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Beside The Points For Thursday, March 15, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Best of the best of the best

This season’s University of Connecticut women’s basketball team was the very best of an already outstanding legacy of UConn teams. Of the five UConn teams since 2014 — all of whom were ranked #1 in adjusted offensive efficiency, adjusted defensive efficiency and adjusted net efficiency — this one stands out with the highest in every rating of all five teams. [FiveThirtyEight]

Best of the worst of the best

The Ivy League sent the University of Pennsylvania to the NCAA men’s tournament, and the team was seeded 16th up against Kansas. Now no 16-seed has ever defeated a 1-seed, and that record remains unbroken as Kansas defeated Penn 76-60. However, Penn will go down as the highest-Elo rated, best-ever No. 16. [FiveThirtyEight]

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

Ten upsets in the cards

The Localized Upset Classification model gave a 50 percent chance or higher of an upset in 10 NCAAM tournament games, eyeing Murray State, NC State, Buffalo, Loyola Chicago, San Diego St., South Dakota St., Butler, Florida St., Syracuse, and Stephen F. Austin as potential first round upset contenders. [FiveThirtyEight]

Preseason matters in a sport!

Preseason AP and coaches polls were outstanding at predicting NCAA men’s basketball games from 2002-17, with higher rated teams in those preseason polls beating lower ranked rivals 71.8 percent of the time. Contrast that with Ratings Percentage Index, which the committee uses to seed the field of 68, which correctly called the outcome only 69.1 percent of the time. [FiveThirtyEight]

Arizona and Missouri know many kinds of pain

There are 16 different seeds you can lose a round of 64 game from, and several schools appear to be gunning for at least one first-round loss from all 16 of them. Thirteen different schools have lost from six different numbered seeds, and two — Providence and Princeton — with a loss from seven different seeds. It’s Arizona and Missouri, though, that are the connoisseurs of failure. Both of them have lost from a 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10-seed; Arizona also lost from a 5-seed and Missouri an 11-seed. [FiveThirtyEight]

The West is going to be a crazy finale

There are seven teams in the Western conference separated by only two games, and only Houston and Golden State have guaranteed their ticket. That means that there are eight teams who could enjoy any seed between 3rd and “not appearing in this tournament,” which is quite a swing. [ESPN]


Big Number

10.24 yards per attempt

From 2015-17, the best quarterback in the NFL when there were two tight ends on the field was Kirk Cousins, previously of Washington but who recently became an extremely well paid member of the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota may want to invest seriously at the tight end position given that Cousins got 2,621 yards on 177 completions over the 256 pass attempts thrown with two TEs playing. [FiveThirtyEight]


Leaks from Slack:

walt:

ella:

oh hm interesting

neil:

That caused our favorite to change! Nova now No. 1

walt:

Browns legend Joe Thomas announces his retirement

that’s kind of heartbreaking

neil:

Just as they might get good again, too
(and just as @walt and I were going to make our bet on Cleveland as 2020 Super Bowl champs)

walt:

i’ll still put my name on that post


Predictions


Oh, and don’t forget
Capitalism is great

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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