At Caltech, the most eggheaded college in America, they love numbers the way moles love dirt, so here goes:
Number of Nobel Prize winners on the faculty: 5.
Number of players on the basketball team who had a perfect SAT score: 2.
Years since the hoops team won an NCAA game: 12.
Forget that. It's been 21 years since Caltech, a Division III school in Pasadena, won a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game. Wouldn't you think just once a ball would bounce off a pocket protector and in for a win?
"We think too much," says Roy Dow, the Beavers' coach.
That's true. Every player on the team can tell you the optimum launch angle, parabola and velocity of a three-pointer. They just can't make one.
Not that Caltech doesn't have a rich athletic tradition. During halftime of the 1961 Rose Bowl thousands of kids in the Washington student section were duped into holding up flip cards that they thought would spell out HUSKIES but instead spelled CALTECH. At the 1984 Rose Bowl, Caltech students hacked into the scoreboard by remote and changed it to read Caltech 38, MIT 9. There is a T-shirt you can buy in the university bookstore that reads CALTECH FOOTBALL UNDEFEATED SINCE�1993. Possibly because Caltech hasn't had a football team since 1993.
But winning games instead of mocking them? They'll find the 10th planet before that happens. (Oops! A Caltech professor just did that.)
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get decent basketball players into a school this hard?
"I search all around the country, trying to find a few good players who could get in here," says Dow, who has eight high school valedictorians on his squad, "but as soon as I hear they've gotten a B, it's, 'See ya!'"
Only six guys on his roster even played varsity ball in high school. Nobody on the team got an offer to play from any other college. None has dunked in his Caltech career.