Friday, February 10, 2017

States by Sport

Off the top of my head, I know my home state of North Carolina is definitely a basketball state – just like Indiana and Kentucky and Kansas. Are there any others though? Was I correct in those assumptions?

Same thing with football. Alabama and Florida, right? Probably some Midwestern states as well – Ohio, Michigan … Am I missing anybody? Texas perhaps?

And as for my favorite sport, baseball, I know it’s all concentrated in sunny climes – California, the Southwest, the Deep  South … Any others? Any surprises?


For each sport, I:
  • Counted up how many championships each state accounted for (or, for football,  #1 rankings)
  • Placed a marker on a map of the US with its size reflective of how many championships that state had won

  • For football, I did rankings for years before the FBS.  And I only did that since 1936, the year the AP rankings started. Otherwise, there’d be a lot of CT (Yale), MA (Harvard), and NJ (Princeton) in there. Yup, the Ivy League dominated the early years of college football. Hard to believe, right?
  • For basketball, I’m including the NIT champion for those days when the NIT was more prestigious.


  • I was definitely right about AL and FL.
  • But what the heck is going on with Indiana? I thought that was a basketball state. Oh, Notre Dame. Never mind.
  • I would have thought TX and OK might have been reversed in size. Turns out the Sooners were quite the powerhouse back in the ‘50s.
  • Little surprised GA has only the 1 championship.
  • Also surprised that Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania didn’t win more.


  • Well, I was certainly correct about NC and KY
  • But how about California?  Dang! Forgot all about John Wooden and UCLA.  10 championships in 12 years. Whew!
  • Little surprised Indiana and Kansas haven’t won more. Unlike NC and KY, which have multiple teams that have won titles, for Indiana and Kansas, it’s just the Hoosiers and Jayhawks. That probably explains it.
  • You’re probably wondering about 2 states here, Wyoming and Massachusetts. Sure enough, Wyoming won it in 1943 and Holy Cross in 1947. Wyoming’s an interesting story in that their title probably can be traced solely to native son Ken Sailors, inventor of the jump shot.


  • Pretty much got this one, but I am surprised how dominant CA was.
  • I see the upper South and lower Midwest also have some representation.
  • But what the heck is going on with Minnesota though? Turns out the Badgers won 3 national championships, between the years of 1955 and 1964. And that is very likely solely a function of having Dick Siebert as their coach, one of the best college coaches ever. Not sure how he ended up in the cold, cold north land though.
  • And how about Mass? Once again, it’s Holy Cross. And once again, it was a long time ago – back in 1952, to be exact.

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