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Beside The Points For Thursday, March 8, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

An out-of-line interview question

LSU running back Derrius Guice said that a representative of an NFL team asked him if he was gay during an interview at the NFL combine. This is not the first time that an NFL team has gotten in hot water over inappropriate and prohibited questions about potential draft stars’ sexuality, and the NFL Players Association wants the team in question prohibited from attending the combine. [The Washington Post]

Neymar edges out Messi

Neymar has an expected goals and assists rate of 1.18 per 90 minutes, which is the best performance in that stat in any of the top European soccer leagues right now, just beating out even Lionel Messi. Right now, comparing Neymar’s season to any other player besides Messi isn’t really possible; there are only ten player-seasons since 2010 where players had more than 0.9 expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes, and more than five progressive passes and runs per 90. Angel Di Maria’s 2015-16 is one of them, Neymar’s is another, and Messi accounts for the other eight. [FiveThirtyEight]

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

Damian Lillard taking Portland to the postseason

Damien Lillard is creating 101 points for every 100 chances running the pick-and-roll. He’s hitting 103 points per 100 chances on drives. Portland certainly has a defense, but it’s also not an obvious one — they don’t force many turnovers or limit free throws or block all that many shots. Yet, they rank seventh in defensive rating this season. [FiveThirtyEight]

Stallings out in Pittsburgh

Basketball coach Kevin Stallings is out at Pittsburgh after just two seasons. His record: 24-41. The Panthers were 0-19 in ACC games, and I’m not a particularly adamant college basketball fan but even I know it’s vastly preferable not to lose every single one of those. [ESPN]

POLL: Florida bad

An NHL players’ association poll asked the league’s players to weigh in on coaching, the point system, their colleagues and who they’d want on their side if they needed to win a game. More importantly, the survey identified the Florida Panthers as having the worst ice in the NHL — 16.8 percent of respondents said the Panthers have the worst rink. [ESPN]

Big Number

659.5 miles

That’s how far away New York City, where the Big Ten Conference plays its conference tournament, is from Knox, Indiana, the town that is actually the geographic center of the conference. Realistically, Knox’s neighbor Chicago, only 65 miles from the geographic center, would be a better call than Madison Square Garden. Indeed, the ACC’s tournament in Brooklyn and the Big East’s call of New York is also a bit off too. [FiveThirtyEight]

Leaks from Slack:


LSU RB: At combine I was asked ‘do I like men’

I am amazed that teams haven’t been reprimanded for these kinds of garbage questions

This has been going on for years
and they continue to get away with it

Miami GM sorry for Bryant prostitute query

Falcons asked Ohio State CB Eli Apple if he likes men

idk how it works exactly in the context of a collectively bargained process like the NFL, but many combine interview questions appear to violate fair hiring laws

(the combine itself is probably also sketchy, although again idk how that was bargained with the union)


Oh, and don’t forget
KHL is acting shady

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.