March Madness 2022: NCAA basketball teams seek to gain competitiveness with game-changing technology
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With the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball Final Fours on the horizon, teams have been crunching data to try to gain an edge over their opponents in the biggest games of the season.
Synergy Sports, owned by sports radarprovided basketball coaches and personal software that allows them to create advanced scouting reports and deep data dives to help them plan their upcoming games.
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Mark Silver, general manager of sports performance for Sportradar, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that SynergyThe technology gives trainers “advanced level details” to use for many reasons.
“One of the obvious ones is what’s called game scouting or advanced scouting and getting ready for your next opponent,” Silver said. “The tournament is a great example. I have an opponent that I haven’t faced all year. They’re not in my conference. Maybe I follow them a bit because they have a player or just out of general interest. I don’t know how this team is playing or maybe even what their top three players are that I need to focus on. But I can enter the Synergy platform, go to this team and see very quickly, across the data we record, who dominates possession, who actually finishes the game most often for that team.”
Silver said the technology Synergy uses can break down the type of offenses teams are executing, analyze whether they are executing picks and rolls, and determine whether certain players are working more in the position. If a particular player often receives the ball in the post, then coaches can see if the player’s type of tendencies are in that position.
“What all of this information allows me to do is create a team and player trend scouting report to better prepare this team both in attack and defense. … Which is really important is that for each of these examples, let’s say there are 30 post-ups on the left block where the player has rotated the right shoulder to a drop set to a done two by a dunk, i have a video to back that up so I can watch all 30 of them, confirm what the data is telling me, and actually start working on a game plan.”
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Silver told Fox News Digital that the next step for a coach would be to create a playlist to share with their player and they could take it back to their dorm room and watch the videos on their tablet or computer.
Dedrique Taylor, the current Cal State Fullerton head coach and former Arizona State assistant, told Fox News Digital he was lucky enough to be able to use the program when he was on the Sun Devils bench. .
“I first heard it and was exposed to it because I think at the time the NBA was using it and they were referring to Synergy this and Synergy that and that was at one time where it was really lucky to be an Arizona state where it had a video coordinator, we had an assistant video coordinator and I think we had seven or eight managers,” he said. “A video coordinator at the time was into that stuff. He was really into the tech part of the basketball world. A lot of NBA guys, coaches, scouts, they went through Arizona State and they talked about it a lot.”
Taylor, whose team went to the NCAA tournament this year after winning the Big West Conference tournament, said the transition was smooth when he took the reins before the start of the 2013-14 season.
“I think when I got here it became one or maybe the only software we used for about the first year or two,” he said.
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Silver, a former Philadelphia 76ers video coordinator, added that one of the things coaches love about technology is the massive amount of player data that exists in their system.
“I think a lot of that is because the player can see the data and that’s been a huge thing. Then it’s really easy to break down what the opponent likes to do and see how easy it is to recalling any piece of video from any game for about 10 years now almost in Division I. And that kind of ease of use and immediate recall is extremely important,” he said.
“What we’re seeing kind of evolve from that is we now have an automated computer vision video system that we have in 175 D1 arenas that allow teams to do that not just after the game and before the game, but in the games. We’re actually creating the data is live with the proliferation of lab videos and being endorsed by more and more conferences. That’s sort of one of the next steps that we have passed over the last three years.
Every NCAA Division 1 men’s and women’s basketball program has partnered with Synergy to access detailed data.
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Silver pointed out how useful the information is in certain situations like the tournament where there are only a few days between rounds for teams moving on.
“They use it every lap. It’s extremely valuable in those fast cornering situations and around the (laps of) 64, 32 and even the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. You have them within 48 hours of when you win and in your next match.Having all the data readily available really provides a workflow that allows you to create the game plan you need.Otherwise you’d be trying to find a video and figure out who you need to keep. We take a lot of the initial work off the shoulders of the coaching staff where they can focus on match planning rather than trying to collect and aggregate video and data.”
The Women’s Final Four is due to start on Friday evening. Louisville is expected to face South Carolina and Connecticut is expected to face Stanford. The national championship will be played on Sunday.
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The men’s Final Four begins on Saturday. Villanova will play Kansas and North Carolina will play Duke. The national championship will be played on Monday.