It seems that each college basketball season we are force-fed some sort of overarching narrative. Sometimes it’s about the dominance of one particular team, a la Kentucky in 2014-15; other times it’s about how relying on one-and-done talent isn’t a winning strategy and experience reigns supreme. This year, we’ve all come to the conclusion that parity is at an all-time high. Ironically, this claim has been rather common in recent years.

Truthfully, this narrative doesn’t sound too implausible. One of the most cited stats to back the parity claim is the number of AP #1s that have lost this season. Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Gonzaga and Baylor have all already been crowned #1 by the AP Poll at one point this season. However, it stands to reason that if the parity claim is to be taken seriously, we must do a bit more digging to find evidence. In my opinion, there are two important questions we need to ask. (more…)

Last Sunday, the Kansas Chiefs overcame a 24-point first half deficit to take a halftime lead over the Houston Texans. This was reportedly the largest deficit ever overcome by a team leading at the half in NFL history.

It’s kind of a silly record when you think about it. You don’t win the game by leading at halftime so who really cares if a team erases the deficit by halftime or a few minutes into the second half. However, in a win-or-go-home situation, it does say something about how the game unfolded. Normally a team would be dead trailing by 24, and not only were the Chiefs not dead, they had fully erased the deficit before the half.

But who even thought about such a record before this game? I certainly didn’t. Now that I have I was curious what the record is in college basketball. Here are the biggest deficits overcome in a college game since the 2010 season. (more…)

Through ten games, Wyoming’s leader for offensive rebounds is Hunter Thompson who has six. So far this season, an individual has had at least that many offensive boards in a single game 251 times1. A total of 41 players have done it at least twice already. As a team, Wyoming players have been credited with just 29 offensive rebounds so far. That’s five fewer than Kofi Cockburn in two more games.

It’s not that Wyoming isn’t ever trying for offensive rebounds, but the Cowboys are coming as close to that practice as any team in modern history. With an offensive rebound percentage of 12.8, the record for lowest OR% in a season is in jeopardy. (more…)

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1. Against D-I teams only

My computer says the expected point total of the Virginia/Purdue game is 98 points. That’s the first time the computer has forecasted a total below 100 in the 30-second shot clock era. But it’s almost certainly too low.

As of this morning, sports books are posting the total at 103. As far as I can tell, this is the lowest total from the past seven seasons. This beats a week-old record from UVa’s November 27th game against Maine where the total was around 105.

So if one’s model is forecasting a total below 100, one’s model has a blind spot. Of course, college basketball games can and do fail to make it to the 100 mark. Virginia has already played in four of them. But your model just shouldn’t ever expect it. (more…)

Since introducing my officials ratings, Roger Ayers has finished first, second, first, and tenth. Apparently, the tenth place finish did not sit well with Mr. Ayers. He is now motivated to prove to you and I that not only is he the best official, but unlike other humans he is not affected by things like fatigue. He does not need rest because he does not get tired. Rest is for Kawhi Leonard.

Through Tuesday’s action, there have been 22 days of college basketball, and Roger Ayers has officiated on every one of them. After starting the season almost exclusively in the Eastern time zone, Ayers found that making the short trips between games in the mid-Atlantic region was not challenging enough. This week he has gone from Richmond to Las Vegas to Kansas City to South Bend on consecutive days. And he looks fresher than he did when he started. (more…)

Whether it is due to the hype of NBA-ready talent by both traditional media, such as ESPN, and new media, like HoopMixtape, the increasing transparency of the process provided by players through social media, the horserace-ification of recruiting by sites like 24/7Sports and their Crystal Ball Predictions, or something else, recruiting has become a popular avenue of discussion, especially in the early stages of the college basketball season.

One of the products of the modern recruiting culture is the ranking/rating of incoming recruits, as well as the ranking of each program’s complete recruiting class for a given season. As programs battle it out to land the commitment of individual recruits, it is only natural to be curious about the overall pecking order of Division I recruiting.

Two of the most popular sources of recruiting rankings, 24/7Sports and ESPN, have crowned Duke and Kentucky the clear juggernauts in recent years. However, these rankings have a number of flaws that make them weak indicators of a program’s overall recruiting ability and make it difficult to carve out a clear ranking of the best recruiting programs in the nation beyond an individual year. (more…)

Twitter is sort of a cesspool these days, but some might say that unbeaten tweets are a good use of the social media platform. I might say they are the best use of it.

There was that year I tweeted out all 353 losers. But many people did not appreciate the timeline graffiti (how did Banksy win the public over?) so in response to your feedback I now only tweet apologies to certain teams after their first loss. In order to be completely transparent, here are the unbeaten tweet rules approved by the board of directors for the 2020 season. (more…)

There is often heated debate in basketball circles whether the basketball gods exist. Such a discussion seems absurd, like whether the Big Foot, Nessie, or Chessie is real. People have claimed to see those creatures, but nobody has ever gotten a picture or any other convincing evidence they exist.

Nobody has ever produced compelling evidence of the existence of the basketball gods, either. But you, dear reader, are about to see it.

Like the people who tell you they have seen Chessie, you are right to be dismissive. Like, come on, Ken, let’s have some real talk about stuff like which two teams have gone the longest without losing on the same day.

Sorry, not today. I have found the strongest proof yet that the basketball gods exists and determine the outcome in a lot more games than previously thought. (more…)

If you are interested in golf, you are aware that Tiger Woods just won his fifth Masters, and if you are not interested in golf I dare you to keep reading. The most famous Masters prior to this year was in 1986 when Jack Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket. I barely remember it so I decided to go back and watch the final round though the miracle of YouTube and see how the coverage compared to 2019. Since it occurred in my lifetime, I was expecting a low-tech version of the way golf is covered today. It was barely more than 30 years ago, how much could have changed? It turns out quite a few things. Please join me on this wild ride through history. (more…)

With Purdue and Auburn in the Elite Eight, there’s a lot of talk about how far they’ve come from the depths of their season. But those depths are fabrications of the AP poll. To illustrate let’s look at each of the teams in the Elite Eight by their worst ranking in the AP poll since 12/31 and compare that to the worst ranking in my system on the same days that the AP poll was released. (I’m using my ratings by any respectable power rating will do.) (more…)