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.


Andy Axel said...

Hell of a goddamned game.

LeftWingCracker said...

Yes, but we let them back in and they, being the great team they are, took full advantage. Self outcoached Cal.

Guess you don't miss Roy at all, eh? :)

GoldnI said...

Well I guess we can look forward to seeing Memphis vs. Vanderbilt in the 2009 NIT!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
leftwingcarolinablue said...

As an alumni of the University, I am disheartened, sick and out of energy. I haven't felt this dispirited since the Red Sox lost Game 6 in 1986. In that game too, it wasn't the play people tend to remember (Bill Buckner, our free throws), but the myraid of small things that created the situation in which our beloved Tigers let the game get away.
On a more positive note, I can't see Cal leaving for the Knicks. He's been down the pro game before and if he thinks the U of M will not be as good next year, he ought to know the Knicks will be awful for years and years and years no matter how much money James Dolan spends. Our Tigers may not be back next year, but we will be back and with this loss in the back of everyone's mind, we will have gained the experience it takes to get over the hump and bring home the trophy.

Andy Axel said...

Guess you don't miss Roy at all, eh? :)

Y'know, I saw him in the stands there wearing a KU sticker, and I could almost feel for the guy. Almost.

I'm really pleased. Basketball is one of the few attachments that I have to Kansas anymore, and it's always been one of the most bittersweet. Being in Hillsboro Village with a small clutch of KU alumni, it was a blast celebrating with them. It would have been a blast to have been there to be consoled as well, I suppose (and we were damned near that outcome).

But as far as being dispirited, I sure know that feeling having watched this team intently over the last two decades. A loss to Duke in 1991, losses to eventual national champs Arizona and Syracuse and Maryland, ridiculous chokes against Bradley and Bucknell and UTEP (yes, UTEP, I remember that one vividly).

I thought Memphis was great despite catching some bad breaks late. I mean, all of this might have been for naught if Hightower hadn't erased that three pointer or if CDR could have sunk just one free throw more. I don't mean that to sound ugly - bad breaks are a part of the game, and anyone who's watched KU ball for long can tell you about how Eric Chenoweth or Nick Collison could have given the 'Hawks a championship just by hitting their FTs. It really hurts. I know that feeling well, which is partly what makes this morning feel so great. I only wish I could be at Allen Field House today instead of going in to the office.

Now the buzz starts at KU - rumor has it that T. Boone Pickens is going to wave $10M at Bill Self to entice him to go coach at his alma mater, Oklahoma State. Ugggggggggggggh...

Tom Guleff said...

Tigers had a great season. Thanks for the ride !!!!

Der Verr├╝ckte Philosoph said...

I'm not a hoops fan, so I don't know (and really, don't much care), but... Aren't there Division 1 schools that have never made the final round?

Coming in second isn't just being the first loser. It was a helluva season. Enjoy it for what it was.