Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HoopUcation: Hoops Per Capita (Capitol Edition)

What is the capitol of college basketball? Is it Tobacco Road? Or, with Indiana's resurgence, is it back in the Kentuckiana triangle? As a lifelong Kentuckian, I have long argued that the most passionate region for hoops in our fair nation lay in the rolling hills of the Bluegrass State. But, "depth of passion," like "love," proves difficult to measure. Philosophical and abstract arguments abound when trying to communicate such concepts.

So, how about "Hoops Per Capita?" That is, proportionally, which states have the most DI hoops? Interestingly, neither North Carolina or Kentucky made the top ten in this measure, immediately calling into question HPC's validity in answer questions about "passion." But, from an access standpoint, one could do worse than to look to our nation's capitol to find our hoops capitol. Could this be?

The case looks better than I first thought. That said, we must begin with a caveat: the census numbers get a little tricky here, because everyone knows that metropolitan Washington, DC, has far more than 600,000 people. Nevertheless, the case should be heard. There are four DI basketball teams in a very concentrated area. Washington, DC, houses a storied Big 6 representative (Georgetown), a sometimes excellent non-Big 6 rep (George Washington), and two teams that rely on hopes of winning their conference tourney every season (American and Howard). Each team plays in a different conference. None of the four play "big time/IA/FBS" football. Further, DC is designated as a district, not a state, so it is "neutral" ground by design (unlike Tobacco Road or the Bluegrass). And, per capita, it has the most hoops by a wide margin.

Are DC folks the most passionate about hoops? Probably not. Do they have access, diversity, neutrality (hey, Kentuckians and Carolinians can drive to DC in a day!), and non-football purity in their hoops environment? Hoya, yeah, they do.

Tomorrow's question: Oh, Minnesota! Where be Thy Hoopsters?!?!?!