Winning close games

This has been a big surprise to me. We have been winning close games in the last two minutes with regularity. Usually close games are won in my view based on experience, an elite PG or a go-to take charge guy. We don’t have any of that.

But somehow, someone is making good plays in the final minutes to win the game. I can’t put my finger on one thing. This also means the opponents don’t have anything in their scouting report they can see consistently and prepare for

As they say there are many ways to skin a cat. But this streak of winning close games is amazing.

Keep it up. I am sleeping well.

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I think it’s the defense without fouling in the last two minutes. I’m not saying they don’t foul some, but they are getting some stops in the final two minutes. That’s what jumps out at me. The Tennessee game was the exception. The other three losses were not games in the final two minutes.

Tate has made some game-winning plays in the clutch, although not always. Smith has made some game-winning plays. Both of those have done that on the defensive end. And Moses has gotten some key rebounds.

Getting the rebound is the last part of a defensive stop. That’s where this team seems to be better than those in recent memory. Every player seems capable of going to get a loose ball or a rebound.

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We couldn’t close out Okie Lite either. but since then we’ve made the clutch plays. OSU came down to two things: They got two offensive boards before Cunningham hit the game winner, and then CV missed the trey.

I strongly feel that the coaches and most importantly, the players, believe that they are going to win the game. Coach Muss has always had the scheme for what he needs to do. Offensive plays are practiced daily as are defensive adjustments, The players know what to do and how to execute the plan because they practice those situations.

Team chemistry is very good and seems to improve on a daily basis. And we have a good mix of very good players with different and compatible skills.

A team that performs like this one does is going to be hard to beat.

I left Okie Light out since they are not part of the SEC streak. But there we got hit by the normal way of winning a close game, I.e. an elite PG and go-to guy makes plays.

Also true. It seems to me, though, that when it gets down to crunch time in the last 2.5 weeks, Smith, Tate, Moody and Devo are all making plays, and frequently the big on the floor is Jaylin. Last night Jaylin took a charge late. Game was already over (we were up 7 with 20 seconds left or whatever) but he absorbed the hit and got us the ball back.

FT shooting has been very good late in games and been a huge reason we are pulling the close ones out


We’re hitting .746 for the season, which is 57th in the country and third in the SEC. (Want to know why Colorado is in tournament consideration? They’re making 82.3% from the line.) Ohio State, Michigan, Villanova and Virginia are all excellent from the line which certainly has helped keep them in the top 10. But, of course, it’s not only that you make them, but when you make them. Moody worried me a little last night by missing a front end but we haven’t done that much.

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Yes even Tate who is not great at 67% hit nothing but nylon to beat Kentucky. We keep this up and we can win a lot because you are in The bonus late in most every game.

The NCAA hasn’t updated stats yet; that .746 was before last night. We’re at .748 now. Basically averaging 15 of 20 from the line every night.

The players watch tape and see what tendencies players have like the steal Justin Smith had on the baseline. He waited for Caselton to put the ball on the floor and turn and he went for the ball around him. The game plan CEM uses and the plays he calls along with his rotation may puzzle some of us but he has a plan.
We will get the chance to see just how much they’ve grown as a team in 2 games just ahead on the schedule both of them at home in The Bud. Alabama and LSU will show us just how much the hogs have grown as a team. The other games against Texas A&M home and away and the S Carolina Road game don’t do anything but show us if they are focused.
The hogs don’t need to play with fire in close games because eventually they won’t be able to pull it out!

This. Been very good at the foul line

I agree with Clay. Team defense in the last few minutes has been the difference. With the right mindset, team defense can be consistent. Hitting that great last shot, not so much. Look at all the late close games the VA National Champs won. They were the best defensive team in the country that year.

I still think Musselman reminds me of Eddie Sutton in the way he coaches man-to-man team defense. Eddie didn’t play much other than tight man-to-man and would not double the ball like Musselman has done this season. When they fear a great point guard, they will take the ball out of his hands with a high double, then fall back. Never saw Eddie’s teams do that. Nolan did and not just high.

But what Eddie’s teams did in the final two minutes (and at other times) was spectacular as far as team defense. He did not foul late in games. He was a master at managing the final two minutes of a game. I don’t know that I’ve seen anyone better. You did not get good shots in the final two minutes of a game against an Eddie Sutton team.

Yep, and one of them was Kyle Guy knocking down three foul shots at 0.6 seconds to beat the Bagmen in the FF, hitting a late trey to force OT against TTech in the NCG, and a 55-foot pass for a layup to force overtime against Purdue. Making plays on the offensive end.

Musselman is a lot like Sutton. His teams are well coached, play good defense and don’'t make a lot of mistakes down the stretch. Coach Sutton was a master at winning the close ones. He drove Shelby Metcalf at A+M and Gerald Myers at Texas Tech up the wall by being able to win the tight games.

I remember one game in Barnhill with Coach Sutton and Coach Myers. Arkansas was pulling out another close one and Gerald Myers, with the camera on him, said, “What’s a man gotta do.” Coach Myers had just been Suttoned again.

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