Upsets appear to be contagious. After a weekend of upsets, they continued again today. This time it was Arkansas beating seventh ranked Texas. It was a defensive battle most of the night but the Razorbacks got on run in the second half and stayed ahead for good. I really like what Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said after the game:
I’m not going to sit here and tell you we’re better than Texas, because I don’t know if I believe that. But we didn’t have to be tonight just to win the basketball game.
I like that kind of attitude. It's the old cliche of taking it one game at a time, one quarter at a time. It's a tired one I know, but it works.
There were two key plays at the end of the game that helped Arkansas seal the win. From a coaching perspective, they are great because it goes to show that ultimately, fundamentals do win ball games. Two great skill plays by two players, a crab dribble crossover, and a pump fake. It's easy to get caught up in the "big play" to win the game, but it's the little things, the things you work on with players during their 1-on-1 skill instruction. Take a look first,
Using The Crab Dribble:
There's been all the hoopla the past couple of days over Lebron's travel call against the wizards in the last minute of their game. Lebron says he did a crab dribble, then 2 steps, but the video shows 3 steps. Anyways, lost in all the discussion is regarding the crab dribble itself. I love the crab dribble because it's a talent equalizer. It's basically a hesitation dribble using 1 hand. You push the ball forward, then using the same hand, pull it back, then push forward again. If you want to watch someone who does the crab dribble to perfection, watch Steve Nash.
Now, Courtney Fortson the PG for Arkansas doesn't perform a crab dribble here by definition because he switches hands midway, but the concept of a hesitation is still there,
Using The Pump Fake:
You can't put a value on a good pump fake. There was a guy I knew who would practice his pump fakes in front of a mirror every day. Just to see what he looked like and to perfect the art of the fake. A good pump fake like the crab dribble is a great talent equalizer. This last play that basically seals the win for Arkansas only works because of the nice tight pump fake by Michael Washington to bait his defender to leave his feet on the closeout, and then it's straight to the rim,
Arkansas is just one of those teams that slips under the radar because they play in the SEC, but come tournament time, the SEC teams always seem to come up big. They have a young team, but Coach Pelphrey has them believing they can beat anyone. They beat Oklahoma earlier and now Texas. Watch out for the Razorbacks. As for the Longhorns, I think they'll be fine, they had a terrible shooting night and just never got on track. They definitely can be more aggressive though, they tend to settle for jumpers instead of attacking the rim.
For a brand new video from a great coach, check out Bruce Weber's DVD on Offensive Skill Set Improvement. Coach Weber is the head coach of Illinois. Be sure to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to discuss this and more of your favorite basketball topics.