2/28/2009 02:12:00 PM
Jay Wright made just about every possible end-game error in the final minutes of a close game against Georgetown.
From right off the top of my head:
- Failing to make sure his team knew the shot clock was running down in a timeout huddle. What was he doing in there? What is being discussed in timeouts if not the immediate tactical consideration of the current possession? Reynolds was forced to hoist a 30-footer upon realizing at the last second the shot clock was nearly down to zero. Horrendous tactical coaching.
- Ridiculous "offense-defense" substitution, yanking both point guards for defense. On a crucial possession, Georgetown point guard Chris Wright was able to blow by Reggie Redding for an easy layup because there was no one quick enough to guard him. This is why point guards typically guard other point guards, especially ones as talented as Wright. Horrible coaching.
- Down three with under a minute to go and coming off a timeout, Villanova's offense is routed through Reggie Redding? Is that serious? And Redding just throws the ball away. And this is off a timeout? That's the best you can do, Jay? Terrible coaching.
- Down three with under 30 seconds left, Wright keeps Corey Fisher on the bench. Why? Fisher is the team's best penetrator. Clearly, in that situation, there is plenty of time left for a drive to the basket. Just score quickly. Instead, Villanova wastes 10-15 seconds, and Corey Stokes takes a horrible, off-balance, guarded three, which misses. Some of the worst coaching of the year.
- Down by five with under 10 seconds to go, Stokes hits a long three to pull the 'Cats within two points with exactly 3.5 seconds left. Wright, properly, calls timeout, and then benches Reynolds and leaves Fisher out. Result? No one on Villanova can even catch Chris Wright to foul him, and the final 3.5 seconds (eternity in a basketball game) tick away with Villanova unable to even give a foul. Off a timeout! And, may I ask, what was Jay Wright's plan if, miraculously, his team was able to get a turnover? His two best scorers were on the bench! If we got a turnover with 2 seconds left in Georgetown's back-court, there was no one to shoot it but Stokes! Was Wright's plan to call a timeout there, with 1 second left? Horrible, horrible, horrible.
I would love to hear any argument that Jay Wright didn't cost the team this game. The five above points don't even go into how lazy, lackadaisical, and unmotivated the team seemed to play the entire game. Len Elmore, calling the game, even said the Wildcats seemed "content" out there while trailing, lacking any hunger to win the game. Embarrassing.
Villanova just lost a game where the winning team scored TWO field goals in the last 9:22 of the game. You read that correctly. It's quite an accomplishment, to lose such a game.
I have been saying for the entire year that Wright's poor end-game tactics would cost this team in a big spot. Well, it doesn't get much bigger than this. Villanova was in the absolute driver's seat for both a double-bye in the Big East tournament, with a double-bye all but guaranteed by winning out. The Wildcats also were in position to land the top-3 seed in the NCAA tournament likely needed to stay in the Wachovia Center.
A lot of good playing at home in the Wachovia Center did today. Thanks to Wright's tactical and strategic blunders, Villanova is now on the outside looking in for both a double-bye, which is unlikely now, and a top-3 seed for the NCAA tournament.
But neither of those tournaments will matter much to Villanova fans if Jay Wright continues to cost his team close games by end-game mismanagement that would make a grammar-school jayvee coach cringe. I know my grammar school coach would not have been happy watching this game.
And neither was I.
Feel free to discuss the end-game situation in the comment thread.