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Great Lakes Analytics in Sports Conference

Nick Elam

Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership | Ball State University

A Closer Examination of Two Specific Sudden-Death Scenarios

Under Basketball's Elam Ending

The hybrid duration format for basketball (which The Basketball Tournament renamed the Elam Ending and implemented during preliminary-round play in 2017), where the final portion of each game is played without a game clock, met each of its primary aims during its initial implementation: eliminating/alleviating deliberate fouling by the trailing defense, eliminating/alleviating stalling by the leading offense, eliminating/alleviating rushed/sloppy possessions by the trailing offense, providing greater hope for late comebacks, and providing more memorable game-ending moments. This presentation focuses on two specific sudden-death (where both teams are within three points of the target score) scenarios that could arise during Elam Ending games, discusses strategies that teams might use in these scenarios, and explores measures that leagues/events could take to further promote fairness and excitement when Elam Ending games encounter these scenarios. Attendees will learn to understand NBA/NCAA/Olympic data that illuminate the game clock's warping effect on late-game style and quality of play and participate in brainstorming modifications to further fine-tune the Elam Ending concept.

Nick Elam has a varied background in education, mathematics, and sports. Dr. Elam currently serves as assistant professor of educational leadership at Ball State University. He previously served as a school principal in Ohio while earning his Ph.D. in educational leadership, culture, and curriculum at Miami University. Before entering administration, Elam taught calculus at the high school and community college level after graduating from the University of Dayton. Nick is founder/coordinator of M-SportsFans (an official special interest group within Mensa) and grounds crew member for the Cincinnati Reds. He is the originator of the hybrid duration format for basketball, and his research and writing have been shared at various outlets, including the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

Listen to a podcast interview with Nick and GLASC director Scott Tappa

Watch a video of Nick's 2018 GLASC presentation

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