And The Stat Geek Idol Winner Is …

posted in NCAA Basketball, NCAA Tournament, Stat Geek Idol

Over the past three weeks the Stat Geek Idol field has been whittled from 64

Down to 16

Down to 4

And now at last we can crown a winner! One industrious geek is about to be $1,000 richer …

The Final Four Judges

Each Final Four contestant has turned out great work through all three rounds of the contest, so we’re glad it wasn’t us handing down the ultimate decision. Instead, our Final Four judging panel was tasked with making the call:

Mark Cuban (Owner, Dallas Mavericks)
Dean Oliver (Director of Production Analytics, ESPN; Author of Basketball On Paper)
Ken Pomeroy (KenPom.com; ESPN Insider)
Jeff Ma (Author of The House Advantage; Co-Founder, Citizen Sports)

The Final Four Entries

Every judge read all four of the following entries, and submitted their votes and feedback to us:

Gregory Matthews: 4 Infographics To Prep You For The Final Four
Jeff Haley: Hurry Up Offense: How Pushing The Pace Affects Shooting And Rebounding Rates
Jordan Sperber: A Video Charter’s Guide To The Final Four
Nathan Walker: Coaches Love Assists … And Turnovers?

And The Winner Is …

Jeff Haley!

Congratulation to Jeff, who received two first place votes out of a possible four, along with one second and one third. His reward for winning is a $1,000 gift card, three Oxford-brand pocket protectors, and most importantly, worldwide fame and recognition as the very first Stat Geek Idol.

Here are a few select judges comments on Jeff’s Final Four entry:

“There are some good nuggets in here, particularly the three-point accuracy after made shots and the offensive rebounding late in the shot clock. … Contained unique content that was simple enough to appeal to a general audience. … Good data interpretation of a solid topic. … The graphs are really good!”

Jeff excelled through the entire contest, as he received the second-highest score during the initial Round of 64, and finished with the top marks in both the Sweet 16 and the Final Four.

Here are his three submissions, for anybody that missed them:

Final FourHurry Up Offense: How Pushing The Pace Affects Shooting And Rebounding Rates
Sweet SixteenCan The Kentucky Wildcats Be Beaten By The Fast Break?
Round of 64Play-By-Play Data Shows Why Wisconsin’s Defense Is So Successful

Jeff relied heavily on play-by-play data from his personal site, hoop-math.com. It’s well worth checking out for college basketball stat heads. Also, be sure to congratulate Jeff on Twitter, where he is @jeffchaley.

Stat Geek Idol Parting Thoughts

We’ve had a blast overseeing this contest, and have been thrilled to get a chance to read all the entries. All the Final Four contestants — and really, everyone who submitted their work — did a great job, and any one of them would have been a deserving winner.

The response to the contest has been great, better than we hoped for, and there seems to be a lot of interest in a Stat Geek Idol 2. We can’t make any write-it-in-stone promises at this point, but from our perspective, a second contest sounds like a great idea.

There’s been some talk of switching to a different sport next time around — maybe running SGI2 during the NFL playoffs, for example. If you’ve got an opinion on the matter, or if you have any kind of feedback whatsoever, please feel free to email us at idol@teamrankings.com, or Tweet your comments to @statgeekidol.

Once again, great job Jeff! Congratulations on winning the first Stat Geek Idol! And to the rest of the Final Four, nice work. We’ll be watching for more great stuff from all of you in the future.