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    A bad game for WP

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, April 13, 2010


    The 2010 title game was pretty boring from a win probability perspective. So much so, that I questioned whether my code was working correctly at halftime of my live WP experiment. As it turned out, I almost picked the worst possible game for semi-live win probability to make its debut.

    It seemed unusual for a game to played entirely within an eight-point range. Duke led by no more than 6 points and Butler by no more than two for the entire game. That got me to thinking about how that stacked up with the 5700+ other games played last season.

    Theoretically, a game must have at least a three-point range (assuming there’s a made three-pointer in the game). But there’s not much room between the eight-point range seen in the title game and the theoretical minimum.

    So how many games had a smaller scoring range last…

    Read more...

    One shining e-mail

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, April 5, 2010


    This will have to stand as representative of the many e-mails that my computer received in February and March from people claiming their eyes were soooo much better. A computer has to vent, sometimes, and in light of recent events, my computer finds the subject matter especially amusing.

    from Somebody
    to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    date Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 10:42 AM
    subject Skewed....

    Ken,
    I spent many years as a sportswriter…

    Read more...

    Semi-live win probabilities tonight

    I’ve created a crude graph on which I plan to plot in-game win probabilities for the title game. (It looks best in something other than Chrome.) I’ve updated my methodology so that I can plot the win probability for the beginning of every possession during the game. I’ll attempt to update the plot at each TV timeout (hence “semi-live”). It’s probably not worth much in the last 2 minutes if the game is close. We’ll see how it goes.


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    In-game win probabilities

    by Ken Pomeroy on Saturday, April 3, 2010


    Remember when Billy Packer declared the 2008 Final Four game between Kansas and North Carolina over? Billy got a bit of blowback for that, especially after UNC was able to pull within four points midway through the second half. I always felt like Billy was on safe ground with his statement. Granted, I supposed “over” taken literally means that there was no chance of the game becoming interesting. I took it to mean UNC had no chance of winning, although of course there was some small chance of winning. But just how safe was Billy’s statement?

    Previous attempts to quantify in-game win probabilities in college basketball are limited and have left me unsatisfied because none of them accounted for information known before the game starts. For instance, if Kansas and Alcorn State were tied five minutes into a game, we could come up with a better estimate than just…

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