Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Long Odds Against Postseason


JANUARY 19, 2021 | written by STEVE ULRICH
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1.  Long Odds Against Postseason

by Pat Coleman and Dave McHugh, D3sports.com

"All of the planning and possibilities being discussed for the 2021 Division III basketball NCAA Tournament is contingent on what the Division III management council signed off on back in September. That plan states that 60% of Division III basketball programs have to be participating at a certain level this season and by a certain date in order to hold the NCAA Tournament.

However, the numbers show right now that at best, Division III is going to fall just below that threshold. And in the end, the numbers might be much worse.

Entering Monday, Jan. 18, 65 men’s teams and 57 women’s teams have participated in at least one regular season game, as the season gets off to a slow start because of the pandemic. But according to research and interviews conducted by Dave McHugh, about 50% of schools have either opted out of the Division III basketball season, or play in conferences which are scheduling their basketball games so late in the winter as to render them ineligible for the tournament.

Everything that has been said so far points to some flexibility as to whether teams have to make it all the way to the stated nine-game minimum standard for NCAA Tournament consideration. But nobody in a position to make a decision has suggested that there is any flexibility in the date."

>> Situational Awareness: "By our count there are 431 women’s basketball programs at schools which are full members of NCAA Division III, and 416 men’s programs. Of these schools, 25 are in conferences in which winter sports were called off for the conference as a whole: the CUNYAC, MASCAC and SUNYAC. Another 85 men’s programs and 93 women’s programs schools have decided to opt out on their own. Some have announced plans to start play at a time which would make them unable to complete play by March 6. That covers a total of 43 schools."

>> You Told Me There'd Be No Math: "By the time you get here, and add in a couple other miscellaneous schools, you reach 204 men’s programs and 214 women’s programs who, according to our research, will not be fielding a team to compete in the NCAA Tournament this year. In both instances, that leaves us short of the 60% necessary on March 6. This would be 51.0% of men’s programs and 50.3% of women’s teams."

>> Be Smart: Could there still be a tournament? Yes. But it would require a great deal of cooperation from the NCAA and the Championships Committee. 

>> An Informative Read

>> Go Deeper with Ryan Scott, D3hoops.com

2.  Streaming Prevails for Gen Z

by Lev Akabas, Sportico

"Last Sunday Disney’s ESPN+ offered streamers an analytically focused broadcast of the early afternoon Ravens-Titans Wild Card matchup, geared toward hardcore NFL fans. Two days earlier, John Kosner and Ed Desser wrote an op-ed for Sportico outlining the streaming revolution that is coming to sports media.

Among younger generations, at least, you might say it’s already here.

In a partnership with Sportico, Harris Poll surveyed nearly 2,000 people on their sports viewing habits. The data reveal that more Millennials (ages 25 to 39) and members of Gen Z (younger than age 25) use streaming rather than television broadcast as their most common platform for viewing live sporting events.

The generational divide is stark. Among those who watch live sports, more than three-quarters (77%) of Boomers (older than age 56) most commonly watch a TV broadcast, as compared to 57% of Gen X (ages 40 to 56) and just 35% of Millennials and Gen Z."

>> Situational Awareness: "Television is not obsolete—half (51%) of the general public watches live sports on TV broadcasts—but many use alternative platforms even if TV is their primary outlet. Nearly a quarter (24%) of all consumers watch on a paid, official streaming service, while 21% watch on a free, official streaming service and 19% watch on social media."

>> Why It Matters: "Some younger fans are eschewing larger screens entirely. Though 64% of Millennials watch live sports on a television, a hefty 41% watch on their phones. A similar ratio exists among Gen Zers (48% to 31%)."

>> Be Smart: Is your institution able to deliver a quality stream of athletic events to your parents, alumni and fans? If not, the time is now to get on board.

>> Continue Reading 



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3. Red Light, Green Light

Green Circle on Apple iOS 14.2  The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin announced that if health conditions permit, the fall sports of football, soccer and women's volleyball will have the opportunity to participate in the spring. Each member institution has the opportunity to determine if and how much competition is best for their program and the schedules were designed with that in mind. Some teams have opted not to compete this spring.

Police Car Light on Apple iOS 14.2 D3wrestle.com has compiled a list of institutions that have indicated to the NWCA rankings committee that they will not be competing. As of yesterday, it is believed that 32 institutions are opting out.

4.  Following The Path


Men’s Basketball Remains Undefeated with Rout of Covenant
by Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News

"The problem with suggesting that any particular basketball player who chooses to ascend from the NCAA’s Division III to its highest level of competition might become "the next Duncan Robinson" is this: Robinson’s story did not end there. He did not merely make the unprecedented climb from D-III to the Final Four. He added another monumental chapter when he subsequently started in the 2020 NBA Finals.

Is anyone ready to suggest that Belmont’s Luke Smith is headed there? That’s a lot of heat for a young player to handle.

Let us, instead, celebrate what Smith is achieving now as a 6-0 junior guard at Belmont, in his first season since transferring from the University of the South, or Sewanee, as it is commonly known. He is averaging 14.8 points and 46 percent shooting from 3-point range and filling the huge perimeter-scoring void created when Tyler Scanlon completed his career with the game-winning basket in the Ohio Valley Conference title game and Adam Kunkel subsequently transferred to Xavier. 

>> Background: "After an All-State career at Knoxville Catholic in Tennessee, he had offers to walk on from multiple D-1 programs, including Lipscomb, where (Belmont head coach Casey) Alexander was head coach at the time. One big reason Smith chose Sewanee was, "At that point in my life, I didn’t want basketball to be my complete life. When you’re at the D-1 level, it’s definitely more a part of your life and it’s much more of a focus."

>> Quotable: "As a sophomore at Sewanee, Smith averaged 20.1 points and shot 43.4 percent from 3-point range. He led the team to its first berth in the NCAA Division III championships in more than two decades. 'During my two years there, I just really enjoyed the preparation for basketball games and stuff like that: going to practice every day, game planning, implementing a game plan, stuff like that,' Smith said. "I know now what I want to do after college is coach."

>> Quotable II: "I knew Luke was an elite player at that level," former Sewanee coach Mick Hedgepeth told SN. "There’s a very fine line between an elite Division III player and a good player at a higher level. There is definitely an adjustment when you go up a level. But on the other hand, if you can play, you can play"

>> The Bottom Line: 'It may become apparent that there are more than just one or two guys in Division III capable of excelling at higher levels of the game."

>> Continue Reading

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6.  Comings and Goings

7.  Top Plays


We found video of these three plays and offer them to you as our Plays of the Weekend.

  1. Cadorette Caps Off a Hat Trick
  2. Pashley's Up and Under
  3. Johnson's Halfcourt Heave


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