Things That Caught My Eye
Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus are the only two players where high finishes have a statistically significant effect on Sunday ratings for the Masters tournament. When Tiger finished in the top 10, the average rating was a 10.0, and when Jack finished in the top ten the average rating was a 9.5. [FiveThirtyEight]
The fullback position is a tough one in the NFL these days. For college fullbacks, they’ve got to make an argument they can also contribute considerably on special teams lest teams overlook them in the draft. This is just part of the position; fullbacks averaged 182.4 plays per season last year, while offenses averaged 1,015.7 snaps per season, meaning you’re only going to see a fullback on offense 18 percent of the time. With a 53-man roster, that’s a tough sell. [ESPN]
I don’t mean to blow your mind with science, but athletes need adequate sleep in order to perform at their peak performance levels. Due to the nature of the NBA schedule and also the width of America, that isn’t always feasible. There were 54 games this NBA season where one team faced a significant competitive disadvantage because of scheduling. For instance, the Denver Nuggets played in Memphis, then left immediately and traveled overnight, then lost an hour en route to Cleveland where they played their third game in five days. Indeed, the Nuggets have been the victims of these “schedule alert” games more than any other team, six of the 54 total games. [ESPN]
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The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs best out Notre Dame this past weekend to win the Frozen Four NCAA men’s hockey tournament. They were the distinct underdogs; Minnesota Duluth spent just $655,000 on men’s hockey to Notre Dame’s $1.6 million. [ESPN]
With Oklahoma sending Baker Mayfield to the NFL, the Big 12 will see its chances of sending a team to the College Football Playoff slashed to 26 percent, lower than any of the other Power 5 conferences. Part of this is that the Big 12 lives and dies based on Oklahoma’s disproportionate performance. The SEC has an 84 percent chance of sending at least one team to the playoff, the Big Ten has an 80 percent shot and the ACC has a 65 percent chance. [ESPN]
The Cleveland Cavaliers would ideally prefer to make the NBA Finals, but they have a tough time preventing the other team from scoring the ball a lot, a strategy that other teams have taken to calling “defense.” Yes, interfering with the capacity of opponents to score is, for 28 other teams, a higher priority than for the Cavs and their 29th ranked defense. If they want to beat the Raptors, Celtics or Sixers — again, all who make any attempt, however small, to stop the other team from getting points — LeBron James should consider it! [ESPN]
There are only six teams who are on the bubble for a playoff spot in the NBA right now. Three of them are effective locks; the Spurs, Jazz and Thunder each have a higher-than-97 percent chance of making the postseason. This leaves three teams jockeying for two playoff spots. The Pelicans and Timberwolves are in the best position, each projected to finish 47-35 and each with just over an 80 percent chance of getting in. But there’s still hope for the Denver Nuggets, who have a 46 percent chance of making the postseason. [FiveThirtyEight]
Leaks from Slack
Shoutout to @kyle’s timing this year. He’s had at least 3 stories in which a team or a player had a huge win that same night. Jokic last night, Blazers a couple weeks back. Good stuff, man.