2012 for the Beemsville blog

Happy new year from Beemsville.  We definitely slowed the pace with postings in 2012, but remained fairly consistent.  The top three topics were book reviews, Illini, and US Soccer.  Sounds about right.  And behold, the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for the Beemsville blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Pentagram: First Groce Loss

hard to stop

hard to stop

It was bound to happen at some point: the first loss of the John Groce era.  81-73 to Missouri at the annual Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis.  Illinois’ couldn’t match Missouri’s frontcourt on the boards, couldn’t stop Phil Pressey off the dribble, and the guards couldn’t make shots.  Taking those factors into account, it’s surprising the Illini actually led in the final 10 minutes and were tied with about 2 minutes to play.

As I told my brother afterwards, I’d gladly trade any of the first 12 wins for a win in St. Louis, but for the fourth straight year, it’s the Tiggers who are bragging.  Mizzou is a probably a legit Top 10 team based on their size and athleticism.  And Pressey is probably the best pure penetrating-point in the college game.  So as all the sports writers have said today – no shame in losing to them.  We disagree.  It’s always bad to lose to Missouri in St. Louis.  This game matters more than most.  But the real shame of it is the lack of execution by the Orange and Blue.  And so our Pentagram analysis will focus on the whys and hows of this.

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You don’t need an AR-15

We can’t watch the news very long the last few days without getting angry or depressed.  The politicization of the mass shooting in Newtown by both sides is disgusting.  The media coverage is manipulative and exploitative.  That said, the debate about gun control and the 2nd amendment is on.

A lot of people have changed their opinions.  Not me.  I haven’t understood why a civilian needs assault weapons for years.  I don’t agree with those who interpret the Second Amendment as rationale to acquire military hardware.  The combination of the Columbine massacre and my own experience shooting these kinds of weapons (in a legal, controlled environment) solidified this opinion. To repeat the title of this post:  you don’t need an AR-15.  They need to be restricted to the military and specialized police units, period. Continue reading

Bowl Playoffs 2012

It’s that bowling time of year, and so we dismiss the BCS National Championship in lieu of a superior 16 team playoff scenario that everyone would like to see, the Beemsville Bowl Playoff Championship (BPC; TM still pending).  It’s our third annual BPC, so check out the 2011 and 2010 versions for fun.  Here’s how it works…

  • Six automatic BCS conference qualifiers, The champions  from the six current BCS conferences:  SEC – Alabama, Pac 12 – Stanford, Big 10 – Wisconsin (groan), Big 12 – Kansas State, ACC – Florida State, and Big East (double groan) – Louisville.
  • Two at-large conference qualifiers, the champions of the next two highest rated conferences.  This year that’s the MAC – Northern Illinois(!), and the WAC -Utah State.  This changes every year.  Last year we had Conference USA and the Mountain West in here.
  • Eight at-large teams, selected from the remaining highest rated teams using the BCS formula.  No limits on the number of entries from a conference, and this year the SEC dominates with five.  At-large teams are: Notre Dame, Florida, Oregon, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.
  • Teams are seeded according to BCS formula. #1 to #16 based on relative ranking.  Higher seeds host the first round; highest surviving seeds then host the second round.  Bye week after the second round.
  • Semi-finals and the final rotate between the four BCS bowl sites. Jan. 1 is your semi-final date.  This year the Orange Bowl gets the championship on Jan. 12.

NCAA BPC 2012

Click on image to view full size

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Chuck-and-Duck

“Go ahead and chuck it, Brandon…”

The new sheriff in town is John Groce.  The Illini are a surprising 8-0, ranked, and looking a lot better than anyone  had predicted.  It’s a new attitude and a much different system of basketball.  You can call that systems the Chuck-and-Duck.

Illinois fans will remember a similar Chuck-and-Duck system employed by the Mizzou Tigers under the always well-coifed Qunnie Snyder years ago, when Missouri was knee-deep in losing to the Orange and Blue for about 10 straight years.  It was then that longtime Beemsville ally Mike G. coined the term, noting how Mizzou’s basic offense was ‘first guy across half-court goes one-on-one and chucks it.  On defense Quin’s Tiggers seemed to duck out the way as often as not.  Good times.

Even with such a small sample size, we can see the John Groce Chuck-and-Duck is obviously superior.  On offense, yes, the Illini are indeed chucking the first available open shot – hopefully a 3-ball.  No hesitation.  You shoot it, force tempo, get more opportunities to shoot some more.  On defense, rather than ducking out of the way, the guys have employed a more aggressive approach to high screens, doubling and pressuring, allowing a third player to duck into passing lanes for deflections and steals.  This team also may duck into an occasional zone defense to confuse and startle (blasphemy! yells, Bruce Weber from somewhere in Kansas).  Finally, we must admit that this team kind of ducks-and-covers when the ball goes in the post to a decent big man, hoping for the best.  Yes – Chuck-and-Duck. Continue reading