Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. This week, we discuss the first weekend of March Madness and why Tom Izzo’s Michigan State teams always seem to beat expectations; whether the Princeton women, even in defeat, showed that they were criminally under-seeded; the rumors that the Oklahoma City Thunder may trade Kevin Durant before he bolts through free agency; and what it would take for cricket to go mainstream in the U.S.
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Links to what we discuss in this week’s show:
- FiveThirtyEight’s continually updated March Madness predictions.
- Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings.
- FiveThirtyEight’s ongoing March Madness reporting.
- Michigan State’s historical SRS ratings.
- The “white paper” prepared by Val Ackerman on the state of women’s college basketball.
- How the Celtics are trying to balance the middle ground between tanking and greatness.
- New Zealand reaches the Cricket World Cup final for the first time.
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CORRECTION (March 25, 12:14 p.m.): In this week’s podcast, we incorrectly said the Cricket World Cup uses the T20 format for matches. It uses the typical One Day International format, which gives each side 50 overs. That is still much shorter than the traditional “test” matches, but longer than T20, in which each side gets 20 overs.