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Keys to Success in a Run-and-Gun Basketball System



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Keys to Success in a Run and Gun Basketball System Thomas L Moore Grinnell College Benjamin Johannsen Northwestern University Eric Ohrn University of Michigan August 4 2011 talk Joint Statistical Meetings Abstract Since 1991 Coach David Arseneault of Grinnell College has used a unique style of runand gun basketball that he calls The System In a 1997 book he outlines what he considers the keys to winning basketball games within The System These keys are defined as meeting thresholds in various offensive and defensive game statistics Using data from 9 seasons we use classical statistical methods to challenge Coach Arseneault s keys and where possible refine them Introduction Coaching men s basketball at Division III Grinnell College has not been a way station toward the Hall of Fame in Springfield Massachusetts Of the 9 coaches who have held that post since World War II none had career winning records until the current coach David Arseneault who came on the scene in 1989 David s first two years stretched a streak of 26 straight losing seasons into 28 before his 11 11 season got Grinnellians used to the notion that they might permit themselves to sniff success from time to time in the win loss column Since then David has experienced just 7 losing seasons the past 20 has achieved a career coaching record of 275 wins versus 230 losses has guided his team to 5 Midwest Conference championships and has been the conference s coach of the year 5 times While by Grinnell s standards which never put preeminence on wins and losses this record is excellent it s still not the stuff of Springfield Mass nor would it explain the list below a list that Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated put together in a 2003 article to answer a fan s question Who are the most innovative men s college basketball coaches Roy Williams Bill Carmody Rick Pitino Mike Krzyzewski Bob Knight Jim Boeheim Lute Olsen David Arseneault Tubby Smith Billy Donovan Why would Coach A be included on such a list Consider



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