NC State fouled Virginia with a 3-point lead with 8.2 seconds to play to keep Virginia from getting a potential game-tying 3-pointer off. Sean McDonough immediately said “there’s a lot of time left for that foul.”
I like that foul. It may seem like you want to wait until :07 or :06 to foul, but I’m fouling under :10. You really can’t foul under :03 because you are in serious danger of fouling a shooter at that point – you know they are going up. So if you tell your team to foul under :07 you only give them 4 seconds to foul, and figuring that out on the floor during the final possession is hard. It also allows the team to get into the front court and possibly attempt a shot as you go to commit a foul. I don’t like a 4-second window to foul in the front court when the other team is desperately trying to get a 3 off. Too much bad stuff can happen there.
I’m fouling under :10, trying to foul before they get the ball settled in the front court and have a chance to attempt a realistic shot. If I have to make some free throws and foul again, I’m fine with that. You should have a chance to get your best free throw shooters to the ball. And if you miss, you then have to guard the other team coming full court in what is likely :05 or less. I’d rather have that with a chance to put the game away, then allow them to get a tying 3 off.
NC State did miss one free throw after they had fouled on purpose, so Virginia got the ball back and a chance to tie or win, down 2. But they didn’t get a chance to set anything up and ended up with a forced 3 that had no chance. I like the foul any time under :10 when I’m up 3.