Evidence. Empirical, verified reality. Data. Results. Science which, as Steve Martin once said, is pure empiricism and by virtue of its method excludes metaphysics. Now, in February, the dog days of the college basketball season, we have results and data that allow all to move beyond what we think about a team, what we believe can and will happen for a team, and dwell more upon what a team has accomplished on the floor. We also have eyes that allow us to conclude that a team or teams are not as good as the numbers suggest — or are better than the analytics project.
Remember, the results and analytics tell us what a team has done. It does not tell us what a team is capable of doing in the future. Melding those two very important things together is the job of The Bilastrator and The Bilas Index, the best and most reliable compilation of basketball knowledge and accomplishment in the known universe. You’re welcome.
The point once made by Bill Parcells that “you are what your record says you are” is a good one for accountability of the team in question … at the end of the season. However, it is also important to acknowledge that many players and teams are capable of better, accomplishing more and playing at a higher level. Some teams have another gear; other teams have maxed out. There are several examples of teams that outperformed their records and data in the postseason, which is the ultimate question we are all trying to answer. Who is this team and who will it be in the “NCAA Tournament Bubble Event”?
We have learned a lot about this bizarre season of interruptions and uncertainties. The ACC is historically weak and does not have a team in the top 10 of The Bilas Index. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Syracuse are all unranked in the national polls as this week begins, which seems cataclysmic. For every step forward by each team, it seems as if it then takes two steps back. Kentucky is not showing a pulse toward the end of games, Michigan State is searching and Duke keeps teasing us by playing like an NCAA Tournament Bubble Event team then failing to build on that progress.