I Wonder If the Rodeo is On Another Channel

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I don’t know for certain what’s happening in those timeout huddles, but after watching the first four rounds of the tournament, I imagine it’s something like this:

“Alright boys, it’s crunch time!  Here’s the play: we’re going to start with the ball in Player 1’s hands about 35 feet from the basket.  Player 1, I want you to take two dribbles towards the corner and pass it to Player 2.  Player 2, I’d better not see you cutting to the basket before you get the ball!  Player 2 dribbles it back out towards the top of the key and passes it back to Player 1; he should be about 2 feet from you.  Then Player 1 takes two dribbles to the other corner and passes it to Player 3.  Again, no cutting!”

“Coach?”

“Yes, Player 4?”

“What do you want me to do?  Should I set some screens while this is happening?”

“No!  We’ll get to you.  For now, just stay by the basket with your hands on your knees.  As I was saying, once Player 3 gets the ball, he looks intently at the basket like he might shoot, but for God’s sake don’t!  Player 3 dribbles it back towards the top of the key and gives up his dribble.  Player 3, hold onto the ball for about 4 seconds and pivot around like an idiot.  Just before the ref whistles you for 5 seconds, throw a lob pass to Player 2, who should be again about 35 feet from the basket.  Player 2, catch it . . .barely!  Now, Player 4, here’s your big moment.  Player 4 pops out to the top of the key.  Player 2 passes to Player 4, who . . .”

“Yeah??”

“. . . passes it immediately back to Player 2.”

“Oh.”

“Player 2 then to Player 1.  Player 1 drives in but dribbles it right back out.  Player 1 to Player 3.  Back to 1.  Back to 3.  Swing it over to 2.  2 to 1.  1 to 3.  Back to 1.  To 2, 1, 2, 1, 4, 3, 1, 3, 2.  Right about now, there should be about 4 seconds left on the shot clock, so start driving towards the basket.  When there’s one second left on the clock, put up an off-balance shot.”

“Coach?”

“Who the hell are you?”

“It’s me, Player 5.”

“Oh!  Yeah, sorry.  What is it?”

“What should I be doing during the play?”

“Hang out by the basket and try to get an offensive rebound when Player 2 bricks his shot.”

“And if I get it, do I go back up with the ball and try to score?”

“No!  Pass it back out to Player 1 and we’ll try the play again!  Eventually, the other team is going to fall asleep from boredom and we’ll have an open look at a three, which we are making 32% of this year.  Come on, guys, you know this!  It’s the only play we run!”

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