Monday, March 26, 2007

Following the February 10, 2007 men's basketball game between Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, I introduced a new type of graph or chart to depict hot and cold shooting stretches at a glance. Within my system, the time of game, general distance (dunk/layup, longer two-point attempt, or three-point attempt), and hit/miss status of all of a team's shots can be easily grasped (only one team is depicted, and free throw attempts are not shown).

Now, whenever I see a game in which the same team goes through what seem to be pronounced hot and cold stretches, I consider plotting its shooting outcomes in my new format.

The Tennessee men's shots in an NCAA Sweet Sixteen game against Ohio State last Thursday night seem like another excellent collection to graph (game article). It was torrid shooting that allowed the Volunteers to take a 20-point just before halftime (17 at the intermission). But then some disastrous Tennessee shooting in the second half allowed the Buckeyes not only to chip away at the lead, but actually tie and pass the Vols; OSU led 72-68 with about 7 minutes remaining in the game and seemed to be taking control. The game's twists and turns were not yet complete, however, as Tennessee found its three-point groove again. The game was extremely tight the rest of the way, ending in an 85-84 Buckeye win.

Tennessee's shooting for the entire game is depicted in the graph below. I think the Vols' hot and cold periods clearly stand out, thus readily conveying the flavor of the contest from the Tennessee offensive perspective.

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