Posts Tagged ‘NCAA Tournament’

One-and done: It’s simple statistics … the outlier effect.

March 27, 2013

Oh, really?

Tom Boswell – Washington Post sportswriter wrote an obligatory “what’s up?” column yesterday.

Most of it was pretty soft, in effect, insinuating that very lower seeds have a tourney advantage because they have nothing to lose … so, they can play at full throttle.

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And, Boswell says that “exceptional coach JT3” may need to tweak his system a bit, but not too much.

Not exactly what I’d call hard hitting.

But, Boswell did raise a couple of interesting points:

John Thompson III, may have to reevaluate, tweak and adapt the teachings of his Princeton coach and mentor Pete Carril so that Georgetown teams in the future can play up to their ability in the NCAA tournament.

A methodical pace, offensive efficiency and, especially, limiting the number of possessions in a game — all smart Ivy League tricks that Carril conceived to help his team beat more talented foes — may not carry over to the sudden-death March format that’s decimated the Hoyas five times in six years.

At Princeton, Carril conceived a brilliant system that gave him the maximum chance to beat better teams outside the Ivy League and also to defeat teams of roughly equal ability within the league

Carril’s system … has functioned exceptionally well for Thompson at Georgetown in the regular season against Big East teams of roughly equal ability, when the Hoyas’ efficiency, discipline and defense have been decisive.

But there may be a weakness in the Carril method, as adapted by Thompson.

The fewer possessions in a basketball game, the more vulnerable the better team becomes to weaker teams because they have shortened the game.

By reducing the data sample, you introduce more outlier results.

I buy this part of Bowell’s argument: the NCAAs aren’t the Ivy League and a slow-motion offense is problematic against reasonably talented, and lightning fast teams .

As I posted earlier this week, it’s why the Moneyball Oakland As won in the regular season but usually got bounced early from the play-offs.

It’s simple statistics.

But, the problem is more than a few “outliers” …

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Like father like son … not

Another point that Boswell raised caught my eye:

Ironically, John Thompson Jr. had just the opposite philosophy to his son’s — end-to-end pressure defense …  plus constantly pushing for a faster tempo.

The best Hoyas teams of that era thrived in a chaos that they had created.

John Thompson Jr. believed in the fast break, the spontaneous explosion of talent.

Hmmm.

Sounds like the FCGU coach.

And, sounds much more compelling than the outliers’ argument.

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Will Georgetown fire JT3 ?

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