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Kentucky Wildcats Friday Quickies: Michael Wilbon Edition

Michael Wilbon, football's most important game, basketball near "misses", CM Newton, home run chase, and our pending War on Octopi.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning and happy Friday, ladies and gentlemen. There's hopefully a three-day weekend ahead of you that will provide respite from the daily grind.

Earlier this week, Michael Wilbon filed a piece for the WWL's new vertical The Undefeated. In it, Wilbon modestly surmises, on behalf of the entire black community, that "blacks are not feeling the sports metric movement." I have a few brief thoughts in response.

Wilbon makes the mistake of many columnists assuming their personal, read anecdotal, experiences means something wider. In this case, Wilbon seemingly talked to his friends in the media and at a barbershop. If one draws broad conclusions based on personal experience, one tends to get skewed results. For example, almost every single person I encounter on a daily basis is obsessed with "the worst regional foodstuff" in America and is a terrible driver. These observations only mean I live in Ohio, and not something broader about the US or the human species (thank God).

Even beyond personal experience, it's not surprising Wilbon can't find anyone in the black community that's into sports metrics. I know because conducting the same exercise wouldn't yield anyone in my bougie white circle that's into it either. Talking advanced stats in most sports remains niche regardless of skin color.

I've used advanced stats here at ASoB and at TSK for both football and basketball for nearly three years, and those posts never drive traffic compared to "a call to arms" or "the sky is falling"-style posts that I and others have published. The numbers aren't even close. ASoB is lucky to have an annual Fan Post based on log5 analysis, but it garners little interest. Our resident professional mathematician's contributions towards quantitative analysis via a UK prism draws the most eyeballs but that's uncommon.

Recently, after my advanced stats season preview post, I was graciously informed that "liars figure and figures lie" (As an aside: how easy life must be when guided by Manichean impulse). That particular opinion reflects the mainstream, is not unique to the black community, but that doesn't make it uniform. Exceptions abound and there are growing numbers of fans who are applying stats to sports besides baseball, where advanced stats became mainstream. It's dubious that increasing acceptance is only happening outside the black community.

Via Deadspin, Bomani Jones makes similar and separate points worth considering (e.g. stats seem indecipherable to a lot of readers but the math behind most is pretty basic - "just changing the denominator"). I also recommend checking out that comment section for more goodness. I'd forgotten Seth Davis declaring Virginia's men's basketball team was "deceptively uptempo", and his subsequent defensiveness at being proven wrong. Fun times!

Tweets of the Morning:

Gross. Will the NCAA act against Baylor as it did against Penn State? Mark Emmert's power now exists on the serrated edge of morale dilemmas given precedent.

Palate cleanser:

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