By Kevin Hahn and Kathir Ilango • 28 May 2019 • 12 min read
When it comes to individual sports, the title of “World Number One” is the ultimate feat an athlete can achieve. Tennis may be the most popular example of such a sport, as it is played worldwide and is heavily driven by rankings from its lowest tiers to the professional stage. While the World Number One and other top players are very famous and appear in widely-known tournaments, the complex structure of men’s professional tennis and its ranking system are by no means common knowledge. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is the governing body that organizes the events and rankings that tennis fans are so familiar with. ATP tennis is unique in that it runs year-round with a higher activity level than most other professional sports, as tournaments take place on a weekly basis. While the four Grand Slams are the most prestigious of these events, every tournament throughout the year can impact a player’s world ranking.
By Alex Veroulis • 26 May 2019 • 9 min read
Every year, it seems that home runs become more and more prevalent in the modern version of Major League Baseball. After all, in recent years, more players seem to be following the Three True Outcomes when they go up to hit: a strikeout, a walk, or a home run. These outcomes seem rare because they do not require the involvement of any defensive players besides the pitcher and catcher; however, hitters are making these outcomes more common due to an increased motivation to hit home runs. Analytics in the past several years have advocated for batters to try to hit more home runs with the end goal of increasing the expected amount of runs scored; players and managers alike have been heavily influenced by the analytics revolution, as they want to gain any kind of competitive advantage they can. In fact, players are following these analytics to such an extent that they are sacrificing batting average and on base percentage as a direct result of strikeouts; as players try to hit the ball farther, they are more likely to swing and miss, which explains the uptick in strikeouts.
By Chad Shimozaki • 14 May 2019 • 9 min read
Following the first ever game-winning buzzer beater in Game 7 of a playoff series, Kawhi "Four-Bounce" Leonard and the Toronto Raptors will face the Milwaukee Bucks, who have patiently waited for a week since defeating the Celtics last Wednesday.
By Max Blane and Borna Nazari • 22 Apr 2019 • 5 min read
The 3-point shot, instituted into the NBA in 1979, significantly impacted the future and the direction of the league. In the shot's inaugural year, Hubie Brown's '79-80 Hawks attempted a season total of 75 three-pointers, making just 13, for a three-point shooting percentage of 17.33%. This equates to an average of 1 three pointer made every 6 games. That same Hawks team went on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals with an overall record of 50-32. 38 years later, on March 3rd 2018, over one half of the Houston Rockets' total shots in their three point victory over the Boston Celtics came from beyond the arc, as they attempted 49 three-pointers, compared to just 38 mid-range shots/layups.
By Joey Maurer • 13 Apr 2019 • 6 min read
As the 2019 Women's Gymnastics Championship approaches, a cloud of controversy looms over the sport. Many fans believe that the scores being handed out this year are misrepresentative of actual routines. The issue of score inflation seems to creep into every discussion about college gymnastics. Judges across the country have been put under a microscope, being scrutinized for scoring routines higher than they deserve. Among reasons to do this would be to attract more casual fans, thus increasing revenue for the NCAA. After all, who doesn't want to see a perfect 10?
By Stephen Chen • 03 Apr 2019 • 6 min read
At the end of 2016, Andy Murray raised the Paris Masters 1000 trophy after defeating John Isner in 3 sets, cementing his status as the world's No. 1 tennis player for the first time in his career. Murray had racked up 9 singles titles to end the 2016 season, including his second Wimbledon trophy and his third Grand Slam title. Murray seemed primed to dominate the tour for the next few years, but a hip injury in the middle of the 2017 season would derail what remained of that season and the next, losing the No. 1 ranking and dropping past rank 800.
By Joe Dunham • 10 Mar 2019 • 9 min read
With the NHL season inching closer to the playoffs, the format of the regular season is perhaps not the first thought on most fans' minds. However, this year's notable lack of inter-conference parity has drawn attention from casual and knowledgeable fans alike -- the point cutoff to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference is currently on pace to be a relatively standard 96 points; the Western Conference, on the other hand, is on pace to have an 83 point cutoff. This would easily be the lowest bar to qualify for the postseason in the salary cap era. An 83 point team under most circumstances has well below a winning record, and would be over six games back from the eighth seed in the East. These anomalies beg the question: what factors influence a team's record at the end of the season?
By Kathir Ilango • 14 Feb 2019 • 10 min read
After finishing the 2010 NFL season with a losing record yet again, the San Francisco 49ers finally decided it was time for a new head coach. They needed to win games to become relevant again and, more importantly, they needed to bring life back to a fan base that had not had a winning team since 2002. So they went with a man whom they thought could bring all of that to the table: Jim Harbaugh.
By Chad Shimozaki • 09 Feb 2019 • 8 min read
Despite having one of the top-five players in the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans struggled for seven years to surround Anthony Davis with enough talent to consistently make the playoffs. In 2015, the Pelicans - without Jrue Holiday - were swept by the first iteration of the current Warriors Dynasty. Davis's only other postseason appearance came in 2018, when the Pelicans upset the 3-seed Portland Trailblazers in a stunning sweep. Although the Pelicans lost to the Warriors again in the next round, their second round exit was viewed as a success after the enormous loss of DeMarcus Cousins in late January due to a ruptured Achilles.
By Salil Akundi • 27 Jan 2019 • 8 min read
It is true that a goalkeeper's main job is to keep the ball out of the net. However, in the modern game, where margins are much tighter and errors are easily punished, it is a valuable advantage for a goalkeeper to be an adept passer of the ball. This is particularly useful when a team plays a style with the intent of creating spaces to attack by drawing the opposition to press high, such as the style employed (with success, in the past with Napoli) by Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. It is no coincidence, either, to see big clubs spending record sums of money on goalkeepers these days, goalkeepers that are not just shot-stoppers, but also excellent footballers.