How Not to Close Out Games

As difficult as it was to watch LSU's collapse yesterday, I think it's important to learn from those situations to ensure that your team's can avoid such disasters in the future. In the case of LSU, it was just a matter of being a young inexperienced team and not knowing how to close out games, not knowing how to hold a lead. Some observations that you can apply to any team,

1. Take care of the ball. You know the other team is going to bring pressure, make sure your guards are conscious of the pressure and can play under control. Don't let adrenaline take over.

2. Make your free throws. Isn't that why you make your players shoot all those free-throws in practice? Make sure they understand the signficance of free-throws.

3. Rebound. Villanova scored the game-winning basket off a missed shot and an offensive rebound put-back. You must not let the other team get more looks than they already have.

4. Be patient and get the ball inside. LSU took 2 ill-advised 3-pointers in the last minute. If they had been more patient and worked the ball inside, you accomplish 2 things. One, get a higher percentage shot. Two, chance to get fouled.

5. Don't foul. By fouling, you give the other team 2 advantages. You stop the clock, allowing more possessions to catch up. You give the other team free-throws.

It's not rocket science, but it does take experience. You can't expect a bunch of frosh to act like they've been there, they have to learn and experience it for themselves. You feel for the LSU players but you hope that they learn from this bad experience so that in the same situation next time, they'll know how to react.

For a great video on building winning teams and players, take a look at Coach Morgan Wooten's DVD on coaching to win. Coach Wooten is probably the most successful high school basketball coach ever at DeMatha Catholic before retiring. Head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss all of your hoops.