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Beside The Points For Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

Things That Caught My Eye

The Most Improved Player has really improved

With an average of 36.8 points in the first four games of the season, Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks sure as heck looks like an MVP contender this year. The kid is only 22 years old and is hot off last year’s Most Improved Player award. [FiveThirtyEight]

They say there are Angelenos still sitting in post-game traffic to this very day

It was an 11-inning absurdity Wednesday night in L.A., with a win probabilty chart that causes bona fide whiplash just looking at it. Houston notched their first-ever franchise World Series win in what will go down as an ultimate case study in both why the east coast hates extra innings and also how to perfectly mismanage a bullpen: The Dodgers used nine pitchers in Game 2 after pulling Rich Hill despite throwing just four excellent innings. [FiveThirtyEight]

Irish not in control of own destiny, per usual

Notre Dame is 6-1 this year, but despite that record and the strong chance that a one-loss team will make the College Football Playoff, they’re still only an 11 percent chance to make the postseason. Indeed, even if they win out — they have a 21 percent chance of doing so — their destiny is still in the hands of others since they won’t have a conference title to bring up in their bid to get in over other one-loss teams. [FiveThirtyEight]

32nd time is the charm

Penn State (No. 2) faces Ohio (No. 6) this weekend in what will be the biggest Big Ten game of the entire year. It’s a pretty solid rivalry: They’ve played 31 times in the AP ranking era, and 30 of those times one of the two teams was ranked. FiveThirtyEight has Ohio State as the favorite here, with a 61 percent chance to win in Columbus. An Ohio State win would decimate Penn State’s chances of winning the conference and more than halve their chances of making the playoff. A Penn State win, probabilistically speaking, basically ends Ohio State’s season and gives the Nittany Lions a 69 percent chance of making the playoffs. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]

Golden Knights: pretty good!

The Vegas Golden Knights are off to a terrific start, sitting atop the Western Conference at 6-1. By all appearances, Vegas has some of the best talent of any expansion team in NHL history back 1991. The average expansion team since then has put up 57 points in its first season, which is awful: Only four normal teams in the past four seasons did that. [FiveThirtyEight]

The return of the king

Roberto Aguayo is a kicker who was drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Bucs. Read that sentence again. Kicker, second round, Bucs. Remember that insanity? Anyway, his NFL debut was not up to second-round drafted Bucs kicker standards apparently and he was cut on national television in a preseason game. Well he’s back, and with no more ridiculous expectations to live up to on the Panthers’ practice squad. I see a winner there. [NFL.com]

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


Big Number

8 home runs

In a new World Series record, there were eight home runs in Game 2. “Obviously, the balls are juiced,” said Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, and most stats nerds everywhere and also anyone with eyes. [CBS Sports, FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, The Ringer, FiveThirtyEight, Seriously there’s a lot of evidence for this on FiveThirtyEight]


Leaks from Slack:

emily:

women’s hockey Canada v USA is in boston tonight at BU with a great crowd 🏒 🏒 🏒

daniel.levitt:

you should really help me write a hockey story as I know v. little. We could maybe do one about the #goleafsgo

emily:

also Canada won! both teams getting in their groove for the olympics, USA took the first game of what could be 8 games between the two (if you consider 2 possible Four Nations tournament games on top of 6 The Time Is Now tour friendlys), announcers were mentioning some stats of just how many times the two have met and how often they’ve been in Worlds/Olympics finals together. Wonder where they fall on the Big Rivalry list.

daniel.levitt

So Emily’s writing and editing? Sounds good.

emily:

(also small hockey update: I did make http://isadammcquaidhealthy.com/)

[Check out IsAdamMcQuaidHealthy.com for all your “Is Adam McQuaid healthy?” questions!]


Predictions


Oh, and don’t forget
A UNC player lost a video game an broke his hand, as your Duke fan friend probably already texted to you.

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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