UVA Basketball Preview: Can History Help Predict How Good the Hoos Will Be In 2019?

By: Christian Rogers

Last year at this time, Wahoo basketball fans were nervously excited for the season, desperately hoping that this would finally be the year. The team was coming off the most devastating loss in program (and possibly NCAA) history, and many feared that another core group of studs would leave school empty-handed. This year, it’s a little different. In April, the Hoos became the first first-time champion since Florida in 2006, and they did so in a historic manner. Everyone knows how close the final three games of the tournament were, but just how crazy was the run to the championship? Per Kenpom’s minimum win probability data (i.e., the lowest chance of winning the team had at any point in the game) the Hoos had the most improbable tourney ending of the past ten years in terms of how the games played out:

Screen Shot 2019-11-06 at 9.15.58 AM.png Continue reading

Drafting a “Winner”: Does the NBA Overvalue NCAA Champions in the Draft?

By: Evan Barone

Reading Time: [rt_reading_time] minutes

In the draft, every NBA front office is searching for that edge. While there are relatively tangible attributes that all teams look at to judge a player, such as shooting ability or athletic prowess, talent evaluators often try to look beyond the numbers for an indication that a particular player is destined for greatness. This usually comes in the form of “intangibles,” a player’s overall mindset. One rationale that has been pervasive throughout the NBA community is that X player is going to be great because “he’s just a winner.”

Continue reading

Survive and Advance

By Matthew Newton

It is known that March Madness, and the subsequent bracket picking that entails, is the epitome of annual unpredictability in sports for an entire month.  It remains clear that even the most consistent and strong teams from the regular season can disintegrate and implode in an early exit.  Upsets in the first round are inevitable, but that fact is not the focus of this article.  If your team manages to escape the first round, the margin by which that victory was achieved may be more important than you think.  Merely surviving and advancing might not be enough in the long run.  Getting pushed to the limit in the first round by a low-seeded opponent could be suggestive that, contrary to what you may have been thinking all season long, this is not your year.  Continue reading

Going to Extremes: Building a Winner in the Modern NBA

By Evan Barone and Kees Van Hemmen

There’s no other way to say it: the Chicago Bulls are better off than half the league. The Phoenix Suns are better off than half the league. Even the Nets – the Brooklyn Nets – are better off than half the teams in the NBA. Let’s get a little more specific: what we mean to say is that, if a team’s goal is to win the championship, the worst thing that team can possibly be is average. This is not because winning on its own is a negative; it is because the NBA’s talent acquisition system–the draft lottery–is set up to reward teams that perform horribly. The best players on championship teams are disproportionately taken at the top end of the draft.
Continue reading

The NCAA Paying Their Athletes Doesn’t Add Up

By Will Hardin
Reading Time: [rt_reading_time] minutes

One of the most fiercely debated topics in the modern sports world is whether or not college athletes should be paid. Playing sports at one of the highest levels in the world is very time consuming, and the debate continues on whether athletes should be compensated for their performance at this level. Athletes spend countless hours practicing, training, and watching film, all on top of the demands of being a student. While these student-athletes grind away without making a penny beyond what their scholarship offers, the schools they represent are making millions of dollars off of their services. Continue reading

Assessing the True NBA Draft Value of Non-Lottery Seniors

By Michael Rochlis
Reading Time: [rt_reading_time] minutes

In the relationship between college basketball and the National Basketball Association, an interesting dynamic exists.  Often, the best college basketball players in the country are seniors—48 of the last 110 Wooden Award All American Team members from 2006 to 2016 were in their final year of eligibility—but that on-the-court success in college doesn’t typically translate to higher draft positions in the NBA draft.  In the drafts from 2006-2016, only 17.6% of all players drafted in the first round played through their senior year in college.  This difference represents a clear divide between who the best players are at the college level versus which players are seen as the most valuable upon declaring for the draft.   Continue reading