Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It's Really Real

Just because I was sure that I had fallen asleep on the couch when Syracuse trailed Virginia by 15 points with 9 minutes to go and dreamed what happened next, I decided to go back and watch that final stretch again.

And since Texas A&M's epic comeback against Northern Iowa deserved a breakdown in its own post, this one did as well.

Syracuse score listed first, throughout:

9:47 left: Michael Gbinije hits two free throws. 39-51
9:31: London Perrantes hits deep 3, his 6th of the game, taps his forehead. 39-54

9:17: Trevor Cooney drives, dishes to Tyler Roberson for a dunk. 41-54
8:52: Malcolm Brogdan drives, misses, Tyler Lydon rebounds
8:46: Trevor Cooney drives, gets a layup. 43-54
8:33: Virginia breaks the press, Darius Thompson hits a layup, 43-56
8:23: Malachi Richardson gets fouled, hits 2 free throws, 45-56
8:17: Virgina breaks the press but Anthony Gill travels under the basket
7:56: Richardson drives and hits one over Gill, 47-56
7:50: Gbinije strips Thompson, Thompson falls, takes out Lydon
7:37: Richardson drives & misses, Roberson fouled going for rebounds, makes both free throws 49-56
7:31: Virginia breaks the press, Devon Hall gets easy layup, 49-58
7:13: Richardson hits step-back 3. 52-58
7:05: Perrantes throws bad pass, Richardson knocks it out off Brogdan
6:51: Tyler Lydon hits a 3, 55-58
6:40: Brogdan drives, misses
6:37: Gbinije streaks full-court for layup, 57-58
6:00: Perrantes misses floater
5:50: Richardson knifes through the lane for a layup, 59-58
5:26: Brogdan drives, shot blocked by Lydon
5:18: Perrantes fouled by Roberson
5:00: Perrantes missed 3
4:38: Richardson face up for another 3, dons the 3-goggles, 62-58

3:56: Hall missed shot, Lydon taps rebound to Cooney
3:27: Richardson drives on Brogdan, misses, Roberson taps rebound off the glass, Richardson grabs it, fakes Tobey and goes up for a layup, 64-58

And there you have it. That's what a 6-minute, 25-4 run looks like when you break it down.

And this is what it looks like when you edit it all together in one 3-minute video:

11 possessions (12 if you include the Gbinije free throws) and Syracuse scored every time, missing only one shot.
Over that same span, Virginia made 2 out of 7 shots and turned it over 3 times (the travel, the bad pass, and the strip steal)

Now let's get back to Boeheim. He absolutely deserves a ton of credit for pushing the envelope and going into the zone. But (and it's not just me saying this, Charles Barkley said the same thing) you have to imagine they could have won more games over the years had he been as willing to abandon his game plan and try something different.

Also, the players play. Yes, he surely coached them to drive to the basket, but he couldn't have coached them to hit those 3s. The players did that. And they needed every single one of those plays to win this game and make the Final Four, where it may require more coaching strategy, and more incredible play to beat North Carolina and eventually take home the title.

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