PennStateHoops.com Discussion Forum

Luck


#1

I listened to Bob Valvano, “The V Show”, on the way home from downtown tonight. He gave an interesting perspective on the whole “luck” dynamic.

He talked about all the “upsets” today. He said that when it comes down to a one possession game, and many, if not most, college games fall into the category of having one team only favored by a bucket or less, he really doesn’t consider it an upset when the underdog wins. He talked about the number of games that fell into that category today that could technically be labeled as upsets but, at least in his mind weren’t. The PSU win over Wisconsin was one that he specifically references (and he had very good things to say about Battle).

He emphasized that it sometimes really is a matter of luck which way the ball bounces (or maybe the way the official’s whistle blows) in one possession games.


#2

The Purdue game in West Lafayette comes to mind. PSU won the game “fair and square” to have the result changed by a poor official. Purdue wins a home game vs PSU by luck. Who would have thought that around Christmas time? Unfortunately , we suffer that official’s bad call in more ways than one. The road game vs a top 25 opponent would have been a massive RPI boost and resume boost. If we miss the tourney by an ultra slim margin again…one could chalk it up to bad luck and one bad official.


#3

Absolutely SPOT ON mhenry. Anyone who saw Matt Painter’s post game interview saw a man who knew he got lucky…on the basketball court that is ;D


#4

I will reaffirm my hate for the word "luck."
Getting a bad call that cost a game is not luck!
Last year PSU was NOT “unlucky” in close game losers. They played poorly in crunch time.
Yesterday Wisconsin was NOT “unlucky.” PSU out played badly in crunch time.


#5

Of course, I agree with you Tundra. That bad call wasn’t luck in it’s literal sense. However, for simplicity’s sake, most people would just chalk it up to luck or lack thereof.


#6

“Luck is the residue of design.” - Branch Rickey


#7

Here are some others:

“Chance favors the prepared mind.“ – Louis Pasteur
“Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit.“ – R.E. Shay
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.“ – Benjamin Franklin
“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.“ – Henry Ford
“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.“ – Earl Wilson
“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.“ – Harry Golden
“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.“ – Edward Gibbon
“Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.“ – Thomas Edison
“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.“ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The day you decide to do it is your lucky day.“ – Proverb
“Unlucky at cards, lucky in love.“ – Proverb
“When I work fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, I get lucky.“ – Dr. Armand Hammer

Then this one, seeing it another way:

“Luck is everything.”- Dr. Ura Schmuck.


#8

luck is where preparation meets opportunity


#9

Andrew Luck will be a first round NFL draft pick. Lucky guy. ;D


#10

All those aphorisms are ways to dress it up to make it seem like we actually are in control. Humans just have a hard time accepting that things are out of their hands. We even invent causes for outcomes that we don’t understand. It’s a great adaptation – it keeps us moving forward, hones our competitive edge.

But the ball bounces the way the ball bounces. On “The Journey” yesterday, there was a clip of ED reminding the team after the Purdue loss that it takes “one more play” to change the game.

The fallacy, though, is isolating any particular play. The bad luck at the end of a game is no different than the bad/good luck throughout. (Bounces that go the right/wrong way, foul/no-foul calls, mistakes that don’t end up costing you, etc.). Except that we remember it more clearly.

I remember a number of years ago being surprised that so-called “bad” and “good” coaches were all about .500 in close games. At the time, looking for a cause, I concluded that the so-called bad coaches weren’t as bad as thought, and the good coaches weren’t as good.

I do think there is less separating the coaches at the top level than we want to think, but I think a better explanation (if my look at a small amount of data held up) is randomness.

I highly recommend the writings of Nicholas Taleb. “The Black Swan” was prescient and funny. Here’s Wikipedia’s description of the points he made in “Fooled by Randomness”:

Human beings: [*]overestimate causality, e.g., they see elephants in the clouds instead of understanding that they are in fact randomly shaped clouds that appear to our eyes as elephants (or something else); [*]tend to view the world as more explainable than it really is. So they look for explanations even when there are none.

#11

Forget the coaches…they were sitting on their butts during the end game.
Yesterday, UW played like scared rabbits during crunch time. Hurried fast shots, bad decisions, etc etc. Taylor of UW was too scared to attack the basket against our bigs and called a TO instead!

PSU played great in crunch time…solid “D”, good rebounding, etc etc.

That’s why PSU won. They DESIRED it ! UW did not desire to win. PSU played better basketball. Is this Fate…give me a break??

P.S. I don’t often see elephants in clouds but one shows in my pajamas from time to time! :wink:


#12

[quote=“tundra, post:11, topic:1862”]Forget the coaches…they were sitting on their butts during the end game.
Yesterday, UW played like scared rabbits during crunch time. Hurried fast shots, bad decisions, etc etc. Taylor of UW was too scared to attack the basket against our bigs and called a TO instead!

PSU played great in crunch time…solid “D”, good rebounding, etc etc.

That’s why PSU won. They DESIRED it ! UW did not desire to win. PSU played better basketball. Is this Fate…give me a break??

P.S. I don’t often see elephants in clouds but one shows in my pajamas from time to time! ;)[/quote]

You’re failing to recognize the randomness of the world. It looked like a matter of desire to you, but all the desire in the world doesn’t guarantee you anything - there is so much chance that happens every moment of every day, desire really has little to do with outcomes.

With your logic, the hardest working people would always come out on top - and this just is not true, in anything, ever. There are constantly other forces at work that you’re failing to account for and the smallest things can have the biggest effects, especially in the long run.

The important thing for something like a sports team or a gambler or a business man… is to make sure you put yourself in position to come out on the right end of things as often as possible, so that even when something completely unforeseen comes along and screws things up you still wind up on the right side of things on the whole. That’s the difference for PSU right now, is they make enough good decisions over the course of the big10 season to overcome a lot of things that couldn’t be planned for (like a blown call late in a game) and are still in a position of controlling their own destiny, to the extent that such a thing is possible.

Sometimes you just have to let go a little bit and realize that all the preparation and planning and hard work in the world can’t overcome randomness.