Two sides of the Wisconsin Badgers
Stats love Jon Leuer and company -- but humans don't seem to. What gives?
By the same token last March the stats shook their collective head and chuckled when New Mexico was given a lofty No. 3 seed by the NCAA tournament selection committee. And, sure enough, that chuckle also turned out to be wise. No doubt about it, these advanced metrics seem like they really know their stuff.
Yes, but then there are the Wisconsin Badgers.
Every year -- seemingly without fail -- the Badgers look absolutely beautiful on paper. Right now Bo Ryan's team is ranked No. 8 in the nation by Ken Pomeroy's rating system. If it's February you can count on every laptop in sight to going wild for the Badgers. And, just as certainly, every human in sight will say, "No! Wait! You don't understand. This is Wisconsin we're talking about. They won't do anything come March." So we find that this very same group of Badgers is ranked down around No. 18 or 19 in the major polls. Who's right?
Allow me to referee this dispute. I happen to think laptops and humans can get along, even when the subject is Wisconsin.
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John Gasaway's 'Poll Position'
John Gasaway has written for Basketball Prospectus since its inception in 2007. His college hoops commentary appears weekly on ESPN Insider. John's writing has also appeared at SportsIllustrated.com, as well as in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Playboy.
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