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The Wisdom of Crowds Returns

We Enlist the Crowds to Get a Pulse on the Upcoming Season

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Are you ready for some basketball? With three weeks to go before the Cats’ opening game on November 9, it is clearly time to broaden the scope of our daily deliberations beyond football.

Some of you will remember our discussion last season of the 2009 best selling book, The Wisdom of Crowds, in which author 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 three 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 ‘Nova’s two top scorers from last season -- Maalik Wayns (17.6 ppg) and Dominic Cheek (12.5 ppg) -- we will ponder how the Cats will replace the whopping 43% of last year’s offense generated by those two players. We’ll figure it out, player by player, over days leading up to the Cats' opening game. We will get started by predicting how many points per game the team will score.

Unlike last year, we have no early intelligence on the team's offensive capabilities from watching a summer tour abroad. Further complicating this year’s task is the arrival of three scholarship freshman who are expected to play important roles (Ryan Arcidiacono, Mislav Brzoja, Daniel Ochefu) and four sophomores who should each see a significant increase in minutes (Darrun Hilliard, Ty Johnson, JayVaughn Pinkston, Achraf Yacoubou).

A good starting point may be ‘Nova’s PPG in recent seasons. The table below provides team PPG stats since 2004. Team PPG 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 73.0 74.2 72.5 72.8 76.8 81.8 72.2 70.8 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.