30 second time outs

Monday, December 06, 2004

Blowout Wins - Are They Necessary?

I saw a couple of great acts of sportsmanship recently, just days after reading about basketball scores like 89-9 and 110-30. The University of La Verne was beating the Banana Slugs (their nickname, really!) from UC Santa Cruz 97 - 61 with under a minute to go and a starter reentered the game and immediately called a huddle with the other LaVerne players. They then proceeded to run out the clock without trying to reach the 100 point threshold that always seems so important to players and fans.

In another sport, Jeff Tedford, the football coach at Cal, had the game in hand and perched to score with the ball on the 13 yard line when he ordered his quarterback to take a knee and let time expire. A bigger win may have impressed voters to invite Cal to a bigger bowl game, but Tedford stuck to what he knew was right.

Some basketball-tips to deal with large victories posted from the message board at The New Southern California Basketball Server:
Coaches, 1st half - do your thing, anything goes.
2nd half (or at least the 4th quarter) - play everyone and don't press. I don't care if you are a pressing team and 'need to work on it'. What kind of work are you really getting against that type of inferior competition?

Don't get steals and shoot uncontested layups. Do that in layup lines. Pull it out and work on some sort of continuity that will help you run out the last possession of a game when you have a one point lead. Or better yet when it's tied with 35 seconds to go and you want to take the last shot. And then demand only inside shots. THAT will help you get better.

Play a tight zone as if you need to stop some big post player or a team that can't shoot outside. Don't deny passes and get steals in the half court either. Block out and rebound - then WALK IT UP!

If a team did that for an entire half using 35 seconds and even assuming that the losing team didn't 'play along' and shot in their first 10 seconds, the team would have to shoot 100% just to score 40 pts in the 2nd half. A more normal 50% and they score 20 pts. Maybe the other team scores a few and you only win by 40.

I loved winning by 15-20. Safe enough lead not to blow it in the last couple of minutes and big enough to get all subs in the game. Does not demoralize the opponent and lets you work on the parts of the game that you need to improve to beat the good teams. Who cares what you do against the bad ones, you'll beat them anyway! Practice what you need to do to beat the best.

Unless of course you think that it proves your manhood and ability to coach by winning by a larger amount. In which case - you are showing neither.

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