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Duke Goes (More) High Tech

Basketball now using the Sports VU system

New cameras are in the rafters in old Cameron
New cameras are in the rafters in old Cameron
Streeter Lecka

You've probably heard of Sports VU. If not, you're almost certainly aware of the analytics movement in basketball. Brad Stevens is a big proponent and throughout the NBA, teams are gathering data and finding new insights into the game.

Among colleges, Duke is the earliest adapter and what's happening is pretty interesting.

Unlike a pro team, a college campus, and in particular one with high academic standards, has talented people and resources available.

For Duke, that means people like Kevin Cullen, the basketball team’s director of information technology, and Guillermo Sapiro, Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School professor of electrical and computer engineering. The two are helping to analyze the video and producing data.

In the NBA, with an 82-game schedule and just about everyone using the system, you can get reliable data quickly. In college, not so much.

First, the schedule is much shorter, and second, you don't get to see the other teams very often.

So Duke is using the cameras primarily to analyze its own team.

What we'd be curious to see is just how the data is being analyzed and then produced, because the management and interpretation is really important. If you can present the data in a really accessible, visual way, it's going to be invaluable. If it's dense and hard to follow, people won't pay much attention.