Mar 18 2009

NCAA Teams Do Better When Down at Halftime?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve got a long way to go with my education on building and interpreting statistical models, so I find this post by Andrew Gelman very useful.

The post is in response to this article by Jonah Berger and Devin Pope (see discussion here). Here is a quote from Gelman’s post:

I’ll start with their data, which are 6572 NCAA basketball games where the score differential at halftime is within 10 points. Of the subset of these games with one-point gaps at halftime, the team that’s behind won 51.3% of the time. To get a standard error on this, I need to know the number of such games; let me approximate this by 6572/10=657. The s.e. is then .5/sqrt(657)=0.02. So the simple empirical estimate with +/- 1 standard error bounds is [.513 +/- .02], or [.49, .53]. Hardly conclusive evidence!

His full post also provides analysis on one the article’s graphics that he says offers insight into what is going on. Also, Gelman provides commentary on what he would do instead.

Since this post by Gelman is with respect to basketball it is very easy for someone like myself to relate to. Hopefully others out there find this useful as well.

See the full post at Andrew’s blog.


Eli Witus of Count the Basket fame has put together a handy list of discussion on this topic over at the APBRmetrics forum.

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