College basketball coaches who managed to blow a 20+ point lead don’t deserve to be coaching.
I spent a lot of time over the weekend thinking about this after I watched Northwestern blow a 27-point lead to Michigan State and South Carolina nearly let Auburn come back after being up 40-14.
It takes actual effort to piss away a lead of that magnitude, and there’s no excuse for it. I broke out my calculator last night, and figured you’re better off just holding the ball to run out the shot clock than keep playing the way Northwestern did.
They were up by 20 points in the second. Let me repeat that, they were up by 20 in the second half and lost. That’s on top of being up 27 in the first. Follow my math here. Assume that Northwestern holds the ball for nearly the entire shot clock before gunning it with three seconds left, and MSU takes 18 seconds per possession. That would give MSU right around 25 possessions to score at least 20 points, assuming NW doesn’t score on any drives to the hoop with under three seconds on the clock. The simple math breakdown is the 1,200 seconds of the half divided by the 48 seconds of the average combined possession would leave MSU with the 25 possessions.
They would need at least 11 two-point shots to get above the 20-point mark. Is scoring on 11 of 25 possessions possible? It is possible, but that’s the floor. They’d need to score more if Northwestern scores on any of their last-second attempts, some of which are absolutely going in.
So, Northwestern would have literally been better off running out the clock for an entire half and protecting the lead, instead of blowing a 20-point lead to lose 65-60.
I ran the numbers past somebody who has a decent knowledge of college basketball. He agreed that scoring on 11 of 25 possessions is possible, but not likely. Shooting a minimum of 44 percent from the field is no easy task.
This brings me back to my main point. If you blow a lead that can likely be protected by running out the clock then you have no place in college basketball at all. South Carolina nearly managed to do the same, but ultimately pulled out a win. Both coaches should be embarrassed.
It’s almost like you have to try to do what Northwestern did in order to lose the game. Absolutely absurd, and coach Chris Collins should be embarrassed to show his face on the court ever again. I could have won that game for the Wildcats, and it wouldn’t even have been close.