The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

Dayton Basketball Game #2

Dayton Flyers (2-0) 62
Delaware State Hornets
(0-2 vs. Division 1 opponents) 42
Wednesday, November 19
UD Arena, Dayton, OH

The Dayton Flyers continued their young season with a much more impressive win over the Delaware State Hornets on Wednesday night. This win was an impressive all-around showcase for the entire team, much unlike the way the Flyers started the season against Wofford on Sunday. Coming into the game, I looked to the Flyers to improve their team rebounding statistics after being out-performed 35-29 by the smaller Wofford Terries, as well as improving their overall efficiency on offense after a very sloppy start to the season. They did both of these things in resounding fashion, as a 36-12 run spanning nearly 20 minutes helped the Flyers break free and hold on for good.

After game one against Wofford, I felt that there would be no way this team could beat anyone in Division 1 by 15 points or more. Their rebounding was sub-par, their offense didn’t click at all, and if it were not for 16 unforced turnovers, they very easily could have lost their season opener in shocking fashion. Against 2005-2007 MEAC regular season champions Delaware State, however, the Dayton Flyers proved that they are very much worthy of their third place finish in a preseason Atlantic-10 poll. They looked incredibly athletic and capable of turning it on full-speed on both sides of the ball in this one, and their entire offense was built on their steady on-ball defense led by the superb play of point guards London Warren and Rob Lowery.

Official Dayton recap: “BRIAN GREGORY REWARDED WITH 100TH CAREER WIN
Official Delaware State recap: “DAYTON FLYS PAST HORNETS, 62-42″

Official ESPN recap: “Dayton 62, Delaware St. 42” Continue reading

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November 20, 2008 Posted by | College Basketball, Dayton Flyers | , | Leave a comment

Dayton Basketball Game #1

Dayton Flyers (1-0) 52
Wofford
Terriers (0-1) 49
Sunday, November 16
UD Arena, Dayton, OH

The Dayton Flyers kicked off their season Sunday evening against the Wofford Terriers of the Southern Conference. The Flyers had high hopes heading into this season with the healthy return of sophomore Chris Wright and several other key players, but they barely managed to come away with a win in game one at UD Arena. In a very sloppy game filled with turnovers, missed shots, and lost opportunities, the Flyers managed to come away with a 52-49 victory.

As low scoring as this game was, it also provided for a very interesting first look at the 2008-2009 Flyers basketball team in comparison to what Dayton had last season. Last year, only seven times did the Flyers score less than 60 points, and they went 3-4 in those games (20-7 otherwise). In this one, it took a monster performance from both Wright, and junior Marcus Johnson to finish with the victory.

Official Dayton recap: “MEN’S BASKETBALL WINS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE HOME OPENER, 52-49
Official Wofford recap: “Men’s Basketball Opens Season With 52-49 Loss At Dayton”

Official ESPN recap: “Dayton 52, Wofford 49”

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November 17, 2008 Posted by | College Basketball, Dayton Flyers | , | 1 Comment

Election Night Live Blogging Experiment

Here is a look at my thoughts during the course of Election Night 2008. I decided just today to update all of the final results and organize my updates all into one post. Hope you enjoy!

Update #1 (as of 7:15 PM):

Just to let you know what races I will be watching tonight. Expect a new update about every hour or so tonight, as I will be crunching numbers in the biggest races:

Presidential Races:
Colorado (polls ranging from 4 to 6 for Obama)
Florida (polls ranging from -1 to 2)
Georgia (polls ranging from -7 to -4)
Indiana (polls ranging from -3 to 0)
Montana (polls ranging from -5 to -2)
North Carolina (polls ranging from -2 to 1)
North Dakota (polls ranging from -6 to -2)

New Hampshire (polls ranging from 5 to 9)
New Mexico (polls ranging from 6 to 9) Continue reading

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | 1 Comment

The Boots (November 4, 2008)

Boot Up: Cavaliers + Hornets – The Cavaliers lost in New Orleans the other night as Chris Paul had yet another amazing night, but you will be hearing about these two teams well into the NBA Playoffs this season. Simply because LeBron had an off shooting night on the road against one of the top teams in the Western Conference, does not mean that Cleveland will trail behind Boston, Detroit, or Orlando again this season. This was not supposed to be a very easy game for the Cavaliers, and I expect within the team’s record to start to bounce back within the next week or so. The Hornets on the other hand, should continue to be a force in the Western Conference with stud-muffin Chris Paul and free agent pick up James Posey. In the next Boot Down about the most recent big trade in the NBA, I will analyze the rankings of the Eastern Conference, and here is my analysis about the West:

Western Conference Preview:

The LA Lakers are the top team in the NBA without a doubt. A healthy Andrew Bynum playing alongside Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Kobe Bryant means that the Lakers have the best starting lineup in the entire league. As is well documented on The Wages of Wins blog, it seems like that Lakers will be the top team in the league for quite some time as well. Continue reading

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics, The Boots | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Final Election Report

Disclaimer: This final election report is the conclusion of a series of looks at the 2008 Presidential Election. From analyzing the delegates in the primaries, to starting to pick apart the competitive states in the general election back in June, I have been covering all aspects of this year’s election process. This article includes all of the previous information in one final review.

Introduction

John McCain is not running in the 2008 Presidential election simply against Barack Obama. Any casual political observer would tell you that an enormous part of his campaign thus far has been distancing himself from the incredibly unpopular Presidency of George W. Bush. To a certain extent, this entire idea is the framework for the rest of my report: John McCain is at an extreme disadvantage in this election because of conditions well beyond his control. As Alexander Mooney at CNN writes, “Amid a failing economy, a Republican party in tatters, and a rival who has presented himself as an acceptable alternative, McCain’s fate may ultimately be out of his hands.”

In addition to the fact that George W. Bush has been one of the most unpopular Presidents in the modern era, the size and power of the Democratic Party has grown substantially since he was re-elected in 2004. However, the question of whether Democratic nominee Barack Obama has had a tremendous impact on this rise in party identification is not a direct issue in this election, as both candidates will have to make do with the current political nature of the United States. What is important to note is that it is a given in this year’s election that there will be more identified Democrats voting than identified Republicans, and from that information the only thing that can be altered is the rate of return on those Democratic or Republican voters, along with the tendencies of Independent-leaning individuals.

All of those factors would already lean towards a heavy Democratic advantage in this November’s election, but there is one other x-factor to the success of Barack Obama’s campaign: community organization. From the University of Dayton’s massive canvassing operations to the overwhelming flow of personnel in St. Louis, Missouri, it appears that Obama and the Democratic National Committee are running the largest grassroots campaign in history. One can only expect that within the final two weeks of the election, this party will not back down just yet and will march on with the largest “Get Out The Vote” drive ever. Reports are only starting to come in from these operations, and I can report first-hand here in Dayton that the organization is unlikely anything ever from a politician.

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October 23, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | 1 Comment

The Boots (October 14, 2008)

Boot Up: Ohio State’s Upcoming Schedule – After back-to-back ugly victories, the Ohio State football team finds itself at 6-1 and as the #13 team in the nation. Are they deserving of such a high ranking this week from the Harris Poll after failing to produce an offensive touchdown against Purdue? That is debatable, but the important aspect of the Buckeyes so highly ranked is that they have two extremely important games in the next two weeks. This week, the Buckeyes take on #18 Michigan State, a team that is 6-1 thus far this season mostly because of the incredible talent of Dayton Chaminade-Julienne graduate Javon Ringer. Their star 5-9 senior running back already has 1,112 yards and 14 touchdowns in seven games this season, and could very well be the first running back selected in the NFL Draft next year. He ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns last week in the Spartans victory over previously unbeaten Northwestern, and had a ridiculous 282 yards in a game against Florida Atlantic earlier this season. This will not be a very easy road game at all for Ohio State, and they must be able to get their offense back on track if they are going to contend with Michigan State for a full 60 minutes. They will not be able to rely upon a “bailout” from Terrelle Pryor as they did in the game against Wisconsin.

After that game this week in East Lansing, the Buckeyes have the extreme pleasure of hosting the #3 Penn State Nittany Lions. Joe Paterno’s crew is standing tall at 7-0 this season, and they look like the most logical team to stop Ohio State in their path to the Rose Bowl in 2008. I know it is not wise to overlook the road game this week against Michigan State, but this one should not be a walk in the park at all either. Senior Derrick Williams was one of the top recruits in the nation coming into Penn State four years ago, but has only just started to blossom for the team this season. In addition, it looks like this team utilized addition by subtraction through the graduation of Anthony Morelli, who had a less than stellar two full years as the starting quarterback. This game will make or break the Ohio State season, as a win in this game could easily propel them back on the national championship radar, along with putting them in line to win the Big Ten. Continue reading

October 14, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Outside of Ohio Version of The Boots (October 7, 2008)

Boot Up: Mountain West Conference – This past Thursday night, the #13 team in the nation (according to the Harris Poll) Utah Utes defeated the Oregon State Beavers by the score of 31-28. Senior placekicker Louie Sakoda hit a 37-yard field goal, his third field goal of the night, just as time expired to give Utah the win. Utah managed to come back in this game despite trailing Oregon State, who defeated Southern Cal at home last week, by the score of 28-20 with only 2:18 remaining, and despite producing only 30 yards of offense in the third quarter. After the game, senior quarterback Brian Johnson, in his third full year as the starter, said that, “hands-down, the biggest win of my career.” Jacquizz Rodgers, the outstanding 5-6, 180 pound freshman out of Richmond, TX who punished Southern Cal just last week for 186 yards and two touchdowns was able to gather another 177 yards of total offense with a touchdown, but it was not enough for the Beavers who fell to 2-3 on the season while Utah improved to 6-0.

Why does this game matter in the world of college football? The most obvious connection is that Utah, who will certainly move up in the polls this week because upsets always happen, is right now the second most logical BCS buster. They are flying high at 6-0 with wins over Michigan, UNLV and now Oregon State, but all of their hard work must go into their season finale on November 22 against current #9, and Mountain West leading BYU. In addition to the strength of these two teams, it is important to note that the Mountain West improved to 6-1 this season against the Pac-10. That is not a misprint. Here is the proof: Continue reading

October 6, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , | Leave a comment

“Art Street Sports Beat” on 99.5-FM WUDR

I am thrilled to announce that starting this Saturday, September 13th I will have a sports talk radio show on 99.5-FM WUDR here in Dayton, OH. My friend Collin Schmidt from Rochester, New York will be filling in this week for my partner Ron Zeszut, a graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. For those outside the Dayton area, you can always listen online anytime at the WUDR website. Click on the link on the left-hand side to “Listen Now,” and follow the instructions of downloading Real Player in order to listen live. Do not hesitate to call the radio station at (937) 229-2774 if you need help listening to the show online.

The following is a rough outline for my first-ever live radio show. So if you are so enlightened, feel free to give me a call at anytime to talk sports, or even ask some political questions. I will be happy to take any callers, and I would be especially thrilled to hear from some people back in Akron:

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September 12, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , | Leave a comment

Fuzzy Election Math

It has been a while since I reported on the ongoing events in the political polling world.. So today I have decided to finally announce one of my biggest spreadsheet innovations in a very long time. For the last week, I have been editing a small program published on Nate Silver’s amazing Five Thirty Eight blog that automatically computes the winner of the popular vote based on input information for party identification, and retention rates.

If Obama wins Democratic ID voters by a margin of 73.5... What would McCain have to do?

If Obama wins Democratic ID voters by a margin of 73.5... What would McCain have to do?

Without any further ado, take a look at the graph on the right side of this page. Taking given information from Rasmussen and Gallup in terms of independent voter preference and party identification breakdown, I have analyzed what a typical election situation could look like. The key problem to understand in this graph, is that if Obama wins the possible democratic electorate (minus given points to Ralph Nader, the independent candidate,) by a certain margin, and with everything else held constant, what would McCain have to do in order to tie? (Recent Gallup weekly averages have Obama winning the democratic electorate by about a margin of 73.5, and that is why I have that in my this breakdown.) My conclusion to this problem is that since the democrats are expected to have such a huge advantage in terms of identification, and since Obama is currently winning independent voters, McCain would have to win the republican base by a nearly impossible margin of 82.33%.

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September 11, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | 2 Comments

The Boots (September 2, 2008)

Boot Up: Cleveland Indians recent play – The Cleveland Indians recent ten-game winning streak is a certain sign that things are sure to improve n 2009 for this very young team. Despite this past weekend’s three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, the Indians have played above average baseball throughout the second half of the season. When the Indians traded C.C. Sabathia just after their game on Sunday, July 6th, they had just lost to the Minnesota Twins and fallen to a record of 37-51 in the days before the All-Star break. Since that time, and despite the fact C.C. Sabathia may be a possible Cy Young candidate in the National League (which could include a no-hitter, pending an MLB report on whether or not a lousy infield single is ruled an error from Saturday’s game) the Indians have been 29-19. The Milwaukee Brewers, on the other hand, were 49-39 before the trade, and have been 31-18 since. This shows that since losing their best pitcher, the Indians have played right on track with one of the best teams in the National League: a team that currently has a 94.6% chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Prospectus.

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September 2, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cleveland Indians Future: Hitters

The Cleveland Indians are currently aiming towards competing in the 2009 season. As an organization, they have many of their most important pieces already in line for Opening Day next year, but there are still many more options necessary in the long-term. With their current position players, the Indians may have very well have a chance of winning the Central Division next year, and competing in the American League. Unfortunately, their current alternatives do not look very good, as illustrated by a weak team in Buffalo filled with old stopgaps. All of the following statistics are as of the games on Sunday, July 20, so please bear with me. The following is a breakdown of all of the positions on the Major League team, and the line of succession for the future:

Catcher – Victor Martinez is set to begin baseball-related activities as early as by the end of this week, and could be on his way to a rehab assignment in Akron by the end of this month. For the time being, however, Kelly Shoppach is filling an absolute need by playing an average all-around game as the Major League catcher. Shoppach’s ceiling appears to be fading fast, and the options in both Triple-A, and Double-A are having difficulties in making the extra leap in their progression. Wyatt Toregas started the year as the catcher in Buffalo, but his line of .219/.292/.310 brought him back down to Akron in late June. Chris Gimenez had a stellar .479 on-base percentage in his time in Akron before getting the call up to replace Toregas. Gimenez has done very little to show that he is higher than Toregas on the organizational depth chart, while Toregas has hit 9 home runs in 81 at bats back in Double-A.

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July 24, 2008 Posted by | Cleveland Indians Future | , , | 2 Comments

The Boots (July 23, 2008)

Boot Up: 2008 Beijing Olympics – The Beijing Summer Olympics start up on August 8th, and the sports media in the United States will be focused on the USA basketball team, looking to win the gold after a disappointing bronze finish in 2004. This year’s USA team is much more organized, experienced, and talented than the team that played in Greece in 2004, and is the clear-cut favorites as of right now. Four teams from each group will advance from the first round to the knockout quarterfinals. Here are the teams, with my picks to make the quarterfinals underlined.

Group A

A1 Argentina – One of the deepest teams in the tournament, led by NBA players Manu Ginobili (San Antonio), Luis Scola (Houston), Fabricio Oberto (San Antonio), Andres Nocioni (Chicago), and former NBA player Carlos Delfino.

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | The Boots | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment