Zack Novak prepared for the biggest week of his basketball life with some pi.
Not coconut cream or cherry. Nope. Pi as in: the number.
For those who don't remember high school, pi is the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius. And for those like the Michigan guard, pi is a challenge.
That's because pi keeps going and going, without repeating a sequence. Most of us can recite 3.14; some can get to 3.14159. But Novak tweeted out last week (on National Pi Day, no less) that he could recite to 62 digits.
In the following tweet, he did it:
How do we know he didn't just cut and paste it? Reached by phone the following day and challenged to repeat the feat, Novak nailed it once more. (Although when he was asked to recite pi on the spot, he insisted, "I gotta get to a secluded area." We can only assume the secluded area did not have a wifi connection.)
Novak says he memorized pi just for fun, and not to help him figure out the circumference of the rim. Though fans may think pi is helping the team, as Novak led Michigan to the biggest first-round win for an 8-seed in NCAA tournament history on Friday. The "pi guy" had 14 points in the 75-45 win over Tennessee, including 4 of 6 from three-point range.
So perhaps to prepare for Duke on Sunday, Novak will be reciting pi before the game instead of memorizing the Michigan playbook. (He says pi is easier to remember than coach John Beilein's schemes.)
And even if memorizing pi has no bearing on his performance, there is another application.
"I haven't tried it with the ladies," he says. "I'll have to do that sometime."