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Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played & Games Are Won

The final dance of this college basketball season is tonight. Fans everywhere are counting on their team to pull off the big win in New Orleans.

But will the best team win? Monday on Up to Date: a conversation about the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football and hockey games are played, won and lost.

Steve Kraske talks with University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Tobias Moskowitz and Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim about the influence of home-field advantage and why it exists, the “myth of momentum and the surprising truth about the logic that it is defense that wins championships.  Moskowitz and Wertheim are authors of Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played & Games Are Won.

Later in the hour: KCUR sports reporter, Greg Echlin, previews tonight's championship game between Kansas University and the University of Kentucky. For those of you who like acronym confusion: that's KU vs. UK.

Tobias J. Moskowitz is the Fama Family Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has taught since 1998.  Moskowitz was recognized by the American Finance Association with its 2007 Fischer Black Prize, which is awarded biennially to the top finance scholar in the world under the age of 40 in years when one is deemed deserving.  His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Financial Times, US News and World Report, Money magazine, and a 2005 speech by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.  He has also appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell and Squawk Box, as well as Bloomberg.  Born in West Lafayette, IN, Moskowitz earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management and industrial engineering (with distinction) in 1993 from Purdue University, a master’s degree in management from Purdue in 1994, and a Ph.D. in finance from UCLA in 1998. Jon Wertheim is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, is one of the most accomplished sports journalists in America. His work has been cited in The Best American Sports Writing anthology four times (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009) as well as The Best American Crime Writing (2009). He is the author of seven highly-praised books.  Wertheim is also a regular contributor to CNN and NPR’s “Marketplace.” At the four tennis Grand Slams, he is a commentator for the Tennis Channel. In 2010-11, he served as a resident Ferris Professor at Princeton University.  A native of Bloomington, IN, Wertheim is a 1993 graduate of Yale University and received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. He serves on the alumni advisory board of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative and is a member of the Sports Lawyers Association. They are lifelong friends who met at summer camp in 1983 (see proof).  Their shared love of sports and unconventional thinking created “SCORECASTING” 25 years later.


After growing up on the east coast and spending his first professional years in classical music, Stephen moved to Kansas City in 1995 expecting to leave after a few years. (Clearly that didn't happen.) More than two decades and three kids later, he doesn't regret his decision to stick around. Stephen began his career in public radio as a classical music host. As the founding producer of Up to Date with Steve Kraske, he received a number of local and national awards for his work on the program. Since 2014 he's overseen KCUR's broadcast operations. When Stephen isn't at KCUR's studios, he's probably adding more stamps to his passport with his KU professor wife and their three kids. His son almost made him cry during a drive through the Rockies when he said at age 8: "Dad, can we listen to public radio?" Sniff sniff.
Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.