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Beside The Points For Monday, Nov. 6, 2017

Things That Caught My Eye

Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time

Shalane Flanagan became the first American woman to win the New York City marathon in 40 years in what may be her final competitive marathon. Her time was two hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds. Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor won the men’s race. [Reuters]

NBA considers making everyone happier

It’s certainly looking like NBA administrators are keen on removing or revising the age restriction on players. It’s interesting that even though the league instituted the age minimum of 19 in 2006, the average age of players drafted into the NBA has actually been steadily decreasing. The players union wants the age minimum to drop to 18, which would send shockwaves through not only the league but also the NCAA for that matter.[FiveThirtyEight]

Not Duke!

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is out for NCAA Men’s basketball, and the early favorite to win the March Madness tournament is Not Duke. Yes, Not Duke — a terrific school that is not located in Durham, N.C. with the iconic mascot of neither Blue nor Devils — sits in 13 of the most likely spots to win the tournament, with a school named Duke appearing in 14th place, and then Not Duke once again filling spots 15 through, well, you get the idea. Right now BPI is bullish on Wichita State, which has an 11 percent chance to win the national title. [ESPN]

Hawk > Buck

After a brutal 55 to 24 loss to Iowa, Ohio State is No. 3 no longer. The Buckeyes’ almost unprecedented loss to the Hawkeyes has destroyed [their chances] of making the college football playoff this year. Ohio State’s loss is [checks spreadsheet to see which Big Ten team is still even in this thing anymore] Wisconsin’s gain, as they’re now the favorite to win the conference and now have a 37 percent chance of making the playoff, according to FiveThirtyEight. [ESPN]

Excellent esports on-ramp alert:

South Korea won the Overwatch World Cup this past weekend with a 4-1 win in the best of seven final over Canada. The Canadian squad — which itself made the final dance only because of one of the most electric quarterfinal victories over Australia I’ve ever seen — went down to the same team that eliminated the U.S. in the quarterfinal and France in the semifinal. [ESPN]

I was made to believe I didn’t have to think about baseball for quite some time

With the Astros triumphantly holding the World Series trophy, now we’re finally free from thinking about baseball for at least a few months, right? Wrong! The same analytics that got them that trophy can tell us information about who’s well poised to make a strong run over the next five years. The World Series loser, Los Angeles, has the highest forecast wins per season over the next five years. The Cleveland Indians actually come in at number two, followed by Houston, Chicago, and the Yankees. [FiveThirtyEight]

Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!

Big Number


That’s the expected points added per game from the Jacksonville Jaguars passing defense through their first seven games, the highest of any team since at least 2001. Yes, they appear to be better than the 2013 Seahawks. Again, defenses get gassed and we’re only halfway through the season, so that number may decline, but the pass defense expected points added per game — 10.97 — is way, way higher than even the second ranked pass defense according to the stat, which comes in at 7.32 expected points added per game. [ESPN]

Leaks from Slack:

Sunday, around 10: Kristaps Porzingis drops 40 to lead stunning Knicks comeback


hm feeling good about that kristaps piece going out last week


Oh, and don’t forget
As a Giants fan, this piece about which NFL teams will hit the preseason Vegas win forecasts hurt a lot. Even worse, I know somewhere that a Philadelphia fan is reading it and deriving joy.

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.