Wow.I mean, wow.Mississippi State’s victory over UConn was a great game, and a great upset. Mississippi State will go down in history as the team that ended the longest win streak in basketball (and possibly college team sports) history, and they did it in style.First off, let’s be clear that this is not the most improbable upset of all time. The FiveThirtyEight March Madness predictions gave Mississippi State a 13 percent chance of winning, which — if accurate — wouldn’t even make the dais in the celebration of greatest upsets in history. It wasn’t even the Bulldogs’ biggest upset this week, as our model gave them only an 11 percent chance of beating Baylor, who they beat 94-85 in the Elite Eight. Yes, some people (like this idiot) thought 13 percent was crazy high given UConn’s history, not to mention the 98-38 beatdown the Huskies gave the same Bulldogs team in last year’s Sweet 16.But if I went into this game thinking the model was too optimistic for Mississippi State, by halftime it started looking like that 13 percent might have been low. Not only was UConn not dominating, they were getting outplayed.For me, this is what made this upset even more amazing. Sometimes the better team’s shot goes cold or the underdog’s heats up at the right time, and there isn’t much to do about it except try to do better next game. That was not this game.Shooting and shooting opportunitiesTo my eye, the UConn offense looked frustrated all night, yet they were easily still the better shooting team. UConn shot 42 percent on 2-point shots and 47 percent on 3-point shots, while Mississippi State shot 42 percent and 27 percent, respectively. All together, the Huskies scored 1.12 points per shot (counting 2-point shooting fouls) compared to 0.90 points per shot for the Bulldogs.That should be a recipe for a nice comfortable win. But the Huskies had only 57 shooting possessions (46 shots from the floor, plus 11 shooting fouls), while the Bulldogs had 73 (67 plus 6).How did Mississippi State get 16 more shooting opportunities? Like so:According to the play-by-play of the game on ESPN, the Bulldogs had 16 rebounds on offense to the Huskies’ six, creating ten more scoring opportunities.1You may notice the ESPN box score gives Mississippi State only 14 offensive rebounds. The reason for the discrepancy between the box score and the play-by-play data is unclear to me without knowing more about the nuances of NCAA scoring methodology, but those two extra scoring opportunities happened.The Bulldogs had 13 turnovers to the Huskies’ 17, which created four more opportunities for Mississippi State.2Note the box score records 14 Bulldogs turnovers, but one of those is referring to the flagrant-1 foul that gave Connecticut two shots and the ball, which did not lead to a change of possession.The Bulldogs had the last offensive possession in all five periods, and started with the ball in the second and third quarters, netting them two extra “fencepost” possessions.To recap: Mississippi State netted ten extra shot opportunities from rebounding, four from steals/ball protection, and two from clock management.UConn’s offensive failureThose possession stats are the “what” of “what happened” – the Bulldogs made up a sizeable shooting gap by edging the Huskies in the other aspects of the game. But why did it happen?The story of this game was the UConn offense continuously trying — and failing — to penetrate Mississippi State’s interior defense. This was reflected in a few ways:The Huskies made just 42 percent of their 2-point shots, compared to 58 percent in the regular season.Despite all those misses, they got only six of 29 possible offensive boards, for 21 percent. Compare that to 36 percent in the regular season.The Huskies turned the ball over 17 times (eight stolen). With just four steals themselves, they forced 13 fewer turnovers than they committed. In the regular season, they forced 1.7 fewer turnovers from steals than the total number of turnovers they committed per game, on average. Much of the deficit Friday night resulted from interior passes that the Bulldogs got their hands on.The irony is that UConn was shooting better than average from beyond the arc, making 47 percent of its threes, compared to their regular-season average of 40 percent. Despite being frustrated all night trying to get to the basket, they just kept trying and trying. As I saw it, it looked like the Huskies responded to their struggles by trying to get back to “fundamental” rim-attacking basketball, when they probably should have gone less fundamental and bombed away from the perimeter.Oh, and Connecticut also missed a couple of free throws that probably could have sealed the deal. This could have been nerves, but who knows. If the teams were who we thought they were, the game shouldn’t have been close enough for that to matter.After Mississippi State beat Baylor, a team we though had a real chance of beating UConn, my main thought was that Baylor probably wasn’t as good as I thought they were. But I should have been giving Mississippi State more credit. Against UConn, they earned it all, with full backpay.Correction (April 3, 4:06 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the sources of some of Mississippi State’s extra scoring opportunities. The article incorrectly said that six of those opportunities came from their three fewer turnovers, when three fewer turnovers would only account for three extra opportunities. Using the play-by-play data to account for the remaining discrepancy, we determined that Mississippi State netted four opportunities from turnovers instead of six, and 10 opportunities from rebounding instead of eight.
Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 14Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 14 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. YEARTEAMQUARTERBACKWINSBACKUP QBTEAM PLAYOFF RECORD HOU76%HOU64%SF 26, HOU 16+13.9– 2016OaklandDerek Carr12Connor Cook0-1 CIN71CIN71CHI 33, CIN 7-1.2– DAL61DAL67DAL 30, NYG 10+1.9– DEN50NYJ55NYJ 0, DEN 23-7.9– TB50DET57DET 24, TB 21+4.2– Source: ELIAS Sports Bureau, Pro-Football-Reference.com BUF72BUF69IND 7, BUF 13-3.9– 2005ChicagoKyle Orton10Rex Grossman0-1 There’s some hope here for Foles and the Eagles in the form of Jeff Hostetler, who stepped in and led the 1990 Giants to a Super Bowl victory after New York lost starting quarterback Phil Simms to a fractured foot in Week 15. Granted, that New York team rested heavily on their defense to claw them to glory — and last time we checked, the Eagles don’t have Lawrence Taylor. The Giants gave up the fewest points in the league that year and succeeded by not asking Hostetler to do too much.With this in mind, Philly should probably channel any remaining optimism toward its defense, which ranks fifth in the league in points allowed this season. Since he took over the defensive playcalling in 2016, Jim Schwartz has quickly turned his unit into one of the top defenses in the NFL: The Eagles ranked 18th in defensive EPA the season before Schwartz took over and rank fourth in the league through 13 games this year. The D could be the team’s best hope of making a deep run in January.The 2017 season might be remembered as “the year of the injured quarterback,” and in Week 14, it was Philadelphia’s turn feel the bite. The Eagles will be fine with Wentz as their franchise quarterback of the future, but in the present, Philly fans can only hope their team mimics the 1990 Giants and their defense comes through for them.FiveThirtyEight vs. The ReadersWeek 14 in our NFL predictions game — in which we invite you to outsmart our Elo algorithm — saw the readers suffer three heavy defeats. The Chiefs rebounded from four straight losses to beat the Raiders, which gave the readers a net loss of 10.4 points. Miami shocked New England on Monday night and won at home 27-20 to give the readers a loss of 11.5 points. And on Thursday night, the readers incorrectly predicted that the Saints would beat the Falcons, handing them a net loss of 11.7 points. There was only one victory over our Elo algorithm in which the readers scored double-digit points: San Francisco beat Houston 26-16, and because the readers had less confidence in the Texans than Elo did, the readers netted 13.9 points.Make sure you get your Week 15 predictions in early, and thanks for playing! 2015CincinnatiAndy Dalton10A.J. McCarron0-1 LAR52PHI52PHI 43, LAR 35+2.1– TEN53TEN57TEN 7, ARI 12-6.0– 1990ChicagoJim Harbaugh10Mike Tomczak1-1 SEA53SEA55SEA 24, JAX 30-4.2– PIT71PIT70BAL 38, PIT 39-3.1– Will Nick Foles keep Philly flying?Quarterbacks that won at least 10 games in a season for their playoff-bound teams but didn’t make a playoff start, since 1970 MIN53MIN58MIN 24, CAR 31-8.1– LAC69LAC68WAS 13, LAC 30-2.5– 2012MinnesotaChristian Ponder10Joe Webb0-1 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION 1999BuffaloDoug Flutie10Rob Johnson0-1 KC67KC57OAK 15, KC 26-10.4– When Carson Wentz entered the blue sideline tent of doom on Sunday, he took close to 60 years of unfulfilled football dreams in Philadelphia with him. At that moment, the 10-2 Eagles had just taken a lead on the road against one of the NFC’s best teams. Shortly thereafter, the second-year quarterback limped down the tunnel at L.A. Memorial Coliseum, forcing backup quarterback Nick Foles to take over for the remainder of the game. In just a few minutes, the Eagles’ unexpected dream season was seemingly cut down by hard luck — something that comes with the territory in Philadelphia.We now know that Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. It’s a huge blow to the Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes, and they’ll have to lean on someone other than Wentz and his MVP-caliber offense. The sophomore quarterback has been so good this season that the Eagles ranked third in the league in offensive expected points added — behind only the Patriots and Saints — and his 33 touchdown passes through 13 games are third-most in NFL history for quarterbacks in their first or second year, behind only future Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Kurt Warner.Fortunately for Doug Pederson’s men, the win over the Rams secured a playoff berth with three weeks to spare, and their remaining games against the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys should give Foles enough time to feel comfortable as the leader of a playoff team again. Foles is uniquely familiar with this position: In Week 5 of 2013, he was forced into action when starter Michael Vick suffered an injury. Foles became the unlikely savior that year, as he steered the Eagles to an 8-3 record for the remainder of the season and a wild-card berth. Along the way, he compiled an eye-popping passer rating of 119.2, the third best in NFL history, and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 13.5, the second-best of all time.While there’s little doubt over whether Philly will bypass the wild-card round — one more regular-season win will secure a first-round bye for the Eagles — let’s not kid ourselves about their overall playoff chances: History is not on Philadelphia’s side. No one is expecting Foles to repeat his 2013 performance and keep the team’s run going. We’ve seen this scenario unfold before. In fact, a backup being thrown into the fire of playoff football is quickly becoming an annual NFL tradition. Last year, Connor Cook, a third-stringer, started his first game ever for the Raiders, who lost star Derek Carr (then backup Matt McGloin) as their dream season turned into a nightmare. And two seasons ago, Alabama-star-turned-professional-clipboard-holder A.J. McCarron started a wild-card game for Cincinnati in the wake of the Bengals losing Andy Dalton in Week 14.As expected, this usually doesn’t go well. Cook and McCarron both lost in the playoffs, posting passer ratings of 30 and 68.3, respectively. Neither has started a game since. In total, Wentz will be one of only eight quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to win 10 or more games for a future playoff team and not appear in the postseason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Among the backups for these teams, only two won at least one playoff game. GB77GB76GB 27, CLE 21-3.2– 2017PhiladelphiaCarson Wentz11Nick Foles? Check out our latest NFL predictions. 1990N.Y. GiantsPhil Simms11Jeff Hostetler3-0 ATL56NO54NO 17, ATL 20-11.7– NE81NE87NE 20, MIA 27-11.5– PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.RESULTREADERS’ NET PTS
2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better More about 2019 Audi A6 Premium 45 TFSI quattro 22 Car Industry Audi More From Roadshow 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value Cars of the 1950s had their chrome. Vehicles from the ’80s were boxy. In the ’90s, everything got a little melty, like a candy bar left out in the sun. Whatever the decade, specific design trends proliferate across the entire auto industry.But they aren’t all good. Sure, today’s cars are really pushing the styling envelope, but that’s also leading to a number of questionable choices. Here are the modern automotive design trends that need to die, and soon.Light-up badgesI spend every day being assaulted by #brands. The last thing I need is a street full of cars, shouting their names at me in the night. Expressive design should work by itself. We don’t need to get hit over the head repeatedly by the badge. Plus, it invites higher repair costs when its driver inevitably gets distracted on Tinder and smashes into the pickup truck ahead of ’em.– Andrew KrokEnlarge ImageAh, the Mercedes illuminated star. It created a monster. Mercedes-Benz Massive grilles that are mostly closed offIt’s subjectively bad enough that automotive designers are locked in a weird arms race for the biggest grille, but then you get close and realize that, often, more than half of that grille is blocked off because there’s really no practical reason for a grocery-getter to have such a massive maw.– Antuan GoodwinEnlarge ImageA vast majority of the Toyota Avalon’s huge grille is nonfunctional. Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow Fake ventsWhile performance affectations are almost kind of understandable on humble everyday cars, they’re particularly infuriating on high-performance automobiles. This trend amounts to bra or trouser stuffing, and it’s wholly unnecessary when a car still has “the goods.”– Chris PaukertEnlarge ImageThe Kia Stinger is a formidable performance car — but we hate its fake vents. Steven Ewing/Roadshow Jewel headlightsWhy are designers inspired by arachnids? When I look at a car I don’t want to be looking at a spider. Multiple light cubes in the housing are just design for design’s sake.– Emme HallEnlarge ImageMy, Acura MDX, what overly fancy headlights you have. Steven Pham/Roadshow Fake exhaust tipsThere are some slick-looking exhaust tips on cars these days, but the problem is that a lot of them aren’t real. In many cases it’s just a fancy outlet molded into the rear bumper with a regular round pipe behind it like on the Mercedes-AMG CLA45. And sometimes there’s not even a cutout at all, such as on the 2019 Audi A6. It’s just disappointing to see and it looks cheap.– Jon WongEnlarge ImageThe outlets on this Audi A6? All fake. Jon Wong/Roadshow Asymmetrical wheelsIt’s great to have wild wheel designs, but when the wheels end up facing opposite directions on opposite sides of a car, it irks me no end.– Jake HolmesEnlarge ImageWe love the Volkswagen Golf R, but hate its asymmetrical wheels. Volkswagen Floating roofsThis is a stupid bit of design language because it interrupts the eye moving over a car. It’s unforgivable on any car, whether it’s a Nissan Murano or the otherwise gorgeous Aston Martin DB11.– Kyle HyattEnlarge ImageNissan is doing the floating roof thing more than any other automaker. Emme Hall/Roadshow Coupe-oversAs far as I’m concerned, the word “coupe” is exclusively reserved for vehicles with two-doors — though I’ll make exceptions for the small suicide doors on the Mazda RX-8 and late ’90s and early 2000s Saturn SC. “Four-door coupe?” No. It’s called a sedan. But “coupe crossover?” Like, no. That’s not a thing.But beyond the inherent ugliness and pointlessness of these vehicles, I hate that automakers actually charge more for them than their equivalent, traditionally shaped brethren. You pay more to get less. And your car looks stupid.– Steven EwingEnlarge ImageIf it has four doors, it’s not a coupe. Mercedes-Benz Excessively low-profile tiresListen, I too love the look of a tire that’s barely thicker than a rubber band and has been stretched over the edge of a wheel large enough to qualify as an automotive caricature. I agree that it adds a lot of visual presence. But, spend a few minutes crossing a bumpy road on a wheel-and-tire package like that, and then do it again with something offering a higher rubber-to-metal ratio, and you’ll see that not every SUV on the road needs to be rolling on 22s wrapped with low-profile tires. Leave that to the supercars and go with something a little more practical on your next ride.– Tim StevensEnlarge ImageVolvo V90 R-Design: Great look, harsh ride. Volvo Originally published May 26, 2018. Preview • Tags Aston Martin Audi Kia Mazda Mercedes-Benz Nissan Toyota Volkswagen Volvo Acura Comments Share your voice