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Statistics Key To Success In Run-and-Gun Basketball 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the math-always-wins dept.
theodp writes "Two decades before Moneyball hit the Big Screen, Coach David Arseneault of tiny Grinnell College came up with a unique style of run-and-gun basketball that he called The System, the principles of which were subjected to statistical analysis in Keys to Success in a Run-and-Gun Basketball System, a paper for the 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings. Well, as they say, sometimes The System works. On Tuesday, biochem major Jack Taylor, just three games into his career as a Grinnell College basketball player, made national news when he poured in 138 points — yes, 138 points — in a 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible College. Even LeBron and Kobe were impressed. The old NCAA Division III record of 89 was set last year by Taylor's Grinnell teammate, Griffin Lentsch. Taylor's feat also bested what was deemed to be the unbeatable overall NCAA scoring record of 113 points, set by NCAA Division II performer Clarence 'Bevo' Francis of Rio Grande in 1954."
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Statistics Key To Success In Run-and-Gun Basketball

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @07:32PM (#42061513)

    This system of play is real old, it goes back to Frank Keaney's "Firehouse Gang" [nba.com] system at Rhode Island State College (now URI) in the '30s and '40s. Basically it was the ultimate fast break, five guard-size players sprinting up court after each change of possession to wear out and demoralize larger opponents. They generally got open shots and a surprising number of rebounds, even at the defensive end, because the other team was back on their heels.

    I read about it in a layman's guide to hoops (now out of print) written by Celtics' Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach about 40 years ago. Auerbach said that the system was often wildly successful in Division II, but could be defended relatively easily by the more talented teams in Division I ball.

  • "Success", my ass (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:34PM (#42061999)

    "Success", my ass - this only counts as "success" if you're not watching the utterly shit game that's produced by the technique:

    http://deadspin.com/5962514/d+iii-players-138-point+game-is-a-sham-record-and-shouldnt-be-celebrated-by-anyone

    TL;DR - it's basically turning the entire game into "give D00d X the ball no matter what". In Slashdot-friendly terms, the basketball equivalent of spawn-camping.

  • Re:There is a way... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KillDaBOB.2 (1322725) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:42PM (#42063395)

    Maybe in Div III basketball it's hard to find the right players to play this style.

    I would think it is hard to find the players to fit this type of slow-down system, but it has been used with success in Div. III. Look at University of Wisconsin-Platteville (Div. III school). They won four national championships at that level (1991, 1995, 1998, 1999) using a "slow-down" system called the Swing Offense. The coach who brought in those national championships was Bo Ryan, now the head couch at University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!), where he uses the exact same system. It works. He hasn't missed an NCAA Tournament since going to Madison, and hasn't finished lower than 4th in the Big 10 in that time. It's a slow and somewhat boring game to watch, but it's effective all the same- and it works at the lowest to highest levels of play.

    I would bet that any of the Bo Ryan coached UW-Platteville teams would have beat Grinnell had they played (I did a little research and couldn't find any box scores or even if these two teams had played each other during that time frame- it's possible, Platteville is in the southwest corner of WI and Grinnell is in Iowa, so they're close enough geographically). My research also shows that the run-and-gun system of Grinnell doesn't always come with the results they want. They rarely make the Div. III NCAA Tournament. They rarely have less than 8 losses a season. I went to a school in the same conference as Grinnell for a while. No one ever thought that they were in the upper tier of the conference, that's for sure.

  • by tubs (143128) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:04AM (#42064819)

    I know nothing about basket ball, other than it has a ball and bounces and you have to throw it through a hula hoop or something, and have to be over 7 foot to play.

    But, in all sports there are certain systems that work at certain levels of play - in soccer it's the "long ball". The theory being that most goals are scored within the penalty box, therefore the quicker you get the ball into the penalty box the more likely you are to score. One dimensional teams fair well in lower divisions where the talent pool is lower, and the system can compensate for that. An ideal candidate for this would have been John Becks teams in the early/mid 1990s, and he was so rigid that the overriding aim was to get the ball into the box that would substitute a player who passed backwards ...

    Eventually, once the successful coach moves up a division (either with promotion, or moving on to another team due to their brilliance) the "strategy" becomes less effective - with better players/coaches in opposition being better able to cope with nullifying it.

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