This Month in Research Oct 2010

This Month in Research Oct 2010

1. Who Deserved the 2008-2009 Belgian Football Champion Title? A Semiparametric Answer

Belgian Champion should have been the team which had ended the season on top of the ranking, but a very unlikely event happened: the first two teams, Sporting Anderlecht and Standard Liege, completed the season with exactly the same number of points (77) and the same number of victories (24). Although the goal difference was in favor of Anderlecht, an extraordinary playoff match was hastily organized to decide the championship, and Standard ended up winning. That dramatic denouement sustained the discussions among the large football-lover part of the Belgian population and opens the interrogation: which team was really the best?

2. A Closer Look at the Relative Age Effect in the National Hockey League

At young ages, a few extra months of development can make a big difference in size, strength, and athletic ability. A child who turns 5 years old in January will be nearly 20% older by the time a child born in December has their 5th birthday. In many sports, including hockey, children born in the early months of the calendar year get noticed by their coaches because of the superiority they demonstrate due to their age advantage. As a result, boys born early in the year are more likely to reach the professional ranks of the National Hockey League (NHL).

3. Structural Analysis of Action and Time in Sports: Judo

Judo is an intermittent sport. As such, it is important to characterize the actions involved in combat so that training may be structured in such a way as to simulate competitive demands. However, to do so, an objective notational analysis system is necessary. The aim of the present study was to design a computer program that would aid in the analysis of time structure of specific actions during judo combat and test its inter-evaluator and intra-evaluator reliability.

4. Predicting team rankings in basketball: The questionable use of on-court performance statistics

Statistics on on-court performances (e.g. free-throw shots, 2-point shots, defensive and offensive rebounds, and assists) of basketball players during actual games are typically used by basketball coaches and sport journalists not only to assess the game performance of individual players and the entire team, but also to predict future success (i.e. the final rankings of the team). The purpose of this correlational study was to examine the relationships between 12 basketball on-court performance variables and the final rankings of professional basketball teams, using information gathered from seven consecutive seasons and controlling for multicollinearity.

5. Objective Method for Determining the Most Valuable Player in Major League Baseball

The sportswriters who select the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young award winners for Major League Baseball do not use any mandated criteria to make their selections and as a result, many observers feel they do not select the most appropriate players. In this paper, we introduce an objective criterion for selecting the MVP and Cy Young award winners. We extended the Markov Chain model developed by Bukiet et al. (1997) to include more realistic aspects of baseball, improving its authenticity.

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