Tortoise And The Hare: College Basketball Style Analysis

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The Tortoise and the Hare: College Basketball Style Around 600 BC Aesop described a competition that compared creatures of vastly differing speeds in “The Tortoise and the Hare”. In men’s college basketball every contemporary game highlights the contrasting aspects of this tempo battle and this past seasons game between UVA and Duke, along with classic contests featuring prototypes in tempo control Princeton and Loyola Marymount, truly demonstrate the similarities and differences between the slowdown and up-tempo basketball strategy. Up-tempo and slowdown styles in men’s college basketball have the similar goal of victory but look to achieve it differently. Both employ specialized defensive schemes and offensive sets in attempts to compensate…show more content…
On the offensive end they forgo fast break opportunities and move the ball fastidiously, burning clock while looking for a high percentage shot. They don’t contest the offensive rebounds, focusing instead on defensive transition, so as to prevent opposing fast break opportunities. Lowering the total number of possessions raises each ones value, rewarding the patient team. Pete Caril’s Princeton Tigers (1969-96) epitomize the slowdown, ball control style and no game more demonstrates this than their famous contest in 1996 when the Ivy League school defeated storied UCLA, the defending national champions. Time Magazines Sean Gregory wrote that, “Since Princeton did not offer athletic scholarships, and its admission standards were so strict, Carril couldn't recruit the country's elite athletes to central New Jersey. So in order for his teams to compete against superstars, he designed an unusual playing style that required patience, precision and deadeye shooting.” UCLA, averaging 77 points per game according to, lost 43 to 41 in what ESPN ranked as the 3rd greatest upset in NCAA
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