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A Statistical Analysis to Improve Basketball Strategy

Walter Sun


January 1, 2005

WSUN Working Paper

Decision-making and competitive strategies in major American sports have often relied on heuristics and conventional wisdom. Recently, statistics and quantitative methods have been used in the sport of baseball to help teams improve their chances of winning. However, the use of mathematical methods to improve strategy has not been as prevalent in sports such as basketball.

In this paper, we discuss a strategy based on statistical information that improves a team's probability of winning. In particular, we claim that the expected benefit of the strategy proposed could have affected the outcome of 17.5% of the 2004 NCAA tournament games.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: basketball, strategy, statistics, probability

JEL Classification: C10, C60, C70

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Date posted: April 30, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Sun, Walter, A Statistical Analysis to Improve Basketball Strategy (January 1, 2005). WSUN Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1125986 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1125986

Contact Information

Walter Sun (Contact Author)
MIT EECS ( email )
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
LIDS ( email )
77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
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