Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Secret to Bo Ryan's Success

According to Jim Souhan, a sportswriter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, it is "the subtle muggings Ryan and his peers teach." That's right: Ryan's famous no-foul defense is effective because, actually, he's secretly fouling all the time:
Next time you see two teams in the 20s in the second half of a big-time college basketball game, watch the defenders. They bump every offensive player who cuts into the lane. They use their chests and legs to bump and jostle. They play post defense the way many offensive lineman block, knowing officials aren't going to call holding on every play.
Certainly the Badgers bumps and jostle on defense with their chests (but not really their legs). But that's called basketball. Everyone does that. Imagine trying to defend in the post without using your chest!

One wonders: has Jim Souhan ever played basketball with grown ups? When I was a little kid playing basketball on playgrounds, it was a free game with very little bumping. Little guys could dribble around and get layups. Playing organized basketball for the first time—and I'm talking about a 3-3 tournament, here—was a rude awakening to the way good basketball is actually played. It's played with your muscles. Those big muscles in your legs, mainly. It's a physical sport played by big strong men. Don't like it? Go watch arena football, or soccer, or whatever.

The other half of Souhan's accusation, that the Badgers illegally bump cutters is just nonsense. Bo Ryan often spends entire games begging the officials to call this kind of stuff because his offense is predicated on these kinds of fouls actually being called. A lightly officiated game hurts Bo's offense more than it helps his defense.

The ultimate idiocy of this piece is the idea that changing the way the game is called could somehow stop Bo Ryan from winning. Nothing can stop Bo Ryan from winning. If you tweak the rules and start calling more fouls, Bo Ryan will still figure out how to beat you. It cannot be said enough: Bo Ryan is a basketball genius. He loses more basketball knowledge every time he clips his toenails than Jim Souhan has ever had in his walnut-sized brain.

1 comment:

  1. Well put. I won't revisit my disdain for sports columnists yet again.
    I do remember my first basketball game vs adults. I remember trying to set a screen against a guy who tried to run through it, and through me. I don't think I fell over, but I remember it hurt. It didn't stop me from doing the same thing again and continuing to get run over a few more times that game. Outside of gym class, basketball is a game you have to wear your big boy pants for. Some games are more physical than others, and some teams are more physical than others, but to say Bo's teams "get away with contact that wouldn't be allowed in an NFL secondary" is ridiculous.