Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Volunteering About Volunteers

It's not quite March, but I have to chime in on the Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt game I just watched. Bruce Pearl (above, with the big "V" on his chest) is a good coach, but he made some bad decisions tonight. It was driving me crazy! The Commodores deserved the win, but not for the reasons Brad Nessler would have you believe.
Let me set this up for you who haven't been paying attention to the Vols in the last week or so. This past weekend the former number one team, Memphis, played the number two team, Tennessee. Memphis can't make free throws, and that will doom most teams trying to make a title run. Pearl's team won by putting the Tigers on the line and watching them fail. I digress, though. That's not the game in question right now. Right now I'm bothered by Pearl's decision to go with a press defense with more than eight minutes left in the game when only losing by a half-dozen points. That's still a two possession game with an eternity left to play! I understand that Pearl loves to play defense the entire length of the court, but this was not the time. The players were coming off an emotional high with the win against Tennessee and its new number one ranking. They were going into the house of a team that had historically beat the last three number one-ranked teams that had played on that court. I understand that those were different teams from different eras under different circumstances with different uniforms and different haircuts under different coaches under... I don't care, and Bruce Pearl should have. He should have understood that his players were going to need their legs in the last few minutes of the game. You can't waste your players energy with eight minutes left. Losing their energy at that point lead to missing free throws and not being able to foul when it really counted. His team had a chance because they played good half-court defense, not full. Defense wins championships, right? In football, a prevent defense is the quickest way to lose a lead. In basketball, a full-court defense is the fastest way to lose a lead or dig a deeper hole. If you don't believe me, go back and look at the Chicago Bulls. How often did they use a full-court defense? What about the Lakers' Showtime? They didn't. I didn't see John Wooden coach, but I don't see him being the kind of guy that would waste energy on such a thing, either. The lesson to be learned is simple as we head into March Madness 2008. Don't use the full-court press. Just don't do it.

1 comment:

Carla said...

Okay, okay. You've convinced me. I won't do it. I promise. But do I still have watch all those games?