Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Ups and Downs in Matt Carlino's Three-Point Shooting

One of the definitions used by statisticians for a hot hand is that a player's successes cluster together sequentially, as do his or her failures. A college basketball player whose three-point shooting has been fitting this pattern lately is Brigham Young University frosh guard Matt Carlino, a transfer from UCLA. (One of our Texas Tech grad students, Tim Oblad, who did his undergraduate work at BYU, brought Carlino's stats to my attention.)

As seen in his game-by-game log, Carlino missed BYU's first 10 games this season before playing in the team's last 14 contests. He started off nicely from behind the arc, going a combined 17-of-33 (.515) in his first six games. After a 1-for-7 (.143) game January 5 at Loyola Marymount, Carlino resumed his hot three-point shooting over his next three games, hitting a combined 7-of-13 (.538).

Since then, in his last four games, Carlino appears to have lost his shooting touch, making only 2 of 21 attempted threes. It's also possible that the most recent opponents have figured out how to defend him better than did his earlier opponents. I've plotted Carlino's game-by-game shooting percentages from long distance (with opponents displayed along the horizontal axis), as shown in the following figure. (You may click on the graphic to enlarge it.)

Admittedly, we're dealing with short sequences of games. However, Carlino seems to get "stuck" either in sequences of hot shooting or of cold shooting. As a point of comparison, Creighton's Doug McDermott (whose three-point shooting I analyzed here) seems able immediately to snap back after a poor shooting night. Hence, at this stage of the season, Carlino appears to be more of a streaky shooter -- with both hot and cold spells -- than McDermott.

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