Saturday, March 20, 2004

2003-2004 Statistical Review

With nothing better to do, I decided to take a quick review of the stats for the 2003-2004 team, comparing us to the overall conference.

Conference Review

Not surprisingly, we rank about the middle of the pack on most things. We were the classic average team. We beat the teams that finished below us, and pretty much lost to the teams above us. The season clearly indicates our place in the standings was a fair reflection of our performance.

Our team strength was FT%. We led the league with 77.5%. We also made the most FT's (548) but we played the more games than most of the teams in the league.


We were seventh in the league in scoring (70.8) and eighth in scoring defense (71.2). That left us eighth in scoring margin (-.4). As you will see below, that difference was almost solely at the free throw line.

Field Goals

We were sixth in FG% (44.8%), and third in FG% (42.4%). We made 720 FG's for the year and allowed 723.

Free Throws

As mentioned, we led the league in FT% (77.5%). Our opponents shot only 69.2%, but made more FT's than us (574-552), because they shot 118 more FT's than us…about four per game.

To follow up on another thread, a major part of Kevin Netter's production fall off is at the line. In 2002-2003, Netter shot 205 FTs in 29 games. This season, he shot 120 FT's in 31 games. He played only three minutes less per game this year than last.


We were fifth in 3-FG% (36.8%), but 11th in defending the 3 (36.2%). We did make more 3's than our opponents (200-186).


We were 9th in rebounding (34.1) and fourth in allowing rebounds (33.0), for a margin of +1.1 (6th in MAC). Not surprisingly, we were 12th in offensive rebounds (10.39) but third in defensive rebounds (23.71).


Our 16.3 turnovers per game were 10th in the league. Just as bad, we created only 13.2 turnovers per game, which was 11th, and our margin (-3.13) was twelfth. Clearly, this is a major weakness for the team on both sides of the ball. We were last in steals (5.29)


The league doesn't put fouls into its stats compilation, for understandable but kind of strange reasons. After all, penalties are tracked in football. However, I looked at each team individually, and you can figure it out.

Bottom line is, we were last in the MAC in fouls. Here is the breakout.

1. Kent 18.9/game
2. WMU 19.4/game
Akron 19.4/game
4. OU 19.7/game
5. Marshall 20.1/game
Miami 20.1/game
7. BSU 20.3/game
8. EMU 20.5/game
NIU 20.5/game
10. Buffalo 21.8/game
11. UT 22.2/game
12. CMU 22.4/game
13. BG 23.7/game

More than one extra foul per game from the next team, and nearly five between us and the league leaders. By the way, the stats on the BG website has us with 740 fouls and the stats on the MAC site have us with 735 fouls. Don't know what is up there, but I used the MAC since I was using that for everyone else.

Clearly, this is a problem. Whatever the cause, be it Coach, or our guys getting a "rep," or our guys just making more fouls (or a combination of the above), we fouled way too much. Its reflected in the FT's the opponents shot.

Individually, here are the league's bottom five.

1. Ricardo Thomas 3.933/game
2. Cameron Echols 3.931/game
3. Kevin Netter 3.84/game
4. Jordan, Buffalo guy 3.62/game

Now, we should pause a moment and think about what it takes to reach these lofty levels. This isn't like three-pointers, where a guy can pop up 15 in a weird game and drive his average up. You can't get more than five fouls. So, to nearly average four fouls a game, you need to be in that neighborhood nearly the entire season. You have to be really fouling to get an average that high.

Blocked Shots

We were second in blocked shots, but who really cares.

Two final notes.

First, we were last in the MAC in home attendance. Behind everyone. That is as big a sign of trouble as anything.

Second, Rosefelt gave up a year of eligibility to play 24 minutes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

See this--The Globe got it wrong.

I am sure Rush and Sean will correct the record as well.

Here's what The Globe said he said:

"I've met foreign leaders, who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, `You gotta win this, you gotta beat this guy, we need a new policy,' things like that," Kerry said.

From today's Boston Globe:

Correction: Because of poor audio quality on a reporter's tape recording, the exact quote by Senator John F. Kerry regarding comments from foreign leaders about his candidacy was incorrectly transcribed in an article that appeared in the Nation pages on March 9 and in a Page One story yesterday.

The correct Kerry quote is: "I've been hearing it, I'll tell ya. The news, the coverage in other countries, the news in other places. I've met more leaders who can't go out and say it all publicly but, boy, they look at you and say, `You gotta win this, you gotta beat this guy, we need a new policy' -- things like that. So there is enormous energy out there. Tell them, wherever they can find an American abroad, they can contribute."

Monday, March 15, 2004


U.S. Videos, for TV News, Come Under Scrutiny

March 15, 2004

WASHINGTON, March 14 - Federal investigators are
scrutinizing television segments in which the Bush
administration paid people to pose as journalists praising
the benefits of the new Medicare law, which would be
offered to help elderly Americans with the costs of their
prescription medicines.

The videos are intended for use in local television news
programs. Several include pictures of President Bush
receiving a standing ovation from a crowd cheering as he
signed the Medicare law on Dec. 8.

The materials were produced by the Department of Health and
Human Services, which called them video news releases, but
the source is not identified. Two videos end with the voice
of a woman who says, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan

But the production company, Home Front Communications, said
it had hired her to read a script prepared by the

Another video, intended for Hispanic audiences, shows a
Bush administration official being interviewed in Spanish
by a man who identifies himself as a reporter named Alberto

Another segment shows a pharmacist talking to an elderly
customer. The pharmacist says the new law "helps you better
afford your medications," and the customer says, "It sounds
like a good idea." Indeed, the pharmacist says, "A very
good idea."

The government also prepared scripts that can be used by
news anchors introducing what the administration describes
as a made-for-television "story package."

In one script, the administration suggests that anchors use
this language: "In December, President Bush signed into law
the first-ever prescription drug benefit for people with
Medicare. Since then, there have been a lot of questions
about how the law will help older Americans and people with
disabilities. Reporter Karen Ryan helps sort through the

The "reporter" then explains the benefits of the new law.

Lawyers from the General Accounting Office, an
investigative arm of Congress, discovered the materials
last month when they were looking into the use of federal
money to pay for certain fliers and advertisements that
publicize the Medicare law.

In a report to Congress last week, the lawyers said those
fliers and advertisements were legal, despite "notable
omissions and other weaknesses." Administration officials
said the television news segments were also a legal,
effective way to educate beneficiaries.

Gary L. Kepplinger, deputy general counsel of the
accounting office, said, "We are actively considering some
follow-up work related to the materials we received from
the Department of Health and Human Services."

One question is whether the government might mislead
viewers by concealing the source of the Medicare videos,
which have been broadcast by stations in Oklahoma,
Louisiana and other states.

Federal law prohibits the use of federal money for
"publicity or propaganda purposes" not authorized by
Congress. In the past, the General Accounting Office has
found that federal agencies violated this restriction when
they disseminated editorials and newspaper articles written
by the government or its contractors without identifying
the source.

Kevin W. Keane, a spokesman for the Department of Health
and Human Services, said there was nothing nefarious about
the television materials, which he said had been
distributed to stations nationwide. Under federal law, he
said, the government is required to inform beneficiaries
about changes in Medicare.

"The use of video news releases is a common, routine
practice in government and the private sector," Mr. Keane
said. "Anyone who has questions about this practice needs
to do some research on modern public information tools."

But Democrats disagreed. "These materials are even more
disturbing than the Medicare flier and advertisements,"
said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey.
"The distribution of these videos is a covert attempt to
manipulate the press."

Mr. Lautenberg, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of
Massachusetts, and seven other members of Congress
requested the original review by the accounting office.

In the videos and advertisements, the government urges
beneficiaries to call a toll-free telephone number,
1-800-MEDICARE. People who call that number can obtain
recorded information about prescription drug benefits if
they recite the words "Medicare improvement."

Documents from the Medicare agency show why the
administration is eager to advertise the benefits of the
new law, on radio and television, in newspapers and on the

"Our consumer research has shown that beneficiaries are
confused about the Medicare Modernization Act and uncertain
about what it means for them," says one document from the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Other documents suggest the scope of the publicity
campaign: $12.6 million for advertising this winter, $18.5
million to publicize drug discount cards this spring, about
$18.5 million this summer, $30 million for a year of
beneficiary education starting this fall and $44 million
starting in the fall of 2005.

"Video news releases" have been used for more than a
decade. Pharmaceutical companies have done particularly
well with them, producing news-style health features about
the afflictions their drugs are meant to cure.

The videos became more prominent in the late 1980's, as
more and more television stations cut news-gathering
budgets and were glad to have packaged news bits to call
their own, even if they were prepared by corporations
seeking to sell products.

As such, the videos have drawn criticism from some news
media ethicists, who consider them to be at odds with
journalism's mission to verify independently the claims of
corporations and governments.

Government agencies have also produced such videos for
years, often on subjects like teenage smoking and the
dangers of using steroids. But the Medicare materials
wander into more controversial territory.

Bill Kovach, chairman of the Committee of Concerned
Journalists, expressed disbelief that any television
stations would present the Medicare videos as real news
segments, considering the current debate about the merits
of the new law.

"Those to me are just the next thing to fraud," Mr. Kovach
said. "It's running a paid advertisement in the heart of a
news program."

Jim Rutenberg contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Thursday, March 11, 2004