The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament continues tonight… and perhaps the most surprising remaining participant is Texas A&M. Not because they aren’t worthy; however, when you’re down 10 with less than 40 seconds remaining in your second round game, it’s unlikely you’ll win and advance. (‘Unlikely’ as in never happened before in the history of college basketball.)
Watching those moments unfold Sunday night – with Northern Iowa continually turning the ball over under the Texas A&M basket, including twice failing to execute the always sure-fire ‘bounce it off your opponent’s leg and out of bounds’ play – there was clear evidence of a lack of leadership for the Panthers.
(Why didn’t the player inbounding the ball run the baseline to create some space between himself and the defender, and give his teammates a better chance to get open? Why didn’t the coach tell them to throw the ball to the other end of the court, so, even if the Aggies intercepted, time would run off the clock? Basic situational plays high school teams practice.)
In moments of distress, someone has to have the presence of mind to take control – ‘Everybody be quiet and listen to me’ – and provide guidance on what needs to happen to ensure success.
“Neither talent without instruction, nor instruction without talent can produce the perfect craftsman.” ~ Vitruvius
Former Students of Texas A&M University like to say, “Aggies Never Quit,” and in this instance – even with the unprecedented help from UNI – it was clear their basketball team adhered to that long-standing mantra. (Not so much for the dozens of Tweets I saw from media during the last two minutes of the game congratulating Northern Iowa and commenting on the Aggies’ missed opportunity.)
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe