You may have seen this stat where the top 10 college basketball teams right now have 47 losses. A year ago, the top 10 had 43 losses all season.
That comes from a Twitter post by Jay Bilas, and we’re using KenPom.com for the rankings here. If you use the AP poll, the numbers aren’t quite as drastic — 42 losses for the current group; 47 for last year — but make the same point:
This is a wide-open college basketball season.
At the beginning of the year, it looked like there were maybe six or seven really good teams, and then a second tier. But the more basketball that gets played, the more teams you can see winning it all. Every team has at least three losses.
Six teams have been ranked No. 1. Six received first-place votes this week.
They made a good point on the Kansas-Oklahoma broadcast the other day: the first time they played, it was for the top ranking in the country, and the second time it was to keep from falling behind West Virginia.
Adam Kilgore had a good stat in this story: whoever has been the No. 1 team in the country is 20-6, including 6-6 on the road, and 7-6 against RPI top 100 teams.
Joe Lunardi has always had the easiest job in sports,* but right now there is probably a team that would be a one or a two seed right now that will end up being a five or a six, and the same may be true in reverse.
* Seriously. I’m not trying to call him out, but what are we doing here? Nothing he does makes a bit of difference until the very end, and even then, he’s demonstrably not the best at what he does, yet he’s the one with the ESPN platform. He’s an American hero, is what he is.
The conversation around these types of things inevitably leads to whether it’s good or bad for the sport, and generally, leagues and sports tend to benefit from dominant teams. That draws in casual fans. Without it — and with so many top starts like Ben Simmons and Kris Dunn at non-traditional powers — the field is unpredictable, which is hard for casual fans to digest, but great for nerds and junkies and die-hards.
We’ve been particularly lucky in this area with how good the Big 12 is, but other leagues are deep with talent as well. How about this:
Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan State, and North Carolina have the best odds to win the national championship, according to this. Those first three teams have 12 conference losses between them. Michigan State is in a three-way tie for sixth in the Big Ten.
This week’s reading recommendation is my friend Liz Merrill on 10 years after Jason McElwain, and the eating recommendation is the breakfast burrito at Leed’s Diner. Also, if you like the Facebook and are not already, please give my page a follow. Less stupidity* than what I put on Twitter.
* “Less” does not mean “none.”
As always, thanks for your help, and thanks for reading.
Well, probably not.
The odds of any team winning two World Series in a row are long. Baseball actually has more parity than the NFL, in no small part because of the tiny edges on which games are won, and the fact that the best baseball teams lost about four of 10 games while the best football team this past regular season lost one in 16. According to this, the Royals have longer odds to repeat than about seven teams.
It’s just hard. You play the extra games, so your pitchers take on extra work, and then you spend an offseason being told how great you are and, for the first time in many players’ lives, they are athletes with nothing to prove.