Tag Archives: NCAA Men’s Basketball

WATCH Blue Get the Last Word: The 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

Following up on the successful post visualizing  live Tweets pertaining to the Final Four matchup between undefeated Kentucky and Wisconsin, this writer decided to take it one step further and to portray the Twitter fandom of Duke Nation and Badger Nation during last night’s National Championship game. If you succumbed to your early bedtime, the blue that fills the interactive map at the end of the animation should amply suggest who the victor was!

Each of the 54,625 randomly mined Tweets had to contain at least one of the following inherently pro-Duke or pro-Wisconsin keyword: “GoWisconsin,” “GoWisconsinBadgers,” “GoBadgers,” “BadgerNation,” “BadgersBelieve,” “FrankTheTank,” “DukeNation,” “OkaforWins,” “GoDuke,” “GoDukeBlueDevils,” “GoBlueDevils,” and “BlueDevilNation.” Those Tweets, which had been collected using the filterStream function of the R statistical computing language, were then filtered down to 2,409 randomly geocoded Tweets (Tweets whose locations could be derived). Finally, each Tweet was categorized as being pro-Duke or pro-Wisconsin before being inputted into a web mapping platform called CartoDb. In the end, Duke Nation can lay claims to being more excited on Twitter during last night’s game, broadcasting 1,724 messages versus Badger Nation’s 685 in this random sample of geocoded Tweets – another reason for the Blue Devil haters out there to hate! The final data set can be accessed here: DukeWisLVantData.

The following excerpts from the Guardian’s minute-by-minute commentary of the match can be a helpful guide to the map. Pause the video at the indicated times to see how the match’s real-time twists and turns had an impact on real-world social media behavior:

 9:21 PM ET – Kaminsky hits a long three and then takes a charge. HEY! Stop stealing Duke’s game, thief!

9:43 PM ET – Duke has its biggest lead of the game, 21-16, with a little over 8 minutes left in the half.

9:51 PM ET – Wisconsin 24, Duke 23 / 4:47 left in the half

The Badgers are on a run – 7 unanswered – capped by Kaminsky making and and-1. When Kaminsky finished his play, CBS showed a bar in Madison with tons of people drinking.

10:25 PM ET – The second half is underway. Wisconsin starts with the ball and … takes a 34-31 lead on a corner three by Koenig.

10:28 PM ET – Wisconsin 38, Duke 33 / 18:32 left

Coach K calls a timeout after Dekker scores off a Duke turnover. The Blue Devils look sloppy coming out of the half. How is that possible? They just were coached up by the great Mike Krzyzewski for 15 minutes.

10:40 PM ET – Wisconsin 46, Duke 39 / 13:55 left

Koenig hits another three to give Wisconsin its biggest lead.

And Dekker still hasn’t hit a three in the game. Very bad for Duke. (Good for America?)

10:46 PM ET – Wisconsin 51, Duke 45 / 11:43 left

Grayson Allen is keeping Duke in the game. If he doesn’t go pro, he will enjoy a long college career of being despised by adults all across the country.

10:50 PM ET – Grayson Allen has scored the last 8 points for Duke. Grayson Allen sounds like the name of trust fund son of an attorney. It’s a very Duke name.

11:04 PM ET – We’re tied at 56 with less than 5 minutes left. Yes, this will do nicely. Thank you, sports.

11:13 PM ET – Duke 63, Wisconsin 58 / 2 minutes left

Back-to-back buckets for Okafor after sitting out for six minutes. He was out for so long, he apparently forgot he was having a bad game.

11:22 PM ET – Duke 68, Wisconsin 63 / 14.9 left

After Tyus Jones hit two free throws, Wisconsin had an awful offensive possession, ran down a ton of clock and then threw up an airball from the top of the key. Prepare for another Duke title.

How Wisconsin vs. Kentucky Lit Up Twitter USA

38-1. It’s a record that any team would covet at this point in the college basketball season. Unfortunately, that one small blemish in an otherwise pristine record came at the wrong time for the Kentucky Wildcats. Perhaps equally distressing, this loss not only ended an historic, perfect season prematurely, but it will also linger in the collective memory of many Americans. According to Turner, last night’s broadcast by Turner Sports and CSB Sports garnered the highest cable rating ever for a college basketball game, and it was the highest rated Final Four game since 1993.

For those of you who missed it, the result to last night’s memorable Final Four matchup between Kentucky and Wisconsin in the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament came down to the wire, with the game tied at 60-60 with 2:25 left in the match. Flashback to the 6:36 mark in the second half, and it would’ve been easy to call the game. Kentucky’s large frontcourt and speedy guards had overcome a 52-44 deficit to build a 60-56 lead against the Badgers, and their second half resurgence meant that they had a 79.2% chance of advancing to the championship game tomorrow. According to Nate Silver’s simulations, if both teams had twelve remaining possessions at a 60-56 scoreline, Kentucky’s winning percentage was as high as 81.9%.

Instead, Wisconsin’s defense held Kentucky scoreless between the 6:36 and 0:56 stretch. Now, AP Player of the year, Frank Kaminsky, has an opportunity to completely redeem last year’s Final Four loss by playing an in-form Duke team, which handily defeated Michigan State earlier in the day, in tomorrow’s championship game.

Luckily, this writer had the opportunity to animate a map of Tweets correlating to this intense game. This process consisted of three steps:

  • data mining with the R statistical computing language using the filterStream function;
  • exporting, cleaning, and filtering the dataset on Excel; and
  • using the “Torque” and “Intensity” features of CartoDb, a cloud platform for GIS and web mapping tools, to interactively map that dataset.
Wisconsin vs. Kentucky Final Four Viewership Intensity Map
Wisconsin vs. Kentucky Final Four Viewership Intensity Map

Here are some interesting facts and observations pertaining to the maps and their creation:

  • Each tweet had to include at least one of the eleven following keywords: “Wisconsin,” “WisconsinBadgers,” “Badgers,” “Kentucky,” “KentuckyWildcats,” “Wildcats,” “WisconsinvsKentucky,” “KentuckyvsWisconsin,” “UKvsWIS,” “Wisconsin vs Kentucky,” “FinalFour,” and “NCAATournament.”
  • The TwitteR filterStream search mined a total of 303,403 worldwide tweets from Twitter (130,228 first half tweets and 173,175 second half tweets) during the game. The filterStream function was used throughout the game, but not during halftime. This would explain the blank gap in the map about halfway through the video.
  • Of the 300K+ Tweets that were randomly mined, 12,224 were location enabled tweets. In other words, the Twitter user had location enabled for Tweets, so those specific Tweets could be mapped with given Longitude and Latitude specifications and creation times. Therefore, the random plots on these maps represent approximately 4% of the data collected.
  • The game was played at a relatively controlled manner. At halftime, both teams were deadlocked at 36 points apiece, and neither team managed to achieve a double-digit lead at any point in the game. Unsurprisingly, the steady generation of tweets in the video matches what was largely a steady, calculated game. In addition, it is important to note that unlike certain sports, such as football or soccer, where scoring often occurs in isolated spurts, basketball features scored baskets throughout a game. Barring a seminal event like a game-winning shot, one would not expect a drastic surge of Tweets at any point during the game.