69th Place or A Step Ahead for Next Year?

Since the Gophers won the N.I.T. there has been a lot of speculation about whether it will help them for next year. To provide some more informed speculation, we can turn to the data. After winning the N.I.T., how have teams done the following year?

I used Sports Reference to see how past N.I.T. champions have fared in the subsequent year. The data are based on 75 previous N.I.T. winners.

The year after winning the N.I.T., 43 of the 75 teams were ranked in the A.P. Top 25 at some point in the season! Five were ranked as #1. This is despite the fact that only 18 of the N.I.T. winners were ranked in the Top 25 at preseason. How did these teams do in the post-season? Fourteen of the 75 N.I.T. winners won their conference's regular season. Only six of the 75 won their conference tournament.

The Big Dance

When it comes NCAA tournament time, the N.I.T. winners don't fare as well. How did they do?

The good news for Gopher fans is that, since the NCAA tournament expanded to include 48 teams in 1975, two-thirds of the N.I.T. champions (26 teams) have made the NCAA tournament the year after winning the N.I.T.

Now for the bad news. Of those 26 N.I.T. winners that received a tournament bid, 10 were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament and another 10 were eliminated in the second round, leaving a mere six N.I.T. winners playing after the first weekend.

These teams included,
  • Kentucky (1976-77)
  • Indiana (1979-80)
  • Virgina (1980-81; 1992-93)
  • West Virginia (2007-08)
  • Baylor (2013-14)
Most of these six teams were dispatched in the region semifinals. The 1976-77 Kentucky Wildcat team lost in the regional final, and only the 1980-81 Virginia team made it to the National title game....where they lost.

Even if the causal claims of the N.I.T. leading to a team's eminent success were dubious before, the data suggest that a claim like that is just plain wrong. Maybe Minnesota will provide an outlying case. Maybe it's just a 69th place finish.


TV: An Update

I wrote a post a few years ago about what I was watching on TV, so I decided to update that.

What I am watching (in no particular order):
  • Scandal: Crap but ok
  • Nashville: Awesome!
  • Justified: Yep.
  • House of Lies: Get the afterwork!
  • House of Cards: The first season was better.
  • Reign: Arghhh
  • Vampire Diaries: Should have stopped a couple seasons ago
  • The Originals: Should have never started
  • The Following: Arghhhhh
  • Walking Dead: Zzzzzzzz
  • Mad Men: bhdsbfsdbfj,sdb
  • Sons of Anarchy: Can't wait til' it restarts
  • Californication: Duh!
  • Game of Thrones: OMG!
  • True Detective: I will give it another season
  • The League: Still cracks me up
  • Graceland: Not bad. Definitely not good either.
  • Suits: This one I like
  • The Americans: Really good
  • Homeland: Wasn't sure how well this was going to go, but they surprised me.
  • True Blood: I want to give up on this one
  • Masters of Sex: Masters of boring would have been a better title
  • Girls: Since it is only 1/2 an hour, I can handle it
  • Person of Interest: First season was good. Second season was less so. I will withhold judgment until I see the third season on dvd
  • Vegas: I like those cowboy archetypes
  • Elementary: The last few episodes haven't rocked my world
  • Arrow: Watched the first season and thought it was pretty good. Waiting for the second season on Netflix.
  • Dexter: I think this one is the last season...needs to end
  • Luther: I watched two seasons I think...very memorable, obviously.
  • The Newsroom: Really like this one. characters. writing, acting. all of it.
  • Gossip Girl: Finally finished it!
  • Big Bang Theory: we wait for it on DVD, and I am in no particular hurry.

Shows I gave up on
  • Revenge: Should have been one-and-done
  • 666 Park Avenue: Do they not have test audiences?
  • American Horror Story: After season 1, I just couldn't commit to this one anymore
  • Pretty Little Liars: Jesus Christ!
  •  Breaking Bad: I watched the whole thing, but I should have stopped two seasons earlier.
  • Hostages: Crap
  • White Collar: 5-6 episodes would have been enough
  • Portlandia: They could have called it Minneapolandia as well. This shit is too close to home and just makes me naseous and angry
  • Lilyhammer: The first season was slow, but watchable. The second season I lost all interest


Video Game Mashups

While sitting at the Acadia with Charles and Tom, I had my third billion-dollar idea in the last 6 months. The three of us are like idea ambassadors (don't know what that means, but a student used the word "ambassador" yesterday and I liked it). I think companies could pay us to come up with great ideas. We wouldn't even need office space. We could just chill at a pub and people could come to us, buy us beer, and we would supply great ideas….it would be like the Genius Bar…

The idea last night was simple…video game mashups. It would be amazing. Let me give some examples to get the creative juices flowing…

Shinobi vs. Duck Hunt

Take out ducks with your throwing stars. This could also be adapted for Big Buck Hunter.

Zork vs. Mortal Combat

West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.

There is a small mailbox here.
There is also a man in horse-stance standing in the field.

> attack man in horse-stance.

The man giggles and pulls his katana.

> open mailbox

Opening the small mailbox reveals a leaflet.

> get leaflet


> attack man in horse-stance with leaflet

The man cuts your arm off with his katana. You inflict several paper cuts.

> f$%ck

That sentence isn't one I recognize.

> read leaflet

The leaflet contains Vogon poetry.

> read leaflet to man in horse-stance

The man falls to the ground clutching his ears.

> finish him

The man is finished.

Frogger vs. Oregon Trail


Orville Update

Now tha the smelter has ended, it is time for an update on Orville. This fall he received a lot of body work to make him structurally sound. Welding is something I can't do and don't want to learn how to do, so I hired that out to my friend Bruce. You can see in one of the pics how bad the  rust was…far worse than initially anticipated. (Guess I will be doing the fill, paint prep and painting myself.)

Orville got new rocker panels, a new rear lock panel, rear apron, and battery tray. He also got new front and  rear quarters, as well as a new front apron. I also had Bruce fill in some of the front, including most noticeably the turn signal holes. I got new lights with LED turn signals in them, so I just wanted to tighten up the contour lines.

His doors now close as they are supposed to, and he is much less of a rattle trap. Still a long way to go, but you can start to see the vision.


Crime on Campus

At the University of Minnesota, like I assume on many campuses, every time there is a crime in which the police believe there is a threat to the public, they send out an email alert. We seem to have gotten more of these Crime Alerts this fall than I recall in years past.

To examine this, I went to the UMN Police website and looked at the archived crime alerts for the last year.

While I can't access past last October (2012), it does seem that they are up a bit. To be clear, these alerts only seem to cover assault and robbery. (Overall, crime is down from last year, based on the data from their log.) I also plotted on a Google map where the 13 crime alerts took place. Note that one is in the exact same location as another so there are only 12 locations mapped.

A day or two after I mapped this, there was a story on Minnesota Public Radio about how extra police patrols would be around the University of Minnesota area after robberies had targeted students [Read story].


Orville - Part II

After I got Orville's new starter in and did some other work, it was clear that one of his problems was that the rust in the gas tank was clogging up the air filter, which would make the car hard to start. So, I decided to pull the gas tank and start from scratch.

After getting the tank out, I buffed out some of the rust in the front area since I had more room to work. For nowI just did a shit-quick job of priming that area until I can get it really taken care of (i.e., sandblasted) and painted. In the mean time, I ordered a new tank from Airhead Parts. I thought about cleaning and re-sealing the old one, but it was almost as cheap (they were having a Labor Day sale) to just start over.

Here is the new tank I received, and an "after" pic once I installed it in Orville. I also put in a new fuel sender seal, filler pipe, tank sleeve, and fuel lines. The only thing I didn't replace (and maybe I should have) is the long metal fuel line that runs through the chassis. Maybe after I pull his engine and get him painted.

At the same time, I also replaced Orville's carburetor and generator pulley. I got both those parts from California Pacific JBUGS. The generator pulley also came with a nicer crankshaft pulley, but until the engine comes out of the car, the old one will suffice.

After getting the electrical re-hooked up and adding some gas, Orville fired right up. Chili and I drove him down to Caribou and he was rocking!



This summer I bought a 1971 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. Its name is Orville (pics below). I have spent an abundance of time with Orville since I brought him home. It is clear he hasn't had much attention for awhile.

His frame is in great shape for a 1971 VW. The exterior rust is mostly surface. There are the expected parts that will need to be cut out and welded...rockers, battery shelf, nose. The floorpan is in good shape and is really quite solid.

Mechanically, he runs. I have replaced the distributor with a more modern electronic ignition (from Petronix). I also replaced the coil. This helped quite a bit. Next up is replacing the entire carburetor. I thought about just rebuilding the existing one, but figured i would pretty much be replacing everything anyway....the accelerator pump doesn't work, the automatic choke needs a new heating element, etc. So, why not start from scratch and then I can use the old one as parts.

I also need to replace the starter and solenoid. They are a bit flaky...and it should cure the starting issues. Down the road, I need to replace all the seals, etc.

I have started to rip apart the interior as well. After tearing out the dash (hate that faux wood), I replaced the fuel gauge and also added an aftermarket stereo....need tunes. I also replaced the fuel sender and did quite a bit of wiring repair. It is crazy to have a working gas gauge and a radio that picks up more than one station!

Late this fall, I want to bring it in to get some body work done and get painted. Not sure about colors, but I am thinking about Porsche's Midnight Blue (Paint code: L39C). I don't like the original KG colors and don't want to do a restoration anyway. Might as well go with a color I like. If I did that, I would likely do the interior in a light grey with black seats, dash pads, etc. Ok...time for a beer.