Why I said Kendall Marshall lost the game.

Caught a bit of hell on Twitter for saying Kendall Marshall lost the ACC champtionship for the Tar Heels by trying for a 3 when we only needed 1 point to tie at the bitter end. That was impulsive. But maybe I’m right. Here’s some thinking.

Let’s take the weighted average of Kendall taking the 3. I pulled stats from here (I take no ownership of these stats and if they’re wrong then I will gladly do these back of the envelope calcs over again).

3*.347 = 1.041

The weighted average of Kendall shooting a 2.

2*.442 = .884

The weighted average of Kendall passing (assist %age).

2*.406 = .812

So Kendall, if he was a breed of homo economicus, should realize the value of shooting is 1.041 and the value of not going for the 3 is .884+.812 = 1.696.

So, to be fair, Kendall was taking a shot that had the expected value of putting us in the lead. But it wasn’t his safest bet.

Don’t take the 3 Kendall.

“Now, Cameron, by this logic, no one would hardly ever shoot 3’s,” you will be apt to say.

Well that’s true. And it’s why people most often choose to go for 2 or pass. Of course, part of being a great ball player is to assess the likelihood of your passing or gunning for better field goal position actually translating into points. There are intangible factors (momentum). And with great defensive coverage like FSU’s, you might be apt to say at that moment that the 3 was your best bet.

Maybe it was.

But simply looking at the stats, all things being equal, Kendall’s best bet is to not shoot the 3 with hardly any time left and a real chance of taking a lead. If he made it he would have probably won the game for us and beat the probabilities. But down to the wire, how much are you willing to wager on beating the odds?


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