ESPN/AP Cannot Read a Box Score

I had a commenter, Wayne, point out that the AP written/ESPN posted recap for the UNC-Clemson game contained a very interesting and confusing line(emphasis mine):

Wright, the Atlantic Coast Conference leader in field goal percentage, was a miserable 6-of-9 in a loss to Virginia Tech last Saturday that cost the Tar Heels their perfect conference mark and No. 1 ranking.

The confusing part is I would not consider 6 for 9 shooting to be misreable. In fact it is 66% which is close to where Wright has been averaging in field goal percentage. What I later discovered was that the reason the line was so confusing is that, according to Dynasty08 over at the Inside Carolina message board, the inital posting of the recap read like this(emphasis mine):

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Brandan Wright wouldn’t let one bad game get under his skin. That’s a freshman trait North Carolina fans can learn to love.

Wright, the Atlantic Coast Conference leader in field goal percentage, was a miserable 1-of-8 in a loss to Virginia Tech last Saturday that cost the Tar Heels their perfect conference mark and No. 1 ranking.

So, whoever wrote the article made the rather egregious mistake of citing Wright’s FT stat from the Virginia Tech game, which was 1 for 8 as the FG stat which was actually 6 for 9. Obviously someone complained and the stat was corrected but the rest of the line left intact which leads to it sounding like a complete contradiction.

Mystery solved, right? Not so much. Check out the preview for the UNC-Georgia Tech game posted on ESPN.com as of 10:15 AM(emphasis mine):

“That’s not the type of team that we are,” said freshman Brandan Wright, who had 17 points against the Tigers after shooting just 1-of-8 against the Hokies. “We wanted to show who we were. We put that behind us and took it to the next game.”

Nice fact checking there. I think the best theory for this is that whoever wrote the preview somehow relied on the first article and therefore transferred the incorrect stat into this story. Then again how absolutely devoid of common sense do you have to be to write an article and not take the time to check you stats against the box score? I have been blogging for close to a year now I am fairly meticulous about making sure I put the correct statistical information on my blog and if I make a mistake I correct in a way that makes sense.  And I do not even get paid to do this.  In fact right now I have three other browser windows open pointing to various pieces of this puzzle so I can confirm them. When I do any game recap I bring the box score up in another browser window as a point of reference. My point is if I, the amatuer blogger, can do it  how hard can it be for someone who has been tasked with writing such a piece for publication on a web site seen by millions of people to get the information correct. It was bad enough that they were too lazy to rewrite the first article when they changed the stat and left a sentence that made zero sense in context, but now they have made the exact same mistake again.

Is a little accuracy in reporting too much to ask?

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