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Monday, May 11, 2009

More on Gladwell and underdogs

Again, reiterating my point that likely underdogs benefit from a high variance (i.e. high-risk) strategy, but that it might be inappropriate for heavy favorites. From Dean Oliver, via Basketball Prospectus:

This is very important for a coach like Kentucky’s Rick Pitino. His game plan of three pointers and pressing defense is a high variance strategy, one that an underdog should take, not a favorite. This high variance strategy is how he got his unknown Providence team to the final 4 in 1986. This is how his Kentucky team came back from a record 33 point deficit a year ago. But continuously applying this high variance strategy on a team with great talent like Kentucky is asking for an upset. Kentucky has been among the favorites to win the NCAA title two out of the past three years, only to fall earlier than expected. Again this year, they were favorites, being preseason #1. But their high variance game plan cost them last night against Massachusetts. And it will likely cost them later on this season. Despite Kentucky’s immense talent, coach Rick Pitino’s risky game plan makes the team more susceptible to upsets.

1 comment:

Perry said...

I'd call UK under the Pitino years generally heavy favorites in comparison to most other teams.