In front of national audiences two coaching moves, in particular, stuck out to me. One good, and one that made me scratch my head. One that proved to be a game winning decision, and one that proved inconsequential in the general scheme of things, but still made me wonder. Let's dive into them.
The Setting: K-State is up 59-56 with 4 seconds remaining. Nebraska has the ball.
Why It Was A Good Move: Down three, Nebraska had a chance to tie the game on a shot from behind the arc. Instead, Pullen's foul put Jeter on the line, where he could only pull the Huskers within a point of the Wildcats. What ensued was Jeter making the first, closing the lead to two, then trying to toss the ball off the rim, creating an opportunity for Nebraska to rebound and hit a game tying, or game winning shot. Jeter missed the rim completely, K-State got the ball and won the game.
We had seen a few times this season a coach not call for the foul. Notably in the CU-Texas A&M game, Buff coach Tad Boyle let the game flow under similar circumstances and A&M's B.J. Holmes nailed a three from WAY downtown to tie the game as time expired and the Aggies eventually won in overtime. Boyle not calling for the foul lost the Buffs the game and maybe a shot at a tournament bid. K-State coach Frank Martin telling his team to foul won them the game, and possibly earned them a shot at a tournament bid.
The Setting: Mizzou is up 16 and can control the ball for the final shot of the first half
The Decision: With a "use it or lose it" timeout remaining, Tiger coach Mike Anderson allows his team to play on.
Why It Was A Bad Move: Everyone knows Mizzou runs 10 deep, but the five on the floor to end the half were (if memory serves, please correct me if I'm wrong) Justin Safford, Steve Moore, Matt Pressey, Mike Dixon and Ricky Kreklow. None of the starters were on the floor, and really the only pure scorer of the bunch is Dixon. Even though Safford pulled down the defensive rebound with 34 seconds left, Anderson let the Tigers play it out, without calling the T.O. to either 1) set up a play or 2) sub in some more scorers.
After holding the ball and letting the clock wind down, Pressey turned the ball over and Baylor's Stargell Love connected on a desperation three, just over midcourt. Again, the shot didn't really hurt the Tigers, but if you have a T.O. you have to use, why not call it in this situation? If you want to leave your guys in, fine, but at least design a play to get a good look at the basket.