Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Go Harvard

Let's assume for a second that Dennis Rodman isn't exactly the model for intellectual stability that the rest of us should emulate.

And let's further assume that, feeding his uncle to 120 starving dogs notwithstanding, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is really a lot of yucks when you get to know him.

How would those two assumptions even possibly explain how a bunch of other name-brand former NBA stars like Kenny Anderson, Charles Smith and Vin Baker could ever agree to go to North Korea to play a basketball game to celebrate the dictator's birthday?

It's one thing for Rodman to be nuts. It's another thing to allow your own good name to be destroyed.

That's what TigerBlog can't get over with this whole North Korean basketball trip. It's such an obviously, indefensibly, ridiculously awful idea to attach one's good name to that why would these guys let themselves get into this mess?

Were none of them smart enough to say "hey, Dennis, it's okay if you want to make yourself into a complete pariah in this country, but let's just leave me out of this, okay?"

On the other hand, maybe Smith is getting what he deserves after missing all those layups for the Knicks against the Bulls in the 1993 playoffs.

On a more serious note, it's sort of important to consider the big picture before getting on board with a dictator. Kim Jong Un is clearly unstable and has no regard for the citizens of his own country, let alone the others in his region or across the globe for that matter. For all of the problems that Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups pose, the greatest threat for a massive world war probably is North Korea.

Rodman has been duped by Kim Jong Un for awhile now in trying to make the dictator look more harmless and normal. And now Rodman has duped some of his friends into being part of it, and they just look like idiots for going along.

It makes TB wonder what any of them were thinking. And on a scale of 1-100, what level of regret they all feel? Rodman is probably a one. The rest are probably around 99.9.

Meanwhile, much closer to home, there is a huge game in Ivy League men's basketball tonight, and it doesn't involve Princeton. Not directly, anyway.

Harvard, with a 13-1 record, is at UConn, 11-3. In the RPI rankings, UConn is ranked 40th, while Harvard is 41st.

Princeton is 62nd.

As an aside, while it's not about UConn exactly, the guy who was the voice of Yukon Cornelius in "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" died this week at the age of 91. Were it not for the Island of Misfit Toys, Yukon Cornelius would have stolen the whole show.

Anyway, as painful as this is for Princeton fans, you need to root for Harvard tonight. Sort of.

For starters, it would be good for the Ivy League to have a win over a power program like UConn. For another, if the Ivy League hopes to get two NCAA bids, then a win tonight is almost a must.

The most likely scenario for a two-bid Ivy League - probably the only one that is even worth discussing - involves a 13-1 Princeton team and a 13-1 Harvard team, with the winner of the playoff to the NCAA tournament and the loser on the fringes of an at-large bid. It's possible that a different Ivy school at 13-1 along with Princeton or Harvard with the other team (Columbia? Yale?) as the playoff winner for the automatic bid would leave the loser of the playoff on the NCAA bubble, but probably not.

The next-highest RPI for an Ivy team is Columbia's 142. The resume for an at-large bid probably needs to include a win over a top 50 school, or at least top 100 school, which Princeton and Harvard would both have if they split. The other schools in the league won't be able to provide that, and a Harvard or Princeton team in a scenario where the other is 13-1 and another league school is also 13-1 would mean at least four league losses and thus not a top 100 RPI anymore.

Princeton has played a pretty good schedule so far and has two top 100 wins - over No. 65 Pacific and No. 82 Penn State. The Tigers (the Princeton ones, not the Pacific ones) are 11-2, with a loss to Butler (No. 57) and a loss to Portland (168).

TigerBlog doubts the Ivy League will be a two-bid league this year. It's never happened before, and even with a strong preseason for the league, the RPIs of its top teams will go down when the league season gets going.

Right now, there are five teams with plus-200 RPIs, including three with plus-300 RPIs. Playing each of those teams twice will pull Princeton's and Harvard's RPIs down.

It's likely that the only way into the NCAA tournament will be by winning the league.

Still, it's worth rooting for Harvard tonight. It helps Princeton's RPI if the Crimson win.

You can go back to rooting against the Crimson tomorrow.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

Bumbles bounce.