Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY
Published 10: 00 p.m. ET March 21, 2021
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard entered the boys’s NCAA Tournament with one of the indispensable effective tourney profitable percentages among the 68 coaches: A document of 9-3 following a 2018 Sweet 16 appearance and 2019 nationwide runner-up lift out. Earlier than that, he led Arkansas Shrimp Rock to a predominant-spherical upset in 2017.
On Sunday, his team – a dark-horse to get hang of to the Closing Four – succumbed to stress in the closing stretch and watched Arkansas claim a down-to-the-wire 68-66 take and Sweet 16 label.
The Red Raiders (18-11) had their probabilities. Mac McClung uncared for a doubtless game-tying free throw with 1: 15 left, and Terrence Shannon Jr. uncared for a degree-smooth layup that would occupy given Tech the lead with 37 seconds left.
But the greatest “what if” might perhaps occupy attain on the very final play of the game, when Kyler Edwards’ using layup with three seconds left shot laborious off the backboard. Arkansas’ JD Notae grabbed the rebound to shut out the game. Modified into Edwards fouled? Turner Sports analyst Charles Barkley notion so, asserting as powerful on the published.
Arkansas’ Justin Smith, who became defending Edwards on the final play, told newshounds after the game, “I delight in Edwards became dribbling up and (they) had been going to position that hide. They position it up excessive, so me and JD (Notae), we communicated and switched onto him, because we basically didn’t desire them to get hang of a 3 … So we basically compelled them off the three-point line. He drove it and I became ready to get hang of a factual contest and he uncared for it.”
A more crucial quiz: Might perhaps well also soundless Beard occupy known as a timeout? He had one left. Tech looked frantic, and Edwards became apparently making an strive to get hang of the ball to point guard McClung for a play position, or Kevin McCullar for a better one-on-one isolation.
Trailing by two might perhaps occupy given Beard the chance to position up a game-tying – and even game-profitable – play. More significantly, he might perhaps occupy settled his players down. Those forms of judgment calls will consistently be debated after shut video games. Beard became trusting his players in a refined space that they had probably practiced. But did it value Texas Tech a shot on the Sweet 16?
Or no longer it is laborious to argue against a better shot strive. Nonetheless, Edwards additionally might perhaps occupy been fouled.
Be conscious school basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.