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This link recently saved by orzelc on June 18, 2012
The shooting patterns for the players on the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder reveal where they are most dangerous on the court. Below, compare each player’s strengths using court maps and analysis by Kirk Goldsberry, a geography professor at Michigan State.
This link recently saved by orzelc on May 09, 2012
He was just … Greg. For instance, as we were finishing our meal, three separate groups of fans approached him and asked for autographs and pictures. Like always, he granted their requests with an annoyed expression, didn't say any more than three words to anyone, and then shook his head as they walked away.
"You're a fun-loving guy with a ton of personality," I said. "So why do you hate it so much when people approach you in public? Why don't you let your personality shine through and smile when you take pictures with fans?"
"Because I don't understand why they are so excited to meet me," Greg responded. "I'm just a person. I guess I didn't really mind it when I was at Ohio State and even right after I was drafted, but it just seems so fake now. Like, why are you bothering me at dinner for a picture when I'm nothing now?"
This link recently saved by orzelc on April 03, 2012
The paradigm is shifting under their feet, and the people running the NCAA know it. It's not just Branch. It's Joe Nocera in the New York Times. It's Frank Martin, the coach who just jumped from Kansas State to South Carolina, admitting on television that he slipped money to some of his former players. It's John Calipari (!), who's now presuming to redesign the entire infrastructure of college basketball, bringing what is now an underground economy to the surface. It's even the NCAA seriously discussing stipends, and trying to pretend that stipends are not pay for play. (I swear, the NCAA uses a dictionary from beyond the stars.) It's taken longer than it did for golf and tennis, and even longer than it took for the Olympics, but the amateur burlesque in American college sports is on its way to crashing and the only remaining question is how hard it will fall. The farce is becoming unsupportable.
This link recently saved by orzelc on March 22, 2012
Some shots are easier than other shots; that's a basic tenet of basketball. Many factors influence the probability of a field goal attempt resulting in a made basket, but one factor in particular has been mostly overlooked in basketball analysis: location. The most common shooting metric in the NBA is field goal percentage, which measures the percentage of field goal attempts that result in made baskets. Usually this metric is applied in a non-spatial way to describe how effective a given player or team is at "putting the biscuit in the basket." However, despite its ubiquity in all levels of basketball analysis, very few people have ever sought to measure and/or visualize the spatial dimensions of FG%.
The following graphic visualizes FG% in the NBA this season; it demonstrates that some shots are easier than others, and quantifies this effect. As you can see, some fascinating insights begin to emerge:
This link recently saved by orzelc on March 14, 2012
There are so many things you can count on every year that the tournament has lost almost all of its renegade charm. It's a product now. As such, it is required to be safe and reliable, the way we want all our products to be. You make peace with that, or you find another event to love. I choose to stick with this one. Therefore, here are five predictions of what will ensue over the next month. I present them, as always, For Entertainment Purposes Only.
This link recently saved by orzelc on March 14, 2012
All weekend, there was about the tournament the slightly musty smell of encroaching obsolescence. There was a time, and not so long ago, when the Big East was a spotlit thing, playing its tournament in New York, its original membership constructed from schools with long basketball traditions and large eastern media markets. It made stars, like Pearl Washington at Syracuse, and it made people like Patrick Ewing who already were stars into superstars. This year, its championship game was a contest between two teams from the Ohio River basin.
And the game itself was a rock fight. Cincinnati scored 14 points in the first half and, while Madison Square Garden was properly filled, the whole atmosphere felt like someone had lifted a Midwest state high school championship game and dropped it into an NBA arena. It was a stone dropped down a deep well.
This link recently saved by orzelc on March 13, 2012
I would always prefer that the trailing team receive an opportunity to tie the game by hitting a shot from the floor. It’s superior in every way: It doesn’t force anyone to awkwardly miss a free throw on purpose, it’s more dramatic than a bunch of guys trying to convert an offensive rebound, it entails more skill than chance, and it seems closer to the core principles of the game (i.e., making shots on offense and not creating contact on defense). This being the case, I think the NCAA (and perhaps the NBA) should consider a rule change for next season:
This link recently saved by orzelc on March 11, 2012
The annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, created in 2006, has become something like Bonnaroo for sports nerds. And if there was a breakout star at this year's gathering, held at MIT this past weekend, it may have been Kirk Goldsberry, an assistant professor of geography at Michigan State (and currently a visiting scholar at Harvard). At Sloan, Goldsberry—whose dissertation "investigated real-time traffic maps" and who has also used geography to examine "access to nutritious foods in urban areas"—considered the ways that sophisticated statistical mapping can illuminate the game of basketball, in a paper called "Court Vision: New Visual and Spatial Analytics for the NBA."
This link recently saved by orzelc on March 04, 2012
When last we left the NCAA, it was February madness, colleges were jumping conferences, suing each other, coaches were claiming rivals had cheated in recruiting — the usual nobility of college sports.
And then, in the midst of all this, the men's basketball team at Washington College of Chestertown, Md., journeyed to Pennsylvania to play Gettysburg College in a Division III Centennial Conference game.
It was senior night, and the loudest cheers went to Cory Weissman, No. 3, 5 feet 11 inches, a team captain — especially when he walked out onto the court as one of Gettysburg's starting five.
This link recently saved by orzelc on February 16, 2012