One shining moment

I have an abundance of car time with my extended commute to work these days, so I got to hear the talking heads at the four-letter discuss and debate the way Memphis coach John Calipari handled the final 10 seconds of last night’s overtime loss to Kansas in the national championship game.

Let’s review.

Derrick Rose makes one of two from the stripe to make it a three-point game with 10.8 seconds to go. Should Calipari call a timeout there? Then, as Kansas brings it up the floor, should he have instructed his players to give a foul before the Jayhawks could get up a game-tying effort? Finally, when Mario Chalmers’ shot swished home, should he have then called a timeout to set up a play with 2.1 seconds left?

1. No – Why would you want to give timeout-less Kansas a chance to draw up a play? Make them improvise.

2. No – With 10 seconds left, if you foul, they can make a pair of free throws and still have time left to give a foul on the inbounds play. And the last thing Memphis needed was more shots at the foul line.

3. Yes – I don’t get this one. There was plenty of time left to draw up something to get a better shot that a heave from half court. Ever hear of Tate George or Christian Laettner? He probably should have broken out the dry erase board there.

But the fact of the matter, and there’s really no escaping it, is that Memphis choked away the national championship at the foul line. Free throws do matter, contrary to Calipari’s standing commentaries.

Teams with nine-point leads with two minutes and change left in games are supposed to win. Memphis didn’t. You can’t blame this one on the coach.

The answer is on the charity stripe.

 

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