Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Jun Yan

Honors Major



Applied Statistics


The 2020 NBA playoffs were played inside of a bubble in Disney World because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that there were no fans in attendance, games played on neutral courts and no traveling for teams, which in theory removes home-court advantage from the games. This setting has attracted much discussion as analysts and fans debated the possible effects it may have on the outcome of games. Home-court advantage has historically played an influential role in NBA playoff series outcomes. The 2020 playoff provided a unique opportunity to study the effects of the bubble and home-court advantage by comparing the 2020 season with the seasons in the past. While many factors contribute to the outcome of games, points scored is the deciding factor of who wins games, so scoring is the primary focus of this study. The specific measures of interest are team scoring totals and team shooting percentage on two-pointers, three-pointers, and free throws. Comparing these measures for home teams and away teams in 2020 vs. 2017-2019 shows that the 2020 playoffs favored away teams more than usual, particularly with two point shooting and total scoring.