I cringed at Crisler in the last minute of the game as GRIII, Hardaway, and Trey headed to the line while players and fans alike waved their arms to quiet the crowd.
I pulled this paper from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. For those unaware, it is an annual conference now sponsored and covered by ESPN that celebrates the nerds of sports. Panelists explain the ways data is helping us understand performance better than ever. This research paper (though based on NBA data) documents disparaties in home/road performance in two variables: offensive rebounding and free throw shooting.
As expected, offensive rebounding improves in a home environment which makes sense due to the effort and energy required. However, free throw shooting in pressure scenarios is worse at home than on the road. The worst environment to shoot a free throw is in a quiet, nervous home arena, yet road environments cause no significant effect, positive or negative, to free throw shooting.
My plea is for Crisler Center fans to greet Michigan FT shooters with a steady buzz of solid, maybe not defeaning applause in support of our players. It's tough when the building goes mostly silent and 13,000 fans expect you to make every shot.
Disclaimer: This is no excuse for our gut-wrenching loss yesterday, just my thoughts on how we can give our team the best home court advantage possible.