"Smile Kevin" asks David Amber from CBC. But what diabolic thoughts were hidden behind that evil grin?
It was an entertaining contest with many interesting decisions which could be broken down by Curl With Math. Unfortunately, in addition to writing an e-book I am working on a research paper to be submitted to the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Deadlines are approaching and the clock is ticking. There is no time for lengthy analysis that will be debated by both of you reading this, but I have time for a few comments.
1. Koe had no choice but to try the in-off hit in the 4th end for a possible three. Gushue in fact wanted to be lighter on his draw to avoid leaving this shot and have Kevin draw for one. Even if Koe had an easy shot for 1 he would only need to make this shot around 40% of the time to be worth trying. In fact, given he will often still get one or even two, it could be the right call if he makes 3 even half that often.
2. During the blanking of the 4th end by Koe there was discussion on this decision by the announcers as they tossed around some statistics (care of CurlingZone). I've touched on the 2 hammers to 1 theory before, but we've only scratched the surface of digging into the numbers. The research paper I am preparing may answer this question once and for all.
3. Koe scored his deuce in the 5th end with the help of a missed corner guard. Because guard attempt by Carter barely came across center, Gushue decided against peeling it. Strange sometimes how a miss will create a favourable situation that was unexpected. In retrospect, maybe Koe should throw an off-centre guard as a way to entice Gushue to play into the rings.
4. More in the 5th. Gushue attempted a double on his last shot but could have chosen a freeze instead, leaving a difficult shot or even no chance at two and have some chance of a possible steal. Maybe Gushue was thinking he'd rather have a blank here and possibly get hammer in the last end (see number 2 above).
5. Interesting scenario where Gushue on thirds first rock has to decide on playing a peel or a guard. You don't often hear that discussed. A very interesting end that was only surpassed by..
6. The Final end. I can't recall seeing such a strange turn of events in a final tied end. Both tick shots were made but an unfortunate jam gave Gushue hope. This hope was then quashed by Lex making and in-off hit for one to win the game. It was nearly identical to the shot attempted in the 4th end for three.
7. Anyone notice the Saskatchewan Roughriders fans cheering to the camera? It almost seemed like the Grand Slam had some real live excitement and then I realized they just wanted to be on TV. Why else would you paint yourself for another sporting event that you're not attending?
Coming soon: Olympic Trials Preview.