Miami v Duke

Duke becomes the first college team to implement SportVU tracking system

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SportVU is a player tracking camera system that has revolutionized the way that some data is analyzed by NBA teams.

What is SportVU?

It’s a system that records the coordinates of the players, the refs and the ball 25 times per second to spit out data on things as simple as the exact number of touches a player gets and how many potential assists he has to things as complicated as how quickly he accelerates and how fast he can change direction.

Simply put: SportVU spits out massive amounts of data that adds another layer to the analysis of stat-junkies.

The system is currently in every NBA arena, but this season, SportVU will be making the jump to the college level for the first time.

And as you might have guessed, it’s the Duke Blue Devils who are paving the way. From the Wall Street Journal:

Duke was intrigued by SportVU last spring, when a former team manager who works at Stats showed off some of Duke’s geo-spatial statistics from its 2013 NCAA tournament games in Philadelphia, and Stats senior vice president Brian Kopp pitched Duke’s staff at a June meeting in Durham, N.C., that included Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski. The only difference between the six SportVU cameras installed last month in Cameron and those in NBA venues is that Duke’s tiny arena required smaller lenses with wider angles.

Limited by opportunities to collect game data—NBA teams play 82 regular-season games, while Duke has 17 home games against teams of varying quality—Duke also outfitted its practice courts adjacent to Cameron. “You add 75 or 100 practices when the quality of your opponent is the same every day, and you can get a much better picture of who a player is,” said Kevin Cullen, Duke’s director of information technology. With its emphasis on practice data, Duke hopes that SportVU is as much a tool for its training and medical staff as it is for the basketball coaches, Cullen said.

The system will be used for the first time in a collegiate arena when Duke opens up their season at home on November 8th. It won’t be the first college game that’s been logged, however; the Big Ten tournament, which was played at the United Center last year, had the system in place then.

(UPDATE: According to Marquette’s AD, the Golden Eagles began implementing this technology over the summer as well.)

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown:

Niang, Morris lead No. 14 Iowa State past No. 24 Texas

Iowa State forward Georges Niang drives past Texas guard Tevin Mack, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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After falling at Texas Tech for the second straight season midweek, No. 14 Iowa State needed to bounce back with No. 24 Texas visiting Hilton Coliseum. The return of Jameel McKay, who was suspended for two games, certainly helped the Cyclones and the play of Georges Niang and Monte Morris was key as well. But the biggest difference on this night was the fact that Iowa State was able to limit the effectiveness of Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor.

 

Taylor scored just nine points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field, and with Morris and Niang scoring 24 points apiece the Cyclones won by the final score of 85-75.

Taylor had multiple opportunities to make plays around the basket thanks to his ability to beat defenders off the bounce, but he struggled to finish. Add in a 0-for-4 night from three, and Texas’ most dangerous offensive option was unable to duplicate his performance in the first meeting between the two teams. In Texas’ 94-91 overtime win over the Cyclones January 12, Taylor scored 28 points and dished out six assists with just one turnover, shooting 11-for-17 from the field.

Four Longhorns finished in double figures, with Tevin Mack and Javan Felix scoring 18 apiece, but with Morris decisively winning the point guard matchup Texas was unable to pick up the win on the road.

For Iowa State the aforementioned tandem of Morris and Niang performed as they did in the first meeting, which should come as no surprise. What helped them, especially when it came to Texas attacking the basket, was the presence of McKay. McKay finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 22 minutes of action, and to have their best interior defender back on the floor certainly helped the Cyclones on this night.

With their lack of depth Iowa State’s margin for error is small, especially when it comes to foul trouble, injuries and disciplinary reasons. Even with Texas’ size advantage Iowa State outscored them in the paint 48-34, and McKay’s defensive ability factored into that. The Cyclones can put points on the board with the best of them, but at some point they’ll need to string together stops as the games get even bigger.

Iowa State managed to do that down the stretch, with Morris and Niang running the show offensively. And that’s a good formula to be able to rely upon as the season approaches its most important month.