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What are they asked to do?

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Over at MarchtoMarch "Kevin Berger", or Trips Right as he might more accurately be known, gave us the best of the weekend from the national scene in the form of a starting 5 and 6th man.

Not a coherent starting 5 (forwards, center, etc) but a nice recap of the more important performances of the weekend.

Xavier Henry, he comments, gives the already deadly inside-out combo of Aldrich/Collins an athletic wing. A terrible football equivalent would be having a dominant defensive tackle, dominant outside linebacker and dominant safety. What, you say Texas had that combination last year? Must have been a good defense...

Of course we thought Texas would have that exactly in basketball with Bradley-Hamilton-Pittman but I digress. Trips also describes James Anderson's most recent masterpiece in carrying the 'pokes over Baylor and awards him the crown "best in the big 12".

Anderson is a popular pick but I won't settle on that answer as easily as I would just about anything else Trips writes. One of my favorite ways to determine greatness is to ask "what are they asked to do?". For instance, 2005 Vince Young was miles better than 2007 Heisman Tim Tebow (his best statistical season), but how can you determine that from the main stats:

Vince Young: 26 tds, 10 int, 3036 passing yards, 65.2% completion rate, 12 rushing tds, 1050 yards and 6.8 ypc

Tim Tebow: 32 tds, 6 int, 3286 passing yards, 66.9% completion rate, 23 rushing tds, 895 yards and 4.3 ypc

In every category save for yards per carry Tebow had the superior season but in college football, stats lie. We could put up some Sonny Cumbie stats next that would surpass either quarterback's efforts and what would that tell us?

Stats are a good place to start, more so in basketball, but then we need to ask "what are they asked to do?" Vince Young? He made all the plays essentially. There was talent around him but he had to make some challenging throws to find his cast of receivers and more often make it happen with his feet. The only time Tebow ever had to "make it happen" was in short-yardage as a bulldozer. The rest of the time he was the facilitator of an option-offense. He was a solid passer, great short-yardage runner, and good option-reader. The fact that he was solid at so many things just made him the perfect facilitator of the offense and amounted to greatness overall.

Vince Young was extraordinary at a number of things, including the Texas' passing game (admittedly not much more challenging than Florida's at that time), as a running threat, and on off-schedule plays through which he defeated USC.

I might have made this point more quickly had I simply stated "big men are important" but here are my considerations for best in show in the conference this year (last 3 numbers are FG%-3 pt. %-FT%)

James Anderson: 22.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.3 spg, 47-35-80

Anderson edges out the other wings in the conference for consideration from that spot (notables include Sloan, Dunn, Higgins, Burks, and Singletary). His rebounding is impressive and the assists indicate he isn't unaware of how to create shots for others. What's most impressive, and responsible for his high scoring avg. is the high shooting % from the field and the free throw line.

What is he asked to do? Carry the OSU offense on his shoulders and be the primary creator while not serving as the lead guard. Without big production from Anderson in the 2nd half OSU was buried by Hamilton at home.

Tweety Carter: 16.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 6.2 apg, 1.3 spg, 44-40-81

I'm not excited about the rebounding or 44% FG percentage but shooting 40 from three-point land as a PG is very effective and Carter is above the rest of the other lead guards in the league in assists by a long margin. Shooting at a high FT percentage is imminently valuable for a lead guard in a close game as well.

What is he asked to do? Carter leads the seventh most efficient offense in the country. He has a great weapon in LaceDarius Dunn and inside with Udoh but I won't penalize him too much for leading a talented group because there is little to suggest he isn't taking advantage.

Damion James: 17.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, .9 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.1 bpg, 50-41-64

James' numbers are pretty amazing other than his FT percentage and the absence of virtually any assists from his game. His other statistics indicate that he's versatile weapon on defense and as a scorer.

What is he asked to do? James' rebounding is probably his 2nd greatest trait after his efficiency as a scorer. However, he isn't creating his own shot unless he's isolated on a slower power forward and that has never been a go-to for Barnes in the clutch. His low FT shooting is a big downside for a scorer and the lack of assists suggest that James has simply grown into a superior role player or 2nd banana. He has to be protected (played against another 4 or set up) to be maximized on offense.

Cole Aldrich: 11.6 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 1 apg, 1.4 TOpg, 3.8 bpg, 55-0-69

I think Aldrich has the most to do with Kansas success this season particularly after seeing their victories @Texas and @Aggy. The ppg aren't going to blow anyone away but such a low number of turnovers from a big man (almost 1-1 with his assists) combined with all the blocked shots and high shooting percentage means that Aldrich is creating possessions for his team to score while also supplying an efficient offensive option.

What is he asked to do? Aldrich is the defensive anchor of the 3rd most efficient defense and a go-to guy on the 2nd most efficient offense. His shot-blocking and rebounding is invaluable to their pressure defense.

With respect to Trips who may have a strong counter, if I'm building a championship college basketball team I'll start with Aldrich over James Anderson because I believe he puts more on the table.

In the vein of long non-post comments that are (hopefully) valuable I direct you to another dipshit poster's thoughts on this Texas team. He makes a strong point in questioning whether the players that were recruited are the right fit for Texas. I'm not going to say Jai Lucas will never have value here but the evidence doesn't lead me towards the opposite conclusion. Chapman, Hill and Pittman were each takes that didn't necessarily fit with the mold of F/C that have had the most success here under Barnes (James Thomas, Brian Boddicker, Connor Atchley, Aldridge, Mihm) who were either pick'n roll guys, tenacious rebounders or seven feet tall.

Anyways, there is some valuable discussion there before and after the link I recommend checking out.

Peter Bean chimes in on the major topics over at burntorangenation with a column on replacing Dogus (it's gotta be J'Covan right?) and it's necessary to check it out if only for the Balbay-Gandalf image that is better than just about anything you've seen in your lifetime. It's hard to agree with his no. 1 most important player down the stretch even though I just listed him as one of the best 4 guys in the conference. Texas should definitely go to James for more scoring down the stretch but I don't think he's the answer in terms of creating an offense because he isn't a creator.

Either team ball-movement has to improve, well that absolutely needs to happen but the emergence of Brown I consider to be the most important development going forward. James has to at least keep what he's been doing though because Texas is totally lost without him. Perhaps PB would agree and I'm misrepresenting his point though.

The draft:

I keep getting emails telling me to keep up everyone's favorite running segment, "Nickel Rover rails against the Ndamukong Suh doubters". Well in today's issue of "what the hell are they thinking when they don't prostrate themselves at Suh's feet" I have 2 items.

The first is the NFL draft page on ESPN.com. I direct you to the Scouts Inc. Top 32 in the lower right. Suh is now graded at a 97 by scouts while Gerald McCoy is a 98. It's worth noting that you don't find someone below 97 until the 6th player. Suh is 2 points (out of 100) better than CJ Spiller? If that's the case than I would draft solely by need because according to the grades these guys are all locks at their positions.

Since history says that the top 10 are not all equal sure things I suggest that the grades are basically worthless. Scouts should consider an EA sports style overhaul of their ratings system.

Besides the worthless nature of all the ratings (this came from the group that once told me in a preview of a 2006 Texas game that the veteran linebacker corp of Derry, Bobino and Killebrew would carry the defense) they have awarded McCoy a higher grade than Suh by one point, 98-97. Disregarding the idiotic ascension of McCoy over Suh based on absolutely no developments in the last 2 months the very fact that Suh is even closely with McCoy is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who watched an Oklahoma or Nebraska game.

Item 2: Vasherized links us to draft of mockery done by Tirico Suave. As best I can tell he accepts the player grades and then chooses the draft order based on need and his own common sense which seems greater than or at least equal to that of McShay or Kiper. Since he is accepting player grades I suppose he is not totally to blame for foolishly placing the House of Spears as only the 3rd pick in the draft.

I've already made the case that Suh is significantly better than McCoy or any other tackle. Allow me to add that a dominant DT is worth more to a defense than any other positional player. Consistent pressure and control exerted over the middle of the line begins every play as advantage defense. Warren Sapp, Albert Haynesworth in a contract year, Kevin Williams, Jay Ratliff...these guys change games. If you pair a dominant tackle with a good tackle you've created for yourself either 2 dominant ends or 3 dominant linebackers depending on how you are utilizing the DTs schematically. It's hard to find fast moving difference makers at 300 pounds. Suh is the surest bet in the draft.

Tim Tebow is trying to make himself into a viable option at quarterback by reinventing his throwing motion and claims to have made major strides. I don't for a second believe that 6 years or so of habit will be overcome by one month of practicing outside of game situations but maybe he can convince someone that he will have value as a quarterback.

People have sold him as a Wildcat quarterback because he can "run and throw". Well, Tebow's running won't be very useful out of the Wildcat in the NFL because he's slow and he won't run over NFL linebackers as easily as he did college ones. When he runs a 4.8 in the 40 that will be abundantly clear. I'd rather have a more explosive runner in a run-based series than choosing a player for running plays based on his trick-play potential. Who is better for operating the basic Wildcat plays plus 1 or 2 passes? Ronnie Brown or Tim Tebow? I don't see him in the Wildcat except perhaps in short-yardage or the goal line where his toughness and the jump-pass/misdirection opportunities would be valuable.

If he really wants to prove he has value in the NFL he should demonstrate some willingness to play TE or HB by running some of those drills or working out in that capacity. Then if he shows not even enough talent at QB to be a project he'll still have value to a franchise that takes him.