BGU Probes How NBA Games Are Won and Lost
January 3, 2019
World Israel News – Anyone following sports knows how often the concept of momentum is raised as crucial in taking charge of a game in any sport. But is that true? No, say some researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). Their study, published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, shows that teams that come from behind do not have a greater chance of winning in overtime.
“People talk about momentum as an indicator for success in business, sports and politics,” says Dr. Elia Morgulev from BGU’s Department of Management in the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management.
“However, after studying close to 900 tied games with fourth-quarter comebacks over 11 National Basketball Association seasons, we found that regardless of momentum, teams with the home court advantage and the better season-long win-loss record were more likely to succeed in the five-minute overtime,” he says.
The University says that this is the first research that analyzes the effect of fourth-quarter comebacks on overtime performance. BGU also addressed the larger question of whether or not recent success creates enough psychological momentum to make a positive impact on subsequent team and individual performance.
“These findings raise questions for future research,” says Prof. Michael Bar-Eli, chair of BGU’s Department of Business Administration and the Nat Holman Chair in Sports Research. “Why don’t we observe momentum in situations where success should lead to psychological and physiological gains?”