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RJ Badman

NCAA college basketball - March Madness 2017! Join the Rllmuk bracket challenge

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I've spent the last while watching a few games (Raptors mainly ;) ) and, to say I've never been grabbed by a sport, I've found myself really getting into it, especially as one of the games was Raptors Vs Bulls, which looks like a good underdog matchup from the outside.

 

So, watching it on BT Sport through the seventy five thousand fucking ad breaks and eyerolling US presentation, I've really enjoyed it, but I do need a bit of guidance, both in the games - what's with all the time outs, the "bonus" under scores sometimes, why fouls seem to happen out of nowhere - and in the wider picture, like how the NBA league is... actually two leagues, or something?

 

Cheers.

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The two leagues is an East V West thing. They play like 80 league games and then the best 8 teams from each league (conference) go to the playoffs, which is a series of best of 7 knockout ties. Best from league position play worst, so 1st ranked v 8th.

Ultimately the East champion faces the West in the final, which too is best of 7 games.

I think it's done like this for the logistics of playing so many games in such a short space over a massive country. Same thing happens with the baseball.

They also have an all star East v West game, which bar the playoffs, was my favourite bit of NBA.

Edit- the bonus thing is related to free throws. If a team commits too many fouls in a period or last minutes of the final quarter the opposition gets three free throws rather than the standard two, so the opportunity to score three points rather than two.

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Teams have six timeouts and a twenty-second timeout per half. Two TV timeouts happen automatically each quarter if a team doesn't call a full timeout so they can show ads.

The bonus is to do with fouls. Usually, a foul is a throw-in from the sidelines. If a team gets more than five non-offensive fouls in a quarter, any additional non-shooting fouls will result in two free throws to the fouled player. In the final two minutes of a quarter, if you're not already in the penalty, you're allowed one more foul before going into the bonus and getting to shoot free throws.

Fouls generally don't happen out of nowhere. Most fouls are usually when a player hits another player. What's key is a blocking foul vs a charge. In general, a blocking foul is when a defensive player is moving and hits an offensive player, while a charge is when a defensive player is set and the offensive player runs into him.

Conferences are geographically aligned and, as stated above, the teams play each other in the play-offs. In the regular season, teams play the teams in the other conference just twice, compared to four times for teams in the same division, and three or four with the rest of the teams in the same conference. This reduces the amount of travel required.

Honestly, you have the right idea by just watching the games, you'll soon pick up the rules.

Now, if you start asking questions about the salary cap, that's where things start to get complicated.

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This thread has reminded me I need to start watching more games again - I've been playing basketball since my early teens, and have been following the NBA (including even seeing a few games in person at MSG and whatever they're calling the Magic's home these days) for nearly as long. I've just been keeping in touch via game reports this year though, haven't watched any of the games at all...

Edit- the bonus thing is related to free throws. If a team commits too many fouls in a period or last minutes of the final quarter the opposition gets three free throws rather than the standard two, so the opportunity to score three points rather than two.

Actually, this isn't quite right - the bonus refers to the fifth team foul, and then all subsequent fouls, incurring free throws (which up until that point are only awarded for fouls during the act of shooting). If you get through to the end of the quarter with one team still not at that threshold that would be what you'll hear commentators referring to when they say a team has 'fouls to give', in that they can foul without worrying about conceding points. This can be quite handy at the end of quarters/close games, as you can disrupt the other team's offence without (immediately) sacrificing points.

It's generally also only two free throws too - it's two when in the bonus or fouled in the act of shooting an unsuccessful two point shot, three if fouled in the act of shooting an unsuccessful three point shot, or one If fouled during the act of shooting a successful basket (any value).

Also, in the case of a Technical Foul, then one free throw is shot by whichever player is selected by the team (rather than just the fouled player, as in all other instances), then the team which was on the receiving end of the Technical also gets possession.

As far as the Conference thing, then the guys have that about right - the NBA is split into two Conferences, the East and West, theoretically (and largely accurately, these days) based on geography. These have been split further into six Divisions of five teams each, again based on geography. Each team 82 plays regular season games where, as a benchmark, I think teams tend to play their divisional rivals four times each, their conference rivals three times each, and teams from the other conference twice (though there's obviously some deviation, as the maths doesn't quite add up).*

At the end of the regular season the top 8 teams from each conference are seeded**, with the best team from each being anointed the '1-seed'. They'll play the '8-seed', and so on, with the higher seed playing at home for four of the seven-game series. Then the winner of 1v8 plays the winner of 4v5 while the winner of 2v7 plays 3v6 in the Conference Semifinals, the winners of which play in the Conference Finals, and the winners of those play in the NBA Finals (where the home-court advantage is now to whichever team had the most regular-season wins, rather than the higher seed, in case there's a clash).

* I think when I started following the league there were only 27 teams, and a few years prior to that there'd only been 24, but there's seemingly always been 82 games. The change in the number of teams but not number of games sort of explains away the weird logistics of the whole thing, but it's generally accepted these days (by everyone other than the people who like counting the money from gate receipts) that 82 games is too many, and there should probably be a shorter regular season.

** I think that it's as simple as that these days, though at various points division leaders have been guaranteed a top 3 spot even if there were teams with better records in the other divisions. This is not popular, for obvious reasons.

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Detroit are currently in the 8th playoff spot...which is messing with my head, as they are usually well out of the running by this point of the season :P

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It's not even just that - they actually look pretty good! They're a few games over .500 and have a decent point-differential (normally a pretty good indicator of whether a team has staying power and/or deserves to be where they are*, like goal-difference can in football). They also have a few real difference-makers, not least the beast that is Andre Drummond, finally freed from the "interesting" spacing issues the team had with him, Monroe and Josh Smith all on the same team...

It's interesting this year though - the 8th seed in the East the last few years is normally just the least worst bad team (with the West being much more competitive as a rule), but this year the top four in the West are all really good (four out of the best five in the league, I'd say), but then there's a pretty big drop off in quality (and what's happened to the Rockets I don't know). The East on the other hand has 10 teams above .500 and, while not exactly chock-full of title contenders (I actually still think it probably has the one, maybe two at a push), actually looks quite competitive/entertaining.

* Memphis are a comedy exception this year - they're normally pretty solid, and a dark horse for a title push, but this year their point-differential is terrible because Golden State (who are, in fairness, staking a claim to be one of the all-time great teams) beat them by about 50 points in one game earlier in the season.

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Apart from the two recent defats to Detroit and Cleveland the Magic are finally looking decent yet again, and with all the young talent in their squad, we could soon see ourselves getting back to the glory days of Shaq and Penny before long.

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Two TV timeouts happen automatically each quarter if a team doesn't call a full timeout so they can show ads.

I thought you'd put this in as some sort of joke to see if anyone would notice, but having looked it's actually a thing. Fucking hell.

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I thought you'd put this in as some sort of joke to see if anyone would notice, but having looked it's actually a thing. Fucking hell.

Same in Ice Hockey too, with a TV timeout at around the 10 minute mark of each period. It is annoying, but the coaches like it, as it allows them to get a few plans into action. The only exception I have seen for the TV timeout in hockey is when an icing is called. I remember one game where the TV timeout came with 2 minutes left in the period, because the game was pretty much non-stop for a solid 12 minutes aside from icing calls.

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Detroit are currently in the 8th playoff spot...which is messing with my head, as they are usually well out of the running by this point of the season :P

That's the, uh, magic of Stan Van Gundy!

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I keep almost getting into it, but am then always put off when a close game means they both start calling loads of timeouts near the end and the final three minutes ends up taking twenty.

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And if you do find yourself getting into the NBA, I'd highly recommend giving NCAA basketball a go. The college/university game is always slightly different, true of American football, too.

I'll setup a bracket challenge for March Madness, if anyone is interested. Might have all 3 Iowa universities in the final 32 if this season carries on as is.

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March Madness is fucking awesome and one of the worlds best sports tournaments, i don't really follow college basketball for the regular season but I try to watch as much of March Madness as possible.

I am hoping UConn still have a decent team as after watching Kemba Walker leading them to the title a few years back I have adopted them as my team.

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I might be up for some March Madness. How are Michigan looking this year?

Michigan State? I'm all salty after they took the Big Ten in football, so was quite pleased when we (Iowa) spanked them in basketball before Christmas. Playing them again in a week's time, they're currently 14-1 to our 12-3.

edit - here we go, Spartans are currently ranked 5th

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/rankings

UConn down in 23rd. I usually use ESPN for my bracket, as that's what they use in work. Will setup a Rllmuk bracket for us. I'd echo what Charliemouse says though - I don't follow everyone closely through the season (just Iowa), but find myself watching every March Madness game I can. It's a brilliant tournament.

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I've spent the last while watching a few games (Raptors mainly ;) ) and, to say I've never been grabbed by a sport, I've found myself really getting into it, especially as one of the games was Raptors Vs Bulls, which looks like a good underdog matchup from the outside.

That Raptors vs Bulls game was one of the best i've seen this season. That said, i'm a 76'ers fan and mostly watch their games and, unfortunately, the Sixers are not that good (yet).

Good to see some NBA love though. Anybody else with NBA league pass?

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Michigan State? I'm all salty after they took the Big Ten in football, so was quite pleased when we (Iowa) spanked them in basketball before Christmas. Playing them again in a week's time, they're currently 14-1 to our 12-3.

edit - here we go, Spartans are currently ranked 5th

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/rankings

UConn down in 23rd. I usually use ESPN for my bracket, as that's what they use in work. Will setup a Rllmuk bracket for us. I'd echo what Charliemouse says though - I don't follow everyone closely through the season (just Iowa), but find myself watching every March Madness game I can. It's a brilliant tournament.

Ewwwww, not the Spartans, I am a Wolverine!

Cheers will check that out.

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I love the NBA but it doesn't get interesting till playoff time. The regular season is just too long with too many average games. Playoff Basketball is absolutely fucking brilliant though.

Also best way to learn the sport is the grab yourself an NBA2K game. Worked for me!

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That said, i'm a 76'ers fan and mostly watch their games and, unfortunately, the Sixers are not that good (yet)

Well, that's the understatement of the century, although it's increasingly looking like they won't end up with the worst record in the history of the NBA (currently held by the 2011-12 Bobcats with a whopping 0.106 during the lockout shortened season).

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They are performing pretty much according to their age and experience level lol. That said, i watch a lot of NBA games and at least the effort is always there ever since Brett Brown took over, making some of the losses somewhat bearable. It's also very exciting to watch a young team hustle their pants off day in and day out and develop their talent. Hopefully we'll land some more talent in the draft and start looking play off worthy next season.

Also, I somehow expect a title soon:

Took MLB.TV subscription in 2006, Phillies win world series in 2008.

Started watching NFL around 2011, Seahawks win Super Bowl in 2014.

Purchased NBA league pass in 2014, 76'ers win NBA Finals in ?

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Well, sure. They're intended to be bad, they're full of young and inexperienced players, their two best players are centres that pretty much can't play together due to spacing, having drafted 3 centres with their top pick in the last 3 consecutive drafts, half of the roster simply isn't NBA calibre, and half their starters should probably be bench players.

But it really is starting to reach the point where it's hard to think that "the process", despite being clearly the best way to build a team on paper, is struggling. The Sixers aren't supposed to be quite this bad at this point, and recent drafts has left them dealt with a very poor hand, and it doesn't help that agents have started pushing rookies away from the team, meaning someone like Porzingis hasn't being willing to work out for them, putting them at a disadvantage in the draft. Just how much longer are they going to be intentionally bad? The end should be in sight but it's hard to see it right now.

And the draft lottery still does its job by throwing up wildcards, even though it's pretty clear the odds should be tweaked to further discourage tanking. Remember that the Bobcats, for the worst season in NBA history, fell to #2 and got MKG instead of Anthony Davis.

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Well, sure. They're intended to be bad, they're full of young and inexperienced players, their two best players are centres that pretty much can't play together due to spacing, having drafted 3 centres with their top pick in the last 3 consecutive drafts, half of the roster simply isn't NBA calibre, and half their starters should probably be bench players

They are too young and inexperienced to be able to say they are not NBA calibre or shouldn't be anything but bench players. Rough nuggets that can play pretty good defence but need some ( a lot) offensive polish. I believe young guys like Covington, Grant and Stauskas have what takes to be an NBA starter, it's too soon in their development to say they are not. Their defensive rating is very positive at least. The spacing problem between Noel and Okafor is somewhat worrying but i'm glad to see Jahlil making a lot more effort lately. We'll see what happens when Embiid is healthy and Saric joins the squad.

I think the 76' ers recognised some free agents unwillingness to join 'the process' but last month they hired J. Colangelo for that reason and it seems to be paying off already. They waived one of their bigger talents (Wood) so they could have Elton Brands vet presence on the bench and one of my al time favourite players, Shane Battier, is about to join the team/coaching staff in an advisory role. Heck, even Mike d'Antoni has joined the squad and the man seems to be loving his adventure next to Brett Brown. Haven't seen the man smile in years but he looks energised and excited to be in Philly!

Apparently you know your hoops. Which centres do you think we should keep? Noel is one of my favourite players, especially on the defensive end but his offensive skills are still lacking and you could say he's had enough time to develop those by now. Okafor looks like the new Timmy D on offence but is slow and inefficient at playing D.

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I just spent two years living in Toronto and hopefully going to move their permanently. So I had gone to a few Raptors game and the atmosphere for a live game is great.  I used to be into basketball in my teens but being in the UK, games were always on in the early hours of the morning.

 

It was funny because when I got to Toronto the Raptors got good and were playing some good basketball.  I'm hoping their playoff run can get past the first round.  They were poor last year but the year before that, they were very close.

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@The Buttertendo, hope you don't mind, hijacked your thread for the next 4 weeks.

 

NCAA-March-Madness.png.560c5b602530aa758

 

Starts: March 17

 

It's finally here! For those who don't follow NCAA (university) basketball, this is the culmination of the season. Basically, a whole load of division one teams come together in 4 regions and play a knock out tournament. Each elimination stage has a name, which you may have heard of (Sweet 16, Final 4, etc.). Each team is seeded in their region, so it's possible to have all four 1st seed teams facing off in the Final 4. With so many teams (60+) playing over a period of 4 weeks, you basically get to watch non stop, for the first few stages, hence the name of the tournament. 

 

So what?

The match up, who plays who, is called a bracket. I think. Anyway, loads of people, even those who don't follow the game, "do a bracket", which means picking a winner for every single game. Each time your selected team wins, you score points. Every time your selected team loses a match up, you'll lose points equivalent to how far you otherwise had them going in the tournament. So, for example, if you pick someone to win the championship and they go out in the first round (Round of 64), then you're properly screwed, because you've severely limited how many points you can score in total. However, in picking teams, it gives you skin in the game, which makes watching as a neutral loads of fun. Luckily, i've got University of North Iowa, University of Iowa (GO HAWKS), and Iowa State to cheer on, if they all qualify, but it's still loads of fun backing a team you've picked at every stage.

 

How do I play?

I've made a bracket on ESPN, which I've been using for a couple of years now at work:

http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2016/en/group?groupID=1047878

 

Group: Rllmuk

Password: Graham_S

 

Note: if you've got a Disney account, perhaps for Infinity or similar, you may find you can login to ESPN with that. 

 

Basically:

- create account/login

- join the Rllmuk group with link/password above

- create a bracket

 

How do you create a bracket? Well, you could look at seed. In the Round of 64, the 1st seed always faces off against the 16th seed for the region. 2nd versus 15th, and so on. You'd think that this would mean it's easy to pick a winner, but sometimes you may as well pick based on your favourite shirt colour, for all the good it does. Every single game is like an FA cup game, and you're never quite sure who will win. 1st seed will almost certainly win, but it's not uncommon for, say, 10th to beat 6th. ESPN has a match up summary if you want to read into some stats, too. While the games are on, call up the bracket and you'll get live scores, including how much everyone in the Rllmuk group is scoring (or screwed) based on the current game scores.

 

You can use your bracket to join multiple groups if you like, so you can face off against Obama and others. 

 

We can't make brackets yet, teams haven't been selected (qualifiers still going on). You should be able to create your bracket in 6 days, give or take. 

 

Let me know if you're having trouble joining the rllmuk group, this is the first time I've actually administered one.

 

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