I can’t say I am a huge basketball fan, but I do get competitive when it comes to the Men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Basketball Tournament, or more commonly known as March Madness.
As I was watching one of the tournament games, a commercial caught my eye. It was a partnership with the NCAA and Google Cloud on how they would team up to collect and analyze data.
“As part of its journey to the cloud, the NCAA is migrating 80+ years of historical and play-by-play data, from 90 championships and 24 sports, to Google Cloud Platform (GCP)”, according to a Google Cloud blog post.
From the data gathered comes talks of a Google-branded tool in the future to provide team data to fans filling out official tournament brackets online or the use of Google data during live broadcasts. Users of this data will be able to search, compare and analyze team and player performance, as well as receive near real-time simulations for tournament analysis and forecasting.
“Data analytics in sport have become so essential to the way coaches and players compare and compete, and how business leaders make decisions”, said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president for basketball.
When visiting Google Clouds’ Twitter, I came across some interesting data points that was tweeted and I think that after all of this data is analyzed, so many different statistics and numbers will come together to better help fans, coaches, and players understand the game based on trends and other analyses.
One critique I see here (and forgive me as my basketball knowledge is sub-par) is that with older games (remember 80+ years of historical data is being analyzed) and new rules, data will not necessarily be on the same playing field (pun intended). We don’t play basketball like we did 80 years ago; new technology, equipment and other factors continue to advance as our questions are static in nature.
In my own analyzation of the partnership, I do think it is a good one and many people will benefit from data points which can be then turned into graphs and visualization charts for better understanding.
More data findings and details (including the backstory on how Google Cloud determined Juniors block more shots per minute) can be found at https://cloud.withgoogle.com/ncaa/