Friday, June 22, 2012

Quant Facts 29-18 (6/22/12)

Quant Facts & Sport Psychology Predict the NBA Champion

Congratulations to both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder on great NBA seasons.  We look forward to years of exciting action from these teams and players.  The 2011-12 strike-shortened season had many exciting moments -- and super performances from many teams in addition to the finalists, including the Bulls, Celtics, and Spurs.

With the Miami Heat taking the 2012 NBA Championship, our "Who Will Win" blog's "quant fact" record improves to 29-18 (61.7%).  It is noteworthy that the Oklahoma City Thunder was a favorite to defeat Miami in the NBA Finals.  This is a testament to the power of "the concepts of sports psychology": championship traits (related to sport psychology) sometimes go against conventional wisdom -- but have been correct more than 60% of the time, between two fairly evenly-matched champions.

In particular, our work has shown that "big game experience" is one of the most important factors (even at the highest level!) -- and the relationship between experience and confidence can yield that elusive mental edge.  Experience, confidence, and mental toughness can have a material impact on results.

We had no official quant fact prediction in the NHL -- although some readers pointed out that if we went purely by the numbers, the quant facts would have been correct!

Carlton Chin, CFA, an MIT-trained "quant" and portfolio strategist and Dr. Jay Granat, a psychotherapist and sports psychologist, wrote "Who Will Win the Big Game? A Psychological & Mathematical Approach."  Chin is a specialist in risk management and asset allocation -- and Granat is founder of

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Greatest Runs in the NBA Playoffs

The Miami-Oklahoma series has had some great games so far.  With the 2012 NBA finals going on, ESPN published a nice article about some of the greatest runs during the NBA playoffs.  We like to rate and rank all-time great teams and players -- and with today's playoffs being so long (several rounds of seven-game series), the teams mentioned in the article rank up there with some of the greatest teams in history.

In addition, based on the level of competition -- and the stars in today's game, Miami and Oklahoma City are no slouches (in the all-time great teams lists)!  Miami had to overcome Boston & Indiana, while OKC had to defeat the Spurs and Lakers -- just to reach this year's finals.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 NBA Finals (NY Times)

Our "Who Will Win" analysis was published in the NY Times.  Here's an excerpt:

Big Game Experience: Over the past 22 years, the team with more finals appearances over the previous three years has won 11 of 14 finals series (78.6 percent) in which one team had more experience than the other. This factor favors the Miami Heat, who are in their second straight N.B.A. finals.

Error Control: In baseball, fielding percentage during the regular season is correlated to winning the World Series. Similarly, in professional basketball, the team with fewer turnovers during the regular season has won 72.7 percent of the N.B.A. finals (16-6) over the past 22 years. This factor favors Miami (1,002 turnovers) over Oklahoma City (1,079 turnovers).

Over all: The championship factors favor the Heat, 3-2. Indeed, several of the strongest factors, like big-game experience and error control, predict that James will come away with his first championship with Miami. 

Miami is our "book blog's" official "quant fact" prediction.

Read more here: