March Madness Success? Look to the Technology

Whether it’s high performance on the court or high performance on the business side of the sport, there’s one apparent trend in this year’s March Madness Tournament: Technology.

We are officially into the streaming age of media and the tournament is dominating the competition. According to Sports Techie:

“CBS Sports and Turner Sports’ coverage of the 2019 NCAA Mens’ Basketball Tournament hit records across all platforms during the first week, the companies reported on Monday. NCAA March Madness Live, the streaming hub for NCAA basketball tournament games, reached a record in terms of both live streams and live hours of consumption, each increasing by more than 25 percent.”

https://www.sporttechie.com/ncaa-march-madness-streaming-sets-all-time-record/

CBS even featured “Zion Cam”, one dedicated camera focused on one player, Zion Williamson. In a few weeks, the Final Four will be shown completely in Virtual Reality after testing the VR system during last year’s tournaments. Technology is definitely reshaping how we watch the sport and fans are being receptive. The technology is shaping how we play the game, too.

March Madness in VR

On the court, Purdue is getting insight from a statistical analyst on staff as well as a new three-camera automated production solution called Keemotion. The Keemotion system includes AI-powered video tracking solutions to identify and play back specified clips in real-time. REAL. TIME.

https://www.sporttechie.com/ncaa-basketball-tournament-sweet-16-purdue-keemotion-intel/

You can read a case study on the Keemotion use with the Golden State Warriors here: https://www.keemotion.com/case_study/gsw/

Here’s the story on the mechanical engineer turned Purdue Basketball Statistical Analyst. Another win for math:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/timcasey/2019/03/28/purdue-analytics-guru-enjoying-another-sweet-16-run-in-ncaa-mens-basketball-tournament/#3c8a0ab3481e

Purdue obviously isn’t the only team using data and analytics. The University of Kentucky basketball team uses the ShotTracker system. The system has allowed them to be more efficient in tracking their practice sessions.

https://www.sporttechie.com/how-the-kentucky-wildcats-use-data-to-position-themselves-for-successhttps://www.sporttechie.com/how-the-kentucky-wildcats-use-data-to-position-themselves-for-success/

ShotTrack is similar to another artificial intelligence system that hit the basketball world last fall called HomeCourtAI. Students at Lewis University performed labs using the HomeCourtAI app in the Data and Analytics in Sports course this past semester. The system runs an AI-system from the camera on your smartphone to recognize and track your shooting. It then can produce real-time analytics and data visualizations on your shooting performance.

According to Sports Techie, “The technology (HomeCourtAI) already has amassed a loyal community of athletes, including 11-year-old Lanie Grant, who has taken more than 100,000 shots on the platform and has already attracted attention from the WNBA. More than 10 million shots have been taken by HomeCourt users in total over the past few months.”

HomeCourtAI

The recent news with HomeCourtAI was the partnership us basketball tech fans have been waiting for: combining it with the Smart Basketball from Wilson. Wilson and NEX recently announced an NCAA March Madness Partnership. We could be getting close to merging the data from the smart ball to the HomeCourtAI system.

You can read about that development here: https://www.sporttechie.com/homecourt-wilson-partnership-ncaa-basketball-tournament/

We’ll have an episode on the HomeCourtAI system on our Vodcast Series at Lewis University. You can view and track that series here: https://lewisu.edu/academics/exercise-science/vodcast.htm

Technology is a non-stop force in basketball and it’s becoming an arms race of new technology for these teams. Everyone wants to stay cutting edge and out ahead of their competition. The issue is there is so much junk science and junk technology out there that selecting the wrong type could actually put your team at a disadvantage. The question then becomes, is winning a validation tool for the tech these teams are using?

About Dr. Zachary Binkley

Zachary W. Binkley, PhD is the former Assistant Professor and Program Director of Exercise and Movement Science Program. He is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Special Interest Group on Basketball.

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