There’s A Theory That Vanderbilt’s Already-Infamous Foul Was Actually The Right Move

03.17.17 2 years ago

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We’ve finally found it: the best sports WELL ACTUALLY moment of all-time. That dumb play you saw in the NCAA Tournament on Thursday? Well ACTUALLY, it was brilliant.

Vanderbilt’s boner made for exasperated March Madness viewers when the Commodores appeared to intentionally foul themselves out of the lead and out of the NCAA Tournament’s first round. Vanderbilt took a 66-65 lead over Northwestern with under 18 seconds to play, but Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis intentionally fouled Vanderbilt’s Bryant McIntosh, sending him to the free throw line.

McIntosh made both free throws, Vandy couldn’t respond, and Northwestern won, 68-66.

A devastated Fisher-Davis said he “made a dumb-ass foul” after the game. But according to a story by the Wall Street Journal, it wasn’t all that dumb. You should click this link from the tweet below because paywalls, but the story is definitely worth reading.

As WSJ‘s Andrew Beaton explains, the relative intelligence of this play comes down to not what happened, but the percentages of what could have happened with the free throws and the remaining time on the clock.

If Vandy lets the game play out and gives Northwestern a chance to get the last shot, the Commodores have a 51 percent chance of winning. That’s basically coin flip odds based on whether they can defend well enough to not allow a good 2-point shot from anywhere on the court, and avoid taking a foul that would put Northwestern on the line anyway.

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