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Ivy League Weekly Roundup: Down the Stretch

Inside this week: Penn is officially back (if it wasn’t already), one playoff race heats up, and another ends prematurely. Don’t miss our weekend coverage of Columbia’s big, whistle-filled victory over Brown, and Yale clinching a top-four finish (a scheduled post for every spring until the end of time). Continue reading

LIU Brooklyn 68, Fordham 81: Three Thoughts

On a cool late autumn, Monday evening in the Bronx, LIU Brooklyn and Fordham matched up in a battle of 0-1 teams looking for that first early season victory. LIU Brooklyn was coming off their high-scoring 102-96 loss to Tulane on Friday night while Fordham lost a one-point heartbreaker at home to Miami (OH) that same night.

It was a different story for both teams Monday night as Fordham got up ahead 14-4 to start the game and shot the ball extremely well while frustrating LIU on the offensive end and essentially cruised to an 81-68 wire-to-wire victory over the Blackbirds to go to 1-1 while dropping LIU to 0-2 on the young season. Continue reading

You Can Take The Players Out Of New York City, But…

Some time ago, my friend Martin Kessler came to me with what he called a “crazy theory”: Pickup games in New York City are notoriously rough, featuring physical drives and slick dribbling rather than outside shooting. (At certain courts, the three-point line is even disregarded, and scoring is kept with ones only.) What if, he wondered, that permanently affects basketball skills? Are NYC-born players more likely to be bad shooters, due to the style they grew up playing?

Martin works for WBUR’s Only A Game, and this weekend he aired his story about the Big Apple playing style. Along with anecdotes from Sundiata Gaines and pickup lifers, he asked me to run the numbers on how they play at higher levels. And I found that his crazy theory wasn’t so crazy: New Yorkers indeed shoot worse and take fewer threes, and they earn more free throws instead. The differences aren’t huge, but they are consistent across the NBA and NCAA. Continue reading

The Long Arc of Home-Court Advantage

In his debut column for The Fieldhouse this month, Ken Pomeroy wrote:

Teams are protecting their home court less and less these days. In conference games last season, home teams won 59.0 percent of the time. That continues a trend that has existed for at least the last 15 seasons. And I can only say ‘at least’ because I am unaware of a detailed study that goes back further. However, it’s highly likely that last season was the worst year for home teams in the history of the game.

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