February 4, 2009 9:30 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- A bit late, but I just wanted to thank everybody who showed up for our first Mid-Majority chat last Friday. There were over 200 questions, just as many as my final chat over the MLK holiday at the other place. It blows my mind that so much of the regular audience found its way over here. We'll be making that a weekly event, and will try to get a BracketBusters marathon put together, once we have travel plans finalized. Donors: Your ballots are coming early next week, so you can pick which BracketBusters game I go to.
Speaking of travel plans, I'll be in the air Friday during the lunch hour, so there'll be a temporary rescheduling. The chat will take place at 3 pm EST, so set your watches accordingly. You can also get yourself sent an e-mail reminder by typing your address into the chat page.
Two more days to enter our America's Most Boring Interstateâ„¢ contest. The essays have been really great so far, thanks once again for playing.
Horizon League: We figured this would happen on Butler's longest road trip of the year: a loss. Up in the land of the frozen tundra, the Bulldogs (19-2, 10-1) dropped their first HL game of the season to Green Bay, a 75-66 decision that broke UWGB's four-year losing streak in the series and elicited celebration by the Phoenix's parka-clad fans. All of a sudden, Green Bay is a half-game out at 10-2. The pollsters and the pundits will take this excuse to drub Butler, but let's be realistic about this. The Bulldogs turned it over 16 times to the Phoenix' four cough-ups, which isn't going to happen if you replay this game 50 times (or stick in a tape of the last matchup). Butler, always one of the best ball control teams in the nation, hadn't yielded a double-digit turnover margin in over three years. For now, we'll treat this as a blip.
Bizarro Valley: The 10,000 or so that packed Carver Arena for last night's G!O!T!N! were stunned when Bradley, up by three with 90 seconds to go, failed to score another point and allowed league leader Northern Iowa (11-1) to surge past for a 61-58 win. UNI freshman Johnny Moran, whose name will let him enter the private eye business if this basketball thing doesn't work out, nailed a 3 with five seconds remaining to keep the Valley Bizarro. Just imagine if Bradley (7-5), normally killer from 3, had shot better than 2-for-13 from behind the arc. If 7-4 teams Illinois State (at Southern Illinois tonight) and Creighton (at Drake) both lose, UNI will be four games ahead with six games left in the regular season.
U'useless Stat of the Day
We haven't done this one in a couple of years, it's perhaps the most u'useless piece of information we can find, and it's the only time our studies overlap with those of Paul Lukas. Here's the big question: what jersey numbers are most common, and which are the most productive?
Three seasons ago, the number 3 was clearly the favorite jersey number in Division I college basketball. But perhaps with the arc moving out, it's taken a No. 2 role to No. 1. A full 256 of the 344 teams -- nearly three-quarters -- have the smallest integer on their roster (176 of those are guards).
This isn't the NBA, so digits are limited to five and there are only 36 numbers available. Scorers are likely to pick up Michael Jordan's old number 23 -- it's the most productive jersey with an average 6.85 ppg -- but we wonder what lasting impact MJ has on the new generation that's trying to get its LeBron on. Although they're relatively rare, a number in the forties might help with your rebounding... two in that range, 41 and 43, average more than three boards per game. Forty-three is a real rarity, but it's a decent one to have: the 23 players who wear it average 5.1 ppg and 3.7 rpg.
But one thing remains consistent over the years: stay away from the fifties. Only eight players across Division I proudly wear the Doleac digits: 51. Of those, only Pierre Curtis of James Madison averages more than four a game.
Below, the full list for your perusal.
|Hickory Picket Fences||27629|
|The Hopping Cats||21526|
|Under a Blood Red Line||10379|
|Jen Folds Five||6895|