Stat Geek Smackdown: All hail the crowd!

Every year, TrueHoop gathers a group of stat geeks grounded in the study of basketball analytics and advanced statistics. Over the past two years, we've included among the field a large panel of several dozen experts. The idea is to measure how the aggregate opinion of many informed people matches up against a single guru, or in this case seven individual gurus.

This year, The Crowd beat the mavens, as our ESPN Forecast panel finished the 2013 TrueHoop Stat Geek Smackdown with a total score of 72 points. That ties Matthew Stahlhut's 2012 score for third all-time in Smackdown history.

If not for Ray Allen's heroics, Jeff Ma would've taken the title. But the Crowd nailed the landing, picking the Heat in 7 and claiming the crowd at the finish line. Ma had a nice run. He was the only panelist -- including the crowd -- to pick each of the conference semifinals and conference finals series correctly. He finished second, tied with Tom Haberstroh.

Ultimately, The Crowd prevailed and the implications are interesting. Is the collective judgment of a relatively well-informed group of people smarter than one individual armed with expertise? Tough to say, and behavioral economists and cognitive scientists will continue to debate the question, but for or at least one NBA postseason, the answer was yes.