The AIA and Their Lame Powerpoints System

From time to time I will make public statements in opposition to the use of Power Points by the AIA as a method of determining playoff teams and seeding.

I have, in years past, posted several summaries of previous seasons’ rankings, complete with analysis and suggestions for improvement. However, it occurred to me last season to take a different approach.

A very intelligent reader to the message boards (“sprinkler”) posted the following:

You must have Human intervention with brains that are capable of understanding that regardless of what powerpoints say–team a is better than team b by a longshot. I can give you example after example since the inception
of powerpoints where teams have gotten the shaft and undeserving teams have received a much higher seed and sometimes even a playoff spot when on the field or court it was completely undeserved.

Last season I did an analysis of all 50 states’ high school athletic associations to see how they determine football playoffs. Only three states were inconclusive in their stated methods (Florida, Texas, and Hawaii) for playoff determination. Of the remaining 47, only 16 use powerpoints, and of those 16, only THREE reside West of the Mississippi River (Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota). All the others rely on qualification (top 2/3/4 finishers in a division or conference) or selection (committee selection) methods, or some combination of both.

This analysis suggests that the idea of powerpoints is both A) an East Coast idea, and B) behind the times. The Deep South is known for its football, and only Louisiana uses powerpoints – Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, etc. all use qualification or selection. California, a mecca of high school football, uses a committee selection method.

It would behoove the AIA to at least consider creating a committee with the sole task to determine playoff qualifiers outside of automatic sectional winners and seeding for playoff brackets.

Thoughts for the upcoming UA/ASU 2010-11 rematch

A look back – May 12, 2010, former UA recruit-slash-ASU freshman Victor Rudd becomes the fourth player to bolt from ASU along with Demitrius Walker, Brandon Thompson, and Taylor Rohde. Rudd eventually enrolls at the University of South Florida.

UA fan “sleepingGiant” posits:

Wow!!.. Nobody seems to want to play for Sendick and his 40 minutes of helI “watch paint dry” offense! ASU is easily looking like the worst basketball team in the Pac-10 right now for next season. Meanwhile UofA will be back to putting up the usual basketball scores they put up against ASU for a quarter of a century.

This quote sets off a huge firestorm, where many Tempe Normal faithful blast sleepingGiant as being uneducated and uninformed.

Some examples:


You said the same EXACT thing last year. Don’t you get tired of being wrong…EVERY…SINGLE…TIME???


As for UofA – maybe you clowns will actually qualify for the NIT next year….


The same UA basketball team that didn’t even get an NIT bid? Yeah, ASU fans are terrified…


Somebody tell Sean Miller he’s not in the weak A-10 anymore….he couln’t even get his team into the NIT in the weakest year in the Pac-10’s history.


With 5 good recruits coming in this is not surprising. Herb can handle it.

It doesn’t look like Herb is handling it at all. As of February 6, 2011, Tempe Normal is 9-14, 1-10 in the Pac-10. With 7 conference games remaining, Tempe Normal will have to go 6-1 just to get to .500. Anything less and it assures Tempe Normal of a losing season unless they win the Pac-10 tournament.

Currently, Tempe Normal ranks near the bottom of the nation in three of four major statistical categories (points per game, rebounds per game, field goal percentage), and only two players average in double figures in points per game. Only two players have gotten to the free throw line more than 60 times (Abbott, Lockett), and as a team, Tempe Normal shoots free throws at a 64% clip.

Arizona, on the other hand, ranks in the top 100 in three categories (points per game, field goal percentage, assists per game), has a National Player of the Year candidate (Derrick Williams), plays 11 men with no real noticable dropoff outside of the center position, and has six players shooting three pointers at a 38% or better clip. They shoot free throws at a 74% rate, and get to the line almost twice as much as Tempe Normal (600 to 385), with five players having more than 60 attempts.

Yes, the next game is in Tempe, but really it’s more like McKale Center North. It doesn’t help that recently Tempe Normal cordoned off almost 3200 seats, ostensibly to give it a “home court feel”. Realistically, though, nobody’s buying that because even after that, Tempe Normal still can’t sell out games. No, it’s because they got tired of seeing all the empty seats… except when Arizona comes to play, in which case the Arena is mostly cardinal red and navy blue instead of maroon and gold.

Now, Tempe Normal’s Herb Sendek is 6-4 against Arizona since 2007-08 season. However, of those 6 wins, only one of them is against Sean Miller. Again, that’s ONE win against a non-interim Arizona coach.

That says volumes about Tempe Normal’s program – that it can jack it up against the interims but completely shuts down against the heavy guns. Oh, and by the way, Lute Olson’s record against ASU: 43-6. Miller’s career Arizona record against ASU: 2-1. So, that’s a 45-7 record by regular Arizona HC’s (not counting interims) against ASU HC’s in the last 28 years.

Yes, that’s exactly SEVEN wins over regular Arizona HC’s in 28 years. That five-game win streak between 2007-2009 was fool’s gold since it was over the interim HCs.

So, for Sunday’s game:

Frontcourt: Arizona. Tempe Normal has no answer for Williams who will go for another double-double (at least 20 points and 10 boards). Jamelle Horne will also get 10-and-5, and Perry will get 8-and-5. In otherwords, Arizona’s frontcourt will have a field day on the glass – and second chance points – against the woefully undersized Tempe squad. Tempe’s Kuksiks will get his 10 points, but that’s about it.

Backcourt: Arizona. Jones, Fogg, Mayes, Hill, and Parrom have come alive in the meat of the Pac-10 schedule. Tempe’s Abbott and Lockett can score in bunches (27 ppg combined), but after them, McMillan, Felix, King and now Creekmur offer a combined 16 ppg off the bench. And while Jones and Fogg combine for only 18 ppg, the Arizona bench of Mayes, Hill, Lavender and Parrom offer up another 25 ppg.

Coaching: Arizona. Normally, Sendek would have the edge if it were any other coach, but this isn’t any other coach. Miller has shown he can outcoach Sendek and already owns the career head-to-head coaching lead against Sendek, going 3-2 as Arizona’s and Xavier’s HC.

Intangibles: Arizona. The game is being played in Tempe, but both teams have a week off after a trip to the Bay Area schools. Tempe Normal, however, has given Arizona a lot of game film to find weaknesses – not that it’ll be hard to find them… see “frontcourt” – whereas Arizona has given Tempe Normal a lot to worry about after a 3OT win at Cal, where two nights earlier Tempe Normal could not close the door on the same Cal team.

Arizona by 10.

Banner Ironwood, Queen Creek, and Pinal County, oh my!

[Edit: Thank you to Queen Creek Councilman Jeff Brown for correcting me on my errors that QC had not given permission on the attempted incorporation – it was actually Florence that had not done so – and the strip annexation law that went into effect back in the mid-90’s.]

Banner Health is opening a new hospital located (currently) in San Tan Valley just south and west of the intersection of Gantzel Road and Combs Road (map is here). It will be a major medical facility and serve the people of Eastern Pinal County well – especially since the only other major medical facility for Pinal County is in Casa Grande. That means that when residents of Pinal County, like in, say, Apache Junction, that don’t have insurance but need medical attention or are county dependents, they must be taken to Casa Grande, instead of nearer facilities like Banner Baywood in Mesa.

San Tan Valley is an unincorporated area in Pinal County that is just east and south of the Maricopa County border (and thus the incorporated town of Queen Creek) and north of Florence. This area attempted to incorporate itself several years ago but failed to get the necessary signatures of people living in the area, along with other issues like the City of Florence not giving its permission to incorporate – newly incorporated towns must have permission of all incorporated areas if the new town borders are within 6 miles of an existing town’s borders.

UPDATE 3/26/10: Pinal County has placed a map of the San Tan Valley proposed borders (v5.0 at time of writing) here. The proposal will require the following towns’ approval of the borders: Florence (Anthem Merrill is within 6 miles of the STV border at Hunt Hwy and Magma Rd), Queen Creek (immediately adjacent to border at Gantzel and Combs, among others), and Gilbert (STV border at Signal Butte and Empire is within 6 miles of Gilbert border at Chandler Heights west of Power Rd). Coolidge would be also necessary if Coolidge annexes the land between Highway 87 and Ranchview Rd as that would be within 6 miles of the STV border at the Gantzel alignment and Arizona Farms Rd.

A super majority (> 66%) of the residents of San Tan Valley have moved there in the last 6 years. This is important to note – there were existing residents prior to that, but those residents live nestled in the San Tan Mountain areas and opposed the original incorporation efforts. Those original residents try to distance themselves with the now-majority folk who continue to lobby the Pinal County Supervisors for incorporation.

It is these (relatively) new people that now are up in arms about Queen Creek’s publicly noted annexation consideration of the soon to be opened Banner Ironwood hospital. The opposition usually shouts out with several myths hoping to cast fear, uncertainty, and doubt over the proceedings. What they don’t know is quite obvious, and I will point that out here.

Myth One:

The Town of Queen Creek is a Maricopa County town and is attempting to cross into Pinal County for a land grab.

Reality: Queen Creek already exists in Pinal County and has done so since the town incorporated back in 1989 – a map is available at the Town of Queen Creek Website. Note that QC extends into Pinal County on the South and East (green areas on map).

Myth Two:

The Town of Queen Creek is attempting to dictate to an unincorporated area how things will be done.

Reality: It legally already does so in two ways. One, any unincorporated area within six miles of the QC border cannot be incorporated without QC’s permission. QC gave permission last time in 2004, but now with more at stake, it is unclear of the Council would again give permission if the newly incorporated town’s borders were within the six mile limit of QC’s existing borders. (I’ll update this when I find out more.) Two, QC has a planning area that goes outside of the town limits that does have a say in how things “will be done”… in conjunction with the corresponding county (Maricopa or Pinal). All towns or cities have planning areas, and those planning areas always include the unincorporated areas adjacent to the town/city limits. Obviously places like Tempe and Guadalupe, which are landlocked, do not have the luxury of unincorporated planning areas, but the rest do. QC has a General Plan map available at their website, but it is dated 2006, which I know is not the latest map. The zip code map (above link) contains all the unincorporated areas in the QC Planning Area, which includes the area – in blue – just south of Combs and Gantzel.

Myth Three:

QC is just trying to reap all the taxes a hospital will bring.

Reality: Hospitals like Banner Ironwood are non-profit entities and as such are exempt from a huge amount of taxes that a town would normally otherwise receive from a large business. However, any associated businesses and medical offices that open on lands also annexed by QC would definitely send their tax money to QC… and Pinal County, not Maricopa. People forget that every tax is broken into three levels – city/town, county, and state. For any business conducted in Pinal County, regardless of the location (whether incorporated or not, like say Coolidge or Florence), the County will reap its share of the taxes, and the County tax rate is still exactly the same – 1.1%, which is more than Maricopa County’s 0.7%.

Myth Four:

Only the citizens of an area can vote for annexation.

Reality: Only the LANDOWNERS of the area being discussed can vote for annexation. Banner Health owns the land on which the hospital is being built, and they have approached QC for annexation because QC can provide enhanced levels of service from fire and public safety than Pinal County on its own. Since they are the only landowner in question, their vote is all that matters. Now, there is a Fry’s shopping center on the actual corner of Gantzel and Combs, so the landowners (NOT THE SHOP OWNERS) in that shopping center – and according to the Pinal County Assessor’s office, there are several parcels owned by different people on that particular corner – have the option of being part of the annexation, but all it will actually take is just the parcel that contains the Fry’s Supermarket itself to be annexed in order to annex Banner Ironwood. And make no mistake about it, it’s legal to do so because doing so would NOT create a county island, which is illegal, and it would not be a “strip annexation” because the parcel of land being annexed is greater than 200 ft wide x 300 ft long. If I were Smith’s Food and Drug Centers Incorporated, a BUSINESS, I would probably be considering coming along for the ride for annexation to QC with Banner Ironwood just because of the infrastructure that the Town can provide compared to Pinal County.

So when people start clamoring for the Pinal County Supervisors to step in and “protect the 80,000 citizens of San Tan Valley”, they should know that QC and the landowner – Banner Health – are doing everything by the book, legally, above board. Pinal County really isn’t going to do anything because they still get the hospital inside their county limits and their tax share (1.1%) regardless of whether the hospital is located in an incorporated or unincorporated area.

Hence, the people of San Tan Valley are much ado about nothing. Isn’t that right Mr. Messinger?

Pac-10 Expansion, once again

I touched on this last year here, where I laid out six reasons why the Pac-10 would not expand just willy nilly and grab Boise State and Utah.

Apparently, the new Pac-10 commish is seriously considering expanding, which is fine, but people need to understand that the Pac-10 is HEAVILY research-oriented and they are a major competitor in most sports, so several things must be factored into any school to be considered for expansion.

  1. Academics/research – Almost every school has either a major medical facility or research facility, and every school ranks in the top 100 in the world for academics. In the latest World University Rankings, Stanford is #3, California-Berkeley is #4, Washington is #6, UCLA is #17, Arizona is #28, USC is #32, ASU is #60, Oregon State is #72, Oregon is #82, and Washington State is #88.
  2. Presence – Every school is a major presence in their geographical area. There are no “tiny” schools in the Pac-10.
  3. Competition – The Pac-10 is the “Conference of Champions” for a reason: the number of championships won by the members of this conference FAR outnumber the total by any other conference. As such, members must have a tradition of competing hard and winning.
  4. Rivalries – Every school has a natural rival that also happens to be geographically “close” to each other. The farthest “rival” schools from each other are Washington (Seattle) and Washington State (Pullman), which are 5 hrs away by car.

So, knowing these are major criteria for any school to join the Pac-10, let’s go through some of the schools being touted by members of the media. The World University Rankings provides good insight on where these schools are ranked in relation to the rest of the world – more than 15000 universities across the globe are ranked in this research. Hence, the schools are sorted by World University Ranking.

  • University of Colorado (Boulder, CO) – Good research school, biggest presence in Colorado, however somewhat irrelevant lately in the Big 12 conference. Ranked #45 in WUR. Enrollment is over 30,000 students.
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) – Major medical facility, major presence only overshadowed by BYU, major competitor in the Mountain West Conference. Location in large market. Ranked #48 in the World University Rankings. Enrollment is over 26,700 students.
  • University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM) – Plays in MWC, but is inconsistent in its competitiveness in men’s sports – the women, however, are rolling over their competition. Located in largest city in NM, also a known travel destination. Ranked #69 in WUR. Enrollment is over 24,000 students.
  • BYU (Provo, UT) – Biggest presence in Utah, major competitor in MWC. Location in smaller market. Ranked #84 in the World University Rankings (just ahead of Washington State). However, does not play any sports on Sundays, which is a major drawback to Pac-10 competition, and it has a dearth of graduate programs, also a turn-off for the Pac-10. Enrollment is over 34,000 students.
  • Colorado State University (Ft. Collins, CO) – Second biggest presence in Colorado behind UC, competitive member of MWC. Academia is still decent (#113 in WUR). Enrollment is over 26,000 students.
  • Utah State University (Logan, UT) – Plays in the WAC, but lately has been irrelevant. Located in very small market. Academics are better than half of the other schools being considered (#162 in WUR). Enrollment is just shy of 24,000 students.
  • San Diego State (San Diego, CA) – Competitor in MWC in many sports outside of football. Located in large market and travel destination. Ranked #233 in WUR. Enrollment is over 34,500 students.
  • New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) – Competitor in the WAC. Located in small market. Academics are just ok (#276 in WUR). Enrollment is over 17,000 students. Second smallest school in consideration.
  • San Jose State (San Jose, CA) – Competitor in the WAC. Located in close proximity to Stanford, making it easy to reach. Part of the Cal State University system. Ranked #304 in WUR. Enrollment is over 32,000 students.
  • University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY) – Lately become more of a competitor in the MWC. Located in very small market. Academia is lacking (#374 in WUR). Enrollment is just under 14,000 students, making it the smallest school in consideration.
  • UNLV (Las Vegas, NV) – Competitor in MWC in many sports outside of football. Biggest presence in Nevada, location is well-known. Academics are not up to Pac-10 standards (#388 in WUR). Enrollment is over 31,000 students.
  • Boise State University (Boise, ID) – Lately has owned the WAC in football, but that’s pretty much it. Biggest presence in Idaho, however that’s not saying much. Academics are not up to Pac-10 standards (#491 in WUR). Enrollment is just under 20,000 students.
  • Fresno State University (Fresno, CA) – Competitor in the WAC. Part of the Cal State University system. Located in small market. Academics are not up to Pac-10 standards (#801 in WUR). Enrollment is over 22,000 students.
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI) – Competitor in WAC. Located in supremely desired location – imagine what that does for Pac-10 recruiting (“hey, you can play for us AND you’ll get to go to Hawaii twice in your four years here”). Academics lag behind all other schools in consideration (#824 in WUR). Enrollment is over 20,000 students.

Now, just for grins I’m throwing in two schools:

  • Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ) – Small market, currently does not play Division IA in football, but does in everything else. Member of Big Sky conference. Academics are ok (#302 in WUR). Enrollment is just under 19,000 students.
  • University of San Diego (San Diego, CA) – Large market, competes in Division I for all sports except football. Member of Pioneer Football League for Division IAA. Academics are behind most other schools listed above (#747 in WUR), and enrollment is just a tad above 7,500 students – but that’s because it’s a private school.

Based on the information above, if I went solely on academia, then obviously my choices should be two of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, BYU, or Colorado State. However, something else to consider is how the schools fare in athletics other than football. San Diego State is already an associate member of the Pac-10, so they automatically should be considered for expansion.

Hence, a Utah and San Diego State pairing would not be out of the question, though having those two play on rivalry weekend would be stretching a bit.

Geographically, SDSU and San Diego would make a perfect pair, except that USD doesn’t compete in Division IA football (stadium size is too small – 6000 seats), and USD’s research ranking is troubling.

SDSU and UNLV would make another “good” pair, as they are 5hr away by car – the same distance as Washington and WSU – but UNLV’s academic ranking is a 300 point drop from the rest of the Pac-10.

Utah and BYU would seem to be a marriage made in heaven, except BYU doesn’t play on Sundays, which becomes a problem for the other members of the Pac-10 who DO play on Sundays. And BYU isn’t all that competitive outside of football and maybe basketball or softball. And let’s not forget that BYU is distinctly lacking graduate programs, a big no-no when dealing with research universities.

Colorado/CSU would also seem to be a good match, but would Colorado want to leave the Big 12? Perhaps if they could guarantee one non-conference game a year against Nebraska. And I’m sure that CSU would jump from the MWC for the Pac-10 in a heartbeat – however, CSU probably wouldn’t get an invite without Colorado.

Utah/Colorado would be really good – 8hr drives not withstanding. This is probably the best pairing period.

Utah/Utah State is also not out of the question as they fit the presence and geographic criteria, and USU’s academia still is in the top 200 in the world. However, Utah State’s small market is very concerning, and like CSU, they probably wouldn’t get an invite on their own.

New Mexico/NMSU would be good geographically, but that also means the Pac-10 would have to take on a small school and weak academia (NMSU) and a low-key competitive-wise school (UNM). Granted, Stanford is also a small school (enrollment just under 15,000), but there’s a huge difference between Stanford and NMSU.

New Mexico/Colorado would be a good fit academically, and it’s actually a slightly shorter drive at 7.5 hrs, but again the inconsistent competitiveness of UNM is troubling.

New Mexico/NAU would be a surprise, though the distance between the schools isn’t all that far. But NAU’s small stadium and school size becomes an issue.

We know that the Pac-10 will not just add one school if it finally does choose to expand. And having an expansion helps other schools in the Pac-10 so they can round out football schedules (read: ASU) with Division IA teams.

I’m pretty sure that a BYU/UNLV pairing would probably not be highly thought of – complete polar opposite agendas there 🙂

As it is, BYU joining the Pac-10 is already under assault from Cal and Stanford – both far left-wing schools to begin with. Since any expansion requires an unanimous vote on schools to join, I believe that Cal’s opposition (Stanford notwithstanding) effectively kills any hope for BYU to join the Pac-10.

I think the biggest knock on one of the other teams, Colorado, is that they pretty much are a football school and really nothing else – there’s nothing really to gain from moving from the Big 12 (a BCS conference) to the Pac-10 (another BCS conference). Also, Colorado does not compete in several other sports that the rest of the Pac-10 does (swimming, baseball). However, there’s an outside chance that a CU-CSU pairing in the Pac-10 might pique their interest.

Thus, the best scenarios range from competitiveness in athletics to high academia to geographic location to just plain ol’ TV markets (in no particular order):

  • Utah / San Diego State
  • San Diego State / UNLV
  • Utah / UNLV
  • Utah / Utah State
  • Colorado / Colorado State
  • San Diego State / University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • New Mexico / UNLV
  • San Jose State / Fresno State

[2/11 UPDATE: The Big Ten has opened discussions with Texas to jump from the Big 12 to the Big Ten. If that happens, a Colorado jump from the Big 12 to the Pac-10 suddenly becomes a LOT more likely. If that is the case, look for a Utah/Colorado pairing to take place.]

The appeal of any scenario involving Utah is probably first and foremost in the new commish’s mind. And also the lure of the San Diego market is also very appealing. Like I mentioned above, a Utah/SDSU pairing would be very appealing for most everything except a geographic rivalry game – then again, all those Utah fans would probably jump at the chance to fly to San Diego every other year in late November.

Brandon Dunson commits to Tempe Normal

Ok, so why am I, a University of Arizona fan, writing about a JUCO transfer – who, by the way, is unrated by – that just committed to ASU?

Simple, because it’s extremely laughable.

Dunson’s stats are, well, rather pedestrian for a JUCO coming to a high-major Division I school: 12 ppg, 4 assist, 4 boards. The Arizona Republic states that Dunson shoots 44% from 3-pt range. But if he’s a 44% shooter, how many 3-pt shots is he taking a game to only get 12 ppg? Three?

Dunson last played at Wabash Valley JC in Mt. Carmel, IL. Translating the level of competition from there to the Pac-10 really knocks off almost 20% of his averages, meaning that really Dunson will be averaging around 10ppg, 3 assists and 3 boards.

But Dunson is supposed to be an “explosive” point guard. Really? At 3 assists and 10 points per game?

There’s a reason why Dunson was only recruited by a handful of schools – Oklahoma State, Nevada, Illinois, Gonzaga, and UC Riverside – and it’s because at the high-major level, Dunson is probably a backup-backup PG, or maybe a defensive replacement guard.

And then there’s this quote:

“I just wanted to play for a West Coast school and for a coach that can develop guards,” Dunson said.

Ok, so that’s why OK State and Illinois never had a chance, but when exactly did ASU turn into a place for guard development? Seriously?

So basically, this JUCO transfer wanted so much to come to Point Guard U (ie. U of Arizona) that he committed to the first school with “Arizona” in the name that came knocking. I think ASU needs to check his grades to be sure he can actually pass his classes, since obviously GEOGRAPHY is a problem for him.

What this does show is that Sendek CAN’T recruit the elite-level PG’s to ASU. The Josh Selbys and the Ray McCallums of the world aren’t giving Tempe Normal even a sniff. And why should they when Point Guard U is down the road with Sean Miller helming the ship, especially after Arizona shellacked ASU last week IN TEMPE. And please, all you ASU fans out there that claim Derek Glasser is elite-level… have you SEEN your schedule this season?

Yes, Glasser became the all-time assist leader at ASU this season, and he’ll probably finish with around 580 assists – and I’m being generous here because I’m giving Tempe Normal two games in the Pac-10 tournament and two games in the NIT (ASU making the NCAA Tourney is laughable at this point after the beat downs by Cal and Arizona). But seriously, there’s FIVE Wildcats with more than 580 assists in their careers – Arizona’s all-time assist leader is Russell Brown with 810; that’s 230 more than Glasser will see in his college career. (The others: Mustafa Shakur 670, Damon Stoudamire 663, Jason Gardner 622, Luke Walton 582.)

Dunson’s impact to ASU’s team? Negligible. Threat level to Arizona? Non-existent, especially given that at max we’ll see him for only two seasons.