One of the most intriguing aspects of March Madness is the potential, in any given game, for the lower-seeded team to beat the higher-seeded team. After all, that’s what makes the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament special – upsets. In this year’s edition, arguably there is no bigger upset than 14-seeded Ohio University’s win over 3-seeded Georgetown. As soon as the game was over, everyone – sportswriters, fans, and Georgetown players and coaches – questioned factors that produced the inconceivable result. The game and post-game analysis provides an excellent context to discuss decision making.
- Discuss the relevance of multidimensional thinking when it comes to coaching a basketball game. As you read the last half of article, what does it say about Coach John Thompson’s strategic opportunism?
- On paper, Georgetown had all the key success factors in its favor. However, games are not played on paper. What does this indicate about the type of decision environment a coach faces at tournament time? If Coach Thompson had a chance to play this game again, what advice would you give him about preparing?
- Although not discussed in your text, the post-game analysis of Georgetown coaching represents hindsight bias to a degree. As you read the article, what other decision errors and/or traps are evident in Coach Thompson’s thinking?
SOURCE: L. Clarke, “In 2010 NCAA Tournament Loss to Ohio, Georgetown Struggles to Determine Why It Went Wrong,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/19/AR2010031904356.html)