Sport The gradual extinction of terrible teams in major conferences has 'evolutionized' 2017-18 season

23:50  14 february  2018
23:50  14 february  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

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It was more or less a typical day in the 2017 - 18 season . The simplest way to put it is this: The worst teams in any major conference no longer stink.* (*Yes, ACC and Pac-12 fans, we know there are a couple of exceptions.)

DeCOURCY: The gradual extinction of terrible teams in major conferences has ' evolutionized ' 2017 - 18 season . Check it out.

a group of men playing a game of basketball: Shamorie Ponds (left), Lindell Wigginton (middle), Jordan Murphy (right)© Getty Images Shamorie Ponds (left), Lindell Wigginton (middle), Jordan Murphy (right) On Saturday, Feb. 3, the Kentucky Wildcats, Duke Blue Devils and Kansas Jayhawks all lost. Each of the winners over those three basketball bluebloods was unranked in that week’s Associated Press poll. The last time this particular eclipse visited the college basketball world, all three losing on the same day, was in 1969.

It was more or less a typical day in the 2017-18 season.

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“No conference has better exposure,” Rudner said. Here’s a handful of notable items regarding the 2017 - 18 conference schedule In previous seasons , the conference avoided having teams play more than two consecutive road games.

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This is your new normal.

In late January, Duke and North Carolina lost at home on the same day for the first time since 1973. A week ago, the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 teams all lost games on their homecourts. It seems like every day in college basketball is setting some new standard for defeats by teams that had earned considerable esteem.

This evolutionary revolution has not consisted merely of elite programs being upset by less respected conference opponents. It has been an entire restructuring of the way the sport functions.

The simplest way to put it is this: The worst teams in any major conference no longer stink.*

(*Yes, ACC and Pac-12 fans, we know there are a couple of exceptions.)

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The Hawkeyes’ best teams under McCaffery haven’t always had first-year players in primary roles, but this team may not have a choice with 6-11 big man Luka Garza. SLU won six conference tilts in a season when the Atlantic 10 was definitely better than it is expected to be in 2017 - 18 .

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Here’s another way to put it, which Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann presented to Sporting News: “There just aren’t any gimmes in a power conference.”

Here is maybe the best way, courtesy of Bill Self, who is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, won the NCAA championship in 2008 and led Kansas to 13 consecutive Big 12 Conference championships: “You look around the country, everybody’s got guys.”

This is true at Iowa State, which stands last in the 10-team Big 12 but has defeated three ranked teams. It is true at Vanderbilt, which has beaten four teams cited in Ryan Fagan’s most recent NCAA Tournament bracket projection as contending for March Madness bids.

It most certainly is true at St. John’s, which stands last in the Big East but defeated No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Villanova in the space of four days and, after opening with 11 consecutive league losses, is riding a three-game winning streak. Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association national player of the week.

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College Basketball National AnalystOctober 31, 2017 . 14- 18 range, but this might be the worst the league has been in a decade. On the bad side of things, the Pac-12 arguably has five of the 10 worst major - conference teams in the country.

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College basketball recruiting gradually has changed within the past two decades, in the same way college athletics has: As programs have flowed to bigger, wealthier and more powerful conferences, the best players have, too.

That has had two significant effects: It has created greater separation between the major conferences and most of those on the next tier, and it has accelerated the competition within those major conferences.

In 1998, 67 percent of the top 100 prospects – as measured by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI) -- committed to teams in the nation’s top six conferences: ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12.

By 2007, that percentage had increased to 89 percent.

In 2017, it was 95 percent.

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Very few programs outside those six conferences are able to recruit the best players. Cincinnati, Connecticut and Gonzaga are among the few programs from beyond that sphere able to sign top-100 prospects.

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When it’s all said and done in, the Trail Blazers will have traveled 55,254 miles this season, which is just 35 miles less than the maximum distances traveled by any team for the 2017 - 18 season , though it is 1,330 miles less than Portland traveled last season.

The 2017 - 18 NHL season is upon us. Which means it’s time to figure out what the hell is going on in the Western Conference , which is slightly 1 – Minnesota Wild. Fun fact: When given a full season of games, Bruce Boudreau has never coached a team to less than a 100-point pace in the standings.

“For the most part, since I’ve been doing this, guys have become more intrigued with going to the highest level,” Evan Daniels, national recruiting analyst for 24/7 Sports, told Sporting News. “I think it’s dangerous, in a way, because I think it always should be about the right fit and not the highest level.

“I think it’s only natural for kids to aspire -- and people around the kids to aspire for them -- to play at the highest level. But that’s not always the best thing for their basketball growth and development. These kids grow up dreaming to play high-major basketball in a big-time league, and if that opportunity comes about, more often than not they’re going to jump at it.”

The flow of recruits to once-forlorn programs has changed the nature of several top conferences. TCU has had five winning seasons and no NCAA Tournament appearances since the start of this century. The Horned Frogs now stand at 17-8 and are a strong contender to end that NCAA drought. Clemson entered this season with a 117-165 record in ACC games since the 2000-01 season. Its current team is second in the league with a 9-3 mark. Auburn has had three winning seasons and no NCAA bids since 2004-05; the Tigers lead the Southeastern Conference and were projected as a No. 2 seed by the tournament selection committee.

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While it can certainly be argued that some teams within some of these conferences would qualify as mid- major , the split described above makes the below list a little easier to navigate. Below are some of the best mid- major programs in the country entering the 2017 - 18 season .

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As money has escalated from football television over the past decade, with the major conferences signing significant television deals across the board, schools have looked for places to invest that money. Some of it has gone into basketball facilities, and that has helped draw prospects to those schools.

“The facility gap is just so big right now,” 24/7 Sports recruiting analyst Brian Snow told Sporting News. “Whereas in the past, a kid that was considering Nebraska and Northern Iowa – Northern Iowa’s got good facilities that would be on par with Nebraska back then. Well, now Nebraska’s poured so much money in. They might have the best facilities in the country. That kid and his parents are going to be blown away.”

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In the space of just five years, Chris Holtmann has gone from coaching at low-major Gardner-Webb to Butler in a non-football major conference to Ohio State, which competes in one of the two most lucrative Division I conferences. He has noticed the difference along the way.

“Leagues can recruit, too. It’s hard to trump ‘level’ in recruiting,” Holtmann told SN. “If you’ve coached at different levels, you understand that. Kids are educated on the nuances, the tiering, and it’s often hard to trump that.”

Snow, Daniels and Jerry Meyer at 24/7 and others who cover recruiting fulltime – like Paul Biancardi and Jeff Borzello at ESPN, Eric Bossi at Rivals.com – have influenced in the change, as well. A prospect’s choice of school used to be largely between him and his local paper. Now it can be televised during SportsCenter or at least blasted on Twitter.

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2017 - 18 Non- Conference Schedule Ratings: Methodology. The new college basketball season is very nearly here, so it’s time to talk about the portion of the slate That includes all teams in the power conferences (ACC, American, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC) and select mid- majors .

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Have you noticed how many prospects tweet the number and identity of scholarship offers they receive?

“I do think there’s some ego involved: ‘My buddy’s going to the Big Ten. I’m better than him, so I’m going to the Big Ten,’ ” Snow said. “I do think there is some of that to it.”

To assure they get the vast majority of the best prospects, the power programs have to find them. There now are online services coaches can use to scout prospects, such as Hudl and Krossover. The recruiting analysts and scouting services are on the road at spring and summer tournaments and high school games in the winter and see more players than ever.

“Part of that is there’s more information now than there used to be,” Snow said. “Not even trust me or trust Evan Daniels or trust whoever, the coaches can get these games online and they can see: Oh, this kid really is good.

“And they’ve figured out: People really do know what they’re doing. So they put their ego aside and say, ‘I’m going to go watch this kid’ instead of, ‘Oh, well, I missed him.’ They have more information, so they’re getting more good players. Fewer players fall through the cracks.”

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So why isn’t every team in a major conference standing with a .500 record in its league? Well, just because you have “guys” doesn’t mean you have enough guys, or enough of the right guys.

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“I think the difference maybe now between the first-place team and the 10th-place team -- in a lot of cases it’s just a few possessions here or there,” Holtmann said. “And over the course of a season, a few possessions in a few key games can kind of change the trajectory of a season.”

But having talented players such as Ponds or Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy makes those less successful teams a threat. And they’re especially dangerous when a superior opponent tries to steal a night off, so to speak, delivering a subpar effort because the other team’s record suggests it’s possible to get away with that.

“When you have 10 good teams, there are no nights off,” Self told SN. “If you bring a C-plus game to a fight, you’re going to get beat.

“We played Oklahoma State, and we were awful. But they were so much better than us, I don’t know if we would have beaten them if we were good.”

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The other impact of the recruiting shift is in the pursuit of NCAA Tournament bids by teams from non-power leagues. The power leagues have, in a very real sense, decoupled from the vast majority of Division I leagues.

In 2017, there were 36 at-large bids available in a 68-team field. The top six leagues consumed 32 of them, or 89 percent. A decade earlier, when there were 35 at-large bids available to the NCAA Tournament, the top six leagues consumed 28 of them, or 80 percent.

Outside the top six in 2017, there were three multi-bid leagues. In 2007, there were six.

This can be blamed a bit on scheduling; it always has been a challenge for teams outside the power leagues to get spots in the best tournaments or to secure home-and-home series with attractive opponents.

They’re also not winning many of those games they get the chance to play. Atlantic-10 Conference teams this year were 8-39 against the top six leagues; in 2007-08, they were 17-28.

It’s impossible to be certain how many multi-bid leagues there might be this year outside the top six. However, beyond Cincinnati, Wichita State and Houston of the American, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s of the West Coast Conference, Nevada and Boise of the Mountain West and Rhode Island should it falter in the A-10 Tournament, there aren’t many with hope.

This is your new normal, as well.

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Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/sports/-120219-the-gradual-extinction-of-terrible-teams-in-major-conferences-has-evolutionized-2017-18-season/

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