Review: “Last Days of Knight” is flawed but essential

Cross-posting at mostlymodernmedia.com  ESPN is gambling these days. The new “30 for 30” documentary, Last Days of Knight, gambles on three levels: It’s being shown exclusively on ESPN+, the company’s new pay service, a good way to draw attention to it but not the best way to get this film the wide audience that many previous 30 for 30 entries have found. It tells the story of a journalist, CNN’s Robert Abbott, who pursued the story for months. As an Awful Announcing review says, the film attempts to tell Abbott’s story and Knight’s, and it sometimes falls between the two stools. A lot … Continue reading Review: “Last Days of Knight” is flawed but essential

Number Crunching And Ascertaining Tournament: Breaking down the bracket

I’ve been trying to learn data science, and inspired by a contest at Kaggle that is waaaay beyond my level of understanding, I’m doing some number-crunching to do a bracket. Here’s what I did — you can see the full data set at the end. First: In Google Sheets, I imported several data sets from ESPN, starting with their basic rankings pages listing BPI (their own numbers), strength of schedule (their computation), “strength of record” (which I don’t fully understand) and the official NCAA RPI. I also imported the seven-day ranking change and each team’s seeds. All that importing put a … Continue reading Number Crunching And Ascertaining Tournament: Breaking down the bracket

Women’s soccer, pro/rel, UConn hoops and taking things for granted

If there’s war between the sexes, then there’ll be no people left — Joe Jackson. (Tori Amos did a terrific cover version.) I’ve spent too much time on Twitter this week grabbing the third rail. I’ve been in conversations on promotion/relegation, women’s soccer equity, and UConn women’s basketball. Let’s dispense with the last one first. The “Connecticut is too dominant” issue has reached The Guardian this week, but it’s being fanned by ESPN. You know — the colossus based in Bristol, Conn., founded by people who wanted to watch Connecticut sports. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to point to … Continue reading Women’s soccer, pro/rel, UConn hoops and taking things for granted

Single-Digit Soccer: The lessons of basketball

The general consensus says playing multiple sports is a good thing for kids. They get a broader range of physical activity, they avoid overuse injuries, and they may find some skills in a secondary sport that transfer to their primary. Also … they’re kids. The overwhelming majority of them are just looking for fun things to do with their friends. And later in life, they may have more social options if they’re comfortable playing pickup basketball as readily as they play soccer. So as I spend parts of my winter sitting on a gym floor watching 7- and 8-year-olds heave a … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: The lessons of basketball

NBA dumping divisions? Why not add promotion and relegation?

I’ve long figured the NBA was the U.S. pro sport best suited to a promotion/relegation system. It’s not hard to find a half-decent arena, the college system produces hundreds of noteworthy players who don’t make NBA rosters, several franchises sit in moribund mediocrity each year, and switching things up wouldn’t trample on history as it would in baseball, football or hockey. Today, the NBA is struggling with the imbalance in its regional divisions and conferences. The playoffs could easily have some rotten teams. The suggested solutions are creative. And all this is happening in a year in which teams are … Continue reading NBA dumping divisions? Why not add promotion and relegation?

At Ozy.com: Magnus Carlsen, hoops freshmen, curling

If you haven’t checked out Ozy.com yet, please do. It’s a terrific site capturing the next wave of what’s important, what’s interesting and what’s cool. And I’m not just saying that because they’ve given me the opportunity to write three terrific pieces: – Magnus Carlsen, the new face of chess (written before he won the world title) – College basketball’s big freshmen: Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Andrew Wiggins – Curling: From the Olympics to Arizona, it’s catching on. Can the USA harness that interest and build better teams? The medal projections here at SportsMyriad are ongoing. Freestyle skiing just takes … Continue reading At Ozy.com: Magnus Carlsen, hoops freshmen, curling