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Beside The Points For Monday, March 5, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

28 bad calls and non-calls

Congratulations to the Brooklyn Nets, who now have the inevitable beef that fans have with refs legitimized with math. Looking at close games in the final two minutes in the 2017-18 season through this February, the Brooklyn Nets have suffered 28 incorrect calls and incorrect non-calls, the most of any team in the league. Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City and Chicago all have legitimate issues too. [FiveThirtyEight]

Kobe Bryant, Oscar winner

Big sports news at the Oscars last night: Former NBA star Kobe Bryant won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for his short film “Dear Basketball.” [The Undefeated]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

Russian doping doc wins as well

“Icarus,” a documentary that covered the Russian Olympic doping scandal from front row seats as it was happening, won for best documentary last night at the Academy Awards. That investigation led to more than 1,000 athletes from 30 sports getting implicated in the doping regime. [ESPN]

$22 million in cap space has to go somewhere

Nick Foles will hit somebody’s salary cap for $7.6 million in 2018. The Eagles are roughly $9 million over the cap and have some problems in the second and third round of this coming draft in that they are not yet participating in the second and third round of this coming draft. The Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback, have $22 million in cap, and have an extra third rounder, but there are lots of options here. [ESPN]

Big 12 could make history

There’s never been a conference that sent 80 percent of their teams to the NCAA Men’s March Madness tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams, but the Big 12 could do it this year. Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU are in; Oklahoma is a safe bet; and Kansas State, Baylor and Texas all have viable routes into the dance. [ESPN]

4.38 seconds

Shaquem Griffin ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, the fastest time for a linebacker since ESPN Stats & Information began tracking the statistic in 2006. [ESPN]

Big Number

2,527 stolen bases

The stolen base is disappearing in Major League Baseball. In 1987, there were 3,585 steals, and there were 3,308 in 1997. By 2007, that figure was 2,918, and last year it had fallen to 2,527 stolen bases in a season. The reasons are varied and nuanced: when everyone’s hitting homers they don’t get to spend enough time on a base to steal a subsequent one; steals can cause injuries; and instant replay makes the dicey calculus of when to go for it a little more clinical. [ESPN]

Leaks from Slack:


this is amazing. A reader emailed me to say that they had done their own CT-scan testing of the baseball :slightly_smiling_face:


Oh, and don’t forget
Good way to find out how they handle pressure in the pocket

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.