Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Eye Test

A sportswriter for the Chicago Sun-Times recently insulted the Badgers on Twitter:
This is a strange thing to say about the team with most efficient offense in the country this year —in fact, the most efficient offense since at least 2002. Some inquired whether he'd actually watched the Badgers play:
This is quite strange. The Badgers played Duke this year. They played Georgetown. They played Oklahoma. They played Michigan, Iowa, and Indiana. (By the way, they scored in bunches in every one of those games.)

But this guy somehow managed to catch the Rutgers game and one other game? Suspicious.

And, of course, the Badgers played that game without the frontrunner for player of the fucking year, Frank Kaminsky. But Mr. Potash probably didn't know that, because he didn't know better than to tune in for Wisconsin versus Rutgers in the first place.
This a half-hearted recantation. He admits he doesn't watch college basketball, but somehow knows it ain't what it used to be. This is really doubling down on his original sin: first he ignorantly impugned the Badgers; when called on it, he put down the whole sport.

To his credit, he at least claimed later to have recanted the entire episode:
This is incorrect. He actually doubled down on the tweet by insinuating that the entire sport fails the eye test. But, to his credit, he did at least admit that he at no point had any idea what he was talking about.

Ultimately, this is the problem with the "eye test." No one watches enough college hoops to have an informed subjective opinion about every team. It's really the "I test." Usually it's a random assortment of stupid opinions based on five minutes of a game that a guy happened to watch at a bar. If you've ever been to a bar, you know that guys at bars have very strong opinions about whatever it is they happen to be observing at that moment. And there's no way that "facts" -- like points scored per possession minus points allowed per possession, adjusted for opponent and venue -- could possibly affect those ignorant opinions.

But these ignorant opinions rule the day, it seems. The rules of the sport must be changed to appease NBA beat writers who didn't like what they saw when watching the best offense in recent memory play without the best player in college basketball.

Or maybe not. Mr. Potash's Twitter bio proudly proclaims that he's a "Native Chicagoan." So maybe, just maybe, this is a FIB thing. One can only hope.


  1. With all that backpeddling, it looks like Mark Potash might be better served pursuing a career as a Bears' cornerback.

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