The group of 16-seeds aren’t particularly strong this season, so it’s tough to get too excited about the possibility of a one-seed losing its first game. (The best chance for it will easily be NC Central against Kansas should it happen.) But if a 16-seed is really, truly serious about beating a one-seed, it should look to Ty Lawson for a tool to use in its mission.
You may recall Lawson’s move in a game against Denver on February 24.
There is a special time in a basketball game — after a made basket — where the clock is moving yet the shot clock is not. It’s sort of like the transit area of airport. You’re still playing the game, but you’re not governed by its laws. And any massive underdog should leverage this situation.
So listen up, 16-seeds. When the one-seed makes a basket, don’t be in such a hurry to inbounds the basketball. And when you do, take the approach of Anthony Tolliver in the above clip and just drop the ball in play. If you’re the point guard, take your time picking it up. Don’t be obvious about it at first. Kill three seconds here, five seconds there, maybe seven seconds another time. You don’t want the opponent to change its strategy. All it really has to do is keep someone in the back court to stop this from happening.
But then, if you happen to be in the game with ten minutes left, say down by five or eight points, be totally belligerent about it. Make the opposing team force you to pick up the ball every single time. At some point there’s the potential to make a mockery of the game, but do you want to win or not? Before the shot clock, stalling made a mockery of the game. But eventually enough coaches decided they wanted to win and it became a regular tactic.
Well, there is still a chance to stall, so if you really want to make history, you might as well take advantage of this opportunity. Someday, this gap in the rules will be fixed just as the shot clock reluctantly became a thing. But not until a team exploits the glitch to its fullest advantage. And that team will be remembered forever.