OT: Down 4 w/ 2.9 secs left, BYU inbounds in backcourt

Submitted by Muttley on March 18th, 2015 at 12:16 AM

at about  their own foul line for that four point heave.

Oh yeah, unless the defense is as dumb as a box of rocks (see VCU losing in the first round last year), there's no four point shot.

This is one of my pet peeves.

When will college BB players stop conceding in that situation?

The only college team that I've seen attempt to win down two scores with less than five seconds left was Butler under Brad Stevens a few years back.  

TO HAVE A CHANCE, YOU HAVE TO SCORE BEFORE THE CLOCK RUNS OUT.  So why don't teams in this situation recognize the obvious--that the clock is stopped while the inbounds pass is in the air--and throw a length-of-the-court pass to attempt to score in next to no time?  Butler did it, and scored with about two seconds left, giving themselves a chance to intercept the ensuing inbounds and win.  (They didn't, but at least they had two seconds of a one score game.)

But, but, but, the pass will likely be intercepted!!!  Yes, and if that happens, you lose, just like you are sure to do if you inbound the ball in the backcourt and the defense freezes like it should.

Hockey has it figured out.  You pull the goalie.



March 18th, 2015 at 12:26 AM ^

I think the chances of them hitting a three, fouling/getting a steal, and scoring again in 2.9 seconds are so low that it is barely worth the effort. Is it possible? Yeah, I mean Reggie Miller scored 8 points in 9 seconds, but that seems really really unlikely to happen in this case. I mean it must be less than a .01% chance of winning this game. 

If they were only down three instead of four, the argument changes completely. Also, the guy chucked up the shot when he had time to get about 10 feet closer.


March 18th, 2015 at 12:42 AM ^

ala the Soviets in the 1972 Olympics.  You can score in a second, or get fouled and stop the clock if the defense tries to defend it.

Then you'd be trying for a steal with a little less than two seconds left.  Might your opponents inbounds pass be thrown out of bounds like happened to us versus NW?

I think the likelihood of success if you actually give yourself a chance in this manner is many times the 0.01% you're estimating.

I tried to post Herm Edwards sage advice in the post above, but it isn't showing up for some reason.


March 18th, 2015 at 12:31 AM ^

I know I should know this being that I consider myself a devout fan of basketball, but what happens if the inbounds dude throws a full counter and makes it? I fully believe they would discount it, but it would be more entertaining to allow the basket to count with no time coming off the clock. In fact, go ahead and give them a free shot at it with the consequence being, well... You lose.

Prince Lover

March 18th, 2015 at 12:43 AM ^

Where Adrian Dantley in a similar situation threw the ball in (from half court though) as an alley pop pass to John Salley. He ended up making the shot, which was a pass though, and no one touched it so they gave the ball to the other team. George Blaha was mad at Salley because all John would have had to do was touch the ball any way possible to make it count.
Don't know if rules have changed or even if the pro rule is the same as college.

rob f

March 18th, 2015 at 12:33 AM ^

when I clicked on the thread title, I had my finger ready to neg.  But once I saw the OP was by you, Muttley, and especially once I read it, an upvote instead.

MI Expat NY

March 18th, 2015 at 9:35 AM ^

Nobody is going to seriously defend a 3, so hoping for a foul is sort of silly and may even be detrimental to your chances to make the shot if the offensive player looks to create contact.  The best bet is to try and catch the ball as close to the basket as possible, make the immediate bucket, and look to create a turnover (preferably a 5-second call) on the inbounds play.  

Mr. Yost

March 18th, 2015 at 4:36 AM ^

What does putting hockey in this and pulling your goalie have to do with anything? You can't do anything even close in basketball like you can in hockey or soccer. Even in baseball you can play 6 infielders in certain situations knowing that if the ball reaches the outfield, the game is over.

Nonetheless, you are correct and the heave on the first possession is always better than assuming you can score then score again on the second possession.

This is a big reason why the NBA advances the ball, however, I hate that rule. A timeout should be a timeout, not a strategy to move the ball forward. That is so stupid. Could you imagine that in football? My God.


Another thing college players never do correctly is attempt the 3 when you have timeouts and you know the defense is going to foul because they're up 3 with 5 seconds or less in the game. Or when they have fouls to give late in the game and they're trying to foul to shorten the game/play.

Inbound the ball, load up for your three and if the ref doesn't call a foul on the defense, call the timeout in the air rather than throwing up a bad shot. It sounds harder than it is, but if the coach is a coach and alerts the refs of the play it's not that hard.

We ran this to perfection at my school. The other team had 3 fouls to give and we noticed after the 2nd they were just letting us take one dribble before intentionally fouling. So we found a way to get the ball to halfcourt even with them fouling then a timeout was called. When we broke the huddle we had 2 TOs and they had 1 foul to give. We told the ref, inbounded the ball and immediately turned for a shot. The kid was fouled in midair, prepared to call timeout if the foul wasn't called.

Then he only made 2 of 3 and we lost, lol


March 18th, 2015 at 9:38 AM ^

That sounds extremely difficult to execute to me.  Don't you have to form the "T" with your hands to call the timeout?  How do you do that if you're going up to shoot the ball, holding with both hands?  I'd be amazed if the success rate of getting free throws was higher than the rate of turning the ball over or wasting the shot.


March 18th, 2015 at 5:27 PM ^

In football, it's throwing the Hail Mary*.  This basketball strategy I'm advocating is basically a length-of-the-court Hail Mary pass to underneath the bucket.

These are strategies that you would not pursue in the middle of the game because there's a larger chance of a bad outcome (empty net goal, interception) than there is of the quick score.  But near the very end of the game when the alternative is 100% probability of loss if you don't score immediately, then you ignore the bad outcomes (a loss is a loss) and instead focuses on ways that increase your chances of at least tying the score.


*Perhaps a closer analogy would be, down 10 points with 12 seconds left, kicking a 40 yd FG so there's time to recover an onsides kick and throw that last attempt at a game-tying Hail Mary.


March 18th, 2015 at 8:35 AM ^

Is a great coach, and doing the same things in the NBA. The Celtics won a game last season down 4 with 3.6 seconds to go vs. Miami, and earlier this year nearly came back from 10 down with under 30 seconds vs. Golden State. His plays out of timeouts are becoming legendary.

I know it's popular on the board to root for Tom Crean's demise, but Indiana is going to try to make Stevens a Godfather offer if they remove Crean. As a Michigan fan, we should want Crean to stay around for a long time, because Stevens makes that program a perennial top 5.


March 18th, 2015 at 9:25 AM ^

Dartmouth was down 1 with 2.5 seconds and did this to Yale 10 days ago and won the game. This shot is responsible for Harvard's appearance in the NCAA because it meant Yale was forced into a playoff game at Harvard (which Yale also lost at the last second).