Thursday, March 15, 2007

Last night featured some impressive shooting streaks, one in a college NIT game and the others in an NBA game.

In the NIT, Georgia senior Levi Stukes hit 8-of-9 on three-point attempts, as his team defeated Fresno State. The logic of how we could analyze Stukes's performance is identical to that I followed for Florida's Lee Humphrey earlier in the season. In this instance, I'll just present an abridged version for Stukes.

As should be familiar to regular visitors to this site, we need to start with a player's prior (i.e., baseline) probability of success at the given task, before the streaky performance in question. For three-point shooting, I think we can safely assign Stukes a prior probability of .400. As seen in his career statistics, other than his sophomore year when he shot .305, his other seasonal percentages from behind the arc range from .377-.415.

We then go to the trusty binomial calculator, and ask what the probability is of a long-term .400 three-point shooter hitting eight (or more) out of nine. The answer is .0038, around 4-in-1,000.

Last night's other hot shooting occurred in the showdown of the NBA's two best teams, the Phoenix Suns visiting the Dallas Mavericks. In this double-overtime thriller, won by the Suns 129-127, the torrid performances were as follows:

*Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire shot 16-of-19 from the floor.

*Dallas got some exceptional three-point shooting from Jerry Stackhouse (5-6) and Jason Terry (5-7). See the box score.

*The above-linked game article alluded to:

...the Mavs turn[ing] what had been a 16-point deficit into a 15-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

Phoenix rall[ying] by opening the fourth by making eight straight shots and 10-of-12.

And now we have NCAA tournament action starting!

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