Commentary

Patsos make a curious call on Curry

Updated: December 1, 2008, 6:40 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

I am all for coaches designing unique strategies to try to pull an upset. I understand the need for creativity, especially when you are outmanned in a tough situation.

I look at what happened last week when Loyola-Maryland matched up against Davidson and All-America Stephen Curry. Loyola's coach is Jimmy Patsos, a guy I got to know when he was on Gary Williams' staff at Maryland. Patsos has lots of energy and enthusiasm for the game. I applaud his creativity and effort to try to stop Curry.

He went a little bit too far, my friends. Patsos' plan was to double-team Curry the entire game. Basically it left Davidson with four offensive players going against Loyola's remaining three defenders. It doesn't take a math major to realize that playing shorthanded the entire game just to stop Curry wasn't going to work on the scoreboard.

Fine, that was the strategy to shutdown the nation's leading scorer. When the opposition scores 18 straight points, and you are getting blown out, you need to make an adjustment.

The bottom line is, you teach your kids to compete and do their best. You want to pursue victory. No way was this team trying to the get a W after a while. It became a mission to keep Curry off of the scoreboard.

That was achieved, but along the way the team was humiliated and subject to lots of criticism.

It was not a good taste left in the mouths of the Loyola players. There could have been a better way to teach those kids the right means of achieving a winning result. The purpose was to get a victory, and when that was not working, an adjustment was needed.

I like Patsos, but this was not a good moment for his coaching resume. Maybe he will learn from this scenario because he is a really good guy with a lot of potential to succeed in the coaching profession.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.