Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

Posted on: March 4, 2009 3:04 pm
 

Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: The NCAA claims it seeds based on players being hurt and players coming back. Like in 2001 when they gave Cincinnati a No. 2 seed because Kenyon Martin was out for the year. If they follow that trend, Saint Mary's has to be in. I think because it's a mid-major program they might not get the benefit of the doubt, but I will be rooting for them on Selection Sunday.

-- Marc


I've received a bunch of emails on my Saint Mary's column .

Some have been positive.

Some have been negative.

But I really don't understand the debate.

Again, there isn't a person in the world who would've told you Saint Mary's wasn't an NCAA tournament team when Patrick Mills broke his hand. The Gaels were 18-1 and -- here's the key, to me -- dominating at Gonzaga when Mills went down. And though I know the 18-1 wasn't against a tough schedule -- remember, I ripped Saint Mary's for its non-league schedule -- I think we saw all we needed to see in that one half of basketball at Gonzaga. Mills was the best player on the court, Saint Mary's was the better team, and suddenly it was clear that the 18-1 record belonged to a good team as opposed to an average team merely beating up on out-classed opponents.

So what the selection committee should do is ask itself the following questions:

1. When Mills was healthy, was Saint Mary's an NCAA tournament team?

2. Will Mills be healthy when the NCAA tournament begins?

If the answers to both of those questions are 'Yes' -- and they should be -- then it's nonsensical to keep Saint Mary's out because of the 6-4 record it managed in games where Mills played less than 20 minutes (i.e., the first Gonzaga game) or not at all because of the broken hand (i.e., every game to date since the first Gonzaga game). The Saint Mary's team that lost those games isn't the Saint Mary's team that'll play in the NCAA tournament any more than the Oklahoma team that lost to Kansas (sans Blake Griffin) is the Oklahoma team that'll play in the NCAA tournament.

Should OU be penalized for losing to KU without Griffin?

Absolutely not.

Based on that logic, Saint Mary's shouldn't be penalized for losing without Mills, either.

Swear to God, I will argue this point until I die.

And I don't plan on dying young.

Comments

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2009 7:35 am
 

Dear Gary (on Saint Mary's adding a game)


I've never heard of a program adding a game this late in the season. Can you comment on the precedent of this?  I don't have anything against it at all and would love to see Mills in the Dance, I'm just curious how this sort of thing works out from an administrative perspective, and whether this has happened in the past with affect.




Since: Mar 4, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2009 9:06 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

How exactly is health a skill? Did you listen to what you're saying?

 

 




Since: Dec 15, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2009 7:55 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

Gary, so if we shouldn't count those games against Saint Mary's, should we not count those wins for the teams that beat them?  And for that matter, should we discount the KU win over OU because Griffin wasn't there?  Because if we start discounting the loses that OU has when Blake Griffin was hurt, should we then call them the Big 12 conference leaders instead of KU?

I wouldn't.  KU beat OU and yes they beat them without Blake Griffin, but remember that health is a skill.




Since: Apr 2, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2009 7:47 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

I still believe you have to look at the overall body of work. I agree a team shouldnt be "penalized", but I think the committee should look at the team's success before the palyer got injured, while the player was injured, and the peformance (if any) of the player after his return. That should be responsiblitiy of the NCAA committee. To anaylize the entire season for some of these teams with injuries to evaluate their performance and weigh all factors to determine the teams ranking. They have to try to be fair to both the teams with the injuries and the teams that do not.

So, I agree with looking at:
1. When Mills was healthy, was Saint Mary's an NCAA tournament team?

but 

2. Will Mills be healthy when the NCAA tournament begins?


IMO, this should be expanded to not just whether Mills is healthy, but if he has already come back to play....his and his team's effectiveness after his return. If I was another bubble team, I would be angry if Saint Mary's was given a berth to the dance instead of my team if Mills had already returned and his team and him were not effective. He might come back and not be able to shoot

Should they be penalized-No

Should the games be ignored and be given an auto berth due to simple return-No




Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2009 6:58 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

Curry played against Butler. By my logic, that counts. But would I penalize Davidson for the loss where Curry didn't play? Absolutely not.

Same goes for OU.

I believe OU deserves a No. 1 seed based on what its done when Griffin was available.

But either way, with these stars we're talking about a very small portion of the season that was affected by the absence of a player. Every team has that, to some degree. With Saint Mary's, roughly a third of the season (10 freaking games) was affected by the absence of their best player, who should be 100 percent by the time the NCAA tournament begins. To not consider that is stupid and shortsighted, I think, and the Davidson argument, to me, isn't similar.

Take Davidson's body of work in games Curry has played, and I don't think that Davidson deserves an at-large bid based on those games. Forget the loss to the Citadel. Even without it, Davidson's resume is questionable. But Saint Mary's body of work in games where Mills has played is clearly that of an NCAA tournament team. Again, on the day before he was injured you could've got everybody in the business of projecting fields to project a field, and they all would've had Saint Mary's in the field. To me, that's all you need to know. If Saint Mary's was in then, it should be in now. Again, I don't have any idea how an intelligent person could argue against that theory, because to argue against it is to consider the results from games that didn't involve Mills, which obviously aren't relevant when considering whether a team with Mills is one of the best 34 at-large teams in the country.




Since: Nov 14, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2009 6:39 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

And my logic (by including games that OU and Davidson lost with their stars) is the same as yours.

If you want to include the loss to Gonzaga (that Mills played in) then the same goes for EVERY other team.

 




Since: Nov 14, 2007
Posted on: March 4, 2009 6:37 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

Gary,

People weren't arguing against Mills' talent, there were arguing against your logic.

Follow me for a second.

Since Stephen Curry hurt his ankle and Davidson lost 2 games (I'm including the one to Butler since he wasn't 100%) ... according to your logic ... the selection commitee should not count those games against Davidson. Subtracting those losses would then inflate Davidson's numbers and make them a lock. Therefore, regardless of those games, Davidson is a lock.

Is that fair? No. Should St. Mary's be given a pass? No.

 

And OU should get the #1 seed overall because they only have one true loss.

 




Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2009 5:51 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

However after that piece, wasn't St. Marys up by only 6 or 9 in the first half?  With Patty Mills hitting 6 threes when he's what? a mid 30% three point shooter.  I think St. Marys is a good team however, they haven't been able to prove that.  If you say that in the first half at GU was good enough to prove they're an NCAA Tourney team, that's kind of harsh.  Playing one good half, where your star player is shooting out of his mind is good enough to make the tournament?  I believe if they don't even have a good showing against GU in the finals of the WCC tourny, they're not making the NCAA tournament. 




Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: March 4, 2009 4:41 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

Amen to andtinez's point.

If they play Gonzaga tough in the final, they should "be on thin ice."  If not, they should be OUT.  Wasn't in the cards this year. 

Injuries happen (ask Dayton last year).  If they win the NIT, you can say "I told you so" to me Parrish.  But I'd put Providence in the NCAA in a heartbeat before St. Mary's.  Bubble teams like Providence and Maryland have shown they can beat elite teams.  St. Mary's has not BEAT anyone (I don't count UT State) (and I like Randy Bennett as a coach). 

 

 




Since: Dec 15, 2008
Posted on: March 4, 2009 4:26 pm
 

Dear Gary (on the Saint Mary's column)

1. When Mills was healthy, was Saint Mary's an NCAA tournament team?

Yes.

2. Will Mills be healthy when the NCAA tournament begins? 

No one knows, but Mills, so to speculate is worthless.  He's coming off a broken wrist.

Should OU be penalized for losing to KU without Griffin?

Yes, just like Michigan St. should be penalized for their losses when everyone wasn't healthy, just like Davidson should be penalized for their losses without Curry.  If you don't remove the speculation as to what teams would have/could have/should have done with a full roster, we could be here for years.  Just look at what a team did regardless of their health and judge them based on that.

The bottom line is that if St. Mary's doesn't win the WCC Conference Tournament they will be on thin ice for the selection committee, so hopefully they win it and silence our debate.



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