Basketball

BLUM: Analytics aren’t everything

Mar 28, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; The UCLA Bruins celebrate beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports

I love the NCAA Tournament more than any sporting event. This year’s events (women’s and men’s) have certainly delivered and been a welcome distraction back into the sporting calendar.

Although lately, the finality of the circumstance that surrounds the NCAA Tournament is often more captivating than the actual basketball, especially on the men’s side. I have joked that the best part of being one of 19 fans of the NBA in the state of Iowa is you get to actually watch games where the ball goes into the basket. (Unless you’re Oregon playing Iowa and you get a parade of dunks). This weekend’s Sweet 16 games did little to dispute the lack of accuracy notion. At the risk of sounding like an NBA elitist, check out these three-point numbers from winning teams:

Oregon State: 5-for-13 
Baylor: 3-for-19
Arkansa: 1-for-9
Houston: 7-for-26
Gonzaga: 9-for-24
Michigan: 3-for-11
UCLA: 10-for-29
USC: 10-for-17

Thank goodness for some shot making from the Conference of Champions on Sunday. For reference, the average threes made per game in all of NCAA D-1 Basketball this year was 7.2, in the NBA it is 13.1. 

It goes to show, modern analytics aren’t everything in college basketball and if you bring a defense and an ability to rebound, you still can compete deep into the tournament; it just may not be the best brand of basketball to watch.

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