FIVE HUNDRED YARDS from Allen Fieldhouse -- deep inside the dull-brown bowels of the University of Kansas' Robinson Health and Physical Education Center -- is a lab that holds the story of the Jayhawks' 2013 trip to the Sweet 16. In a freezer set to a constant minus-80 degrees Celsius are saliva samples, taken weekly for 27 of 30 weeks, from 16 of coach Bill Self's players during a season cut short by a Michigan team marching its way to the championship game. Removed from the freezer, thawed and then placed in a centrifuge at 3,000 rpm, the samples are removed of impurities, and stories are spun for each player. Every finals exam, every fight with a girlfriend, every head-coach chew-out is laid bare; every week the thing that contributed to failure or success on the court is an open book.
In ESPN The Magazine's Analytics Issue, Igor Guryashkin writes that researchers at the University of Kansas are trying to find out which players are designed to deliver under pressure -- by testing their saliva.