Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Effect of Overtime Games

Notre Dame just played an OT game against DePaul, just four days after a marathon 4 OT game against Louisville, and their 3rd OT in the last five games.  This prompted the question of whether playing OT games "tires out" teams and affects their performance in subsequent games.

There are various ways you might look at this question, but an easy one is to look at scoring averages for teams after they play an OT game and see if they differ significantly from the scoring average when they haven't just played an OT game.  Ignoring neutral court games, I looked at how many points home teams scored and gave up for both cases:

No OTAfter OT
Home Score70.370.2
Away Score65.366

As you can see, there's a mild effect, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, which totals to about 1 point difference in MOV.  There are about 1200 games in my database that meet the "home team's last game went to OT" criteria, so this isn't a huge sample.

For what it's worth, since 2009 there have been 11 Tournament games where the home team's previous game went to OT.  In those games, the home team averaged 69.5 points and gave up 65.5 points.

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