Regression or Reversion? It’s likely the latter
With interest in statistical applications to sports creeping from the blogosphere to the mainstream, more writers than ever are interested in metrics that can more accurately summarize or predict player and team skill.
This is, by and large, a good thing. Smarter writing is better writing. A downside, however, is that writers without a formal training in statistics are forced to discuss concepts that can take more than a semester’s work of undergraduate or graduate training to flesh out. That’s difficult, if not impossible and unfair.
One such topic that comes up across sports is the concept of regression toward the mean. Here are a few examples of headlines:
Regression to the mean can be a bitch! (soccer)
Clutch NFL teams regress to the mean (football)
Beware the regression to the mean (basketball)
30 MLB players due for regression to the mean (baseball)
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