Chance News 115

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September 1, 2018 to ...



Some basketball forsooths?

UNC’s generous 3-point defense is a cost of its championship style
by Quintin Schwab, Tar Heel Blog, 4 September 2018

Popular sports reporting often includes dubious statistical references. The above story reports that the "[North] Carolina [Tar Heels] allowed opponents to make 357 of 940 attempts from deep for a 38.0% mark, all of which were the worst figures of any ACC team in at least the last nine years (122 individual team seasons)."

Here are two statistical passages from the post:

  • "The stat is understood in the analytics world as one of the more “fluky” sports data points — Ken Pomeroy famously declared that defending a three-point shot doesn’t matter so much as limiting attempts, and with a shot that goes in, on average, about 35% of the time, there’s a ton of variability just by the low hit percentage of the endeavor."
  • Gives a list of ACC conference teams showing, for the last nine seasons, the average number of successful 3-point shots allowed/ average number of attempts (total number of games).
1. Duke: 5.1/16.3 (331 games);
2. Virginia: 5.8/18.0 (305 games);
3. Clemson: 6.0/18.0 (294 games);
4. Louisville: 6.1/19.2 (137 games);
5. North Carolina State: 6.2/18.7 (309 games);
6. Maryland: 6.3/19.2 (168 games);
7. Georgia Tech: 6.3/18.8 (298 games);
8. Miami: 6.4/19.1 (309 games);
9. Pittsburgh: 6.6/19.3 (168 games);
10. Boston College: 6.7/18.8 (292 games);
11. Florida State: 6.9/20.4 (308 games);
12. Wake Forest: 6.9/19.9 (285 games);
13. Virginia Tech: 7.0/21.2 (298 games);
14. Notre Dame: 7.1/20.1 (178 games);
15. Syracuse: 7.4/22.8 (173 games);
16. North Carolina: 7.5/22.0 (337 games).
The blog says, "When the analysis is on a per-game basis, it really highlights how close most of the teams are. In general, an ACC team gives up between six and seven 3-point makes out of about 19 tries per contest. The outliers, or at least the poles, to avoid claiming statistical significance, are, obviously, Duke and North Carolina."

For each of these passages, what is the author trying to say? Does the statistical language support the point?

New data search tool

Eric Reyes sent this link to the Isolated Statisticians e-mail list:

Google unveils search engine for open data
by Davide Castelvecchi, Nature News, 5 September 2018

The Strawberry Capital of the World is the early death capital of the U.S.: lessons from a landmark dataset
by Andrew van Dam, Washington Post, 14 September 2018