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Monday, March 9, 2015


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  1. Very interesting and quite relevant. What would be an interesting sidebar to this is how close to the 50-50 mark is that program with wins & losses by 2 points or fewer.

    1. Great opening comment. Before I got to you it, you already did the work and added two more updates! We think alike, as I also wanted to see the data for games decided by THREE points or less, as those can be determined by a single shot.

    2. I was thinking of doing a more detailed breakdown. 3 points, 5 points, 10 points, etc. The margin of victory/loss distribution will be interesting.

    3. The 1 basket wins/losses:

      Won/loss by 1 point: 5-4 (R 4-2, OT 1-2)
      Won/loss by 2 points: 9-9 (R 3-9, OT 6-0)
      Won/loss by 3 points: 11-7 (R 9-6, OT 2-1)

      Won or lost by a basket in regulation: 33 games, 12%.
      Including games tied at the end of regulation: 54 games, 19.7%.

    4. Correction:

      Won/loss by 1 point: 5-4 (R 4-4, OT 1-0)

  2. UM record in games decided by 1 or 2 points in regulation or ended tied and went to OT regardless of final score.

    2007-8: 0-1 (0-1 R, 0-0 OT)
    2008-9: 3-1 (0-0 R, 3-1 OT)
    2009-10: 2-3 (0-3 R, 2-0 OT)
    2010-11: 1-4 (0-3 R, 1-1 OT)
    2011-12: 5-2 (2-2 R, 3-0 OT)
    2012-13: 3-2 (1-1 R, 2-1 OT)
    2013-14: 5-2 (3-2 R, 2-0 OT)
    2014-15: 2-5 (1-1 R, 1-4 OT)

    Of 274 games listed by ESPN, 41 were decided by 2 points or fewer or went to OT (21 OT games).
    15% of games ended regulation decided by 2 or fewer points with half of those going to OT! 15%!

    What is fascinating is the 20 games decided by 1 or 2 points in regulation had a record of 7-13, but games decided in OT had a record of 14-7.

    Overall winning percentage is 60.2% (165-209).

    When regulation ends at 2 points or fewer: 51.2% (21-22).
    When regulation is decided by 1 or 2 points: 35.0% (7-13).
    OT games: 66.7% (14-7).

    1. 21 different opponents in 41 close games and UM's record:

      Wisconsin: 0-3
      Alabama: 0-1
      Arizona: 0-1
      Arkansas: 0-1
      Charlotte: 0-1
      Duke: 0-1
      N.J.I.T.: 0-1
      Indiana: 1-2
      Kansas: 1-1
      Ohio State: 1-1
      Illinois: 2-2
      Michigan St: 2-2
      Iowa: 2-1
      Northwestern: 4-2
      Creighton: 1-0
      Florida St: 1-0
      Minnesota: 1-0
      Nebraska: 1-0
      Savannah St: 1-0
      Tennessee: 1-0
      Purdue: 2-0

    2. 76 - Thanks for doing the "legwork" on this data. Tell me if you would agree with these interpretations (not saying these are the only conclusions to draw):

      #1: Since they are about 50% overall in the close games, they are not particularly "unlucky" this year to lose four out of five in OT.

      #2: Since their record against MSU overall is well below 50%, they HAVE BEEN LUCKY against MSU to split the four close games, 2-2.

      #3: Their 16-12 record in close games in the conference suggests they may have been slightly "lucky" in league play so far under Beilein.

      I know there are more conclusions to be drawn, but what do you say about these three? May I draw those conclusions based on the data?

  3. 1. Luck is such an interesting word. You used "regression to the mean" and while the data seems to indicate that kind of trend, we must stop and ponder one very important factor. Application of statistics to probabilities only applies to random events. Certainly basketball wins and losses are not random. Certainly there are a ton of factors that determine who wins and loses. The simple fact is that team was not up to the challenge of winning those OT games. Anyone saying they were unlucky is just whining. The only time luck seems to play into it is when a bad shot bounces several times and the last bounce puts it in the basket. There were not very many of those in the 41 games.

    2. Given their overall record of under 50%, they were fortunate to achieve a 2-2 split. Again, it is not luck, it is factors like who got what fouls, who was hot, was the right play called in, etc.

    3. Again, luck? See above.

    All that aside, it is not unreasonable to expect the record to level out. The same factors that played into those wins will also play in, for the opposing team, when the losses come. In that, yes, (1) they were not particularly unlucky with the OT losses, (2) they have been lucky versus MSU, and (3) they have been lucky in conference play.

    What constitutes luck? In basketball it is not just some random chance, but getting the ball to the right person, making the difficult shot when it is needed, getting a slam to change momentum at just the right moment, and a whole bunch of other things...

    Let me put it this way. Any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Any sufficiently amazing play on the hardwood is indistinguishable from luck.

    What is incredible is that in the 1-2 point regulation finishes the lost 2 of 3 but in the OT they won 2 of 3. That is really hard to not call luck (the OT wins).

    I have gone on for a bit because I needed to see this written down before I finally answered your question.

    Of course you may draw those 3 conclusions based on the data. They are as valid as any other conclusions one might draw.

    1. Typo correction:

      3rd paragraph from end should be... finishes they lost 2 or 3...

    2. Outstanding, sir. I will plan to transpose your detailed comments on this article into a follow-up article in and of itself.

      Either of us could jump forward to include the UM record in games decided by three (3) points or less, as that is my definition of a "close game". If you do that, I will include that in the follow-up, if not, I may just run through their records looking for three-point games only and add them in.

      Love your paragraph on technology and magic, outstanding!

    3. Okay, great, everything we need is here. Let me ask you one more interpretive question. Combining the OT losses and close-game losses, I add up UM as 3-7 in those games this season, four games below .500. Your summaries seem to suggest that they are basically right around .500 during the Beilein Era, at 16-17 (did I read that right?).

      If so, doesn't this additional data support the claim that UM's poor record this season in close games is, in fact, basically a "balancing-out" of what any team's record should be in super-close games, i.e., ".500"?

    4. Yes: win/loss by 1-3 points in regulation is 16-17 in the Beeline Era. Now add in those 21 OT games and the 14-7 result (30-24 is 0.5556). Or add in just hose 12 OT games decided by 1-3 points and the 9-3 record (25-20 is 0.5556). Seems it does not really match which choice is made.

      Either way, UM is still above 0.500 for games ending regulation decided by a bucket or less, so your point about the evening out is even more valid.

      There is an error in the data transcriptions. I will find it and do the update in a few hours. Basically the yearly breakdown has the 1-2 point win/loss record at 7-13 but the post that added the 3 point win/loss record shows the 1-2 point record as 7-11.

    5. Found it.

      The 1 basket wins/losses:

      Won/loss by 1 point: 5-4 (R 4-4, OT 1-0)
      Won/loss by 2 points: 9-9 (R 3-9, OT 6-0)
      Won/loss by 3 points: 11-7 (R 9-6, OT 2-1)

      Won or lost by a basket in regulation: 33 games, 12%.
      Including games tied at the end of regulation: 54 games, 19.7%.

    6. More grist for the mill and this seemingly supports your thesis very well.

      Of 274 games, 56 (20.4%) ended regulation with a 1 bucket win/loss or a tie going to OT, with a 30-26 record (0.5371).
      21 of the 56 went to OT. The games ending in regulation had a record of 16-19 (0.4571).
      10 of the 21 OT games were decided by a bucket with a 9-1 (0.9000) record. The others resulted in a 5-6 record (0.4545).

      The Beilein era nailbiters (30-26, OT 14-7):

      Wisconsin 0-4 (OT 0-2)
      Alabama 0-1
      Arizona 0-1
      Arkansas 0-1
      Charlotte 0-1
      Duke 0-1
      E. Michigan 0-1
      Kentucky 0-1
      N.J.I.T. 0-1
      Indiana 1-3 (OT 1-0)
      Kansas 1-1 (OT 1-1)
      Syracuse 1-1
      Illinois 2-2 (OT 1-1)
      Michigan St 2-2 (OT 0-1)
      Ohio State 2-2 (OT 1-0)
      Iowa 2-1 (OT 2-1)
      Northwestern 4-2 (OT 3-1)
      Clemson 1-0
      Creighton 1-0 (OT 1-0)
      Florida St 1-0 (OT 1-0)
      Harvard 1-0
      Nebraska 1-0
      Penn State 1-0
      Savannah St 1-0 (OT 1-0)
      Stanford 1-0
      Tennessee 1-0
      UCLA 1-0
      Purdue 2-0 (OT 1-0)
      Minnesota 3-0 (OT 1-0)

      1 Score OT Games (9-1):

      Wisconsin L
      Florida St W
      Kansas W
      Ohio State W
      Purdue W
      Savannah St W
      Iowa 2W
      Northwestern 2W

      In 2014, 10 of 30 games (33.3%) ended regulation with a 1 bucket win/loss or a tie going to OT, with a 3-7 record (0.3000).
      5 of the 10 went to OT. The games ending in regulation had a record of 2-3 (0.4000).
      0 of the 5 OT games were decided by a bucket. The others resulted in a 1-4 record (0.2000).

      The 2014 UM nailbiters (3-7, OT 1-4):

      Syracuse W
      NJIT L
      E. Michigan L
      Illinois W-OT
      Northwestern W
      Wisconsin L-OT
      Michigan St. L-OT
      Indiana L
      Illinois L-OT
      Northwestern L-OT

      It does seem the pendulum is swinging back after all.

  4. If you wish, I can provide each opponent with the WL record, starting with Hillsdale, Savannah St., and NJIT. Oh, and Havard, S. Dakota St., Arkansas Pine Bluff, Bryant, Coppin St., and the rest.


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