Home > Uncategorized > Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who Will Be The Dumbest With The Ball?

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who Will Be The Dumbest With The Ball?

Pressure busts pipes. And last weekend, pressure busted brackets.

The impact of pressure is one of the more overlooked aspects as to why the NCAA Tournament is so compelling. You have some fantastic basketball players who are long and strong. They can hit from the outside and post up against anyone. They are McDonald’s All-Americans, Naismith Award candidates and no-brainer lottery picks in a future NBA draft.

But we sometimes forget that beneath all of their accolades and physical tools, the best college basketball players are still a bunch of kids, ages 18 through 21. And no matter who you are, you’re going to do dumb stuff at that age.

I bring this up because last weekend represented the dumbest stretch of pressure-packed college basketball I have ever seen. The examples:

Butler’s Shelvin Mack would have been Saturday’s ultimate goat if it wasn’t for Pittsburgh’s Nasir Robinson. He really wanted to be the sympathetic character in a Panther edition of “Where Are They Now” in about 20 years.

Don’t forget that Robinson’s decisions in that game were being questioned even before his infamous foul. During the Panthers’ previous possession, he had the ball in the low post with just three seconds left on the shot clock. Yet, instead of going up for a shot, he passed the ball out to the top of the perimeter and the clock expired without an attempt. That left Butler trailing by just one point with 7.1 seconds remaining and you know about the series of events that followed.

Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about Robinson if Pitt senior Gilbert Brown had just made his two damn free throws with 1.4 seconds left.

Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor forgot the standard of not committing a foul during a 3-point shot when you’re up by only three. He did just that to Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen as Pullen was shooting a three with 10 seconds to play and with the Badgers up, 66-63. Fortunately for them, Pullen missed his second free throw.

North Carolina’s John Henson inexplicably deflected an errant shot that was headed out of bounds, giving Washington another chance at victory. But even if Isaiah Thomas had cashed in on the Huskies’ second life with 0.5 seconds left, he needed to take another step back to actually tie the score.

And why would Henson try to block Thomas’ shot anyway?

You had the (quick) five-second count in Texas-Arizona.

You had the backcourt violation on Syracuse in the final minute against Marquette with the score tied, 59-59. The NCAA officiating coordinator said Tuesday that call shouldn’t have been made, which is fine. But someone needs to explain to me why Dion Waiters threw a fastball high and outside to Scoop Jardine, carrying his momentum toward the midcourt line. The defender was clearly playing behind Jardine; there was no need at all to bring the heat.

You had San Diego State Aztecs who … well, they didn’t have one particular moment of panic that stood out against Temple, but their possessions during the second half of regulation and both overtimes showed a team filled with uncertainty and a repeated inability to deal with the magnitude of the situation.

All of that happened within a 30-hour window.

So when picking your winners for tonight and tomorrow (I’ve got Connecticut, Duke, Butler, North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio State and Florida State. I’m also going to pick BYU over Florida even though I have Florida advancing in my bracket), know that the winners might not be determined by which team has greater size, athleticism, depth, guard play, tournament experience or shooters. There’s a good chance it will come down to which team suffers fewer brain farts with a trip to the Elite Eight and then the Final Four on the line.

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