Episode 131: Went to Elementary School and is Partially Deaf

The Overthinkers tackle the new year.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, John Perich and Jordan Stokes to ring in the new year.


→ Download Episode 131 (MP3)

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Update: The book that Perich based his basketball observations on was Stumbling on Wins, an accessible text that applies the same statistical analysis made famous by “Moneyball” to other sports – football, basketball and hockey in particular. Clicking that link will take you to the rather cheap Kindle version (and give us a little affiliate cred if you buy, ahem), though there’s also a hardback.

19 Comments on “Episode 131: Went to Elementary School and is Partially Deaf”

  1. Alex #

    Pleeeease do an overthinking it, whether it is video or all going to see it and recording a thing afterwards, of the Harlem Globe Trotters. They absolutely fascinate me.

    As a side note, if anyone asks me what my favorite basketball team is, or if there is any occasion to name a basketball team at all, I always say “the Washington Generals”.


    • Bob in San Diego #

      Living in San Diego for the past 4 years, I listen to several Chicago Sport podcasts to keep up with my teams. One show (670 the Score, Boers and Bernstein – Bernstein would fit very well into the Overthinkingit team as he overthinks sports and other things) did an entire 1/2 hour on the Globetrotters.

      Within the past couple weeks, they played in Chicago to less then 500 fans. They determined that although the lack of attendance had a little to do with economy, they feel that a majority of it had to do with the fact that a lot of the things they did a decade ago that were spectacular are now done on a regular basis in an average NBA, even college game. A lot of their draw was not only from them ‘clowning’ around on the court, but the fact that players would clear the lanes and let their athletic skills take over. Now in the NBA, people with strong athletic skills also have strong ball control/movement – so why watch a lesser version of it in the ‘Trotters. It makes sense and a lot of people were calling in to agree.

      Fun fact – they were founded in Chicago but named after Harlem to market themselves better.


  2. Chris #

    The key to basketball isn’t scoring a lot of points or high field goal percentage, it’s about efficiency. If you score a lot of points but take a ton of shots and miss a lot of them, like Monta Ellis before this season, you are inefficient and that isn’t good. However, if you just take like two or three shots a game and are shooting at 65% you don’t have much value either. Serge Ibaka is ninth in the NBA in field goal percentage, but he only averages 9.7 points per game.

    The key is to find where production meets efficiency. Not just in terms of scoring, but rebounding, passing, and defense. It’s not about turnover rate, but assist to turnover ratio. It’s about the percentage of rebounds you get from the attempts you get. It’s also about how many minutes per game you are doing this in, to a degree. That’s more in terms of efficiency than value, of course. ESPN.com’s John Hollinger has a lot of good stuff regarding player efficiency. I can’t really tie this back into actors and their role selection. I just really like sports.

    Also, Fenzel, when playing pickup basketball have you ever messed around and got a triple double?

    Lastly, I think I Love You, Man is a great movie. Honestly. I really enjoyed it. One of the best movies I’ve seen in recent years. I enjoyed it so much I bought it as a Christmas present for somebody.


    • fenzel #

      Triple doubles are easy in pickup basketball, because sometimes you play for 3 or 4 hours.

      So, over that time, my stats are usually something like 12 points, 15 assists and 50 uncontested offensive rebounds.


    • fenzel #

      Also, it sounds like I need to see I Love You Man one of these days!


  3. sarah #

    Welcome back Fenzel!!!


    • fenzel #


      Thanks, Sarah :-)


  4. Gab #

    I remember when Paul Rudd was determined to get away from the label of “The Guy From Clueless” some time ago. I certainly think he has achieved this goal by now. And I’ll say that even if I don’t like the movies he’s in, I like him in them. He brings a certain heart to all of his performances that stands out each time he’s onscreen, and I feel like he could be successful in different types of films/roles if he tried. I’d love to see him as a corrupt cop or double-agent, for example.

    Here are my two cents about the podcasts: I think the podcasts where only one or two (or even none…) know the “source material” being picked apart are gems because of the lengths to which you go in order to appear as though you know what the Hell you’re talking about- or the lengths to which you’ll ramble while making no attempts at hiding your lack of exposure or whatever. I’m a big fan of bulls***ing, and you are all masters of the art- as far as I’m concerned, you’re all Ph.D.s in it. When the topic is one you’re all “prepared” for, it is just as enjoyable, but in a different way and for different reasons. It feels more earnest, even if what is being analyzed is disliked (Avatar jumps out as an example), and it’s a brand of nerdery I (and many of my friends) can relate to and carry on with ourselves in conversation. Also, I feel like more equal participation occurs in these cases- I can only speculate as to why, but perhaps because some of you are more comfortable than others with BSing stuff you don’t know about? In any case, I suppose one could argue you have “no right” to pick apart something you haven’t seen/heard/read and should thus only stick to stuff you’re all familiar with or keep your mouth(s) shut if something you are unfamiliar with comes up; but I think that defeats the purpose of the exercise. I’ll say you’re all pretentious, but as a term of endearment and in a complimentary fashion- and what can be more pretentious than BSing something you’re actually clueless about? (I hope that didn’t come across as a jibe or offensive. Sorry!) ::end rant::

    For a listener feedback request, mine is, perhaps just as the opener, each podcaster’s current “guilty pleasure” in pop culture. I’d assume Lee would say he’s a Belieber, but I’m curious as to what the rest of you would respond with. Whether this results in a debate over what “guilty pleasure” means or if it’s even possible is your prerogative, as would be even addressing the inquiry in the first place, naturally.


    • fenzel #

      All my pleasures are guilty, except for Antiques Roadshow. That one is innocent :-)


      • Sylvia #

        Antiques Roadshow is awesome. British Antiques Roadshow is painful.


  5. cat #

    Super Pete 2010 could happen if your superpower is talking to squirrels. You can talk to them all you want. It’s understanding them if they talk back…

    Gasp! I really want Mark’s resolution to happen. This is what I immediately thought of when Wrather talked about Where the Wild Things Are. (Start at 4:50 and watch until 6:15) but the whole thing is kind of amazing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk9OExRcvsA

    Personally, I do think it’s more cohesive when you’re all familiar with the subject but the tangential ones are still very enjoyable. There’s no correlation between cohesiveness of an episode and how much I enjoy it. The best of all possible worlds contains the OTI podcast and Kristin Chenoweth in whatever forms they choose to present themselves.

    Wait, Perich, does this mean that listening to the podcast doesn’t give us a good idea of who you all are? This makes me sad. Lie to me.

    The only time I completely lost you was when you started talking about basketball.


    • lee OTI Staff #

      Note to self: try to get Kristen Chenoweth to perform at the Overthinking It Live Show.

      Or Josh Groban, for that matter. Seems like he has a good sense of humor:



        • Timothy J Swann #

          His second appearance is pretty good too, as host. He keeps trying to steal the show, and is endless self-deprecating. Along with James Blunt (recently on HIGNFY), they are people whose comedy stylings I prefer to their musical career.


  6. Timothy J Swann #

    I like pretty much each of the forms of the podcasts – but perhaps best when there’s two topics which half have seen one and the half the other (examples fail me presently), because you get enough in-depth, but then the ‘unprepared’ half can ask questions/come up with a sort of Socratic/discursive progression that goes beyond just sharing prepared thoughts.

    Maybe we need another graph – number of topics prepared/planned for and quality. I think we’d see bimodal at 0 and 2, slightly lower at 1 and then progressively lower from 3 onwards. But of course massive subjectivity bias.


  7. Johann #

    I gotta say, I like all forms of the OTI podcasts, but among the episodes I enjoyed the most were the ones when you all discussed a film (or another pop culture product) which you all had seen, but *I* hadn’t seen up until then! Examples are the Inception podcast and the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World one. Now that I have finally watched Inception, I wanna listen to your podcast again.


    • Bob in San Diego #

      I’ve listened to every one of their episodes within a week of them coming out since the third episode, save the movie podcasts. I still have the Black Swan and the Tron Legacy in the on deck circle as I want to see the movies first.


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