Postcard: Pasadena

At Caltech, basketball is the dismal science: the team hasn't won a league game since 1985. Air balls and astrophysics with the country's worst college hoops team

Kevin Scanlon for TIME

Caltech's coach rallies his team at halftime during a recent game. The beavers lost. Again

An applied-math major, Travis Haussler knows plenty about probability. But when asked to explain how the universe could allow Caltech, the college basketball team on which he plays, to lose 273 straight league games since 1985, Haussler is stumped. The Beavers--nature's engineers--had just dropped another heartbreaker, an overtime defeat to the University of La Verne, 80-74. Playing on its home court in Pasadena, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech's full name) had a 9-point lead in the first half. Yet the Beavers kept the most infamous streak in college hoops alive. "One little rebound, one little loose ball--if one part of...

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