Although there’s no NCAA Tournament this year, basketball fans across the country were entertained today because CBS replayed the 1992 classic between Duke and Kentucky. Despite the fact that people already knew the result, it didn’t stop them from enjoying the game.
Rick Pitino and the Wildcats had Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils on the ropes in the Elite Eight. With only 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime, all Kentucky needed was one more stop.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they were on the wrong side of one the best endings in college basketball history. Grant Hill threw a pass the length of the court to Christian Laettner, who then drilled a fadeaway jumper for the win as time expired.
There’s no denying that Laettner made an incredible shot, but everyone back then wondered by Pitino didn’t have a player guard the inbound passer. Well, it appears people are still questioning Kentucky’s coaching staff to this day.
CBS analyst Seth Davis and others shared their thoughts on this 1992 matchup today on Twitter.
I often say the main reason to have someone guarding the passer is so if you lose no one can say it’s because you didn’t guard the inbound passer.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 21, 2020
I know I'm 28 years late, but why would Kentucky not guard Grant Hill on the inbound?
— Jason Foster (@ByJasonFoster) March 21, 2020
Hey … Kentucky didn’t guard the inbound 🤔😳
— David Steele (@David_C_Steele) March 21, 2020
It is 5 on 4.. but there is so much more to it than a hard and fast rule. Who is your inbounder? How big is he? Can he run the baseline? How long is defender? Put a Condor on the ball and it is really hard to make the length of court pass https://t.co/OpR4eDWv27
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) March 21, 2020
Guard inbounder he never catches it at opposite foul line. If he catches above the top of the key ? Probably different result
— Steve Lappas (@stlappas) March 21, 2020
It’s amazing that coaches still — after THAT — don’t always automatically guard the inbounds pass.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 21, 2020
What’s funny is that *both* of Laettner’s regional-winning buzzer beaters came in part because the other team didn’t guard the inbounder. https://t.co/BqsiNZuOvu
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) March 21, 2020
Duke ended up winning the entire NCAA Tournament back in 1992. That made back-to-back titles for Coach K’s crew.
As for Kentucky, the powerhouse program was left wondering what could’ve been if they just guarded the inbound passer. However, this brutal loss did help set the tone for a tremendous run under Pitino, which included three Final Four appearances and a national title in 1996.
This past week without sports hasn’t been fun to say the least, but it’s nice to see fans bond over instant classics like this.