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.

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

Sports Interviews: Let’s “Talk About” “How Big” They Are

By Adam Gilfix About three weeks ago, I put up a post on that annoying phrase so often used by the media: “talk about.”  Having broken down its prevalence using metrics on the percentage of interviews and questions that contain Talk About’s, I got some positive feedback on Twitter, including a shout-out from Grantland’s Bryan …Read More

The Combine Actually Matters, Part Three: Predicting the Draft

by Bill Lotter Yesterday, we saw that we can predict future NFL success from the combine.  We compared the prediction accuracy of our model to the implicit predictions made by the draft.  Today we ask a different question:  can we use the combine to predict the draft itself?  Given our previous model, are teams evaluating …Read More

The Combine Actually Matters, Part Two

by Bill Lotter Yesterday I made a bunch of claims about the NFL Combine.  Now it’s time to back it up.  For quantifying performance, I explained why I will be using the 3 Year Approximate Value (3YAV).  Just think of this as a crude measure of how good a player is in his first three …Read More

The NFL Combine Actually Matters

by Bill Lotter It’s a simple question.  Does the combine actually matter?  Or it is just an over-hyped meat market?  In answering these questions, there’s two ways we could look at things:  1. Does performance at the combine relate to future performance in the NFL?  2. Even if the first answer is no, does performance …Read More

NBA Trade Deadline: General Chaos, the Sixers and Suns

With so much craziness happening yesterday, we figured we’d give you a two-for-one special, featuring the record levels of trades and the epic tank job by the Sixers.  Harrison Chase:  The 2015 NBA trade deadline was the busiest trade deadline ever for the NBA. All in all, 37 players changed teams, along with 7 first …Read More

All-Time Most Pivotal Plays in a World Series Game

By Adam Gilfix Recently, my fellow HSAC contributor and friend Carlos Pena-Lobel put up an article on the most pivotal plays in Super Bowl history, using the basis of win probability added.  That got me thinking, and with pitchers and catchers reporting throughout this coming week, I figured why not look back and find the …Read More

Optimal Play Calling in the NFL: A Data-Driven Approach

By Bill Lotter In case you haven’t heard, people have been scrutinizing a recent play call by Pete Carroll.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about that.  But I thought it would be interesting to take a step back and look at play calling in general.  How should a coach go about choosing a …Read More

Borussia Dortmund: Bad or Just Unlucky?

By Brendan Kent Just last season, Borussia Dortmund placed second in the Bundesliga. The year before that, they also placed second and reached the Champions League final. And in the two seasons before that, they won the Bundesliga. This season, they’re fighting a relegation battle. Dortmund’s squad didn’t see a major overhaul prior to this …Read More