Foul or Defend
Well the late game situation I have been tracking since day one at the high school, college and NBA levels is starting to raise some eyebrows and get people talking (and thinking).
Especially after Saturday where Syracuse was in a “Foul or Defend” decided to play defense against Villanova. The ‘Cuse, known for their 2-3 jumping-jack zone gave up a three to send the contest into overtime.
The Orange lost the game in the extra session.
My guy Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News wrote about it today. (Thanks for the mention Mike)
A friend of mine, Steve Finamore, the head coach at East Lansing High in Michigan, has been charting these situations throughout the season 2012-13 season. He became fixated on the issue after twice choosing not to foul last season and giving up tying 3s—against the same team, to the same player, from the identical spot on the floor.
According to Finamore’s numbers, there have been 279 total situations this season in which a team was ahead three points with the other team in possession of the ball and seven seconds or less to play.
— 259 times the team did not foul relied on its defense; 46 allowed a game-tying 3-pointer that forced overtime. That’s a 17.7 percent failure rate.
— 20 times the team chose to foul on purpose to prevent the 3-pointer; only one, Kent State in a game against Valparaiso, was tied by a team that rebounded a free-throw miss and converted a basket. That’s a 5 percent failure rate.
As far as Finamore is concerned, this season’s failure rate of the fouling strategy should be zero percent.
“Upon further review, the officials blew this,” he said. “A Valpo player committed a lane violation, which was not called.” He added that Kent coach Rob Senderoff told him he still would call for a foul the next time he encountered this situation.
Couple of hours later while watching Kentucky and LSU, John Calipari was up three with 3.1 to play decided to foul LSU. The Tigers missed the first free-throw, Cats get the rebound, get fouled and make two free throws.
I saw Cal in the huddle go over the strategy, I read his lips; he mentioned “foul.”
Sure enough the Cats fouled. Game over, thanks for coming, arrive home safely. Kentucky wins!
Kentucky fouling is the 21st time a team utilized the “foul” strategy and won the game without going to overtime. Keep in mind, the team trailing has to make the first free-throw, miss the second, get the rebound and score. All you have to do is rebound the miss. If you get fouled, go down the other end and sink your free-throws.
As for Syracuse, they became the 48th team to give up a three this season and play five more minutes of basketball.
Foul or Defend?
What do you do?