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Study: Using Math Could Help You Win Basketball Games


When it comes to shot selection in the game of basketball, a players instruction from a coach, or their own intuition, may cause them to shoot for the basket. But a new study from the University of Minnesota, reveals that using mathematics could play a more successful role.

The sports and math study was published in the recent issue of the online journal PloS ONE, and lead by researcher Brian Skinner, of the University of Minnesota, and results showed that NBA players are being to conservative when there is significant time on the game clock.

Because higher percentage shots are usually taken when there is significant time on the clock, and quicker shots are typically attempted when time diminishes, players are more inclined to be overly selective early in the game, and researchers have proved this isn’t the best approach to winning.

They took into account various factors, including the perceived probability that a shot will be made, and the number of quality shot opportunities the offense will have in the future as the game progresses.

“Strategic decisions in basketball have long been made based on the intuition of the coach or players”, said Skinner, in a statement. “But as advanced quantitative analysis are increasingly applied to the game, it is becoming clear that many of the conventional, intuitive ideas for basketball strategy are misguided or suboptimal.”

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