Friday, February 5, 2021

Kickoff 2020


"Virginia's Championship City"

FEBRUARY 5, 2021 | written by STEVE ULRICH
your must-read briefing on what's driving the day in NCAA Division III

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1. Kickoff 2020

group postgame

The 2020 Division III college football season gets underway on Saturday with eight games.

  • Hendrix at Millsaps
  • Mary Hardin-Baylor at Belhaven
  • Austin at Trinity (Texas)
  • Texas Lutheran at Howard Payne
  • East Texas Baptist at Southwestern
  • Sul Ross State at McMurry
  • Pacific Lutheran at Puget Sound
  • Birmingham-Southern at Rhodes

The eyes of DIII players, parents, fans ... and especially coaches and administrators, will be focused not only on the play, but the aftermath, and what can be learned from the experience.

The American Southwest and Northwest Conference, as well as the Southern Athletic Association, begin on Saturday. The USA South Conference kicks off in two weeks, while the Heartland and Old Dominion Athletic Conferences join the fray at the end of the month.

What Else We're Watching This Weekend

>> MBB: #6 Trine (8-0) at #8 Albion (3-1)
>> WBB: #10 Texas-Dallas (8-2) at #3 East Texas Baptist (17-0)
>> WIH: UW-Eau Claire (0-0-1) at UW-Stevens Point (0-0-1)



2.  Shoot More, Make Less

Image result for division III basketball three-pointers
by Jake Lourim, FiveThirtyEight

"When the NCAA started using a 3-point line in the 1986-87 season, it was an instant hit. While the NBA had made its line official seven years earlier, the pros hadn’t taken to it yet: They attempted only 5.3 percent of their shots from behind the arc. But at their first chance to trade in 2 points for 3, men’s Division I teams took to it in a way the pros hadn’t, attempting 15.7 percent of their field goals from long distance, according to Ken Pomeroy’s site. Over the years, even during the dawning of the “3-point revolution” in the NBA, the 3-pointer had always been a larger part of the men’s college game.

That finally changed last year. In the 2019-20 season, for the first time, NBA teams took more 3-pointers as a share of all field-goal attempts than men’s college teams did. While the NBA’s reliance on threes has increased each year since the 2011-12 season, it took an assist from the NCAA rules committee for the pros to finally overtake the amateurs. College teams took a record 38.7 percent of their shots from behind the arc in the 2018-19 season, and immediately afterward, the NCAA announced it was moving the 3-point line back for the second time in 11 years. The line is now at 22 feet, 1¾ inches, behind its previous distance of 20 feet, 9 inches (and its original distance of 19 feet, 9 inches). It’s still slightly shorter than the NBA arc, which is 22 feet from the basket at the corners and 23 feet, 9 inches at its longest distance. Since the most recent change, 3-pointers as a share of all shots taken by Division I men’s teams has dropped — to 37.5 percent last season and 37.6 so far this season, through games of Jan. 28."

Division III Three-Point Field Goals

2021 - 15,638 attempted / 40,862 all FG - 38.3% of all attempts (33.27% made)
2020 - 257,224 / 681,704 - 37.7% (34.26%)
2014 - 204,887 / 629,941 - 32.5% (34.47%)

2021 - 13,165 / 40,505 - 32.5% (28.21%)
2020 - 221,878 / 692,531 - 32.0% (29.33%)
2014 - 181,507 / 680,891 -  26.6% (29.40%)

>> Of Note: DIII adopted the longer line this season.

>> The Key Stat: Both DIII men's and women's teams are attempting more threes than ever before, but the make percentage has decreased thus far this season.

>> Be Smart: "The 3-point make rate could inch up again, as it did in the decade following the first rule change. But with the changes to the 3-point line changing their efficiency, college teams may begin to rethink their strategies. The NCAA may have been the first to take serious advantage of the 3-point line, but it’s no longer the master of it."

>> Go Deeper (with lots of graphs)


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3. Keeping His Role in Context

by Rob Knox, CoSIDA

"Now in his 30th year in the profession and 24th at the acclaimed research institution Johns Hopkins University, Ernie Larossa has seen everything during his career that started at the University of Delaware with stops at Drew, the defunct Yankee Conference (which is now the Colonial Athletic Association, CAA.) and Shepherd College.

“I always hoped to find a great school that I could call home. I landed at Johns Hopkins in 1997 and now plan on staying until they kick me out,” Larossa said. “Most people don’t know this, but the SID job at Johns Hopkins had opened in the summer of 1995. I didn’t even get an interview.  But there was something about this place that I knew was special and, while disappointed at the time, I didn’t burn any bridges. 

Two years later, the job opened again and this time I got an interview. I rolled the dice and made sure every person on the search committee knew what had happened in 1995. Lucky for me, they didn’t think I was crazy and rolled the dice back and gave me a chance.

During Larossa's tenure, the athletics communications office has grown from one full-time staffer and one intern to three full-time staffers and one intern. He has succeeded because he has always kept his role in context. Hard work is a non-negotiable value for those that have worked in the JHU athletics communications office."

>> Quotable I: "I have said since arriving at JHU that we need to understand that what we are doing is not the most important thing going on at Johns Hopkins, but we are going to work like it is”, Larossa noted.

>> Quotable II: “There are just so many parts of this profession that I love,” Larossa said. “Boiling it down, I got into this field because I love sports. I love the relationships with the student-athletes and coaches and being a small part of our “team” at Johns Hopkins. In the context of being part of a team, I know my role and I love it."

>> Continue Reading


4.  Preseason Poll 

The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Final 2020 records are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses. In 2021, schools that are not competing will not be eligible for the poll.

21-25: UW-La Crosse, Trine, Randolph-Macon, Tufts, Rensselaer

>> Conference Call: American Southwest (2), C2C (2), ODAC (2), SAA (2), A-R-C (1), CCIW (1), Empire 8 (1), Heartland (1), Landmark (1), Liberty (1), Little East (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), NACC (1), NCAC (1), NESCAC (1), NJAC (1), Northwest (1), SCAC (1), SUNYAC (1), WIAC (1)

>> Streaking: East Texas Baptist has appeared in the NFCA poll 96 straight times.

The City of Salem and Salem Parks & Recreation along with other localities in the Roanoke Valley host a variety of softball and baseball tournaments throughout the year. We work with Roanoke County, Roanoke City, Botetourt County and Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge. USA, NSA, USSSA, Got Game, Softball Nations, Freedom Sports and ISF are organizations that bring tournaments to the Roanoke Valley.

Find out more at


5. Comings and Goings

6.  Can You Stop Robocalls?


"Today, we'd like to thank two researchers at North Carolina State University — Sathvik Prasad, a doctoral student, and Bradley Reaves, an assistant professor — for studying a problem that plagues all of us every day.

We're talking about robocalls. In an 11-month period, Prasad and Reaves fielded 1.48 million unsolicited phone calls on 66,000 phone lines in their telephone-security lab, the delightfully named Robocall Observatory. Two of their major findings: More than 80 percent of robocalls come from fake numbers, and whether or not you answer them has no bearing on how many more you’ll get (sorry!).

Read Prasad and Reaves's description of their robocalling-campaign-identification technique, and learn about the science of robocall research, here."

- courtesy of Chronicle of Higher Education

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