Development of a Knockout Competition in Basketball: A Study of the Spanish Copa del Rey
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Performance in basketball has been widely studied with regard to the results of the game using competition statistics. Few studies have analyzed the play process from a dynamic viewpoint regarding tactical actions and styles of play. The general objective of this research was to analyze the development in the styles of play of the teams participating in the Spanish Copa del Rey by studying the development of ball possessions (from start to finish) and the styles of play (attack and defense phases). The specific aim was to identify the relations between how possessions end and the style of play, as well as the relation between the duration of possession and the action of shooting and efficacy of the possession. All the matches corresponding to the Spanish Copa del Rey in basketball in the seasons 2015/2016, 2016/2017, and 2017/2018 were analyzed, comprising a total of 3,865 possessions. To this end, two groups of variables were characterized, which made it possible to define play, the development of possession (start and finish), and the style of play (attack and defense phase). An exploratory and descriptive analysis of the situational variables, development of possession, and style of play was carried out to characterize the competition. The Chi-squared test and Cramer’s V coefficient were used to estimate the association among the categorical variables, interpreting the association among the categories using contingency tables. The results show a greater number of attacks in the final stages of the matches, with short possessions that end in baskets or rebounds, and positional attacks and individual half-court defenses predominating. There were more shots in positional attacks and more fouls in transitions. It also was apparent that the competition is developing from 1 year to another. The Spanish Copa del Rey competition changes from season to season, revealing slight modifications in the teams’ styles of play, although there is stability in the fundamental play parameters, like the predominance of man-to-man defense, the duration of the attacks, and the use of screens. The style of play conditions the finalization of the possession. © Copyright © 2019 Ibáñez, García-Rubio, Rodríguez-Serrano and Feu.
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