It’s been four months and eight days since this blog sprung into being. During that time:
- I’ve put up 176 posts (1.26 per day on a tempo-free basis!)
- You’ve left 656 comments
- There’ve been over 34,000 hits on the blog
Readership has increased steadily throughout the season–beyond what I could have reasonably expected going into this.
Cannot . . . resist . . . urge . . . to . . . analyze . . . graph: The initial peak was an influx of NC State fans before the game against the Wolfpack. Things petered out a bit over the holidays, bottoming out during my one-week sabbatical in the Caribbean. The second peak was the week of the Purdue game, when a resurgence in conference play was (briefly) in the air. We’ve managed to exceed that peak during the conference and NCAA tournaments.
This last week, the average number of hits per day was over 500, including the first-ever 1,000-hit day as Spartans flooded into from two major MSU message boards to learn about the dribble-drive motion offense. Sadly, the time people spent reading about the DDM offense may have exceeded the time Memphis employed it to put Friday night’s game out of reach.
Thanks to all of you who have stuck around to digest my musings over these months. In particular, I’m appreciative of those who have taken the time to contribute their own thoughts. Regular commenters I can think of at the moment: Spartalytical, Dan, Hubert, Spartanproducer, Wifeofaspartan, Tmadison25, Adam, DMP, Witless Chum, Dr Huxtable, GBbound, NorthernSparty (I know I’m forgetting a few of you here). One of the rewards of doing this has been the chance to exchange ideas with other passionate, informed Spartans like yourselves.
Other things I’ve enjoyed about doing this:
- Having a chance to blow off steam by doing the game recaps after the losses. I think Mrs. Spartans Weblog (marginally) prefers me dashing off to the keyboard, rather than stomping around the house muttering at myself about the Spartans’ ineptitude.
- Being forced to learn a little bit more about basketball than I did before. Writing about something is the best way to force yourself to learn about it. I’m far from being a tactical expert at this point, but I can recognize the 2-2-1 press when I see it now.
- Learning more about how the internet works. There’s all this behind-the-scenes stuff going on (HTML code, pingbacks, PageRank, etc.). It’s been fun picking up internet skills beyond using The Google. (Speaking of which, I’m pleased to note that this blog appears on the first page of Google results for, among others, the following search terms: “spartan basketball blog”, “michigan state basketball blog”, “spartan wonk”, “tempo free statistics”, “third order polynomial”, “goran suton ode”, and . . . “bo ryan looks like mascot”.)
Things that have frustrated:
- Not having enough time to do this as well as I think I could. Ironically, I think my posts end up being longer than they would be otherwise. I end up churning through all the numbers, without taking the time to pare things down to just the key items.
- The way the season went. There weren’t many really great wins for us to revel in (Texas, Indiana on senior day). If things had gone just a bit differently in Indy, we could have partied like it was 1999 on that Sunday night.
- Related: With the team playing at historically inconsistent levels, it was a very hard season to start a statistically-oriented blog. Maybe next year, the Spartans will play with consistency and I can build me a regression model with a super-high R-squared.
Anyway, this isn’t the end. The blog lives on. I do expect, however, that the rate of posting will drop substantially during the offseason. My two great sports passions are MSU basketball and Tigers baseball. These fit together neatly, as the respective seasons cover the entire 12 months of the year without overlapping. To a large extent, then, I’m planning to go back to being a regular, old sports fan over the next seven months–taking in the melodic locutions of Rod Allen, hanging out in the sprawling Detroit Tigers blogosphere, heading down to Comerica Park a few times, and playing wiffle ball in the backyard with the official kids of the Spartans Weblog.
I do intend to post some content over the offseason:
- A review of this past season.
- A look ahead at next season and beyond.
- Statistical inquiry regarding the larger world of college basketball.
- Commentary on breaking developments regarding the MSU and other Big Ten basketball teams.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a few things to say about the Spartan football team. It won’t be anything like the basketball content, though. We’re hoping others pick up that ball and run with it (pun intended). For the most part, I’m sticking to this statement from my introductory post:
What you definitely should NOT expect: Analysis of the MSU football team. I follow MSU football, but (1) I’m just not a huge college football fan, (2) football stats aren’t as elegant as basketball stats, and (3) it’s better to stay focused, I think, on the sport the complexities of which I have some minimal ability to understand.
OK. Enough about me. Let’s hear what you have to say about me. I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have about offseason content, ways to improve the site for next basketball season, whether I should chop my hair for the summer or keep it long . . .