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The Wisdom of Crowds Experiment

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Need a break from the Apocalypse? With less than 20 days until the basketball team's first practice, the time seems right to broaden the scope of our daily deliberations. Some of you will remember our discussion last season of the 2009 best selling book, The Wisdom of Crowds, in which James Surowiecki asserts that that a diverse group of independently-thinking individuals can make predictions better than individual experts working alone. He offers many examples, including a story about a contest at a county fair where a crowd accurately guessed the weight of an ox within ounces when their individual guesses were averaged, soundly beating out estimates of several cattle experts guessing independently.

For the past two seasons, we applied Mr. Surowiecki’s theory with considerable success to answer the most perplexing questions then facing Jay Wright as the Cats entered the new season. This year, with the departures of Corey Stokes, Corey Fisher and Antonio Pena, together we will ponder how the Cats will replace the whopping 56% of last year’s offense generated by those three players. We’ll figure it out, player by player, over days leading up to the Cats' opening exhibition game on November 8.

We will get started by predicting how many points per game the team will score. We got some early intelligence on the team's offensive capabilities during the Euro Jam tournament in August. The young Cats faced some formidable teams that featured rosters rich with NBA and European professional players. Tyrone Johnson was sidelined with a leg injury, creating depth problems at the PG position. Nevertheless, data points are data points. The Cats averaged 70.3 PPG over the three-game Euro Jam, defeating Israel 94-92 while losing to Netherlands 63-75 and Georgia 54-87. Another useful set of data points is 'Nova’s PPG in recent seasons. The table below provides team PPG stats since 2004.

Use the voting buttons, below, to predict the points per game you think the team will score this season and the comments section to tell us why.

Team PPG

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
73.0 74.2 72.5 72.8 76.8 81.8 72.2

[poll id="131"]