Why did Brian Zoubeck intentionally miss his second foul shot at the end of the Duke/Butler game?

It would have put Duke up by three, and if Hayward had hit the mid-court shot, the game would have gone into overtime, with at least a chance for Duke to scrap out a win.

I watched it over and over. Was Zoubeck feeling overconfident that Butler couldn’t make a basket in the last 3 seconds? Trying to figure out if the intentional miss was strategic in some way that I’m not getting.

An intentional miss lets your team rebound the ball and get a basket for 2 points, not 1.

I’m unclear- what makes you think he missed it intentionally? I just watched the Youtube and it looks like it could have been a clean miss.
Otherwise, it might be smart to miss intentionally, give your team a chance to rebound, and just hang on to the ball, rather than make it and turn the ball over.

It was a terrible call by Coach K, and he’s lucky it didn’t bite him in the ass. Intentionally missing draws losing into the equation. If the shooter makes the free throw, Duke is up by 3, and can’t lose in regulation - the best Butler can hope is for overtime. If the shooter accidentally misses the free throw, so be it. But INTENTIONALLY missing it, in hopes of getting the rebound, is precarious at best. If that last shot went in, Duke fans would be apoplectic.


It was intentional, yes. He shot the ball straight at the rim and I’m sure Krzyzewski told him to do it. The idea is that if Butler gets the rebound off the miss, they don’t have time to set up a play, they just have to try to run up the court and heave the ball at the hoop. (Butler did not have any timeouts left.) If he made the free throw, Butler could have set up an inbounds play and maybe thrown a pass to a player closer to the hoop. Remember Christian Laettner? And if Duke gets the rebound of the missed free throw, they get two more free throws and they can go up by four points.

I’ve heard some analysts say it was a good play because Butler couldn’t get off a better shot, and others say it was the wrong move because if Hayward’s shot had gone in, Butler would have won. If Zoubek made the second free throw, a Butler three would have sent the game to OT.

No, it was not a terrible call. If Butler inbounds the ball, they have a chance at a reasonable shot. If they don’t, it takes time to get the ball down, and you’re left with a desperation half-court shot. If I’m Coach K, I’d take the odds of Butler hitting a desperation half-court shot on the run vs. the odds in overtime any day of the week.

Butler has no time-outs at the end of the game- you can hear the announcer say it. So they’d have to inbound the ball from their own baseline, rather than half-court. The only way they could inbound from half-court is to call a TO anyway, take the technical, and go from there, but doing so gives Duke that extra shot, so it’s worthless.

Plus, once Hayward rebounded the miss, Zoubek just stood his ground and held his arms in the air, forcing Hayward to waste valuable time going around him to get down the court. Given how wide Zoubek’s body is, I’m surprised that didn’t take 3.6 seconds by itself. :slight_smile:

Exactly. They did it because Butler was out of time-outs. That means that a missed free throw forced Butler to have to rebound the ball (not necessarily a given), run the ball the length of the court (or at least half court) and hit a shot all in less than four seconds.

A made free throw would have allowed Butler to inbound the ball before the clock started (thus not having to waste precious seconds fighting for a rebound), and set up a called play rather than just scrambling and heaving the ball at the basket from half court.

True, Hayward almost hit the shot, but it was a very low percentage shot. Forcing a desperation heave from half-court and gambling on a miss is something any team with a two point lead will take any day of the week.

Since this is the only thread on the game, I want to ask a quick question. While watching the game I thought both teams played … well pretty poorly. Neither team looked like a championship caliber team. Sure, they both had some good defenses (and the no calls helped a ton keeping the scoring down), but both teams also sucked royally on offense. The rebounding, the passing, and all the other aspects of the game weren’t impressive either. Both teams just out and out sucked. It just so happened that Duke sucked a bit less.

Even in the last few minutes, both teams’ stud players missed big shots and there were stupid turnovers. I kept wanting to get excited, but couldn’t help but feel that two other teams, two better teams, should have been playing.

Am I the only one disappointed at how badly the two teams played?

It’s worth pointing out here that before that miss, Zoubek was shooting all of 62 percent (8 out of 13) in the tournament. It was not a sure thing he was going to make that second free throw anyway and I was tremendously relieved he made the first one.

Quoting this again to say I wouldn’t have been. I certainly would have wondered if trying to sink the shot would have been the better play, but Hayward got off a shot from midcourt and he was not wide open. What can you say if he makes that? The free throw itself isn’t a sure thing, but even if Zoubek makes it, it’s possible (if dicey) Butler could have taken a significantly better shot.

Yes, it was intentional and the right play. It fell perfectly into place for Butler and they still only got a desperation half court shot out of it. If the ball had bounced high or off to the side, there would have been a fight for it and the clock would have run out. Duke went with the odds and it paid off.

The best part of the final play was the crushing pick Butler’s Howard laid on Kyle Singler. Singler never saw it and ended up in a heap on the floor. See 40 second mark.

I think your perception is colored by (1) just how phenomenally good both defenses were at disrupting the other team’s offense, and (2) the exceptionally slow pace of both teams’ style of play, which magnified each missed opportunity from a fan’s perspective because there were fewer possessions in which to score. If both teams had shot exactly the same over 120 possessions rather than 60, you might have got the impression that they were more effective offensively by virtue of the higher combined score and the frenetic pace, but it wouldn’t have actually made either of them a better team than they were last night.

In addition, Duke’s offense, at least, is predicated to a large extent on two things: the ability to get offensive rebounds off missed shots to reset the possession, and the increased value of three-point shots in slow-paced, low-possession games. Because of this, they can miss a ton of shots while still running an efficient and effective offense.

Yes, that was so awesome how a kid was leveled in a blatantly illegal manner like that. I hope he got really hurt. :rolleyes:

Snipped. The referees were ridiculous. I’m not a Duke or a Butler fan, but both teams’ fans could be legitimately pissed about the number of either (a) no calls or (b) wildly inconsistent calls. At one point there were like five bodies on the ground and the referees were acting like they weren’t issued whistles. I mean come on, I don’t care what you call, but you gotta call something. It was fairly obvious from the beginning that they were going to let them get physical, but I thought it was a huge issue. If the refs aren’t enforcing basketball rules, it’s basically Calvin-ball.

So there you go, Duke fans, National Collegiate Calvin-ball Champions!!! :wink:

There was absolutely nothing illegal about that play and it was the right play to make in that situation. It opened up the shot for Hayward and took care of a guy that had already had blocked a couple of shots, including one from behind.

Howard had established position, didn’t lean in and gave more than enough room than is required on a back screen. Perfectly legal play in every respect. If you feel the need to blame someone, blame Singler’s teammates for not alerting him to it.

I debated that with myself while I was watching. With every crappy shot they missed to every turnover, travelling, or ball carroming off someone’s hands, I tried to tell if it was shitty play or just great defense. I wasn’t laboring under the delusion that if a team doesn’t put up 80 points, they suck or that I need an offensive lights out game to be happy. But the offensive play was just sloppy, with poor shooting and poor shot selection.

And at the end of the game, I expected the teams’ best players to go into overdrive and make the clutch shots. They didn’t. Hayward was 2 for 11 from the field all day. Mack missed an uncontested 3. Singler was better, though he had 2 turnovers and a missed shot down the stretch. While the defenses were indeed very good, I think it was more a function of poor offensive play and a lack of adjustments than overwhelming defense.

I agree with you about it being an incredibly slow paced game. After halftime, I was expecting some coaching adjustments by both teams to loosen up the defense, to run the ball more, or do something … anything, to help out on the offensive side of the ball.

True. But the game I watched left me completely unimpressed by both teams, especially on the offensive side and the coaching.

On the off chance anybody had any doubt, Zoubek was on the Scott Van Pelt radio show today, and he confirmed that Coach K told him to miss the last free throw. Zoubek seemed to think that was the right move himself, but admitted he was petrified in the seeming eternity it took for that last second shot to clank off the rim.

The only lesson is, once in a blue moon, doing the smart thing doesn’t work. Coach K did the smart thing, but there’s no doubt he’d have been mocked as an idiot forever if that desperation 3 pointer had gone in.

Even if it never, ever gets called in that situation, the screen was at the very best an extremely borderline legal play, given that Howard raised his shoulder directly into Singler’s chin. Moreover, any number of neutral observers have noted it as such. (For example, see Joe Posnanski’s column here, the reaction of chatters in the BaskPro live blog here, and posts by non-Duke fans in this thread here. I pick these because they’re the last three places I read about it; I don’t think it would be hard to procure additional examples, and I will if you want.)

And honestly, regardless of its legality, I think it’s pretty low-class to express pleasure when a college kid “end[s] up in a heap on the floor.” YM obviously V.

…In fact, I honestly don’t care one way or the other whether it was a foul, so I’m happy to concede that point. The point of my original post was simply that cheering or otherwise taking pleasure when someone – particularly a college kid – gets leveled like that is pretty bad form, as far as I’m concerned. Especially if he’s done nothing to “deserve” it.

Ehn, people get hurt all the time in basketball when they did nothing to desrve it. And Singler didn’t even get hurt - he ran into a screen he didn’t see and fell to the ground. He took a dozen harder shots during the game than that one. It looked a lot worse than it really was so people freaked out.

Cheering after a player suffers an injury is one thing. I was cheering a play that worked just like it was supposed to. Next year coaches teaching the back screen will use that video to show their players how to do it right.