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Up 2, 4 Secs to Go, Their Ball Full Court

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on March 26, 2017

I posted this on our Never Too Late Basketball Facebook Page yesterday and am still thinking about it, wondering if players and/or coaches have any thoughts or comments.
Friday night, March 24, 2017, Madison Square Garden, Round of 16: the scenario was Wisconsin just took a two point lead on two very clutch free throws by a pretty shaky free thrower shooter, senior Nigel Hayes (5/10 up till that point, 59% on the year). Florida calls timeout. Their ball, full court, down 2. What can a coach tell his team who is already into the double bonus to help them stop the offense from scoring. Really the issue is not them scoring, the issue is them winning. First and foremost should be the other team does not get three. After that, we’ll take our chances. No doubt what was said over and over in Wisconsin’s huddle was “do not foul, do not foul”. Problem with telling players do not foul is it stops them from playing defense; they are not used to that. You play defense and if a foul is called a foul is called. Certainly do not foul a three point shooter, yes. In fact, last possession of the first half and first possession of the second half Wisconsin did just that giving up 6 points. Beside de-emphasizing do not foul, a strategy to limit Florida’s strengths in that situation was needed. What can a team do in that four seconds? What do coaches usually do? 1) Throw a 3/4 court pass that gets dumped off quickly for a jumper or 2) get it in the hands of a quick guard and let them go. Wisconsin had shown great difficult in staying in front of Florida’s two small quick guards: KeVaughn Allen (35 points) and Chris Chiozza who was driving to the basket at will, in fact, scoring their last bucket on a drive (after a block off what should have been a dunk for Wisconsin). How to stop a full-steam-ahead dribbler? Well, Gard could have said in the time-out: “if they throw it in to one of their guards in the back court, trap immediately, force them to pass, move your feet, hands up, force the pass taking valuable time off the clock. Desperation heave. Game over. Or play 2-2-1, 3/4 court and trap in the same way. Move your feet, don’t reach, trap and force a pass. The emphasis on not fouling, playing scared is the worse impulse and no doubt cost them the game.

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