Let Wednesday night’s barnburner in Lawrence serve as irrefutable proof why you ALWAYS, to a man, unconditionally, without exception foul up three with less than ten seconds to play.
Fred Hoiberg chose not to, and his false sense of security ultimately cost his Cyclones the best win of the college basketball season.
A game that had no business spilling into overtime was settled there in anticlimactic fashion, all but decided even before the re-tip. Leading by three with the clock winding down, possession Kansas, Hoiberg chose not to foul the Jayhawks and take the 3-point shot out of the equation. Instead, the Iowa State head coach allowed Kansas to run a carbon copy of the same play the Jayhawks ran to send the 2008 national championship game to overtime.
If John Calipari was foolish for not fouling (at least he tried to) with the national title weighing in the balance, try being the coach who replicates his faux pas under the same exact circumstances. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…
Ben McLemore, the freshman sensation who banked in the equalizer, is shooting 40-percent from behind the arc on the season. He was 4-for-4 from long range before his last-second heroics and finished 6-of-6 on the night. Odds say don’t push your luck, foul immediately. Logic concurs, urging not to be asinine. Hoiberg, whose voice was the only one that mattered, said fire away! Backfire he got.
For a shrewd, up-and-coming coach—perhaps the second best the Big 12 has to offer in only his third season—Hoiberg’s oblivion in a relatively common situation is mystifying. Against a bad perimeter shooting team that struggles to get off good looks, maybe you consider playing it straight (I still don’t take that chance; there are too many cases of improbable heaves falling in those scenarios, like Sabatino Chen’s quasi game-winner vs. Arizona). But the Jayhawks are a 38-percent 3-point shooting team, especially dangerous in the clutch because of their veteran know-how and experience. The best way to guard against the 3-point shot against a team with multiple weapons is to put said team in a position where it can’t get off that shot.