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The Elam Ending — No More Fouls!

Discussion in 'General Sports' started by RGREELEY33, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. RGREELEY33

    RGREELEY33 Potty Mouth Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I have posted on here before about my two buddies who started “The Basketball Tournament” which is an amateur tournament that combines fantasy, social media, and real basketball — with the winning team this year getting $2,000,000 in cash.

    I recently attended the quarterfinals over at Cal State LA and got to witness one of their innovations — “The Elam Ending.”

    Ultimately, to get past all of end-of-game fouling that very rarely results in a comback win by the trailing team but almost always results in a neverending slog of an additional annoying 15+ minutes for fans, they have instituted this rule based on a MENSA middle school principal’s idea. The rule says that at the first game stoppage after the 4 minute mark of the 4th quarter, the clock is turned off, and an target score is set — first team to that score wins the game. The target score is whomever is leading + 7 points (so if it is 80-73, the first team to 87 wins the game)

    Zach Lowe wrote about it for ESPN not too long ago — and it has attracted the attention of NBA executives who have been bandying about ideas to prevent the “Hack-A-Shaq” type of stuff.

    http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19078511/zach-lowe-basketball-tournament-innovative-end-game-rule

    I will say — having seen it live for 3 games at the tournament — it was MUCH less gimmicky than I thought it would be, and actually did enhance the endings of the games. The announcer makes the announcement at the stoppage — and the crowd got into countdowns and when the winning bucket was scored, the place erupted — both players and fans.

    We didn’t get to see any close games where strategy needed to get involved (i.e. if a team had 1 free throw, needed 2 points to win, should they miss the free throw purposely, etc.?) — but it was cool. It is so extreme, I find it doubtful it ever makes its way to the NBA, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it experimented with in the G-League or Summer Leagues or what have you in the not too distant future.
     
  2. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    As devil’s advocate, couldn’t you still hack a Shaq assuming that conversion rate/possession is still lower than team without that player?
     
  3. RGREELEY33

    RGREELEY33 Potty Mouth Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I’m not sure I follow.

    You only need 7 points — so sending the other team to the line will be problematic. Of course, if they need 3 points and you want to prevent that, it will come into play. But it won’t be an endless array of late game fouling, play stoppage, horrible fan experience which is what it is geared towards.

    The MENSA guy had looked at like 2000 games, and an incredibly small amount benefitted from the fouling strategy at game end, so the thought was this was a way to get rid of the painful and unneeded endings of many basketball games.
     
  4. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    Huge TBT fan, and thrilled they're giving the Elam Ending a full run this year. I think its weakness is in the super close game, where there's now incentives to intentionally foul or miss free throws where there weren't in the past. Maybe there's one more tweak that can be made to seal that off. But I think it's a big step forward.

    This may be off topic, but TBT needs to figure out a way to increase attendance. The crowd makes such a huge difference in the quality of the television product. Increasing the number of sites for the first two rounds would be a big help (but would also require more money and staff, so I understand why they haven't yet). The Ram Nation games at VCU were just an awesome atmosphere; I was very happy for everyone involved.
     
  5. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    I don't have a link, but Elam has addressed this himself in the past. Hack a Shaq can just be called for what it is: intentional fouls.
     
  6. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Mods - can we move this to the Port Cellar? Excellent thread topic
     
  7. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    No more buzzer beaters or late game dramatics totally ruin the Elam Ending for me.
     
  8. AMcGhie

    AMcGhie Set Adrift on Memory Bliss SoSH Member

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    There's always a game winning basket with the Elam Ending. It might be a 20 point win, winning basket, but there will be a shot that ends the game in EVERY game. Winning team celebrates a bucket, not the clock running out.
     
  9. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    There's always a game winning score in any game, whether it's a 23-1 baseball game or 102-0 basketball game.
     
  10. AMcGhie

    AMcGhie Set Adrift on Memory Bliss SoSH Member

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    I should have used a different term. There's always a game-ending basket with the Elam Ending. (I was editing my prior post when you replied)
     
  11. RGREELEY33

    RGREELEY33 Potty Mouth Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    This was my inclination as well. I mean, how many amazing buzzer-beating type of shots would we have lost out on through the years?

    However, every game has some level of the “game winning shot”, and think about what would happen with close games and somebody sticks a 3? Or when a team trailing by 10 goes on a 17-5 run to win the game. I think you would actually see a lot more “buzzer beaters” they just wouldn’t be clock based.
     
  12. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    I think the problem (aside from some of the super close game issues brought up earlier) is that now every game will end on a made basket or free throw, which takes away the excitement of the rare occasions in which games currently do end on a made basket. It becomes overkill and loses the excitement.
     
  13. RGREELEY33

    RGREELEY33 Potty Mouth Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Yeah — this has been a challenge. They have done things like adding payouts to the fans — so the #1 fan of the winning team gets $40,000. Fans 2-100 get something, etc. However, the crowd was sparse at the Cal State LA game I was attending — my best friend was actually running the Richmond rounds and was sending me videos of the crowd. That was kind of a unique scenario because VCU’s alumni team was playing. There’s a balance of cost — of having venues that are TV worthy for ESPN — and having places that have good amenities. Most of the players will tell you it is the best tournament they have ever played in — 3 D1 college officials, uniforms, locker room and facilities, everything is top notch. But getting 2000+ fans to attend has been a tougher draw. The alumni teams are the best for that — but these teams that are now semi-pro in nature haven’t been big draws although they are the best teams.
     
  14. RGREELEY33

    RGREELEY33 Potty Mouth Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I don’t know, to me — it harkens back to “game point” in pickup leagues or playground ball which was always added excitement no matter the score. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out if the NBA adopts it for the G-League
     
  15. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    True, even with a 10 or 15 point lead there would always be some level of tension. That may not be a bad thing.
     
  16. The Gray Eagle

    The Gray Eagle Member SoSH Member

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    I love the Elam ending and think it would vastly improve the end of basketball games.
    I can't stand the constant fouling; the way the last minute and a half of a game takes 15 minutes of standing around to finish; the way that either video review or how quick the official timekeeper's finger is can determine who wins or loses the game; and how teams change up the way they've been playing the whole game-- the team with a late lead starts caring way more about the clock than about scoring a basket, and basically tries to do a basketball version of football's taking a knee, while the other team runs around trying to foul them.

    I think if this was tried, once people got used to it, no one would be thinking, "Wow, I really miss those intentional fouls that we used to get."
     
  17. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, but -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- that doesn't necessarily incentivize anyone to show up to the games. And it definitely doesn't incentivize anyone to show up to all the games. I think it was a neat idea, but the only thing that really seems to have driven attendance at this point is the alumni teams.

    Right. There's a ton of alumni teams in the tournament, and if you had the funding, you could expand from five initial sites to up to 16 (which is how the NCAA does it). That way, you could expand the number of "home" crowds, and you're asking a lot less of each market. My sense is that they don't (yet) have the funding, but they dipped their toe into it this year with the Big East pod at Marquette, so that might be the vision for the future.

    It's definitely a tough nut to crack, and I don't claim to have an answer ready to go. It's just clearly, to me, the biggest obstacle TBT is facing.

    Building around the alumni teams is probably the way to go -- if the Big East pod was considered a success, you have the other five major conferences theoretically ready to slide in -- to the extent you can afford it. Beyond that, I think I might try to focus on "basketball meccas," historical gyms or venues that can draw basketball freaks who are just willing to come out in celebration of the game. The Palestra, some of the historic college gyms that have been outgrown (McDonough Gymnasium, Carmichael Arena, etc.) maybe the gym from Hoosiers, or even a pod at some of the famous street courts.

    I'm just thinking out loud. I think they're doing a great job. Your friends should be proud.
     
  18. DennyDoyle'sBoil

    DennyDoyle'sBoil Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill SoSH Member

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    Does it lead to any weirdness as the game is approaching the 4 minute mark? I can see the potential for unintended consequences but am having a bit of trouble articulating them.
     
  19. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Probably. Note that it would be 3 minutes in the NBA, not 4, I believe. So I could see a team with the ball and the lead at the sub-3 minute mark doing something to "lock in" the score, such as throwing a ball off an opposing player out of bounds, but that would also carry risks. You'd want to create a stoppage if you had the ball without giving up possession. Or if you didn't have the ball, you'd perhaps "intentionally" foul if you weren't in the penalty to lock in the score before the other team got closer.
     
  20. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    What's the reason for stopping play? Why not just turn the clock off at 4:00 (or 3:00), and set the target score after the next change of possession?
     
  21. RGREELEY33

    RGREELEY33 Potty Mouth Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    They don’t stop play — it is just the first stoppage after the 4 minute mark. So, theoretically, it could go all the way down to the buzzer. Teams may be incented to foul right before or after the 4 minute mark too depending upon the score I suppose. They don’t have enough of a sample size yet to see all of the potential issues and how it is relative to the standard way, but my SSS viewing 3 games, it was way more enjoyable than I expected.
     
  22. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Wait were a few posts eaten? I made another post in this thread that rgreeley replied to
     
  23. djbayko

    djbayko Member SoSH Member

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    Even with that clarification, I believe his question is still valid. If they don't wait until the next stoppage to set the final score, then there would be no weirdness after the 3 minute mark. The teams have every incentive to continue trying to score / play D.
     
  24. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    Yes, thanks djbayko. Why wait for a stoppage?

    PS: We should think about fielding a SoSH (Jimmy Fund?) branded team for 2019.
     
  25. Bdanahy14

    Bdanahy14 Member SoSH Member

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    Just seeing this, but I handle revenue and partnerships for TBT. Elam Ending was such a great success this past year. Nick has been analyzing every game and is suggesting some tweaks to the format. We think there will be a couple changes implemented this year.

    Most are still under debate, but I'm pretty certain fouls heading into the timeout will no longer count towards the Target Score.

    As for broader TBT strategy... the alumni teams have been such a great platform for us and we are tweaking the entire structure of the tournament to reflect that. As noted above, we tested out some concepts this year, but the one that worked best is the idea of Home Court games at regional level. We brought one regional to Columbus for Scarlet & Gray and another to Richmond for VCU. These sold out, had incredible energy, and both home/away teams preferred it to neutral court scenario.

    We are also considering consolidating championships to the final 8 teams, bringing it to a major market, and investing into that weekend as the main tent-pole event.

    We brought on Puma last year as a major partner and it was a very successful program. Strategic partnerships are the real key to future growth at this stage. We're in talks to bring in 2-3 other blue chip brands which will help grow the entire pie.

    It's a great property... lots of cool things in the works on-court and off. We are in a very advantageous position in the marketplace because we're not tied to any historical way of doing things. It gives us great flexibility to be smart, creative, flexible and take risks when appropriate.

    Glad you guys like it. Would love to hear any additional thoughts!
     
    #25 Bdanahy14, Nov 2, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  26. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    Every time I see the "Baseball is Broken" thread, I think about how what the sport really needs is its TBT or XFL to experiment with the game free of the burden of tradition. It's honestly a service to the game.

    I really appreciate you sharing; very cool to get some insight into what you guys are exploring. Glad to hear the Elam Ending was both a winner and also that's it being fine tuned; glad to hear the focus is on the alumni teams for the regionals. I think that's the right idea for both.

    I was a little surprised to see Mugar tweet he was willing to pay the "professional track" elite prospects $2500 (or whatever) a game in TBT. Maybe that was mostly just for cheap publicity, but I can't imagine paying those guys and not the other players would go over well.
     
  27. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    5,768
    I'm glad to see this experimentation, since next to officiating inconsistency, I think the ugliness of intentional fouls at the end of games is the worst part of an otherwise incredibly-watchable sport. Elam Ending is a fine choice and an improvement over the status quo.

    The solution I've generally preferred is one that would be less of a jarring change to the viewing audience: inside the 4' or 3' mark of 4Q, start actually calling intentional fouls as, well, intentional fouls. A shooting foul, a loose ball foul, anything from the normal run of play - that's still 2 shots and change of possession (or 1 or 3 shots, whatever the case may be). But an intentional foul is 2 shots and possession for the fouled team. And look, the refs know what's what. I really don't think teams would figure out clever ways to disguise intentional fouls.

    With nothing to be gained by end of game fouling, all that's left is to play defense and try to make up the ground, but if you can't, then the game ends quickly (and mercifully, if it's a 10-point game or whatever). And if it's a 1-possession game, you'd still get teams taking timeouts, drawing up plays and setting up for potential buzzer-beaters.

    Consider the NFL, one of the few ways in which it's got an exemplary set of rules that create the right dynamic. The end of games can't be endlessly prolonged - but the final 2 minutes, especially if you're driving for a tying or go-ahead score, can be stretched out considerably. Clock stops on out-of-bounds in the last 5 minutes. You burn your timeouts, and the 2-minute warning happens. So there's an extended room for drama to happen... it's just not stretched to the point of absurdity and unwatchability. And if the game isn't close, it's ended efficiently. I think that's the right dynamic.

    Conversely, I think hockey is too efficient with it. There's nothing more intense than empty-net time in a 1-goal game, but it's over in an absolute flash (even barring an empty-netter to seal it). Like, if they instituted a rule where a pulled goalie, once on the bench, could chug a beer to add 30 seconds to the clock, or really anything that would extend empty-net time, that'd be a gain for entertainment, right? You just couldn't take it too far.
     
  28. Bdanahy14

    Bdanahy14 Member SoSH Member

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    The issue is really the logistical costs associated with competing in a winner take all tournament. Not just the travel /F&B around advancing through the tournament, but the time and resources put in preparing for it as well. In a perfect world, we would be able to cover hard costs for all athletes, but that isn't viable for all rounds. Currently final 16 are covered.

    We're exploring some creative ways a strategic partnership could increase the prize pool beyond $2M. I love what some of the e-sports folks have done in terms of fan/consumer spending going back towards the prize purse. It would also be great if the "hosted" regionals had smaller prize purses, which is something we're working through as well. The reality is the "next level" of talent to attract are guys on NBA lineups, which is most likely to hard of a nut to crack. Carmelo said he'd play if the purse got over $10M... clearly tongue in cheek, but I wonder what is the number is?

    Last year's tournaments saw
    - 80 players with NBA experience
    - 83 plaryers with G-league experience
    - 398 international professionals
    - 26 alumni teams.

    Evan Turner talked a bit about TBT on Zach Lowe's podcast last week. Good to get some "off season" coverage.
     

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