First bracketology of the year! New S-Curves weekly for the next few weeks, and then we’ll ramp it up as we get closer to Selection Sunday. Feel free to ask any questions!
Connor Groel is a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School. He is the editor of the Top Level Sports publication on Medium and host of the Slept On Sports podcast. His debut collection is available on Amazon.
Welcome! This page was designed to allow me to introduce myself, as well as to provide a home base for work that I am especially proud of and that I feel best conveys my interests and writing styles. It is divided into sections and will be updated as necessary over time.
I’m a 21-year-old writer, podcaster, and content creator from The Woodlands, Texas, currently pursuing a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University with a specialization in sports media. In May 2020, I graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management.
I’ve been writing on the internet since 2014, focusing mostly on sports content. My work is a blend of long-form creative storytelling, editorial-style issue analysis and data-driven research pieces. I enjoy thinking about the philosophy of sports, how to optimize sports from a structural perspective, and what sports might look like in the future. …
**stats correct through games played on Dec. 26**
Following a season-opening win against Morehead State on Nov. 25, Kentucky coach John Calipari warned of his team’s difficult upcoming schedule, saying, “Instead of being tested for corona, I should have been tested for drugs or something.”
More than a month later, Kentucky is still waiting on their second victory.
After dropping their last game of the calendar year to Lousiville on Saturday, the Wildcats will enter 2021 and SEC play with just a 1–6 record, the team’s worst seven-game start in over a century.
Following that most recent defeat, Calipari criticized himself for the “stupidest schedule” he had ever assembled, one which didn’t include enough winnable games where the team could build confidence. …
**stats correct through games played on Dec. 12**
In NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball, a team has never received an at-large bid to March Madness without a winning record. In fact, this year marks 20 seasons since the last time an at-large team was fewer than four games above .500.
We’re pretty sure the humans are dead. All communication has ceased. It’s now been decades since they sent anyone new in, and just as long since our last news and media updates. Sure, there have been delays before, but nothing on this kind of scale.
There’s no way for us to know what’s going on — or, if our suspicions are correct, what happened. The most recent imports spoke of heightened tensions and the possibility of war — something the uploaders had conveniently neglected to mention. Naturally, the threat of conflict was nothing out of the ordinary. Humans will act as they do. But perhaps their luck had finally run out. After all, how many times can one species successfully tempt fate? …
It happens without fail, no matter what level of football you’re watching. It is an unspoken tradition, and it is inevitable. As long as there’s a pileup fighting over possession of a fumble, you will see it every single time.
Like clockwork, at least one player (and often several) will temporarily assume the role of an official, authoritatively pointing their finger towards their team’s end zone with the omniscience of a higher power, signaling that their team has recovered the ball.
It’s a silly, meaningless gesture that lasts for no longer than a few seconds, and I love it.
There are so many amazing aspects to the finger point, not the least of which is the paradoxical nature of the activity. If a loose ball is cleanly scooped up by either team, players will not always point. After all, there is no need for bold hand motions to reinforce what is obvious. The finger point is only guaranteed when it is not immediately clear who the ball belongs to — as if, when the game is suspended in a state of limbo, a secret power is activated which allows those not fighting over the almighty spheroid to have a say in determining whose arms it ultimately rests in. …
This week’s Slept On Sports recording session went long, so I divided it into two episodes.
Episode 2A features stories from Shaaz Peerani, Mack Liederman, and Brandon Schaff, while Episode 2B includes stories from myself, Brandon Rudy, Mike Tyrrell, and Brevin Fleischer. Those links will take you to YouTube, but the podcast should be available on the major platforms.
If you enjoy the podcast, subscribe, rate, and leave a review!
Connor Groel is a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School who holds a Bachelor’s degree in sport management from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the editor of the Top Level Sports publication on Medium and host of the Slept On Sports podcast. You can follow Connor on Medium, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, check out his book, and view his archives at toplevelsports.net.
I’m thrilled to announce that the first episode of my new podcast, Slept On Sports, is now live! Join me and other Medill students as we dive into the lesser-known stories in sports history — stories you could say have been Slept On. New episodes are currently scheduled to come out on Mondays.
Slept On Sports is available on most podcast platforms. I’ve linked to Apple Podcasts below.
I hope you enjoy it!
Connor Groel is a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School who holds a Bachelor’s degree in sport management from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the editor of the Top Level Sports publication on Medium and host of the Slept On Sports podcast. …
Last week, I published a piece examining the changes in sportswriting over time and offering my take on what types of sports articles we need more of. I began my analysis by discussing “A Sense of Where You Are”, a 1965 New Yorker profile of Bill Bradley written by John McPhee.
As a bit of an addendum, I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from that profile.
“His first afternoon at Lawrenceville, he began by shooting fourteen-foot jump shots from the right side. He got off to a bad start, and he kept missing them. Six in a row hit the back rim of the basket and bounced out. He stopped, looking discomfited, and seemed to be making an adjustment in his mind. Then he went up for another jump shot from the same spot and hit it cleanly. Four more shots went in without a miss, and then he paused and said, “You want to know something? That basket is about an inch and a half low.” Some weeks later, I went back to Lawrenceville with a steel tape, borrowed a stepladder, and measured the height of the basket. …
“When you have played basketball for a while, you don’t need to look at the basket when you are in close like this,” he said, throwing it over his shoulder again and right through the hoop. “You develop a sense of where you are.”
Those are the words of Bill Bradley, the subject of “A Sense of Where You Are”, a 1965 New Yorker profile written by John McPhee and later expanded into a book of the same name.
McPhee writes of the Princeton forward and Rhodes scholar who would later win two NBA championships with the New York Knicks and serve three terms as a U.S. …