When Team A has a sizable lead (let’s say 15 points) over Team B at halftime (or in between quarters), some “expert” always chimes in with a proclamation akin to: “if they can get this down to 8 points, they’ve got a chance to win”.
Oh, is that so? Team B will have no chance to win if they don’t get closer than 9 points? That is some incredible strategic knowledge. I thought maybe they’d have a chance in this one special game where all that’s needed for victory is to cover the spread. Or maybe some viewers thought that this game would use a special basket (like the 25/50-point ones they lowered down in Rock ‘n Jock) where one possession could turn a 15-point deficit into a 10-point lead. Thanks for keeping me informed!
And on the idea of “chance”: so you’re telling me that if Team B whittles the lead down to an arbitrary number that you just made up, they will have a CHANCE to win? Whoa! Just like the indeterminate “chance” they had when the game started? Or the “chance” they currently have, down by 15 points? Unbelievable! How does your skull contain such vast knowledge of the future?!
Statements like this are made to create the illusion that the analyst has some sort of great grasp on how basketball works. But truthfully, it’s rewording basic mathematical inevitability into six seconds of nonsense that allows them to say something and “make a prediction” without risking any semblance of their credibility*. Obviously if Team B never cuts into the deficit where it currently stands, they have no chance to win. And obviously if they gain a few more points on their opponent, they have a chance to win. So why even say it?
* The worst is when the analyst will preface this great premonition with a caveat along the lines of “it’s impossible to predict BUT…” as if that will help insulate them from any backlash if/when they prove to be incorrect. Shut up. No. Just no. The fact is: it’s exceedingly possible (and easy!) to predict anything — especially when that’s kinda what you’re PAID to do! For instance: I predict that there will be a car accident on the highway tomorrow. Am I a traffic expert? No. I am just predicting that. I also predict that I will wake up tomorrow with the ability to punch through the moon. We’ll see if my prediction comes true. What the analystmeans to say is something like “it’s impossible to see the future with certainty”, in regards to basketball. Again, we already know this. It does not need to be said. We are entirely aware that no analysts can completely glimpse the future (if he/she could, he/she wouldn’t be working as a sports analyst). So why slip in that “now, I may be wrong here…” qualifier before making a statement explicitly designed to provide immunity from criticism? Either say something worthwhile or just shut it off.