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Researchers Examine the Bank Shot

Here’s some interesting research to consider just in time for March Madness. Engineering researchers at North Carolina State University demonstrates that players have a better chance of scoring a game-winning bucket with a bank shot than with a direct shot.

After simulating one million shots with a computer, the NC State researchers show that the bank shot can be 20 percent more effective when shooting at many angles up to a distance of about 12 feet from the basket. Bank shots are also more effective from the “wing” areas between the three-point line and the free-throw lane. However, straight-on shots – those corresponding to the area around the free-throw line – from further than 12 feet are not as well suited for bank shots.

“Basketball players can’t take a slide rule out on the court, but our study suggests that a few intuitive assumptions about bank shots are true,” says Dr. Larry Silverberg, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the research.

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