All that mattered late in the contest between Kansas and East Washington was a drive to the bucket by Jacob Davison. With single digits left on the game clock, Davison drove across the lane and tossed in a two-pointer. The basket cut the Kansas winning margin to nine points, 93-84. The point spread on the game was 10½ , the final hoop cutting the Kansas win to below the posted point spread.
With time ticking away, the announcer was talking about the Kansas win when East Washington inbounded the ball with time running out in the second half. “Holding a ten point lead,” he said while being one point off … a very important point. East Washington forward Jacob Davison drove through a group of unaggressive defenders and flipped in the two pointer with six-seconds to go in the game.
The TV commentator missed the moment.
For a large portion of the viewing audience, that flip by Davison was the difference between a win or loss. East Washington actually trailed by 11 points when they inbounded, and the final losing margin of nine was good enough to beat the point spread.
An announcer on the cutting edge who recognizes the interests of his audience could have seized the finish and addressed it with a lot more excitement. I’m thinking it won’t be long before announcers are more keyed in on both results, the actual winner and which team beats the point spread.
Syracuse hit their mark on Friday night, highlighted by a flurry of three-pointers that keyed a 78-62 win over San Diego State. Coach’s son Buddy Boeheim tossed in seven three pointers while tallying 30 points in the16 point victory.
The Orange victory over San Diego St. could easily turn out to be Syracuse’s high point of the season. And on the other side of a high point is either the apex of the year or a steep drop. Today they face West Virginia and their legendary coach, Bob Huggins, who won his career 900th game in Friday’s victory over Morehead State.
I have been consistently asked in recent days the similarities with football and basketball from a handicapping perspective. For sure, they both are governed by human tendencies. Often losses are preceded by wild celebrations following upset wins, while defeats commonly inspire a team to focus more on their next game.
If Ohio State’s loss to Oral Roberts didn’t end the Buckeyes season, I would think they would be a great play in their next outing. Of course, in tournament play the motivation off a loss never gets to be utilized given the one and done format.
Another factor in all sports is that teams routinely play over their heads in the absence of a star lost to injury. It can inspire the crippled team to excel early in a contest or guide them all the way to an upset victory. If it does result in a team missing a star winning the game, they are almost always crushed in their next outing. That is because they have lost the motivational edge to compensate for the loss of a star player and are still without his skills.
We saw examples of both these scenarios in Friday’s games.
Without Moses Wright, the ACC Player of the Year, Georgia Tech jumped to an early lead against Loyola, and then faded to a double-digit loss. Villanova overcame the loss of Colliin Gillespie, who was the co-player of the year in the Big Ten, to down Winthrop before being upset by North Texas.
Oh, wait a minute, that has happened yet. Villanova meets North Texas today.
This is how we make money in both sports.