HSAC is a student-run organization at Harvard University dedicated to the quantitative analysis of sports strategy and management. This blog features the original contributions of Harvard undergraduates, graduates, faculty, and affiliates. HSAC does research for several sports-related publications and companies. Please contact us at harvardsportsanalysis@gmail.com if you have any questions or want more information.

NCAA Tournament: Which Rounds See the Biggest Improvement in Seeds?

by Henry Johnson The NCAA Tournament’s round of 16 teams is deemed sweet for good reason: it’s when the matchups heat up. Gone are the pretenders, the double digit seeds biting at the ankles of favorites, the one-round wonders and the beneficiaries of easy paths. The Sweet Sixteen is very often the first chance to see …Read More

“That was a close one!”: Margin of Victory in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64

by Tomo Lazovich The past two days of this year’s NCAA tournament have been filled with upsets, close calls, and nail biting finishes. This round of 64 has been so exciting that I began to wonder how close the games of the 2015 tournament have been relative to prior years. Thanks to the folks over …Read More

What are the Chances Your Team Knocks Off Kentucky?

by Harrison Chase Kentucky is by far the best team in the nation, and the clear favorite to win the NCAA tournament, no matter what metric you look at. Still, even being the biggest favorite in history, KenPom, one of the premier college basketball ranking sites, gives them “just” a 34% chance of winning it …Read More

HSAC’s 65 Facts: March Madness 2015

by Will Ezekowitz It is important to remember that statistically predicting the NCAA tournament, despite what FiveThirtyEight and others may tell you, is largely a fool’s errand. Most of these games are close to coin tosses anyway, and one tiny swing can change everything. For example, last year in the first round Team X was …Read More

How Does One Year’s Tournament Performance Affect the Next?

  by Kurt Bullard After finishing the 2014 season 35-1 and running the table in the conference, Wichita State earned a one-seed to the dismay of mid-major haters around the country. The Shockers drew the No. 8 Kentucky in the Round of 32, losing after a potential Fred VanVleet three-pointer clanked off the iron. Earlier …Read More

Conference Bias in the NCAA Tournament

by Kurt Bullard With the brackets now set and Harvard cementing its status as an Ivy League dynasty with four straight NCAA Tournament bids, over 40 million people will begin to fill out brackets for the chance to win bragging rights and, for those to whom that is not enough, possibly a cash prize. March …Read More

Sports Interviews: Let’s “Talk About” Who Talks the Most

by Tomo Lazovich Over the past month, my colleague Adam Gilfix has put together great analyses of sports interviews and some of the phrases that have become standard in interview questions, like “talk about…” and “how big was…”. With the great interview dataset from ASAP Sports at hand, I started thinking about a different set …Read More

The Most Boring Part of the Sports Year

By Dylan McDonough In mid-February, the weekly HSAC meeting was opened with the icebreaker: What’s your favorite underrated sport to watch? It was a funny, unusual opener. Icebreakers are typically bold predictions for important upcoming games or questions about big upcoming sporting events. That week, however, there really weren’t any big games or events to …Read More

LeBron’s Free Throw Unlikeliness

By Kurt Bullard On Sunday afternoon, LeBron James stepped up to the free-throw line down one point to the Houston Rockets with four seconds left in overtime. His first attempt clanked off the rim. The second did the same, as James Harden was able to secure the rebound and the game for the Rockets. Those …Read More

Major League Soccer and the Effect of Egalitarianism

By Brendan Kent A key feature of Major League Soccer that separates it from European leagues is the salary cap. For the 2014 season, that salary cap was $3,100,000 spread over roughly twenty players. There are, of course, several caveats including the “Designated Player” rule, which allows teams to sign up to three high profile …Read More