A great quote from Jay Bilas' incredible ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia regarding the team we had to upgrade on closer consideration:
"Many old-timers believe that WKU's loss to Michigan on March 11, 1966 in the NCAA Mideast Regional semifinal came as a result of the worst call in basketball history. Ahead 79-78 with a few seconds left, WKU forced a jump ball. After winning the tip, Hilltopper Greg Smith was called for a foul - and Mcihgan's Cazzie Russell dropped the two winning free throws."
We have played all but four of our 200 great all-time teams in the Value Add Basketball Game - and are partly trying to play each team at least once to take one more look at the cards to catch anything as simple as having set up the wrong player rotation (Tulsa 2000) to severely underrating a team (today's topic, Western Kentucky 1966).
Before tipping off against the Buffalo team built by Bobby Hurley and then Nate Oats, we discovered several numbers that were off for the Hilltoppers.
1. Clem Haskins, Wayne Chapman and Steve Cunningham are upgraded to the top Stamina, 44, to play all possessions in a game. In eras before minutes were tracked, we default to starters playing 37 possessions and reserves 7 possessions. However, in looking at team box scores from the tournament, it was pretty clear the three stars who were drafted professionally were playing almost the whole game.
2. Likewise, with not steals or blocked shots kept in the 1960s, we default to a point guard being 11-15 on steals and 21-22 on blocks, then shift each number one by position until we get to the center who is a 11-11 steal and 21-25 blocked shots. However, we do look ahead to NBA careers where stats were kept and made two other upgrades:
a. Haskins' steals are upgraded to the best steal range, 11-16 and to steal from anyone on the court on a 31. The NBA didn't start keeping steals as a stat until Haskins was in his 30s, and yet he continued to get steals every year in his 30s, so pretty sure he was elite when he was 10 years younger.
b. Wayne Chapman's 3-point made range is upgraded to 1-3. Chapman actually went to the ABA where they were already using the 3-point shot, and he hit some every year, so pretty sure he would have hit some from a much closer college 3-point line.
Finally Western Kentucky's rating is actually a -2 rather than a -12, the total of their Off 111 minute Def 96 minus 17 (the average great team is about 17 points better than the average team in a given season).