|Kansas basketball -- as a state -- is off to an extremely outstanding start with all of its programs this season. (US Presswire)|
A) Just how good the state of Kansas has been at playing the sport of men's college basketball in this season and also in recent ones?
That second one particularly surprised me. It's like discovering that the University of Minnesota is the only D-I hoops program in that state. Unexpected and odd.
The three Kansan programs are all not only tracking toward the NCAA tournament, they're practically shoo-ins at this point. And all could easily be five seeds or better. The combined record for the Jayhawks, Wildcats and Shockers in 2012-13: a magnificent 48-5 (winning 91 percent of all games).
Success in Kansas is not fleeting, either. The Jayhawks' dominance is nothing new -- and I'm not even factoring in that '08 title -- and over the past three and a half seasons, the Kansas collective has tallied a 303-72 mark, which means the triumvirate is winning 81 percent of its games. Safe to say, Kansas is the best season-to-season college basketball state in the modern era. (Only having three teams as a data pool helps in this case, though.)
This is especially impressive when you see there's a state with plenty of D-I programs that looks fated to be bid-less in the NCAAs for the second straight year.
Among other places known for big basketball inside its borders, Indiana is an obvious comparison/litmus test. It's a lovable union known for being the "best" basketball state in the country due to its tradition, undying affection for the high school game and continued pedigree in producing really good players. What Texas is to football Indiana is to basketball. And yes, Indiana has a higher ratio of teams-to-state, and many of those teams are true mid-majors, so it's not a fair balance.
Over the same span, that triplet of Indiana teams is 251-119 (.678 winning percentage). And if you want to call the Hoosiers an aberration due to coming out of the Kelvin Sampson-era sanctions, sub in the only other major-conference proxy, Purdue, and its boils to a 273-102 outcome, an improved .728 winning percentage that's still well short of what we're seeing a couple states over to the left. (Fun side note: As of Jan. 22, Purdue and Notre Dame have identical records (87-35) since the start of the 2009-10 season.)
Oh, what's that, Kentucky fans? You want your numbers too? Fine, fine. Just keep the noise down and give me a second here. We'll pick Kentucky, Louisville and Murray State, given the Racers' awesome 2011-12 season that saw the program go into February before finding its first loss. This works well, in fact, because the timeline we're using begins/lines up with John Calipari taking the Kentucky job before the '09-10 season. In that span, Kentucky's top-notch trio is 304-74, or boasts an .800 winning percentage. That's really good -- and again, we're omitting Western, Eastern and Northern Kentucky's teams, plus Morehead State -- but not as good as Kansas' clubs.
So, kudos to Kansas. And it's good to see how the times are nice for some of college basketball's best states. Now, if you want to play the take-home version, feel free to pick three from North Carolina, Ohio or Michigan. Texas, Tennessee or Virginia. You'll inevitability wind up in Dorothy and Toto's backyard.
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