Anatomy of an Upset Or Comeback: NCAA Basketball Tour Week Two

Mark SaltzContributor INovember 26, 2009

This past weekend of college basketball was a joy for any fan.

However, before I revel in the amazing action I was fortunate enough to spectate I must vent on some pet peeves.

Pet Peeve number one

Friday night during the Virginia Commonwealth/Oklahoma game in Richmond there was an obnoxious fan seated behind me.  He wasn't obnoxious because he said things that revealed the depths of his basketball IQ.  He did say those things, but isn't the main focus.

His complaint was with his inability to find a program. 


He would, what seemed liked every five minutes mention that he could not find a single game program anywhere.  And he never failed to mention that he saw nobody else with one either.  Perhaps he did not look at the row right in front of him. 

Five out eight people seated in Section 8 Row U had a program. 

Of all the things to complain about at a sporting event; players' mistakes, coaches' strategy, officiating, he chose to find displeasure in not having a program. 

That's unfortunate.

Pet Peeve Number Two

Sunday I traveled to Williamsburg to watch my favorite CAA women's basketball team, William and Mary, take on Davidson. 

Kaplan Arena was scarcley populated for this affair.  Most pleased to be seated and watch the game. 

Except for three guys.

In the who gym these three chose to stand up.  And if they had been in an area where people weren't behind them, maybe I would have no problem. 

But they were right in front of me. 

I understand wanting to be up and supporting your team.  However, show some respect for the fans around you.  Fortunately, yet sadly, there were other empty places where I could and did relocate. 

Next time you want to stand up please be aware of those around you.

Now on to the action on the floor. 

This week I went to three games. In all three a common thread was apparent for each of the victorious squads.

There are essentially three things that can energize a basketball team and its fans.  Every one of the winning teams this week were success in utilizing most or all of them.

Element One: The Charge

No coach uses gets his players to commit to the charge as much as Coach Krzyzewski.  It can change the momentum of a fast break from one team's hope of easy points to another's taking control. 

This season there is a new dynamic to this call.  Basically only the primary or on ball defender can draw a charge.  This will take away from people flopping to take away a fast break basket.

Anyway, as part of Shaka Smart's philosophy of wreaking havoc on the opposition, the VCU Rams frustrated the Oklahoma Sooners by drawing charges throughout the game.

Most notably flustered was Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Willie Warren. 

Element Two: Dunks

The VCU/Oklalhoma contest began with an alley-oop dunk by Larry "Future NBA Lottery Pick" Sanders, and then another by Oklahoma's Ryan Wright.

The first sending the Ram fanatics into a frenzy.

The second silenciing them.

Later in the first half, surging to a double digit lead VCU airmailed Mr. Sander's and he sent it home.  Thus punctuating a 17 point lead. 

VCU 40 Oklahoma 23

There will be a day when women will use the dunk more often.  Female athlete's are more willing and more capable today of making it happen than ever.

Element Three: Three Point Shooting

The three point line has changed basketball like nothing else.  Fans, players and coaches go nuts over made shots beyond the arc.  A team can increase the energy level at home, or turn down the volume on the road by simply making one.

Thursday William and Mary, men, trailed the University of Richmond for most of the first half.  With about two minutes left they were behind 28-20 and steadily coming back from a 16-4 deficit early.  Then the three point barage began. 

In the final two minutes they went on a 9-0 run. 

All nine coming off three point shots.  The last came at the buzzer to give them a 29-28 halftime lead from which they never looked back.

Saturday the Oklahoma Sooners strolled into the Stuart C. Siegel Center for a match up with upset minded Virginia Commonwealth.  The VCU Rams spurted to an early lead on the strength Jay Gavin's three point shooting, and never saw the All-American clad Sooners in their rearview.

VCU 82

Oklahoma 69

Sunday the Lady Tribe of William and Mary took on Davidson.  Davidson laid the smackdown early in the first half.  At one point they lead 29-8.

A twenty-one point lead.

Forgetting that I was watching top notch talent I thought the game was over.  Extremely good players will find a way to keep fighting.  William and Mary fought back three points at a time. 

At halftime they trailed 43-35.

In the second half they continued their sharp shooting.  When all was said and done they completly erased their deficit and won by eleven.

Tribe 74 Davidson 63

Any team looking to take the opposition by surprise can use these three elements. 



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