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Weekly Roundup 03.24.2024

Happy Sunday sports vizzers! With apologies for our unscheduled break last week, we are back this week to wet the proverbial whistles with some more fantastic sports visualisations!

Starting this week with football in the Indian Super League, and Sidharth Suresh has done a deep-dive into finishing stats across the league. There is an absolute wealth of information to look at here, and Sidharth has done a good job of covering the different ways of measuring who is the best goal-scorer. My eye was drawn to the differences between Noah Sadaoui, who takes lots of shots but is not the most accurate finisher, and Dimitrios Diamantakos who looks like a lethal finisher! Combining views of the shot location, xG and xGOT (which are two ways of measuring the quality and execution of a shot respectively) as well as the raw numbers and percent on target gives a very rounded picture of each player's contribution.

Sticking with football, Ansgar Wolsing has taken a look at how Harry Kane's goalscoring in the Bundesliga this season is on track with Lewandowski's record-breaking season (and Gerd Muller's before that). Kane is having an absolutely remarkable season, despite Bayern Munich trailing Bayer Leverkusen in the league, and I hope that his ankle injury doesn't cause him to miss too many games [if I remember correctly, Lewandowski suffered an injury at a similar time in the season so it's not all over yet!].

Moving away from football into Formula 1 and Dan Wade has challenged himself to create one visualisation for each race. As I write this the third race has just finished and I imagine that Dan's third F1 viz is well on the way, but for now let's talk about qualifying.

I really like the simplicity of this viz. As we've seen many times before, simplicity and clarity can often go hand-in-hand and that is really the case here. The differences between the tyre compounds is stark, as is the comparative "clumping" of drivers around particular times. I want to give a particular shoutout to Dan's clever decision on scaling the y-axis - it helps to reinforce the main message that very small differences between drivers can make a big difference.

Also worth checking out Dan's menu/holding page for easy access to his visualisations. Again, a masterpiece of elegance and function. I'm excited to see what else Dan has planned!

Making a tenuous segue from a sport about wheels, to a visualisation that uses wheels in the form of pies, Bo McCready has been looking at upsets during the March Madness college basketball tournament.

This viz really caught my eye - not just for its bold use of orange pies to evoke orange basketballs - but because the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to keep looking at it. This is a really clever way of showing the upsets in each league while also contrasting the lack of upsets in the higher seeded games. Even the games where 15th plays 2nd seeds have considerably more upsets than 16th plays 1st. Remarkable stuff all round, and Bo also gives the reader great commentary and callouts to help navigate their way to some of the more noteworthy data points.

Kirk Munroe spotted something interesting happening in the NHL and turned to Tableau to have a more detailed look (don't we all!). Based on their shots per game, it looks like the Penguins might be able to turn things around if they can convert a few more chances - scoring more goals is, unsurprisingly, a similar trend for teams in the playoffs. The one exception to that is the Washington Capitals who seem to be on a personal quest to redefine what a successful playoff run might look like!

Stepping back from specific sports into a wider perspective, and Whitney has created a beautiful counterpart to her previous Olympic viz, and shown how the number of nations taking part in the Winter Olympics has increased through the years. There's a real sea-change since 1980 with more nations beginning to take part with each Games. I really like the design of this, and the way it looks like it is filling up as more and more teams take part.

Yuta Sakai has also been busy creating an attractive circular visualisation for baseball. Cleverly combining an outer ring of highest wins-above-replacement seasons with an inner ring of appearances results in this striking and informative design. Clicking on an athlete highlights in red their position on the appearance ring together with their seasons on the outer ring. It's fascinating to see the number of top seasons claimed by historical figures (e.g. Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds) compared with some of the more long-running contemporary athletes (e.g. Mike Trout or A-Rod). Definitely worth checking out!

Heading round the final corner is a pair of visualisations from CJ Mayes using his Strava data.

The first is this imaginative dashboard showing how CJ's training sessions changed during 2023 as he switched to weight-training and away from running. As well as the little summary stats down the right hand side, I was particularly taken by the isometric walls that CJ used to mark each session. It's a great design element that creates a different visual effect as the sessions get more dense while still retaining the detail of each session.

CJ followed that with a look at when during the day and during the week he was most likely to exercise. Unsurprisingly, weekend mornings were his most common sessions, with the beginning of the week offering a range of times through the day (or potentially allowing for multiple workouts a day). As we have come to expect from CJ, this visualisation is another clean and contemporary design with small details that elevate it (in this case, the little blue dot showing the peak bars/columns on the marginal histograms).

And I'm going to end this week's roundup with an interesting titbit from Cartoon Steve Bould, who spotted that the Champions League draw has turned out incredibly fairly with top teams paired with each other, instead of a stronger team and a weaker team. Hopefully this will make for some very good knockout matches!

And that's the finish line! Thanks to all our contributors this week, and hopefully we'll be back as normal next Sunday...

Cheers, and remember to keep up with the #SportsVizSunday hashtag if you want to be featured.

Mo & the SVS team

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