Odds are decent that, had we run this tournament in a couple years' time, OHIO's DJ Cooper would have made a strong showing.
Ladies and gentlemen, as Ben so sneakily hinted to you earlier, you are now entering the Summer of Hustle (Belt). This means you are at our creative whims when it comes to content, though you've surely been reading our work long enough to know that this is a good thing for you.
That said, I bring to you the introductory post of this summer's first ever Greatest Of All Time Tournament (GOATT). It isn't actually the greatest basketball players of all time - just the greatest ballers of the last thirty years or so. Over the last few weeks, Mr. Miraski and I have cobbled together a list of the best-ever players in each MAC school's history (sorry, UMass) and set out to make a tournament out of it - taking a look at what the casual fan might feel about them, and then shoving them into the HOOPWAR machine and seeing what the data really says.
Don't worry, there is no actual, physical machine and we are not doing any shoving of semi-famous former professional basketball players. This is probably a good thing, given what you find if you combine any of our players into a Google search with the word "injury."
Because of Ben's need for season statistics to generate the data, we had to leave out old time players like Eastern Michigan's George Gervin (who would be a shoo-in for the top seed, if not dominance of the tournament). Heck, we almost had to leave out Toledo entirely, since they haven't had a truly great player since my parents were my age.
We then had to make further tweaks based on what we were and were not able to procure from the sports information and athletics communication departments of each school. Kudos are in order here for Bowling Green, who has everything you could ever want available on their website in a PDF. Opposite of kudos to places like Eastern Michigan and Ohio who are still languishing.
That said, we now have the best players (ones who made the NBA, led their team or the conference in scoring, and so forth) since 1980. The exact number of participants is up in the air, but will wind up somewhere between 12 and 16. I will spend the next couple weeks introducing the players, one school at a time, to discuss their overall profile - raw stats, overall career success, things like that. We will then run their data through the HOOPWAR formula and find out, truly, who the most valuable players are (and they will advance through the tournament like that).
AH! But there's a catch, and here is where you come in. Each matchup will have a winner based on the HOOPWAR data, but you the readers will then have the chance to vote and argue for your favorite - if the crowd favorite overrules the data, then that player advances. Get yourself excited for your chance to learn more about the greatest Mid-American basketball players of "all time," beginning later this week!