Kansas State runs an inbound pass.
Screenshot from Twitter

Football Plays Are Invading March Madness on Inbound Passes, And It's Genius

During the NFL Draft, we often hear about tight ends and their basketball playing background in college, or broadcasters will liken certain players to a "power forward in the NBA" to illustrate a player's height and/or athleticism.

Well, NCAA men's basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament know about that and are taking it personally.

What are we talking about?

It appears that certain teams are running a spread offense on inbound passes, with all five players starting out of bounds; and before the pass back in play, they appear to be running routes.

As Twitter user @CoachDanCasey points out, Florida Atlantic — which will take on Tennessee in the Sweet 16 — ran a mesh route on a successful inbound pass.

Explaining Those Football-Like Inbound Passes in the NCAA Tournament

Before this video tweet, @CoachDanCasey also posted two screenshots of Kansas State and Kentucky, with Kansas State lining up out of bounds. However, I must critique their wide receiver pre-route stances here — come on, guys, get in position!

Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang calls this inbound play the "Mahomes," for obvious Kansas reasons.


Notice a trend here? The two teams that did this style of inbound pass — Kansas State and Florida Atlantic — are now in the Sweet 16.


Yeah, probably. But for the sake of sensationalism, we'll point to these inbound passes as the catalyst to their success. We now have another way to describe March Madness, too.

Do We Have Baylor To Thank For This?

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

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Under these tweets, I saw other users pointing out that Baylor has been known to do this in the past.

Thanks to the internet, I searched "Baylor Bears basketball inbound football passes," and this was perhaps the easiest Google search of my life. It popped up immediately with a YouTube video.

However, unlike the March Madness squads this year, the Bears were much more prepared, including — as you'll see in the video's thumbnail — players lining up like wide receivers. That was from 2019. Baylor coach Scott Drew reportedly drew inspiration for the play after watching it happen in a Northern Kentucky game.

"Down here in the South, people love their football, and so do we," Drew told Texas Basketball with a laugh.

Hey, it makes sense — Baylor has had two first-round NFL picks since 2010, including quarterback Robert Griffin III and defensive tackle Phil Taylor. These Baylor men know a thing or two about football.

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