Sports

Numbers tell story of last 10 years

Keep your athletes of the decade. And stories of the decade. And games of the decade. And whatever else ESPN wants to shove down our throats.

Give me numbers.

All sportswriters have to be attracted to statistics, at least a little bit. It's in our DNA.

Before I gave this journalism thing a try, I entered high school in 1981 thinking I wanted to major in sports statistics in college.

Two problems: One, the only sports statistics major I found was at Bernard Baruch College in New York; two, Mom was unwilling to ship clean laundry that far on a weekly basis.

I found a happy place with sports journalism (English plus Math and no Science!), and sports journalism this time of the decade is all about lists and "best ofs."

But the best of the decade is much like a national champion — you know the winner, but not necessarily how they got there.

So I did some 'cipherin' this week, jotting down numbers and putting my calculator on overload.

What you see here are Decade Standings, a look at how "our" teams did from Jan. 1, 2000, to last Thursday, against their closest competition.

Conclusion: Some things to love, some things to look past.

For every Kansas men's national basketball championship, there's a Jayhawk women's program that finished 70 games below .500 in the Big 12.

And there's the Royals. A full 190 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the AL Central. Ugh.

Some by-the-numbers thoughts:

Missouri Valley — Not a lot of men's basketball surprises. Southern Illinois and Creighton dominated, Wichita State was fifth. Shocker baseball continued to dominate in conference, winning the decade over Creighton by 32 1/2 games.

Big 12 _ That seven-game losing streak to end 2009 put KU in the North football basement, while Kansas State rallied but fell just short of Colorado for second place.

One of the more remarkable numbers is KU's .819 winning percentage in Big 12 basketball. In a loaded league almost every year, the Jayhawks averaged less than three losses.

Thunder _ Since Central Hockey League division alignments change yearly, we compared the Thunder's decade record to its biggest and longest rivals — Tulsa, Colorado and now-defunct Oklahoma City. The last three seasons — 63 games under .500 — sunk the Thunder into last of the four.

Chiefs — Thank goodness for the Raiders.

Run 'n' Gun is The Eagle Sports staff's weekly look at the offbeat side of sports.

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