a metal Lark lemon hook shot just to reach the rim from the three-point line. It's terrible. Mike, of the sporting news, who you got in the Superbowl? I'm going with Casey. And I don't know how much of this is influenced by the fact that I do a regular spot in Casey and they asked me for a prediction and I hadn't thought it won yet.
So I went, Oh yeah, I think I'm going to go with Casey. I know the real reason you're a Pittsburgh guy and we can't allow Philadelphia to have nice things. I get it. Yeah. I think there's some, there's some of that, you know, they've had too many nice things this year. Anyway, think about it going back to last year, final four MLS cup, final world series just because they couldn't get any of those done.
Doesn't mean you want them to have more nice things, right? Right. Nice little, just stick the knife in and turn it. Mike to Carsey. I'll talk to you later. Thank you very much. Thanks Adam. You got it. See, they got a little dig in the city of Philadelphia there. They didn't win any of those.
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