5 minutes of free basketball

I'm obsessed with overtime basketball. Two teams battle to a tie over 40 minutes, so just rack up another 5:00 on the clock and lets go. The players are tired. Their legs aren't what they were an hour ago. Some might be fouled out. This is what makes overtime so great. All those meaningless phrases that announcers like to throw around – "who wants it more?!" – actually mean something in overtime. Yes, all the hard-to-describe nuances of lucky bounces and quarter inch misses still apply, but in OT players have to dig down and push themselves further than they're used to being pushed.

With that in mind, Saturdays of late have been gold. In the first two months of the season the most overtime games there were on any given day was seven (Friday, November 16th). Since then, the past seven Saturdays have averaged 9.4 overtime games. So much free basketball.

All told this season there have been 263 overtime games. All but one involved two Division I teams (Radford vs Cincinnati Christian). And most teams have been in at least one overtime game. At this point it's almost as likely to have played in three or more as it is to have played in zero.

78 teams have yet to play an overtime game. 77 have played in two, and 73 have played in three or more.

The free basketball winner is Wagner. This is Bashir Mason's first season at the helm, and he kicked off his coaching career with an overtime loss to Delaware State. He's played a total of six OT games now, and is 4-2. Richmond (4-0) and Connecticut (4-1) join Wagner as the leader in overtime wins.

Wagner – the only team in the nation with six overtime games – doesn't lead the nation in overtime periods though. That honor goes to Notre Dame, largely on the back of their 5 OT game vs Louisville. The Domers are 3-1 in overtime, and have played a total of eight periods. So they've played an entire extra game.

Iona has played seven overtime periods, and eight teams have played six. Iona is also one of the overtime losers, being one of three schools to have lost four times in OT (1-4). Austin Peay joins them at 1-4, and Drexel is winless in four attempts.

All told there have been 1,595 minutes of free basketball this year. That's 39.9 free games – assuming none went to overtime of course.