It’s rare that I post e-mails in here anymore, mainly because most of the mail I get sucks. So I present this to you both as a thought-provoking piece and as a model for how to converse with me. Please address me as “Mr. Pomeroy” and keep it brief with something insightful for the subject matter. My time is valuable. Be sure to say how awesome I am, too. Also, use paragraphs and punctuation. Sign your work. Be proud of it.

The author, Chris, references one of the first posts I made on the blog, which wasn’t a very good post. But that was before I had even read Basketball on Paper.

As someone who has grown weary of the overuse of free throw shooting as a reason games are won and lost, I can sympathize with Chris’s reaction to old-Ken’s thoughts. But no more! New-Ken endorses the critical thinking behind this e-mail. And since there’s a non-zero chance of a rematch of the ‘03 title game occurring this season, it’s somewhat topical. Anyhow, I’ll let Chris take it away…

Mr. Pomeroy,

Huge, huge fan of your wesbite.  I have a blast from the past for you tonight.

Re-watched Syracuse-Kansas 2003 title game tonight. Reminded me of your old blog post, “Did Kansas choke?”

As a Syracuse fan, the idea that Kansas choked always bugged me. Not only does it feels like a swipe at the legitimacy Syracuse’s title, but the numbers don’t hold up. Surprising though it may be, Kansas was actually more efficient from the free throw line than Syracuse that night.  Take a look at the play-by-play and box score here:

Kansas went 12-30 from the line, and missed the front end of 2 one-and-ones. Effectively, that is 12-32.  However, Kansas also scored 6 points via offensive rebounds on their missed free throws.  So, effectively, Kansas produced 18 points from 32 free throw attempts.

Syracuse went 10-17 from the line.  They also missed the front end of 1 one-and-one, and scored zero points from offensive rebounds on missed free throws.  So, effectively, Syracuse produced 10 points from 18 free throw attempts.

Kansas: 18-32 for an efficiency rate of 0.5625 per free throw
Syracuse: 10-18 for an efficiency rate of 0.5556 per free throw

Thus, Kansas was actually slightly more efficient in terms of effective points per free throw attempt than Syracuse.

The 2003 national title game was actually won and lost at the three-point line, not the free throw line.  Syracuse shot 11-18 beyond the arc, while Kansas went only 4-20.  Whether or not you consider that to be luck might be another matter.  However, as a Syracuse fan and a number cruncher, I feel a lot more comfortable discussing Syracuse’s timely three-point shooting than the illusion of Kansas choking from the line.

Keep up the great work. Thanks for reading my email.

Chris Bowers