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LIU Brooklyn 68, Fordham 81: Three Thoughts

On a cool late autumn, Monday evening in the Bronx, LIU Brooklyn and Fordham matched up in a battle of 0-1 teams looking for that first early season victory. LIU Brooklyn was coming off their high-scoring 102-96 loss to Tulane on Friday night while Fordham lost a one-point heartbreaker at home to Miami (OH) that same night.

It was a different story for both teams Monday night as Fordham got up ahead 14-4 to start the game and shot the ball extremely well while frustrating LIU on the offensive end and essentially cruised to an 81-68 wire-to-wire victory over the Blackbirds to go to 1-1 while dropping LIU to 0-2 on the young season. Continue reading

You Can Take The Players Out Of New York City, But…

Some time ago, my friend Martin Kessler came to me with what he called a “crazy theory”: Pickup games in New York City are notoriously rough, featuring physical drives and slick dribbling rather than outside shooting. (At certain courts, the three-point line is even disregarded, and scoring is kept with ones only.) What if, he wondered, that permanently affects basketball skills? Are NYC-born players more likely to be bad shooters, due to the style they grew up playing?

Martin works for WBUR’s Only A Game, and this weekend he aired his story about the Big Apple playing style. Along with anecdotes from Sundiata Gaines and pickup lifers, he asked me to run the numbers on how they play at higher levels. And I found that his crazy theory wasn’t so crazy: New Yorkers indeed shoot worse and take fewer threes, and they earn more free throws instead. The differences aren’t huge, but they are consistent across the NBA and NCAA. Continue reading

The Long Arc of Home-Court Advantage

In his debut column for The Fieldhouse this month, Ken Pomeroy wrote:

Teams are protecting their home court less and less these days. In conference games last season, home teams won 59.0 percent of the time. That continues a trend that has existed for at least the last 15 seasons. And I can only say ‘at least’ because I am unaware of a detailed study that goes back further. However, it’s highly likely that last season was the worst year for home teams in the history of the game.

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Harvard 75, Yale 67: Future Looks Bright For Ivy League

If you looked closely at Lee Amphitheater Saturday night, you could see into the future. And you didn’t even need a Delorean to do it.

Harvard ended Yale’s 22-game, two-year long home winning streak in impressive fashion, 75-67, before a sellout crowd that was into the game from the opening tip. The Crimson (14-7, 6-2, identical to Yale) were led by freshman Bryce Aiken with a career-high 27 points. Like most freshmen, Aiken has had some growing pains this season, but Saturday his full array of talent that ACC and Big East schools wanted was on display: shooting, getting to the rim, putting opponents on skates (as the kids say these days), even a four-point play from the corner that was huge in the Harvard victory.

Aiken, of course, is just one piece of a freshman class that includes Chris Lewis, Justin Bassey, and Seth Towns (who all started Saturday while Aiken did not). Sophomore Corey Johnson added 12 points for Harvard as well.

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Top NEC Under the Radar Players for 2016-17 Season

Throughout the offseason, I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter regarding several unknown players within the NEC. Because there’s plenty of opportunity given the graduations and transfers, coaches are desperate to prop up their guys in the preseason to see if they’ll rise to the challenge. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t. Continue reading