Yesterday was a day of choices if you are a fan of sports strategies. It was especially applicable for Gopher fans, as I'm guessing you were watching both of the games that presented the choices. Both generated a decent amount of discussion on the Tubes and I decided to put them out to the TDG community, share what my decision would be, and then see what you would have done.
Scenario 1 - Iowa @ Minnesota, Final Possession
The Gophers were up 3 following two made free throws by Andre Hollins. There are 5 seconds left on the clock and Iowa will have to travel the length of the floor to tie the game. The Hawkeyes are in the double bonus and the only player on the floor with 3 fouls or more is Andre Hollins. The question: Do you foul the Iowa ballhandler in the backcourt?
What happened in the real world: The Gophers let the game play out and Iowa nearly sends the game to overtime.
My take: In my mind, this is a no brainer. You foul the player. If you do it properly, around 1-2 seconds should go off the clock. This means the only real play for Iowa is to make the first FT and try to miss the second (no easy task). All you have to do is box out. As we saw, 5 seconds is plenty of time to get a good look at a tying 3 pointer. Fouling in the backcourt negates that possibility. Now to be fair, I don't blame Tubby for not doing so in this situation because he straight up doesn't believe in it and thus the Gophers never practice it. But I do think that mindset is an error overall.
Scenario 2 - Ravens vs. 49ers in the Super Bowl, Punting in the Final Seconds
The Ravens were up 5 points and were punting from their own 5 yard line. There are 11 seconds to play. San Francisco has no timeouts and a horribly inconsistent place kicker. The question: Do you punt the ball or take the safety and give San Fran the ball off of a free kick?
What happened in the real world: Baltimore had the punter run around in the end zone, burning 7 seconds off the clock and sealing the victory.
My take: Without question this was the right call. Punting the ball opened up negative consequences like a block, bad snap, or drop while a clean punt would have left the 49's more time to make a miracle play happen (though the chances of this were still SUPER tiny). Taking a safety meant more time would get run off the clock and one of the negative outcomes was removed. Plus, a free kick from the 20 yard line means that the Raven's punter can pin the 49ers even deeper down-field than if he had punted from the 5.