The Cradle of Candidate Paladins | Ben Cunningham

The Cradle of Candidate Paladins

Written by Ben Cunningham · on March 15, 2016

It’s spring break in Iowa City, but things aren’t any less collegiate around here — March Madness play-ins kick off in just under an hour and I’m pulling out all the stops for feckless sports analytics. From irresponsible win margin regressions to lousy Kaggle classifier entries, I’ve done my best to kill as much time as possible before buckets start dropping. All the same, I did manage to investigate a few amusing basketball questions I’ve been bouncing around for awhile.

Every couple months I find myself wondering out loud with friends, “Is Iowa an elite state for basketball recruiting?” Granted it’s light years from a Sabermetrics takedown of geographic scouting, the data I scraped together for the map below takes a look at one possible answer. Polygons are shaded on the ratio of hometown athletes at this year’s tournament to the state’s total population, pinned down by schools invited to the Big Dance.

Though I’m not optimistic about our chances at a title run, I’ll chalk this one up as a win for the Hawkeye State.

## National Populaton Per Player: 344,390
##             State Players Population Per Player
## 1            Iowa      23               135,092
## 2         Indiana      41               160,899
## 3    South Dakota       5               170,635
## 4        Delaware       5               187,123
## 5  North Carolina      52               191,230
## 6       Wisconsin      29               198,537
## 7        Maryland      30               199,214
## 8         Montana       5               204,716
## 9      New Jersey      40               223,454
## 10         Kansas      12               242,002
## 11      Louisiana      19               244,720
## 12       Kentucky      17               259,615
## 13       Illinois      47               274,055
## 14       Virginia      29               287,113
## 15          Texas      90               299,522
## 16        Georgia      33               305,980
## 17      Tennessee      21               311,874
## 18   Pennsylvania      40               319,680
## 19    Connecticut      11               326,971
## 20           Ohio      35               331,262
## 21  New Hampshire       4               331,703
## 22       Oklahoma      11               352,550
## 23         Alaska       2               368,866
## 24  West Virginia       5               370,065
## 25       New York      52               379,735
## 26       Michigan      25               396,395
## 27         Nevada       7               405,586
## 28          Idaho       4               408,616
## 29           Utah       7               420,415
## 30       Missouri      14               433,114
## 31         Oregon       9               441,138
## 32       Colorado      12               446,321
## 33         Hawaii       3               473,187
## 34     California      80               485,031
## 35       Arkansas       6               499,013
## 36        Alabama       9               538,820
## 37      Minnesota      10               545,717
## 38  Massachusetts      12               562,117
## 39        Florida      35               568,380
## 40        Wyoming       1               584,153
## 41    Mississippi       5               596,985
## 42 South Carolina       8               604,060
## 43       Nebraska       3               627,168
## 44        Arizona       9               747,943
## 45   Rhode Island       1             1,055,173
## 46     Washington       5             1,412,306
## 47     New Mexico       1             2,085,572
## 48          Maine       0                    NA
## 49   North Dakota       0                    NA
## 50        Vermont       0                    NA