Think inside the box for sports insight

For those  who are not sports savvy, glancing at a basketball recap and seeing a bunch of numbers and figures can be intimidating.

Luckily, this article can help those people to understand the meaning behind the numbers and to explain the game itself.

At the top of the box score, the team names are listed, usually along with their overall records and—in college basketball—conference records.

The second team listed is the home team.

At the top of every box score is the scoring breakdown. If the only thing someone wants to know is which team won the game, he or she should look no further than the top of the page.

The scoring is broken down into halves—first half, second half and then the total score.

Next the players are listed with their respective jersey numbers and game statistics. The first five players listed were that team’s starters.

Every subsequent player is a player who logged playing time by coming off the bench.

To the right of a player’s name are his or her playing position (Pos) and his or her individual statistics.

From left to right, the statistics that are recorded are:  minutes played (Min), field goals made versus field goals attempted (FG), 3-point baskets made versus 3-point baskets attempted (3PT), free throws made versus free throws attempted (FT), offensive rebounds (REB-O), defensive rebounds (REB-D), total rebounds (REB), assists (ASST), steals (STL), blocks (BLK), turnovers (TO), personal fouls (PF) and total points (PTS).

“Not every number matters a lot, but a big disparity or a large number for an individual are the ones that stick out,” David Woods, the Butler men’s basketball beat writer for the Indianapolis Star, said.

One thing to keep in mind is that a 3-point attempt counts as a field goal attempt, but a field goal attempt is not a 3-point attempt.

At the bottom of a box score is the team totals, where each player’s individual stats are added and displayed.

Here it is easy to view and determine a team’s shooting percentage. A squad shooting around 40 percent from the field is considered average, while the average marks for 3-point baskets and free throws are 35 percent and 75 percent, respectively.

At the very bottom of every box score are other facts about the game, including if any player or coach received a technical foul, the officials who refereed the game and the attendance.

For more practice on reading box scores,  check out some similar to the one below on the Butler athletics website,


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