Monday, April 07, 2008
We simply did not finish.
Derrick Rose was right in the post-game interview, it wasn't the free throws, it was the plays BEFORE the free throws.
Like Joey Dorsey making a bad foul for his fifth and final one, going out just past two minutes. It's Rose himself not taking the ball and dominating until the second half, and then shying away again in the last two minutes. It's not fouling Mario Chalmers before he could get a shot off, which would have sent him to the line for TWO, not three shots, which would have kept us in the lead. It's a million little things that caused what Bill Simmons would call a Stomach Punch game.
This loss will go down as one of the great collapses in sports history, and it did not have to happen. Bill Self out-coached John Calipari when it counted, and our guys, well, as much as we still love them, choked. I still support them, I want to attend Joey Dorsey's graduation this summer, but our Tigers choked tonight, and that's why Kansas equaled Duke with their third Men's Basketball championship.
To Cal's ever-lasting credit, the stood up and took full responsibility for this, as he should have. We were not prepared for intensity at crucial moments, and it comes back to him. Don't worry, as badly as the fans feel, as badly as the players feel, as badly as we ALL feel, no one feels worse about this than John Calipari.
He is now faced with the graduations of Joey Dorsey and the suspended Andre Allen, the almost-certain departure of Derrick Rose (he would be a top 3 lottery pick, folks, he CAN'T stay), and Chris Douglas-Roberts, so we are FAR from a Final Four trip next year.
And what should we make of the Newsday report (H/T to TrueHoop) that the Knicks are interested in hiring Calipari away from the U of M? This could be the last trip in a LONG time for this program, which is what makes this hurt even worse.
Damn, we might need to hire a shaman after this to rid the whole town of a curse; I really thought tonight would be the end, but I guess not. It hurts, and will for a long, long time; I just hope it doesn't take so long that Larry Finch never sees it.
Enough for now.