Figuring out a formula to determine the “best” basketball counties is difficult even with all the statistics we have.
For example, how much weight do we give state placings? Do we take into consideration the number of schools in a league or in a classification (they can’t all win state)? What about years when fewer trophies were awarded? Is making it to state or regionals (and not placing) worth something? And how many years do you go back?
What we came up with at www.whatcomhoops.com isn’t perfect, but it’s at least scientific rather than pure opinion.
It gives added weight to state titles and includes state trophies (without having to figure out each placing).
For those who like math, here is our formula:
(A + B) / C / D x 50 = score
A = # of state titles
B = # of state trophies (including first-place trophies)
C = # of high schools in the county
D = # of years used
Example 1: If there was only one school in a county and it won the state title 3 straight years, then the formula would be (3 + 3) / 1 / 3 x 50 and it would score a perfect 100.
Example 2: If there were 10 schools in a county and they won 1 state title and 3 other trophies (for a total of 4) in three years, then the formula would be (1 + 4) / 10 / 3 x 50 and its score would be 8.33.
If you’re wondering why it’s multiplied by 50, that’s what was needed to make 100 a perfect score. As we said earlier, this isn’t perfect. For example, the formula does not take into account the specific placings, so finishing second is worth the same as finishing sixth. It does, however, give extra credit for a state championship.
Unfortunately, there’s always human error. The editor admits that math isn’t his strongest suit. And the Wikipedia list of high schools includes many that do not even play basketball, and the editor did his best to include only those that were eligible. So the final numbers may not be exactly accurate … but they are pretty close.
You might also wonder why we used the past two years. Well, one year did not seem enough, but we didn’t want to make it a ranking of historical tradition (maybe we can do that in the future). So we picked two years, which happened to coincide with the advent of the RPI (rating percentage index) for the 2017 playoffs.
As with all the stories on www.whatcomhoops.com, these rankings are mainly for the enjoyment of the fans. You might agree or disagree with them, but we hope you’ll be glad we did them.
Jim Carberry is a former Bellingham Herald sports editor and author of several books on Whatcom County prep basketball. Follow him on Twitter @whatcomhoops and visit the Whatcom Hoops Facebook page.