5 years of TrueHoop’s Stat Geek Smackdown

13 Jun

2011 NBA playoffs are in the books so it means that we know who won a championship in TrueHoop’s Stat Geek Smackdown 2011 – congratulations for Benjamin Morris! Yes, game strategy could be a useful tool.

Overall it was a very unusual and interesting year because there was All-time Best Score for one series [PHI-MIA with 6,75 where all but one participant correctly guessed winner AND number of games].
Also there were THREE series where nobody picked a winner [ATL-ORL, MEM-SA, DAL-LAL] which was more missed matchups than in previous 4 years combined!
Previously they all missed only two huge upsets: ORL-CLE in 2009 and GS-DAL in 2007.

But it was also a 5th year anniversary for this competition and I think it’s a good time for some aggregate data and comments.

Let’s start with awards aka tidbits:

All-time Best Rookie Participant Award goes to… Steve Ilardi who collected 71 points in his debut in 2008.
FYI: This year’s winner Benjamin Morris was second on that list.

All-time Worst Rookie Participant Award goes to… Henry’s Mom who collected 34 points in her debut in 2007.
FYI: Among stat experts worst debut belongs to Mike Kurylo with 37 points in 2007.

All-time Best Single-Season Score Award goes to… David Berri for 75 points in 2009. And because of that…

All-time Biggest Fall Award goes to… David Berri who collected 57 points in 2010 for a loss of 18 points.

All-time Biggest Improvement Award goes to… Mike Kurylo who followed 37 points with 72 in 2008.

Speaking of improvements…
there seems to be “sophomore surge” among the group! On average in second year participants improve by 5,9 points… while third and four year experience doesn’t make any difference [0,57 and 0,66 respectively].

The Most Predictable Year Award goes to… 2009 with an average score of 62,875 points.

The Most Unpredictable Year Award goes to… 2007 with an average score of 53,14 points.

Top6 Most Predictable Teams and Top6 Most Unpredictable Teams were:

Team Series Played Average Points Team Series Played Average Points
IND 1 6 GS 2 1,35
PHI 3 5,76 DAL 9 2,84
CHA 1 5,25 HOU 4 2,89
NY 1 5,25 POR 3 2,95
OKC 4 5,03 MEM 2 3
MIL 1 5 SAS 11 3,36

It’s easier to predict that lower seed will be destroyed by opponent… than vice versa. Who knew? ;-)

All-time Leader in Total Points Award goes to… John Hollinger with 305.
Although he was the only stat expert who participated 5 times so let’s change perspective…

All-time list in terms of Average Points

Participant Total Points Years in contest Average Pts per Year Versus Year’s Average
Justin Kubatko 138 2 69,00 11,14
Benjamin Morris 68 1 68,00 12,50
Jeff Ma 258 4 64,50 5,67
Kevin Pelton 254 4 63,50 4,67
Steve Ilardi 250 4 62,50 3,08
David Berri 246 4 61,50 4,43
John Hollinger 305 5 61,00 2,83
Matthew Stahlhut 56 1 56,00 0,50
Neil Paine 167 3 55,67 -2,71
Mike Kurylo 109 2 54,50 -3,36
Sandy Weil 49 1 49,00 -13,88
Haralabos Voulgaris 94 2 47,00 -9,13
Henry’s Mom 217 5 43,40 -14,77

[EDIT: I’ve added last column per Henry’s suggestion where I compared Points Scored in any given year to average for that particular year because some seasons were easier to predict then others…]

Well, it’s no wonder why Justin Kubatko is no longer available ;-)
Will Benjamin Morris follow his steps?
On the other hand I’m really surprised how close Haralabos Voulgaris is to Henry’s Mom.
I guess that biggest database in sports was used in a different way than predicting playoffs’ results…

And now for some notes…
even though I like this contest I can’t help myself but to propose some ideas for changes

1) Expand this Idea for other predictions.
Possible examples include regular season wins [stat experts do it anyway as an article before every season!], statistical leaders [by author’s metric of choice?] on every team, awards, all-NBA Teams etc.

2) Give a break to Henry’s Mom
I loved this gimmick in the beginning but now IMHO it’s getting old.
She should have retired in 2010 after beating one participant two years in a row ;-)
On a related note…

3) Create a second division as a control group
Bloggers, random fans, whoever. Also 8 participants every year and only champion could stay for next season.
Wouldn’t it be fun to compete against experts?
As a bonus we could relieve Henry’s mom and get a better view of how good those predictions are…

4) Reward more points for correct and unpopular picks
IMHO predicting an upset should be worth more points than sticking with the favorites.
Especially when you were the only one who saw that coming! Wouldn’t it make game more interesting because of more strategy involved and more possibilities for comebacks?

1 Comment

Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Expanding Horizons


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