Wednesday’s Den: Mid-week musings…….

13) Big 14 is moving its conference tournament from Chicago to Indianapolis; going to be a lot of basketball played in Indiana next month. Having everything in one state makes it easier, as far as keeping up with all the COVID protocols.

12) Several years ago, I was sitting at an AAU basketball tournament, sitting next to a guy who was a great small college coach, so I picked his brain a little, because thats how we get smarter- you ask people questions who are smarter than you.

I asked him what he looked for when he went to tournaments like this one, with dozens of games  mostly being played by kids we had never seen before.

“What is their college skill?” he replied. What can he do at the college level that will make him an effective college player. I had once recommended a player to him and the kid played really well for his team, so he was generous with his ideas and I learned a lot.

11) Trying to figure out a reason the underdog is 10-4 ATS in last fourteen Super Bowls. There doesn’t have to be a reason, but would be nice to know underdogs are covering so much.

10) Patrick Mahomes is having surgery Wednesday for turf toe, which is a sprain of the big toe joint. More serious than it sounds; it ended the career of the great Steeler LB, Jack Lambert.

9) Missouri Tigers are 13-3 this season, 6-3 in the SEC; their coach is Cuonzo Martin, who was a very good player at Purdue. He’s had an interesting career as a coach.

— 2008-11— Missouri State 26-28 in MVC games, 50-21 overall the last two years
— 2011-14— Tennessee 32-20 in SEC games, made Sweet 16 his 3rd year, then he bolted.
— 2014-17— California 29-27 in Pac-12 games, lost his only NCAA game.
— 2017-now—Missouri 28-35 in SEC games, lost his only NCAA game.

— This is his 4th coaching stop; this year is the first time he’s been at the same school four years in a row.
— He won two state titles as a high school player, teammates with LaPhonso Ellis.
— He played in only seven NBA games; he went to the G-League and to an Italian League- he was later diagnosed with lymphoma, which thankfully went into remission.

— As a college coach, Martin is 8-3 in first game of a conference tournament, 2-6 in the second game, 0-2 in third game. He is 3-3 in NCAA tourney games, partly because Mercer upset Duke in the 2014 first round, which gave his Tennessee team a much easier 2nd round game.

Missouri will be a prominent team when the brackets come out in a month or so; they’re #6 experience team in country, which seems to be an important thing in this unusual season. 

8) I do lot of work with trends when giving out information on games; I’m seriously wondering how much this year’s trends mean? How similar/different is this season to most seasons? How much does having no fans in the stands affect the games? 

7) I mentioned this briefly last week, but it deserved more attention than that; Toronto’s Fred VanVleet scored 54 points in a game last week, the most points EVER by an NBA player who was not drafted.

VanVleet was a really good player at Wichita State, but he is (listed at) 6-1 and doesn’t look like a prototype NBA athlete, but he can really play. He’s in his 5th NBA season, and is scoring over 20.0 ppg this season. Good for him. 

6) Watching a replay of a Golden State-Dallas game Tuesday, was laughing listening to Jeff Van Gundy going off on a tangent about Law and Order: SVU— “Why would any parent send their kid to Hudson University? There was a crime there every week!!!”

Van Gundy is a very good coach, but I hope he stays on TV; he is fun to listen to.

5) In that game, Draymond Green had 13 rebounds, six steals, six assists….before he scored a point. Thats why he was such a great part of the Warriors’ title teams; he did a lot of the hard work that led to Steph Curry/Klay Thompson scoring a ton of points.

All great teams have players who get a lot of loose balls, play tough defense, pass the ball well, make their teammates better players. 

4) Green Bay Packers wanted to hire Jim Leonhard as their defensive coordinator; he has that job at Wisconsin now, but he turned the Packers down. Green Bay then turned to Joe Barry, who was a linebackers coach for the Rams, but left there when they didn’t name him DC.

3) Miami Marlins signed OF Adam Duvall for one year, $4.5M. 

2) RIP to coach Marty Schottenheimer, who passed away this week at age 77; he played in the AFL for six years (Bills/Patriots), was a head coach for 21 years, going 200-126-1 in regular season games, only 5-13 in playoff games.

The last year he coached was 2006; he is the only guy ever to get fired after going 14-2, which he did with the ’06 Chargers. RIP, coach. 

 1) Happy birthday to the great actor Joe Pesci, who turned 78 earlier this week; everyone has different likes/dislikes, but My Cousin Vinny is my favorite Pesci movie.

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.