Roundball Unplugged

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Abstract

The Basketball Tournament (TBT), a $2-million-winner-take-all annual event broadcast on ESPN, adopted the Hybrid Duration Format—where most of each game is played with a game clock, and where the final portion of each game is played without a game clock—for preliminary-round games in 2017. The format is designed primarily to preserve a more natural style of play through the end of every game (specifically, by eliminating/reducing various late-game clock-manipulating phenomena, including deliberate fouling by trailing defenses, stalling by leading offenses, rushed/sloppy possessions by trailing offenses, etc.), to provide greater hope for late comebacks, and to provide more memorable game-ending moments. This article offers an in-depth analysis of the Hybrid Duration Format’s debut, including quantitative descriptive data from all TBT games where the format was used. Data reveal the extent to which the format meets its primary and secondary aims.