Thursday night (1/22/15) at the end of the Ohio State vs Northwestern game, the Buckeyes led by 1 with 0.9 on the clock heading to the free-throw line to shoot a 1-in-1. The commentators posed the question, do you miss on purpose knowing if Northwestern secures the rebound they have to heave a full-court shot? Or do you commit to trying to make both free-throws and give Northwestern a chance to run a play from out-of-bounds with a “dead clock”?
My opinion, you try to make the first and definitely miss the second. Here is my reasoning why:
- If either free-throw is missed, by the time the ball is securely rebounded, there is very little time to even square up and heave a shot the full length of the court.
- Furthermore, if you have two rebounders in place in the lane, just standing there (arms down giving the referees ZERO reason to call a foul) they are an impedance to the rim.
What if you miss and Northwestern rebounds the shot and calls a quick timeout? Good question.
- By the time the ball is rebounded and a timeout is called, I would guess there would be approximately .4 or less on the clock. Forcing Northwestern to run the perfect play resulting in an even quicker shot than Christian Laettner could ever even imagined.
Why not make both free-throws to force the game into overtime?
- This gives the opponent (Northwestern) a chance to run a play (possibly with a timeout) with twice as much time, .9 seconds, to get off a game tieing 3-point shot.
While the odds are still in your favor and the only thing you risk by making both is going to overtime, I would much rather risk losing to a prayer with .4 seconds than giving my opponent a chance to hit a shot in short time to force overtime. As I’ve sure you’ve all witnesses at some point in your career, those buzzer beating shots to force overtime can be huge momentum swings!
What do you think? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts!