Thursday, June 6, 2013

Guest Contributor Adam White Suggests New Statistic: "Gift" Points to the Opponent

Adam White is a graduate student at Bowling Green State University. Here is his idea:

I call the statistic “gifts.” Like any worthy measure, gifts are simple to understand and to calculate, yet aspire to novel explanatory force.

Gifts are the difference between a team’s total points scored and the points they scored on kills. This reflects the number of non-kill or “unearned” points handed to them by the other team.

For example, say [Texas Tech] beats BGSU 25-21, but the Falcons outhit the Red Raiders 15-14. This entails that BGSU gave TTU 11 gifts (25-14), while TTU gave BGSU only 6 gifts (21-15).

The point is that, in this case at least, the gifts explain the TTU victory better than do the kills. (This is an exception, but not a rarity.)

“Gifts per set” is probably the best way to track and analyze the measure. Teams would have both a “gifts received” and a “gifts given” figure.

Arguably "gifts given" measures the consistency and effectiveness of a team’s all-around ball handling. A team with a high "gift received" average is likely capable of longer rallies.

These assumptions have been supported by my modest research, as the BGSU varsity team has better gift statistics than does the group of very mediocre sandlot players I measured.