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I'm an assistant professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where I teach and research how news sites can better reach their audiences. I received my Ph.D. from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri where I was one of the founding editors of MyMissourian.com, a citizen journalism site for Columbia, Mo. Before graduate school, I worked as a community newspaper editor in Southern Utah and Southern California.

Through interactivity, ESPN shows Jazz can win it all

Even after last week’s inspiring symposium, I had another case of blogger’s block, but ESPN got me out of my funk today. The site has long been an innovator in the online arena, and it seems as if the NBA is especially fertile ground. Today, I learned just what it will take for my hometown team, the Utah Jazz to win their first NBA title, and it will only take running the entire playoffs 12 different times.

What I’m really talking about is ESPN’s NBA Playoff Predictor, a Web app that allows you to simulate the upcoming NBA playoffs, even though seeds aren’t even set yet. You can either select the current standings, John Hollinger’s Playoff Odds or the Accuscore rankings to fill the brackets. Then hit the simulate and you’re off. My first thought was how many times do I have to run this thing to see the Jazz win it all, and I was surprised it only took me 12. Here are some other things I learned:

  • The Jazz never lost in the first round even when facing the Phoenix Suns as the four seed.
  • The Mavericks, Lakers and Cavaliers are most likely to get upset. I was surprised the Cavs were the champion only once in my sims.
  • The most likely champion? The Orlando Magic (6 out of 12)!

Now I know this isn’t accurate. As Chris Berman says, that’s why they play the games. But I had a lot of fun playing with it and dreaming up scenarios where Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer do what John Stockton and Karl Malone could not.

I could also write off my playoff daydreams as work because ESPN has once again demonstrated how a few bells and whistles on a site can create a community. Part of the reason I’m sharing my image in the hopes of connecting with other Utah Jazz fans. I’m certain I’m not the only one who has done this. If you have, leave me a comment and let me know how many times it took you to run the simulator to get the Jazz as the NBA champions.

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3 Responses to “Through interactivity, ESPN shows Jazz can win it all”

  1. Jennifer Sokia #

    I haven’t done the predictor yet but Carl said it only took him twice to get the Jazz! Not good for him since he is a Laker fan. :) I am so excited to watch the playoffs. Go Jazz!

    April 15, 2010 at 12:29 am
  2. Mal #

    It took me twelve times too! Go Jazz!! And the Jazz came out of the first round every single time. That alone makes me pleased as punch!

    Thanks for posting this – for some reason, I was always intimidated by this feature on ESPN, but you made me see how incredibly easy it is!

    April 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by scrippsjschool. scrippsjschool said: Through interactivity, ESPN shows Jazz can win it all (Give the 'Net credit): With its NBA Playoff Predictor Web s… http://bit.ly/9n7hCV […]

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