WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

This forum is for Basketball discussion only. Other topics will be moved to the appropriate forum.
GA_Aggie
Posts: 22
Joined: March 1st, 2018, 10:49 am
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 6 times

WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by GA_Aggie » February 19th, 2020, 2:42 pm

Wall Street Journal Article on WSJ homepage featuring picture of Sam Merrill and article related to MWC conference using Nike's new balls.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/miss-the-n ... listc_pos2

Article text below...

Miss the NCAA Tournament? Blame the Ball.
When teams in the Mountain West Conference began playing with new balls manufactured by Nike, their shooting percentages fell sharply, according to a recent study

By Laine Higgins
Feb. 19, 2020 9:49 am ET

The NCAA selection committee considers dozens of metrics and several power rankings when determining which 68 teams compete in March Madness. But this season, one factor that won’t be included could determine whether Utah State earns a bid to the Big Dance: the basketball.

The Mountain West Conference, which includes Utah State, this season partnered with sports technology company ShotTracker to provide its teams with “smart” sensor-embedded basketballs. The five-year partnership is intended to give teams access to advanced statistics, in real time, via location data collected from sensors placed in a basketball facility’s rafters, on players’ jerseys and inside basketballs.

ShotTracker works with several equipment companies, including all three that provide basketballs for the 11 Mountain West teams: Nike, Wilson and Under Armour. But when the program went into effect this season, there was a curious phenomenon in league games. When teams began playing with new smart balls manufactured by Nike, their shooting percentages fell sharply. No such decrease in accuracy was apparent in league games played with other manufacturers’ smart balls.

It’s possible that it’s a fluky coincidence. But according to analysis done by San Diego-based data scientist Neill White, who studied the phenomenon on his college basketball analytics blog, the December decrease in effective field-goal percentage in the conference was statistically significant. The drop was found on both 2- and 3-point shots, though the NCAA moved the 3-point line back about 17 inches to 22 feet and 1¾ inches this summer.

Shots, Tracked
The seven schools that use a Nike ShotTracker ball in conference play scored fewer field goals than when using a regular ball in non-conference play. Four teams playing with balls made by Williams and Under Armour did not have the same gap in scoring.

The poor performances were concentrated among Nike-sponsored schools: five of the seven conference teams that play with Nike basketballs saw their effective field-goal percentage fall in games played through Sunday. Meanwhile, Under Armour-sponsored Colorado State’s made 5% fewer shots when playing with Nike balls. Curiously, the shooting percentages for two of the three teams that play with Wilson basketballs went up.

Performance with the Nike ball has improved some as the season has progressed, but it may be too late for some teams. One of the Nike schools, Utah State, performed so miserably with the new ball at first that it has fallen from being a decent bet for an at-large bid to the NCAA team to a precarious place on the bubble.

“It wasn’t just that they [players] were shooting a little bit worse, you’d have a team that was a good shooting team turn into a bad shooting team,” said White. “I was surprised at the magnitude.”

Players complained that the Nike balls felt greasy and appeared to have shallower grooves that made them difficult to handle. Some also reported an inconsistent bounce due to what they described as a dead spot on the ball.

“No disrespect, but it’s horrible,” said Malachi Flynn of No. 4 San Diego State, whose 26-0 team is currently first in the NET rankings.

ShotTracker co-founder and president Davyeon Ross said that both the company and its manufacturers do rigorous quality control testing, though ShotTracker doesn’t “necessarily address anything that doesn’t have to do with our sensors.”

When asked about the reported dead spot, a ShotTracker spokesperson declined to comment on the products of its partner manufacturers.

Nike did not provide details on its manufacturing process or say whether the exterior of the ball changed from last season to this one. In an emailed statement, a company spokesperson wrote, “We have recently been made aware of an isolated situation with our basketballs in the Mountain West Conference, and we are working closely with the Mountain West and its member schools to ensure they have a basketball that meets their expectations.”

The drop-off in shooting hasn’t affected all of the Mountain West teams equally. For games through Sunday, Nike-sponsored San Diego State has been so dominant on the court that a slight reduction in offensive efficiency—making 55% of their shots with the Nike ball compared with 56% otherwise—has not kept the Aztecs from extending their perfect record.

Still, San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker requested a waiver from Nike to play its home games with Wilson balls embedded with ShotTracker sensors in late January. When the Aztecs began practicing with Wilson basketballs last month, several players were so excited to ditch the Nike balls that they hugged their coaches. San Diego State declined to comment on its decision to change balls.

Nowhere is the shooting dropoff more pronounced than Utah State. In games the Aggies have played with Nike basketballs, the team shoots 28% from behind the arc and 48% overall. In games played with any other brand of basketball, the team makes 35% of its 3-pointers and 54% of its shots.

Consider the long-range shooting of Utah State guard Sam Merrill, the 2019 Mountain West’s player of the year. He’s shooting 41.1% on 3-pointers this year, but his performance varies starkly depending on what ball he uses. In conference games with the Nike ball, he makes 35% of his 3-pointers; with all other basketballs he makes 47%.

Utah State’s struggles resulted in a string of losses in January, all in games played with Nike basketballs. Two defeats were blowouts—a 19-point drubbing at Air Force and a 17-point loss at UNLV—but the Aggies kept it close against San Diego State and Boise State, losing by 9 and 5 points, respectively.

The upshot is that the Aggies’ tournament hopes are hanging on for dear life. The latest NET ranking pegged Utah State at 41st.

“We support the Mountain West and its initiatives of keeping on the cutting edge in technology and competition. That includes the use of ShotTracker technology during the basketball season,” said a spokesperson for Utah State.

White, the data scientist, noted that teams’ shooting percentages with the Nike ball have improved over the last month and by Feb. 9 were back in line with where they were in November. Utah State has also rediscovered its groove, winning seven of its last eight games, including four played with Nike basketballs, and shooting 47.9%. White suspected the change is because players have gotten used to the feel of the allegedly redesigned basketballs.

Associate commissioner Dan Butterly said the Mountain West will play its conference tournament with Nike basketballs. The eventual champion will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, where games are played with basketballs made by Wilson.
These users thanked the author GA_Aggie for the post (total 3):
aggies22Real Life AggieSweepDance



aggies22
Aggie Insider, Pick'em Champ - '18 Kickoff, '19 Weekly
Posts: 9235
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 8:17 pm
Location: Smithfield, Utah
Has thanked: 4301 times
Been thanked: 2469 times
Contact:

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by aggies22 » February 19th, 2020, 3:04 pm

Just get to the tournament and give us a Wilson ball to play with.
These users thanked the author aggies22 for the post:
donlarson8



NVAggie
SJSU Ultimate Loser Award Winner - Given to someone that should probably give up but won't.
Posts: 16551
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 8:09 am
Location: Where the sagebrush grows!
Has thanked: 788 times
Been thanked: 697 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by NVAggie » February 19th, 2020, 3:07 pm

We're screwed. They will play with those Nike balls. We laughed at the SDSU guy, but he was right.
These users thanked the author NVAggie for the post:
Real Life Aggie



User avatar
Mr. Sneelock
Posts: 4108
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 10:09 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Has thanked: 16 times
Been thanked: 185 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Mr. Sneelock » February 19th, 2020, 3:16 pm

Wow, interesting.


Formerly TulsAGGIE

User avatar
ThunderAggie
Posts: 1259
Joined: November 20th, 2017, 7:52 pm
Location: Ankeny, Iowa
Has thanked: 325 times
Been thanked: 371 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by ThunderAggie » February 19th, 2020, 3:27 pm

By the time we get used to playing with Nike balls, we will have to go back to normal balls in a post season tournament and then get thrown off again. I don't see how it is fair that we are using different balls. Every team in every conference should play with the same ball.
These users thanked the author ThunderAggie for the post (total 3):
ProvoAggieGA_Aggieaggies22



User avatar
frankiesaysrelax
Posts: 438
Joined: August 15th, 2014, 8:15 pm
Has thanked: 91 times
Been thanked: 136 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by frankiesaysrelax » February 19th, 2020, 4:20 pm

It looks like this article might have all originated from a post on the MWC forum. There was a thread posted back in January by an SDSU poster about the Nike shot tracker balls and how they were no good. Going through the thread the author of the article from the WSJ created an account to log on and ask the poster if he had statistics she could be sent via her email.

The OP also listed all teams and individual players split stats from when using Nike ball and other balls. It looks like us and Air Force had the biggest changes in 3 pt pct.


Image
These users thanked the author frankiesaysrelax for the post:
ProvoAggie



User avatar
Real Life Aggie
Posts: 987
Joined: April 10th, 2019, 4:28 pm
Location: North Ogden, UT
Has thanked: 1089 times
Been thanked: 443 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Real Life Aggie » February 19th, 2020, 4:31 pm

ThunderAggie wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 3:27 pm
By the time we get used to playing with Nike balls, we will have to go back to normal balls in a post season tournament and then get thrown off again. I don't see how it is fair that we are using different balls. Every team in every conference should play with the same ball.
I don't really like the idea of that level of regulation. Given the current situation, I understand your point. I just think it's a knee-jerk reaction. We made this choice. It isn't unfair that we chose and we chose a poor option. We did it because we thought the shot tracker would be something great for us. It was not.



Rabidchild
Posts: 2618
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 10:22 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 24 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Rabidchild » February 19th, 2020, 4:59 pm

GA_Aggie wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 2:42 pm
Still, San Diego State athletic director John David Wicker requested a waiver from Nike to play its home games with Wilson balls embedded with ShotTracker sensors in late January. When the Aztecs began practicing with Wilson basketballs last month, several players were so excited to ditch the Nike balls that they hugged their coaches. San Diego State declined to comment on its decision to change balls.
This paragraph made me laugh. It also made me wonder why we did not apply for a waiver from Nike.


I'm a reasonable man, get off my case.

3futureaggies
Posts: 64
Joined: August 19th, 2014, 2:20 pm
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 19 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by 3futureaggies » February 19th, 2020, 6:09 pm

I wonder if there's any stats on visiting teams shooting% dropping when at the Spectrum. I also wonder about any increase in turnovers with a different surface feel and bounce.



OrangeCountyAggie
Posts: 138
Joined: December 17th, 2018, 12:46 pm
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 62 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by OrangeCountyAggie » February 19th, 2020, 8:45 pm

Do you think that's why Miller is shooting so bad this year - because he has the wrong balls?



Elkaggie
Posts: 3735
Joined: August 26th, 2011, 5:21 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 102 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Elkaggie » February 19th, 2020, 9:10 pm

OrangeCountyAggie wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 8:45 pm
Do you think that's why Miller is shooting so bad this year - because he has the wrong balls?
:rock:

He’s got plenty of balls to keep shooting.
These users thanked the author Elkaggie for the post:
ThunderAggie



User avatar
brownjeans
Flatulent
Posts: 14379
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 10:21 am
Has thanked: 226 times
Been thanked: 562 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by brownjeans » February 19th, 2020, 9:17 pm

Nike. Sucks. Balls.



HomeTown
Posts: 103
Joined: December 8th, 2018, 10:07 am
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 30 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by HomeTown » February 19th, 2020, 10:29 pm

Interesting article. Hopefully we can make it to the tournament and use the other balls again. At least we've still been shooting the other balls occasionally due to opponents using different balls. Maybe that is all we need to surprise people in the dance.



User avatar
hipsterdoofus21
Posts: 15855
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 9:39 pm
Has thanked: 407 times
Been thanked: 1020 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by hipsterdoofus21 » February 19th, 2020, 10:33 pm

It was definitely the crappy Nike ball today. So many rim outs and turnovers.



Imakeitrain
Posts: 5838
Joined: March 11th, 2011, 9:12 pm
Location: Vienna, VA
Has thanked: 79 times
Been thanked: 277 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Imakeitrain » February 20th, 2020, 5:36 am

One thing...

balls.


"Gary Come Home”
-Mr. Spongebob Squarepants

User avatar
ineptimusprime
Posts: 2747
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 12:07 pm
Has thanked: 38 times
Been thanked: 563 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by ineptimusprime » February 20th, 2020, 7:19 am

So all this time it’s just been our balls.

But also, Nike blows. Don’t re-up with them. Sign with adidas or UA.



Ahbye
Posts: 1723
Joined: September 26th, 2012, 9:50 pm
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 138 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Ahbye » February 20th, 2020, 7:59 am

I remember mentioning this a while back after seeing the MWCboard post from the reporter. I was wondering whether this would ever come out. I love the canned statement from our AD. I'd like to see how little it varies from the language in our Nike contract with regard to a non-disparagement clause.



User avatar
dhilk3785
Posts: 1095
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 5:14 pm
Has thanked: 14 times
Been thanked: 19 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by dhilk3785 » February 20th, 2020, 8:33 am

The NBA made a switch to a different material in 2006 that didn't seem to affect the game or scoring, but the players hated it cause it was causing super dry and cracked hands, so the union pushed back and won.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wnmz ... k-thursday


"I'd rather be wrong and cringe than right and regret not speaking up." - Jon Lovett

User avatar
brownjeans
Flatulent
Posts: 14379
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 10:21 am
Has thanked: 226 times
Been thanked: 562 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by brownjeans » February 20th, 2020, 8:43 am

One of the major problems soccer has, IMO, is that the standards for soccer balls are very generic. Basically the size, weight, and PSI are the only standards. This results in a huge variation between soccer balls. Basketball should NOT follow soccer in this regard.

Having said that - I wish soccer would adjust their weight standard. There are balls that are a few grams lighter that perform really well but can't be used in games because they're too light. Seems to me that header-related concussions would be reduced with a lighter ball.
These users thanked the author brownjeans for the post:
USU78



User avatar
frankiesaysrelax
Posts: 438
Joined: August 15th, 2014, 8:15 pm
Has thanked: 91 times
Been thanked: 136 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by frankiesaysrelax » February 20th, 2020, 11:19 am

dhilk3785 wrote:
February 20th, 2020, 8:33 am
The NBA made a switch to a different material in 2006 that didn't seem to affect the game or scoring, but the players hated it cause it was causing super dry and cracked hands, so the union pushed back and won.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wnmz ... k-thursday
I remember when this happened because unless you have the hands of a giant, NBA balls are the worst. They feel like someone just glued slippery leather to the outside of a rock, and I thought the newer ball would be more forgiving. I always played with Spalding balls growing up and those were my favorite. The Nike ball takes time to get used to playing with but once they are broken in they really aren't too bad. They just start out really sticky at first and they come off the glass differently than most.



User avatar
Mr. Sneelock
Posts: 4108
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 10:09 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Has thanked: 16 times
Been thanked: 185 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Mr. Sneelock » February 20th, 2020, 12:40 pm

I used to be a Spalding guy. The TF-1000 used to be the best, but the past several years I think the Wilson Evolution ball has been better. I don't recall ever using a high-end Nike ball.

NBA balls are real leather and have to be broken in significantly. In fact they have machines that help with that.


Formerly TulsAGGIE

AgMan21
Posts: 1379
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 6:01 pm
Has thanked: 95 times
Been thanked: 143 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by AgMan21 » February 20th, 2020, 1:04 pm

Really, basketballs are the only area where I have NOT liked Nike. Wilson basketballs are the best in my (pick-up ball) opinion.



NVAggie
SJSU Ultimate Loser Award Winner - Given to someone that should probably give up but won't.
Posts: 16551
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 8:09 am
Location: Where the sagebrush grows!
Has thanked: 788 times
Been thanked: 697 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by NVAggie » February 20th, 2020, 1:08 pm

I used one Nike ball. It was not durable. Within a few months It went flat on a weekly basis. It wasn't a low end ball either. I own a Wilson Evolution now. Everyone loves it. I love it.



User avatar
frankiesaysrelax
Posts: 438
Joined: August 15th, 2014, 8:15 pm
Has thanked: 91 times
Been thanked: 136 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by frankiesaysrelax » February 20th, 2020, 2:49 pm

Mr. Sneelock wrote:
February 20th, 2020, 12:40 pm
I used to be a Spalding guy. The TF-1000 used to be the best, but the past several years I think the Wilson Evolution ball has been better. I don't recall ever using a high-end Nike ball.

NBA balls are real leather and have to be broken in significantly. In fact they have machines that help with that.
The TF-1000! I couldn't remember the name of it but that's the one. I think those were some of the best balls made. Real leather but it wasn't as hard as a rock.



User avatar
treesap32
Moderator
Posts: 14934
Joined: July 28th, 2005, 1:00 am
Location: Washington D.C.
Has thanked: 265 times
Been thanked: 513 times
Contact:

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by treesap32 » February 20th, 2020, 3:03 pm

Nike basketballs suck



Yossarian
Posts: 3170
Joined: November 14th, 2010, 11:56 pm
Has thanked: 22 times
Been thanked: 313 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Yossarian » February 20th, 2020, 3:10 pm

brownjeans wrote:
February 20th, 2020, 8:43 am
One of the major problems soccer has, IMO, is that the standards for soccer balls are very generic. Basically the size, weight, and PSI are the only standards. This results in a huge variation between soccer balls. Basketball should NOT follow soccer in this regard.

Having said that - I wish soccer would adjust their weight standard. There are balls that are a few grams lighter that perform really well but can't be used in games because they're too light. Seems to me that header-related concussions would be reduced with a lighter ball.
This is neither the time nor the place to slip in your indoctrination of "miscellaneous" sports talk in a major sports forum. There are children that may read this site, after all.
These users thanked the author Yossarian for the post:
brownjeans



MetsJetsAggies
Posts: 6328
Joined: November 3rd, 2010, 1:39 am
Has thanked: 301 times
Been thanked: 138 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by MetsJetsAggies » February 20th, 2020, 5:37 pm

OrangeCountyAggie wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 8:45 pm
Do you think that's why Miller is shooting so bad this year - because he has the wrong balls?
He was shooting 35% from 3 with the old ball, 21% with Nike ball. Porter went from 35% to 17%, Sam from 47% to 35%



WillCut72
Posts: 8
Joined: June 12th, 2019, 5:27 pm
Has thanked: 132 times
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by WillCut72 » February 21st, 2020, 1:10 pm

Brock on the Behind the Bull podcast: "In my opinion I have really not enjoyed them... It's just a different feel. It took a while to break them in. They're pretty slippery... They feel a little lighter."



Dkdavis
Posts: 159
Joined: January 28th, 2019, 7:51 pm
Has thanked: 59 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Dkdavis » February 22nd, 2020, 4:14 pm

MetsJetsAggies wrote:
February 20th, 2020, 5:37 pm
OrangeCountyAggie wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 8:45 pm
Do you think that's why Miller is shooting so bad this year - because he has the wrong balls?
He was shooting 35% from 3 with the old ball, 21% with Nike ball. Porter went from 35% to 17%, Sam from 47% to 35%
Eh there’s lots of excuses to explain those percentages.. Nike balls, moved 3 point line, in a slump, sick, injured...



User avatar
TrueBlueFan
Posts: 562
Joined: August 2nd, 2011, 10:56 pm
Location: Logan
Has thanked: 82 times
Been thanked: 35 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by TrueBlueFan » February 23rd, 2020, 12:09 am

Dkdavis wrote:
February 22nd, 2020, 4:14 pm
MetsJetsAggies wrote:
February 20th, 2020, 5:37 pm
OrangeCountyAggie wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 8:45 pm
Do you think that's why Miller is shooting so bad this year - because he has the wrong balls?
He was shooting 35% from 3 with the old ball, 21% with Nike ball. Porter went from 35% to 17%, Sam from 47% to 35%
Eh there’s lots of excuses to explain those percentages.. Nike balls, moved 3 point line, in a slump, sick, injured...
I’m pretty sure that is from the non-conference schedule to conference play. Not just from last year to this year. The three point line is the same in that case.


Go Grizzlies, Jazz, Real SL, Seahawks, USA! Go Aggies!

Dkdavis
Posts: 159
Joined: January 28th, 2019, 7:51 pm
Has thanked: 59 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: WSJ homepage article on MWC using new Nike balls (picture of Sam in article too)

Post by Dkdavis » February 23rd, 2020, 12:17 am

TrueBlueFan wrote:
February 23rd, 2020, 12:09 am
Dkdavis wrote:
February 22nd, 2020, 4:14 pm
MetsJetsAggies wrote:
February 20th, 2020, 5:37 pm
OrangeCountyAggie wrote:
February 19th, 2020, 8:45 pm
Do you think that's why Miller is shooting so bad this year - because he has the wrong balls?
He was shooting 35% from 3 with the old ball, 21% with Nike ball. Porter went from 35% to 17%, Sam from 47% to 35%
Eh there’s lots of excuses to explain those percentages.. Nike balls, moved 3 point line, in a slump, sick, injured...
I’m pretty sure that is from the non-conference schedule to conference play. Not just from last year to this year. The three point line is the same in that case.
If that’s the case then I stand corrected, and I assumed wrong.



Post Reply Previous topicNext topic