Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

It's been a while since the Taste has been updated, but that doesn't mean work has stopped. This weekend in particular has been a great one as I spent the last two days at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Here were some of the highlights:

-Jeff Van Gundy bashing T-Mac's effort. This surprised me, but both he and Daryl Morey said he was talented far beyond what he achieved. JVG was also brutally honest on Bonzi Wells' body type (Fat).
-Injury Analytics brought out a prediction that we would be growing ACLs within 5 years. There are also 3 movements in basketball that can cause injuries, but those movements weren't revealed.
-Brian Skinner's presentation on the optimal strategies for underdogs was spectacular, and his work from last year sounds very interesting too. Don't be surprised if it works into a post in the future sometime.
-Eric Mangini's approach to analytics: deny deny deny. They might just be too stubborn to adjust, but football appears to have the farthest to travel among major sports statistics (even soccer and hockey).
-Mark Cuban likes to talk, but he does it well. Basketball is really pushing the boundaries of data gathering now, with STATS motion capture technology leading the way.
-Referee Analytics is pushing to make games fairer, which could lead to smaller home court advantages. About time says a David-Stern-threatened Mark Cuban.
-Baseball Analytics has taken hold at the major league level, and the frontier is now small major league benefits and minor league scouting. At least, that's the frontier they'll tell us about.
-Hockey is a little behind the game (shouldn't adjusted plus minus be widely available?) but they do show a commitment to improving, with 4 of 5 panelists being high ranking team executives. Brian Burke, a conference hit, also sat in the audience.
-Peter Keating flashed through a bunch of really interesting numbers, including questioning why the Cleveland Browns blitzed so much. Wish Mangini was there to deny it.
-Jonathan Kraft thinks wireless access throughout the stadium is the future, but Cuban is skeptical of how easy it will be.

All in all, it was a great conference, from the panels to the research papers, to the booths, even learning from the other participants. I hope to be lucky enough to return next year.
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1 comment:

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