Home FT Shooting: A Plea to MGoFaithful

Submitted by ChiCityWolverine on March 11th, 2013 at 2:36 PM

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.

My proof: http://www.sloansportsconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Goldman…

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.



March 11th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

For example, fans need to counter their obvious tendency to go quiet when the team is down or in trouble by making more supportive noise. But you have to be organized AS a crowd to get this done. Yost, to me, suggests that the possibilities for fan involvement are still under-explored. The Maize Rage is just getting started. 


March 11th, 2013 at 2:44 PM ^

we should start a tradition, where, whenever a home player is shooting a free throw, the fans pretend like nothing is happening at all - don't pay attention, etc


and continue to be complete and total dicks whenever enemies are shooting.


March 11th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

I think a home arena should try to create an atmosphere of complete and total indifference. Casual conversation, send a text, and golf claps. That's the ticket to free throw shooting success.


March 11th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

Thanks for posting.  I wonder how Freshman compare to upperclassmen while shooting free throws at home.  It would be interesting to see if experience plays a part in the %.  

I would think it would affect FT% positively, but then again, I didn't think the OP would be true either.  


March 11th, 2013 at 3:52 PM ^

I took the four true freshmen on the roster as well as the data for Burke, Hardaway, Morgan and Horford and got the follow:

Robinson 39 58 67.2% 12 14 85.7%
Stauskas 32 39 82.1% 16 19 84.2%
McGary 10 21 47.6% 2 5 40.0%
LeVert 5 8 62.5% 2 4 50.0%
Albrecht 3 3 100.0% 4 4 100.0%
Burke 53 70 75.7% 43 54 79.6%
Hardaway 40 58 69.0% 11 18 61.1%
Morgan 7 11 63.6% 10 19 52.6%
Horford 9 11 81.8% 3 4 75.0%

This for the entire season, not just conference play. 


March 11th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

Although I can definitely see your point, right before one of the last free throws (I want to say it was Trey's), Tim started the quieting motion himself.  Although the arena would've been silent anyway, the motion was started by him and not the crowd.


March 11th, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

This is actually very interesting - I would also assume FT shooting to be harder when the arena goes completely quiet. Another thing that I had brought up to a friend during the conclusion of yesterday's game, when we opted to not have anyone on the FT line, was if doing so would hurt our shooters. Not having any of your teammates on the line gives you a different look that is not what you are most used to (in addition to giving you no chance at an offensive board). I can see this being done with under 10 secs to go where a cheap foul hurts you to a much greater extent but I don't get the logic of doing this multiple times with 30-60 seconds to go.

True Blue Grit

March 11th, 2013 at 3:55 PM ^

My thinking watching them try to hit these FT's was that not having teammates there "with them" may be a negative psychological factor.  Having 4 guys from the other team only staring at them shooting contributed to an already pressure-filled situation.  Coach B may want to rethink this approach in the future - at least try out putting a couple guys down there with the shooter.

Dutch Ferbert

March 11th, 2013 at 4:04 PM ^

Sports, and especially FT shooting, are based on repetition. If you have guys underneath for a rebound all game long every game, why fix something that isn't broken when the game is on the line? I understand the fear of giving up a cheap bucket or fear of a foul while going for a rebound, but why not have two guys back and two guys lined up down low for a shot at a put back. Why put FT shooters alone on an island in the most pressure packed situation they can face?

I've never liked doing this. It reminds of the prevent defense.

Naked Bootlegger

March 11th, 2013 at 5:48 PM ^

Practice repetition should eliminate this perceived mental block.   If you shoot thousands of free threes in the off-season (often solo or w/ one person rebounding), it shouldn't matter that a few teammates are MIA on the free throw line during a game.   Same with technical fouls.   Nobody liniing up shouldn't be an issue if you've practiced enough. 

I really think it is *game* situations that causes good FT shooters to miss (front end of a one and one with under a minute=more pressure) than teammates not lining up next to them.  Fatigue also.     


March 11th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

If we don't give up 20 offensive rebounds its a different game and those free throws won't matter...but we have to many people leaking out and bit crashing the boards helping out


March 11th, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

Another interesting study would be on percentages in situations where rebounders have been removed from the lane.  In other words, when the team pulls everyone back to play defense.  I think Michigan did this at least once at the end and I think I remember hearing someone say that it messes a shooter up sometimes.



March 11th, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

Having not read the paper I can't say this for sure but you may be taking the wrong conclusion out of this. Being worse at shooting free throws at home could have nothing to do with the noise. It could just be the pressure of performing well at home. That would not go away whether the crowd was quiet or loud.

I'm not familiar with any crowds that are loud when their own team goes to shoot a free throw but if there are (and I'd expect a low number) comparing those with silent crowds might get a better answer.


March 11th, 2013 at 8:51 PM ^

While I see and understand this point (and have considered it myself), before clutch FTs, Tim ALWAYS motions to quiet the crowd.  And as an avid Maize Rager, believe me, we do what Timmy says.  Going to be hard to do anything about that.

A Lot of Milk

March 11th, 2013 at 4:18 PM ^

I like this. It would cool to see the Michigan fan base go against the grain against CBB. And hell, if it works and everyone else starts doing it, then we contributed something major to basketball.


March 11th, 2013 at 6:56 PM ^

I always thought that there must be a certain thing as a shooter that is more effective than just yelling.


Personally, I think anything that would be distracting (like a car horn during your backswing in golf) or anything to take your mind off the shot..  If the entire stadium was silent and then one or a select few members of the Maize Rage yelled something to the shooter, or just had one person scream before the shot (like a screeching yell).


March 11th, 2013 at 7:11 PM ^

great information. I have offen wondered about the silence. Its hard when you expect noise and there is nothing. I have had 11 strikes in a row 2 times. The second time I told the guy next to me to keep bowling. And he made me go ahead of him and I missed. Yes, I choked.  But I dont think I would have, if 50 people weren't watching me. Keep on cheering :-)