What separates Success from Failure? A statistical analysis of Eurobasket 2013.

What were the main factors that determined the winners of Eurobasket 2013? Two companies have utilized advanced statistical analysis & data visualization to find out.

What were the main factors that determined the winners of Eurobasket 2013? Two companies have utilized advanced statistical analysis & data visualization to find out.

DANOPT (Data Analysis and Optimization) & Moor Consulting show how consistency, focus and energy affected the outcome of Eurobasket 2013 more than grandstand plays or shots at glory.

DANOPT (Data Analysis and Optimization) performed an analysis on the statistics of all the teams, to determine which affected the outcome of each game. The analysis outlined that 3 factors were the most important for winning: “Defensive Rebounds”, “Turnovers” and “2 Point Defense”. Working with Moor Consulting, DANOPT then created a Performance Index for each country based on the statistical model to compare with the real-world final positions. The images below produced by Moor Consulting show how well the Performance Index of each team fits against the results – either when examining the data from the initial Group Stages, or from the final Knock-outs:

But why is this important? Basketball is a game that generates a great deal of statistics regarding the different aspects of the game. If looking at the traditionally used statistics such as how many shots at goal were blocked, or how many successful attempts were made at goal, it is very difficult to see what differentiates each team and which factors have impacted the game – as shown in the pair of visualizations shown below by Moor Consulting:

However, the statistical analysis of DANOPT, and the identification of the key factors (“Defensive Rebounds”, “Turnovers” and “2 Point Defense”) creates a model that produces a very good fit with the real-world results – as shown in the 1st images – especially when analyzing the final teams’ performance in the knock-out stages. As these three factors all represent aspects of play that could be seen to be ‘negative’ (the equivalent of giving away free-kicks in football), the analysis shows that contrary to natural assumptions, ‘positive’ play (the equivalent of scoring goals in football) is not what drove success.

Something surprising is the performance of France, who won the tournament, but is an average team overall. Most of the teams, as shown in our visualizations, perform at the same level on average in all stages of the tournament. However, this was not the case for France. The first and second round inconsistency of the team is clearly captured by the group and overall team statistics which seem to be low. Their performance then completely changed in the final Knock-out stage, where France improved their game and went all the way through to win the title. The analysis shows France to have the highest Performance Index in the final games and rightfully won the first place in the tournament.

It must be noted that the reliability of the analysis is high. The model produced by DANOPT and Moor Consulting has an 85% fit on wins. Whilst this leaves a margin of error of 15%, it’s important to remember that difficult to quantify factors such as individual player psychology, the personality of the teams, and even pure luck will always play a role in the outcome of any game.

An example of a game that was determined by luck is the semi-final between France and Spain which was decided in overtime. Jose Calderon missed an open game winner in the final seconds of the regular time, a shot that could have changed the outcome. Instead France won in overtime and qualified to the final. Another example is individual personality, a factor at which France had the strongest candidate amongst their rivals; Tony Parker. Parker was the player that made it possible for the team to win its first European title ever. His performance and guidance in the quarter-finals and semi-finals with 27 and 32 points respectively was spectacular.

The general conclusion that comes from the analysis is that at this level the quality of the national teams, contrary to what many may think, is similar and there are very few differences between them. The factors which affect the outcome of a game at the top level are consistency, focus and energy. It seems that in most games, there were not huge differences in ability, but any mistake (turnover, loss of a defensive rebound or bad defense in the field) is immediately capitalized by the opponent.

About DANOPT & Moor Consulting

DANOPT is a London-based company specializing in the area of data analysis operating in the United Kingdom and the Greek region (Greece – Cyprus). DANOPT specializes in the broader area of data science and analytics and its mission is to provide affordable services to businesses and individuals who can’t otherwise afford the high prices set by other companies. DANOPT offers both data analysis services and training of the best quality and prices.{jathumbnail off}

Contact: [email protected]

Moor Consulting is a specialist business intelligence and quantitative market research consultancy, with clients ranging from globally recognized brands to local SME’s across private and public sectors. Working primarily in the pharmaceutical and energy sectors – but also with experience of FMCG, tourism and low carbon sectors – we pride ourselves on providing impactful data visualisations, dashboards, and reports and which aid our clients to achieve their strategic goals.

Moor Consulting was founded in 2010, with a mission to:

• help clients understand their data

• empower strategic decision making by clear representation of data

• provide advanced analysis

• apply novel thinking to analytical processes

Contact: [email protected]