Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Fatigue, Foulouts, McHale's Minnesota 1977 Edges USC 69-65

 So many interesting rule notes in the last 12 minutes of a classic basketball version of a Rose Bowl Pac-12 vs Big Ten defensive brawl. First the scoresheet, then key plays as Minnesota 1977 wins their debut to drop USC 2021 to 2-1. (64,000 unique visitors have clicked here to play their own free Value Add Basketball Games)

We saw at the outset this would be a defensive brawl with shot blockers and steals and very low dunk ranges. Both teams had four players 6'9 or taller with a center matchup between Value Add's player of the year Evan Mobley and Minnesota's no. 1 pick in the NBA draft Mychal Thompson.

USC's 51-54 dunk range was reduced by Minnesota's -3 defense to give only one dunk number if 51 when USC had the ball. Minnesota's 51-53 adjusted by USC's -4 results on the chart in a 51 being a STOP number meaning missed shot and defensive rebound.

With Minnesota at home there was only one bad call, but it was key with the score tied 48-48 with 12 minutes to play. Evan Mobley drew the 4th foul on Thompson, but a "36" is a missed call if the home team fouled, so Mobley missed the shot and was not sent to the foul line and Thompson continued to play.

With 8 minutes left and USC leading 59-55, Mobley did foul out which likely decided the game.

Chevez Goodwin came back in the game for Mobley, and promptly blocked a shot, but because he had already used up 11 of his 13 stamina possessions earlier in the game, he could only play the 12th and 11th possessions at full strength. 

For the final 10 possessions of the game Goodwin was fatigued, meaning Minnesota could adjust every 11-66 or 1-20 dies roll one against him. (If a player plays more than twice his stamina possessions, then rolls are adjusted 2 against him)

USC held a 65-59 lead with 7 possessions or 4:58 to play, but a fatigued player in for Mobley and the play of future NBA 6'3 point guard Ray Williams was the difference for Minnesota.

Williams had his 5th steal of the game and fed to future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin McHale who used his near 8-foot wingspan to score and cut it to 65-61.

Williams scored on the next trip to make it 65-63.

Williams scored again to tie it, then the next trip was the killer with a fatigued Goodwin in instead of Mobley.

Williams game came up with his 6th steal and passed ahead to Thompson, who scored his 20th point on a shot Mobley would have blocked on a 26 dice role, but instead made the score 67-65 Minnesota.

Goodwin then would have drawn Thompson's 5th foul on a "12" dice role die falling in his 10-12 "fouled" range, but because he was fatigued the dice roll was adjusted to a 13, which is just a missed shot. 

The rebound chance game to Williams on a 19 (defensive pg) roll and 5 on the 6-sided dice, and Williams grabbed it because he is one of very few point guards with a 1-5 defensive rebound range, which means he kept it from going to USC PG Tahj Eaddy for a tie.

Minnesota failed to score on that trip at the 3rd possession left to leave the door open, but Osborne Lockhart came up with Minnesota's 11th steal (to only 4 for USC) and then McHale scored to close out a 10-0 run, and then blocked USC's final shot to wrap up a 69-65 win.

The teams looked evenly matched with Pomeroy calculating USC as the 6th best team in 2021, while SRS calculated Minnesota as the 5th best in 1977 - but when USC lost the best player of the year in Mobley their overall team was no longer as good.

Despite the last 7:40 on the bench, Mobley led USC in points (14), rebounds (9) and most impressive blocked shots (6).

Thompson had a game high 20 points, and Williams had a game-high 6 steals. 

McHale was a freshman on this team so not yet a go-to player or the guy who turned into perhaps the greatest power forward in the history of the NBA while with the Celtics. However, just one year removed from being the Mr. Minnesota high school basketball player, he led the team with 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

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