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Iowa State Takes The Ball To The Rack! Syracuse Didn't.

In order to win games, you must take what the defense gives you and don't settle for the jump shot.

Let's learn from this.

Percentages increase the closer to the basket a shot is taken.  It's in the numbers and it makes complete sense. The highest percentage shot in basketball is a dunk, the closest shot you can take; a layup is second closest, then hook shot and so forth.

Now Iowa State beat North Carolina because they got hot at the right time and North Carolina ran out of time to recover... 

But also, Iowa State's DeAndre Kane didn't settle for a jump shot.  He drove hard into the lane, took what the defense gave him and made a difficult game winning lay-up to seal the game with only 1.6 seconds remaining. If the defense had collapsed more, Kane should have kicked the ball out for a jump shot.  The defense collapsed some, but not enough to stop Kane from winning the game.

Don't forget, Iowa State can score too.  They have run and gun and bombed threes all year as they were ninth in the nation in scoring at almost 90 points per game. They could have easily taken the jump shot at the end of the game, but didn't. They didn't settle.

Who settled for the jump shot? Syracuse did, and they lost.  The outcomes of tight games are determined on grit, desire, drive and gumption. They are also determined on percentages and learning and understanding the game while it is going on.  Not enough is said about "basketball smarts" and knowing the situation of the game.

I was never a three-point shooter, although I always wanted to be.  (Every center secretly does)  So, I did what I was good at, scoring close to the basket.  My senior year I led the nation in field goal percentage because my shots were close to the basket and I did what I was good at, playing defense and scoring near the basket when the circumstance and game called for it. If I witnessed a poor shot from the outside, I would let my guards hear about it. They would especially hear about it if the shot is the difference between winning and losing.

Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse head coach claimed that you cannot win a game shooting layups. He is right to some extent. But it depends on when during the game these layups are attempted.  Tyler Ennis, a wonderful player, chose to settle for the jump shot at the end of the game, without even testing what the defense might give up.  A few minutes earlier, Ennis took the ball to the hoop two times and was fouled once, and scored the other time.

Today, Syracuse's season is over, much like the harmless shot Ennis took that rimmed off.

Lesson: Know game situations, test the defense, take what the defense gives you and go from there.  It is much easier to catch and shoot a ball that has been inside the arc first through a hard drive to the hoop or post up.  Learn from the game while it is happening and NEVER SETTLE for the jump shot without testing the defense first.  This can change a season's outcome.