Math is hard: Devine at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

This is not a genius.

This is a dude who, when faced with a giant sculpture of a dinosaur in Chicago, figures that the important thing to do is pose like it and smilegrowl. This is a guy whose vocabulary as a youth came almost entirely out of the letters page of issues of "The Amazing Spider-Man." This is a bro who frequently has a hard enough time getting through the front of the box score, let alone following KD behind it.

This, for better or for worse, is Your Man. And I am about to dive headlong into a world of super smart people saying super smart things about how they're charting the future of sports by combining common sense with a head for maths. I'm at the 2011 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in South Boston, and I feel a little bit like I'm 16 again and about to walk into a calculus quiz for which I forgot to study.

The goal is to bring you guys some of what I see here (thus far: tote bags, T-shirts, a media room and a lot of coffee!), share the kind of fun things that you might not get to see or hear at home, crack some jokes and, if I get lucky, connect some dots that help you, me and everyone we know get a better handle on how advanced statistics, analysis and modeling can teach us more about the games we all love. I do not plan to use any pivot tables, unless they are explicitly necessary to explain why Kevin McHale's footwork was so good on the block.

You can catch the Sloan happenings by checking out the conference's webcast, and you can follow my journey into the center of the sports geek universe on Twitter. I haven't seen any dinosaurs here yet -- they'd kind of clash with that whole "future" theme -- but I look forward to providing you with at least a couple of smilegrowls.

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