Friday, December 7, 2012

First Thoughts on Tonight's Games 12/7/12

Strong schedule or weak schedule, that is the question.  For a coach and an Athletic Director anyway.  I have been following Section 2 basketball since 1995.  Some years more than others, but I've always been interested in who teams play when they get to choose their opponent.  It's kind of like the friends vs. family dynamic.  Your family is your conference, your friends are your non-league games.  Some schools have more options than others due to geography, but you can sometimes get a sense of how good a coach thinks his or her team is by who they schedule outside their league.

What I mean by that is there are really two goals to any season, winning your league/conference, and winning sectionals (or state's if you desire).  But, the two don't necessarily go hand in hand when setting your schedule.  You obviously want to win your league, but you also want to prepare yourself for the chance at winning sectionals.  There are two competing theories on this and one hybrid.  The first is playing weaker teams racking up wins and increasing your chances for a better seed in sectionals.  The second is playing a tougher schedule so you are more prepared for the tougher competition at the end of the season.  You could also mix them and get the best of both worlds. 

So what is better?  I believe it depends on what kind of a team you think you have.  If you think you're going to run through your conference  you might as well schedule tougher teams.  If you know you don't have much, schedule the weaker teams so you can boost your players' confidence a bit.  If you just don't know or are middle of the pack, do a little of both and hope for the best.

That's the long way of getting to my first thoughts on tonight's games.  There is one really good example of weak vs. strong schedules in the Wasaren League tonight.  Schuylerville (strong schedule) vs. Greenwich (weak schedule).  Schuylerville chose to go up in Leagues and play Cohoes from the Colonial and Broadalbin-Perth from the Foothills.  They have a history of doing this and have been pretty consistent in their competitiveness over that time.  Greenwich played a group of teams that may or may not be at the top of their leagues, but will probably fall somewhere in the middle.  They also went down in leagues (in terms of average enrollments)  playing the WAC and Adirondack.  Schuylerville came into the game 1-1, Greenwich 4-0.  The result was a 15 point win for Schuylerville. 

I don't know about the rest of you out there, but I don't have the time to watch too many games.  I usually write well past when the games end, which is when I finally have time to sit down.  For those of us who don't get to watch all that often, little clues from scheduling and statistics can go a long way into telling you what is really going on within all these leagues.

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