Deflection (04/07/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Did one controversial call cost Wisconsin the National Championship?



Duke rallied from a nine point second half deficit to beat Wisconsin 68-63 for the program's fifth national title but it wasn't without controversy.

With under two minutes to play, Duke leading 63-58, a ball was deflected out of bounds. The officials ruled it was off of Wisconsin's Bronson Koenig. Replays however showed that the ball glanced off of Duke's Justise Winslow.

The referees reviewed the play but upheld their original call.

On Duke's next possession Tyus Jones made a three pointer to extend the Blue Devils' lead to 66-58. Duke became 97 percent likely to win the game.

What would have happened if the call was reversed?

With possession, trailing 63-58, Wisconsin's expected win probability increases from 3 percent to 11 percent. If the Badgers score on their next possession the game becomes even more interesting.

A two point bucket cuts Duke's lead to 63-60, Wisconsin would have had a 24 percent chance to rally in a one-possession game. A three pointer makes it 63-61, in this scenario the Badgers expected win probability increases to 32 percent.

Did the controversial call cost Wisconsin the National Championship?

No, but the Badgers should have been award possession. In a game with evenly matched opponents (Wisconsin closed as a one point favorite) every extra possession is key.