More bogus stats: Was John Calipari full of shit?

>> Wednesday

Ok, so this is a couple days north of relevant, but a few nagging questions have been on my mind since Monday, namely:

1. What did I do with my Brewers floppy hat?
2. Do all of my friends secretly hate me?
3. Is the roach poison in my apartment slowly giving me cancer?
4. Who's that actor in that one movie, and where do I know him from?
5. Will I die alone?
...and most importantly,
6. Was Memphis actually able to hit their free throws "when they counted," as John Calipari claimed they would, or was it just random chance that they improved in the NCAA Tournament?

So far, I've concluded, 1. Check your "hat shelf," dumbass, 2. Probably, but I might be paranoid, 3. I won't live forever anyway, 4. bit part on Home Improvement!, 5. In a sense, we all do, and 6. Let's look at the numbers!

So I went to this sweet Z-Score for two proportions calculator and sought my answer.

Here's the problem: I'm not totally sure if this is the right statistical test for the situation because 11th-grade stats was a long time ago. But if it is the right test, here's what I found.

I plugged in the pre-tourney sample of 495 makes in 830 attempts (59.6%) and compared it to Memphis's free throw stats from their first five tourney games (113-161, good for 70.2%).

The result? A 1.5% chance that the improvement was a result of pure random chance and not some tangible factor, i.e. motivation.

But here's the hitch: In Game One against Doormat U., the Tigers shot a very un-Dana Barros-like 22-35 (62.85714%). And in Game Two--their closest game prior to the final--against Mississippi St., they shot a very Chris Dudley-like 15-32 (46.875%).

(And by the way, to reaffirm how awesome I am with numbers, those were mentally-generated percentages... Check me with a calculator if you dare.)

So... Giving Memphis the benefit of the doubt--i.e. that rounds one and two only require concentration from sucker teams, even when it's a close game--their games 3-5 total comes out to 76-94 (80.9%).

The result:

There's less than a 0.1% chance that the 21.3% difference between pre-tourney Memphis and games 3-5 Memphis was a fluke.

In conclusion: John Calipari was, at most 1.5% full of shit. And CDR is a worthless choker for costing me money in my office pool. And you don't care about any of this. And I still can't find my floppy hat. Where is my fucking floppy hat?


Matt 10:22 PM  

Do you mean your St. Pauli Girl hat? If so, it sitting on the chair in our living room. I don't know if you have a Brewers hat.

Paul 11:09 PM  

He still choked, and the FT's still didn't matter. They made it to the championship game without FT's being an issue. One player chokes in the clutch. CDR's missing those shots was not an example of "bad free throw shooting catching up with Memphis" but rather a good player hitting a FT slump when it mattered most.

Vinnie 12:17 PM  

Nah, I got one of those giveaway reversible floppy hats at the Salvation Army a couple years ago. I didn't bring it up this weekend because I couldn't find it. And I still can't. I bet one of you bastards took it some other time I was up there, just like you're gonna do with my St. Pauli Girl hat. People are always stealing my valuables and conspiring against me, I know it.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to insinuate that CDR missing the free throws was a matter of the odds catching up to Memphis or being "due" to miss. I was just trying to challenge the assertion that Memphis had the capacity to "turn it on" at will. As it turns out, the answer is sorta yes.

Smokey McPolitical Prisoner,  10:55 AM  

Vinnie B! I've been working on some screenplays for movies and shorts. I've finally begun digitally formalizing my cinematic "playbook" as well. Most importantly, my linguistic personification of life's arbitrariness needs your structure and coherence to achieve balance. Please email me at to discuss this further.

Anonymous,  5:36 PM  

Smokey McPolitical Prisoner you're looking for the last post on China. I've never thought I would be opposed to the release of a political prisoner but for you I make an exception. I'm totally watching the movie 8mm right now and on the scale of things that disgust me it goes 1. your post 2. the idea of snuff films 3. Nic Cage's acting and 4. your post again. Also to YCS, I go to many blogs, yours has by far the most commercial and spam posters, it's almost like you're a bunch of nonprofessional college students/young professionals, what gives???

Anonymous,  5:53 PM  

Ok, this 8mm movie is some SICK TWISTED shit, if you don't want me to continually complain about this non-sports issue say something now

Anonymous,  5:57 PM  

I'm imagining Christmas morning with my family while we open presents with egg nog and a roaring fire, this wholesome image is all that's sustaining me in this film. THIS MOVIE WAS RELEASED IN THEATERS!!!! THEATERS HAVE CHILDREN IN THEM!!! Have any of you seen this horrible movie?

Vinnie 10:11 AM  

Speechless... so very speechless.

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