“What if college basketball games were battles for land?”
That’s the question posed by the College Basketball Imperialism Map thread on Reddit. For those of you that haven’t found this internet gem yet, it’s the annual tracking of territorial warfare based on the outcomes of college basketball games. Brilliant.
Full disclosure, I haven’t done a ton of research into the origins of this annual endeavor, but I believe it started with college football before making its way to the hardwood last year. The rules are fairly simple:
- Every county in the country starts the season under the rule of the team located closest to them.
- If a team with land is beaten by a team without, the winning team takes all of their territory regardless of where the game is played.
- If two teams with land play each other, the winning team consolidates all the territory under their rule.
- The only exception is if a team with land loses to a non-D1 opponent, in which case they retain their territory.
In other words, it’s not a map of how good a team is. You do have to win to gain and keep your land, but you also have to be lucky enough that you play someone with land on your schedule to continue growing your empire. Otherwise the territory just gets passed around from team to team like a hot potato.
Last season, along with a National Championship, the Villanova Wildcats wound up controlling all of college basketball and dominating the territory map (see above). But this season everything starts fresh. So heading into November, here’s what the original map looked like:
The map correctly assigns Villanova to two counties right off the bat, while giving nothing to St. Joe’s. The king reigns supreme while the serfs must beg for relevance. I love it. I’ll continue to update Nova Nation anytime our territory changes, but here’s a history of this year’s campaign:
Now, onto the next chapter in Villanova’s Quest for National Dominance!
A Crushing Loss Cripples The Empire (Dec. 12th)
There is such a thing as too much confidence, and that may have been the case for the Wildcats of Villanova on this day. A small group of Quakers that hadn’t been a match for the Wildcats for many a moon, sprung a trap as Villanova marched unsuspectingly through their territory. Caught off guard the Cats fell in battle, losing both their land and their Big 5 winning streak. The loss was so terrible, that it even resulted in internal struggles for the team. They would go on to lose their only remaining shot at regaining land in the calendar year. 2018 would come to an end with the reigning Champions holding no land, and no chance of regaining it any time soon.
Like the Phoenix, We Rise! (Jan. 8th)
The brave warriors of Villanova had returned to Philadelphia, beaten and bruised. It was a new year, and with it came new hope. This was now the time of the Big East, battles in which Villanova had been successful for years. And again, the Wildcats proved their worth in the conference, quickly dispatching lesser foes to becoming the only team that had yet to suffer a conference loss. However, this success had caught the eye of the largest empire on the map, Saint John and his Red Storm army. They were coming to challenge for the Big East thrown.
But like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Wildcats of Villanova were able to vanquish this rising enemy and claim all of their territory! Overnight, Villanova’s empire had grown larger than any other in the nation. The reigning champions had returned to their rightful spot atop the throne, and this time they would not be so easily removed.
Villanova’s Quest by the Numbers
There are 27 teams from 13 conferences remaining in the quest for National Dominance.
Total Counties: 345 (1st)
Total Population: 48,573,004 (1st)
Total Square Miles: 322,261 (3rd)
Total Territories: 40 (1st)
Big East’s Campaign
Total Counties: 553 (1st)
Total Population: 67,885,339 (1st)
Total Square Miles: 461,109 (2nd)
Total Territories: 66 (1st)
A special thanks to Joey Loose, the creative genius behind all of this. We’ll keep you updated any time the map changes for Villanova, but you can always check the reddit site for national changes daily. To Victory, Nova Nation!!!