During a three-year stretch, I tried on the slipper as part of a team living the role of Cinderella. Three consecutive years as
a double-digit seed in the NCAA tournament with uniquely different teams that found ways to advance. Why were we
successful and what commonalities did other successful underdogs have?
Is there a blueprint to take down Goliath? Here are the ten commandments of the Underdog.
Here are the Ten Commandments of the Underdog
Rule 1: Thou Shall Be Self-Confident:
We Belong and We are Capable.
You must believe you belong in the tournament and if we play as we are capable of playing we can and will advance.
Rule 2: Thou Shall Put All Faith In Thy Teammates and No One Else
It’s Us vs the World. No one outside this locker room gives us a fighting chance – Let’s go out and show the world.
Complete buy-in and bonding of the entire team.
Rule 3: Thou Shall Block Out All Distractions
Concentrated Extreme Focus
Each man knows the game plan – what is required to win. They know their assignments, their opponent’s tendencies and
they are locked in.
Rule 4: Thou Shall Treat Every Possession As If It Is Our Last
Efficiency- no lost possessions due to mental mistakes. When your margin of error is slim, you must convert opportunities.
Rule 5: Thou Shall Lead
Every team must have a leader to conduct the orchestra. This player settles the squad, sets the pulse of the team and sometimes gets in a teammate’s face and commands focus.
Rule 6: Thou Shall Hold Nothing Back
Leave It All on the Floor
Everyone is- All-In. Willing and Immersing every ounce of effort to the cause until nothing is left in the tank.
Rule 7: Thou Shall Not Surcome To Pressure
Be Loose-Play Loose
Control the adrenaline and use the pressure to your advantage. Don’t let the pressure control you where you subconsciously play not to lose. Doing what you do best is how you win.
Rule 8: The Messiah Will Come and He Will Lead Us To The Promised Land
When the game is on the line, you must have a guy that has the unwavering confidence to make the game winning play.
The entire team believes in him and they get him the basketball. When it’s all going down and players aren’t sure about
themselves – they know they can put faith in him and he will deliver.
Rule 9: Thou Shall Honor Thy Coach:
Play Our Tempo And Only Our Tempo
Taking teams out of their comfort zone and forcing them to play with you -how you play best- is a great recipe for success.
Rule 10: Thou Shall Steal (The Game)
You must take the game, it will not be given to you. You must be tough, confident and assertive.
Teams That Fit This Build:
Rhode Island – veteran group that has gone through adversity.
Middle Tennessee- tasted tournament last year, now longs for more.
Winthrop-Keon Johnson, inch for inch, the tournament’s best scorer