I had the pleasure of running into Jay Bilas this week at the Starbucks in the Bank of America Plaza ib downtown Charlotte. I took the opportunity to tell him how great of a job he does and how much everyone – even a rabid Wolfpacker – appreciates his balance, preparedness and analysis.
Bilas was very open and engaging even though I was trying to give him space and not bother him. He asked if there had been any word on Andrew Brackman’s decision and I quickly shared the update from SFN that Brackman has not been working out with the Pack but that the staff held out hope that Brackman would ultimately miss the sport and his teammates and reconsider. I was pleasantly surprised when Bilas responded that he thought that Brack should play both sports for one more year and that there are some folks in the NBA that wish Brackman would continue with the sport.
Anyway, the purpose of this entry was to focus on Bilas’ most recent piece for ESPN Premium subscribers. Bilas wrote a super piece that “Some accepted beliefs about scheduling are myths.” This is the kind of analysis and coverage that makes ESPN’s premium package worth the money.
Coaches can schedule games to toughen teams up and prepare to win a championship, to bring a young team along and to learn while winning, or to gain valuable TV exposure. Some coaches and programs even schedule games in order to — audible gasp — make money.
When scheduling, it is vital to know your team and your objectives. You have to provide challenges to your players without beating them up. You have to schedule wins. You have to schedule games of interest to your fan base. You have to schedule games to boost your RPI numbers. You also have to win enough games to keep your job.
And, as with most art forms, everybody thinks they know how to do it. But not everybody does. Scheduling is fodder for every complaint and conspiracy theory in the book, and most of the complaints have become cliché and urban legend.