K-State Basketball’s Anomalous Overtime Streak

K-State Basketball’s Anomalous Overtime Streak

K-State won another overtime game on Monday night against West Virginia, extending Jerome Tang’s undefeated overtime record to 12-0. It is hard to find the words to describe this streak. Bizarre and anomalous are two words that come to mind. K-State pushing the latest game to overtime and winning it masked an infamous second-half collapse, as K-State blew a 25-point lead with 13 minutes and 30 seconds left. Instead of talking about the blown lead or even the fantastic performance by guard Tylor Perry in overtime, Tang used the opportunity to open his post-game press conference by giving all credit to the Lord for the victory and, in the same breath, criticized the student body for not showing up. It was a strange game and a strange night. I have many thoughts about what happened, but today I must focus on this unbelievable overtime streak.

First, I find the sheer number of overtime games K-State has had in the last two seasons peculiar. Twelve, so far, in Jerome Tang’s first two seasons as a head basketball coach. Most programs don’t come close to having that number of overtime games in a season. For example, Scott Drew at Baylor has had three overtime games in the last two seasons. His record is 1-2. All three of their overtime games have come this season. They had zero overtime games last season. I looked at the 10-year tenure of Bruce Weber at K-State. In 10 seasons, he had ten overtime games. K-State’s record in them was 4-6. Bruce Weber coached K-State teams averaged one overtime game a season, but there were some seasons where there weren’t any overtime games. It is a small sample size, but I think the number of overtime games and the winning percentage in said games is pretty normal across the board.

Here are some statistics about the number of overtime games Jerome Tang has coached:

19% of Jerome Tang’s games coached at K-State have gone to overtime. Almost one out of every five games.
28% of Jerome Tang’s wins at K-State have been overtime games.
31% of Jerome Tang’s home wins at K-State have gone to overtime. Almost one out of three home wins.
K-State’s seven overtime victories this season is a new NCAA record.

The 12-game overtime win streak is the second longest in the country, second only to Florida State and Leonard Hamilton, who have won their last 14. The 14-game streak dates to 2018, meaning they have averaged two overtime games a season during that stretch. Tang is averaging six overtime games a season, with some of this season yet to play. Is this high number just a strange anomaly, or is there something more to it? Do they play for overtime instead of trying to win in regulation? These are questions that I cannot answer.

The win percentage is also a strange anomaly that I can’t explain. In my small sample size of Scott Drew and Bruce Weber, they have a near .500 record in overtime games. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find statistics on overtime win percentage across the board, but I think it has to be at or around .500 for most coaches. Starting your head coaching career with 12 straight overtime wins is quite an accomplishment. After the first few overtime wins, every time another game went into overtime I expected a loss. Because this has to all even out at some point doesn’t it? Or is Jerome Tang a real-life overtime magician? Again, these are questions I cannot answer at this point.

I do know that if Tang had even a .500 record in overtime games, he would be looked at a bit differently as a head coach right now than he is. Here is Tang’s overall record for the last two seasons:

K-State’s record in 2022-23: Overall: 26-10 Conference: 11-7
K-State’s record in 2023-24: Overall: 17-11 Conference: 7-8
K-State’s record both seasons combined: 43-21 Conference 18-15

Take the overtime wins out of the equation, and the record looks very mediocre:

K-State’s combined record without overtime wins 2022-23: 21-10/8-7
K-State’s combined record without overtime wins 2023-24: 10-11/5-7
K-State’s combined record without overtime wins: 31-21/13-14

If Jerome Tang didn’t have the 12-0 overtime record, say he went .500 in those games, his win/loss record would be very average. But he does have that record, and it’s the secret of his success so far. I still think it is an anomaly that will even out over time, but perhaps Tang can prove me wrong. If it takes going to overtime to win games, keep going to overtime as far as I’m concerned. But winning by five in regulation would be preferable.

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