On Saturday, December 9, the No. 1 men’s college basketball team in the country is coming to Boston, home of the WHOOP headquarters. The undefeated Duke Blue Devils (11-0) will take on the Boston College Eagles (6-3) at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA.
The game is the season opener on the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Beyond that, the matchup also has a unique significance from a sports technology standpoint–both squads are training with WHOOP this season.
Duke began using WHOOP this summer in preparation for a 2017-18 campaign filled with high expectations.
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) July 12, 2017
A perennial college basketball powerhouse, Duke closed out the 2016-17 regular season ranked seventh nationally. The Blue Devils then reloaded by bringing in four of the top eight incoming freshman in the country. They topped the preseason polls and have yet to relinquish their No. 1 ranking, defeating their first 11 opponents by an average of 20.3 points per game. Duke is well on its way to qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for a 23rd consecutive year.
Boston College is on the climb in the ACC, arguably the toughest and most talented conference in college basketball history. Boasting one of the best backcourts in the country, the Eagles have a mix of high-scoring veterans and talented newcomers poised for a breakthrough in 2017-18. Saturday, BC looks to knock off Duke for the first time since 2009.
With WHOOP, the Eagles are taking a step in the right direction towards joining the ranks of the college basketball elite. Not only can their athletes train smarter and more efficiently, coaches can use the data to ensure they’re putting the right players in position to succeed. This claim isn’t just bravado, there is actual empirical evidence to support it.
In 2015 and 2016, the WHOOP data science team took an in-depth look at a Division 1 college basketball team wearing the technology. They examined the relationship between WHOOP Recovery and the players’ field-goal and free-throw percentages. What they found was startling:
“A 50% difference in Recovery predicted roughly a 35% difference in field-goal percentage in relation to each player’s season average. The correlation was even greater for foul shooting, where a 50% difference in Recovery suggested a 50% difference in free-throw accuracy.
What does this mean? Instead of knocking down both free throws each time he goes to the line, a star player might only sink one of two if he isn’t properly recovered.”
The above example is just one of the many ways WHOOP can give college basketball teams and edge–and in the case of Duke vs. BC, both teams have it.