Best thing thus far of 2010-11 hoops season

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Every sports story should have a “Hype Cloud.”

And what might that be? Well, um. Hm. What if I let David Hess, the man behind The Audacity of Hoops, explain?

I thought it would be fun to (1) count how many times a player was name-dropped in various season previews, and (2) make a word cloud out of the results.  Accomplishing #1 was more difficult than I thought, at least if I wanted to do it for more than one or two teams.  So instead, I recorded the number of results found on Google News from October 17 to October 31, with a ton of assistance from Excel and URL Opener.  [I chose October 31 to avoid most exhibition game recaps, and October 17 because Google wouldn’t let me go back any further.  The player names I searched for were simply taken from ESPN.com’s team rosters.]  Then I massaged the numbers a bit (so that end of the bench players would actually be visible), popped them into Wordle, and voila.

There. Did that help? Hess made 35 of those “clouds” to prep for the 2010-11 season, then combined all 35 into one massive graphic.

The result is the coolest thing I’ve seen yet from this season. (Sorry to Luke Winn. Your power rankings are the coolest weekly feature.) I’m just sorry I missed it when Hess produced it a few weeks ago. Feast your eyes on this.

Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.