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Quantum Hoops Has Balls And Brains
By Ayo! Scott
June 24, 2008

In the game of life, Ayo! Scott has never taken an L, so he can’t really fathom taking 240 losses. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen—to someone else. Quantum Hoops, a tremendous documentary that comes out on DVD today, follows the bookish 2006 California Institute of Technology basketball team as it attempts to break a streak of more than 240 consecutive losses in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (that’s 21 winless years).

Director Rick Greenwald and narrator David Duchovny take viewers way back to Caltech’s early years, when the Beavers (named for “nature’s engineer”) were as athletically gifted as they were academically. They then show how the demanding academic institution, which boasts numerous Nobel prize winners among its faculty and alumni, became a joke in Division III athletics (and not a Beaver joke, mind you). Two years prior to filming, the basketball team lost games by an average margin of more than 60 points.

Between the burden of history, rigorous workloads, and the fact that basketball is a diversion for these brilliant student-athletes, there’s little reason to assume anything will change. But somehow, a team of “nerds” that fields more valedictorians than players with high school hoops experience begins to chip away at the margin of victory until eventually it’s losing legitimately competitive games. In what is an ulcer-inducing rollercoaster climax, the Beavers play their final game of the season hoping to get the elusive “W.” Whether you identify with brainiacs, love underdogs, or have simply felt the sting of losing, Quantum Hoops will make you geek out.
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