Worst Game Ever
And I have no idea how I’m going to sleep tonight.
I hate grinders. There’s nothing fun about them. Granted, I’m just happy with the win this time of year. But if we’re going to win by three, I’d much rather it be 82-79, or something that actually resembles modern basketball like that.
There was a point, midway through the second half, where I started to feel like the hoop gods were rearing their ancient heads and preparing to punish us again. A few funky plays had just gone SIU’s way, and it felt like the karma tide was flowing their way. But, we quickly grabbed a key rebound and threw it away. Missed some free throws (how very KU!). Committed some dumb fouls. I realized, for the handful of funky plays, we were also kicking the game away on our own, which in a strange way, heartened me. We weren’t losing because of mystic forces but because we couldn’t relax and play smart basketball.
Then, Bill Self made a couple key adjustments (As opposed to our former coach, who would have run the same plays all night, ensuring our ruin), we reclaimed the lead, even extended a bit, then hung on despite our horrendous effort at the line. Seriously, if you told me before the game we would shoot 60% for the game, while SIU shot 37%, I would have guessed we win by 20. But all those freaking turnovers, some because of great defense, some because of silly play, kept giving SIU easy points and denying any rhythm for KU on offense.
I’m just happy with the win. I’ll take another ugly one Saturday, although I’m not sure my blood pressure will be able to handle it.
Which reminds me, my step-dad has a good friend who is a bit older, he’s pushing 70 I think, and he has heart problems. A few years back, his doctor told him he could no longer watch KU games because they were making his heart do too much work. Have I seen my future?
Was it just me, or did SIU look like they just came out of a bar fight? A couple guys had black eyes. A couple more nasty bruises on their faces. I’m pretty sure another guy was walking around with a broken pool cue. But give them credit, they play amazing defense that is as disruptive in terms of getting other teams away from what they want to do as any I’ve seen this year. As Jay Bilas wisely noted, KU plays great defense too, but it’s more about making shots as difficult as possible. SIU doesn’t even want you to take the shot.
If nothing else, KU should be prepared for whatever they face on Saturday.
I can’t wait to hear the whining about the three points SIU lost because of the refs tomorrow morning. KU missed nine free throws. SIU’s guards were mugging the KU guards all night while Darrell Arthur was called for a foul any time he breathed on Randal Falker. I think those things evened out over the course of the night.
Fun fact I read after the game: Jamaal Tatum can name every song on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. I bet there aren’t many guys playing D1 ball who can say that!
SIU has a Tyrone Green. I wonder if he’s ever heard of the Eddie Murphy character of the same name? “C-I-L-L…my landlord!”
Ugh, Acie Law. What a way to go out. Tough shot, but he always makes that. And then Memphis gets 180 chances on their final possession. Rough way for A&M to go out, and for me to lose my first Final Four team.
Do we have to finally start giving Memphis some credit? This is two Elite Eights in a row. I wonder if we’ve discounted how hungry they after shooting themselves out of the UCLA game last year and having lost a few players to the draft. And they’ve got more talent coming in next year. Coach Cal needs to get into the Big East or something and quick if he ever wants to get any respect there. Maybe the Big 12 could kick Baylor out and take Memphis?
Maybe Bill Self should take a page out of Coach Cal’s book (they were at KU together, so they can share). Memphis shoots free throws even worse than KU. Before the tournament, Cal decided not to practice them anymore. He just asked his players to spend a few minutes each night envisioning themselves shooting the perfect free throw. They’re shooting around 70% for the tournament so far. Brilliant.
Jinx time: Tennessee is killing Ohio State. +17 with 4:00 to play in the first. Oden has three fouls and the Vols are raining three down on the Buckeyes. The battle of Tennessee for a Final Four bid? +19 now. This is March Madness. On CBS. HAHAHAHA!!!
You know what call has been consistently missed in the tournament? Guys stepping on the baseline. One of the SIU players was clearly on the line before Tatum’s last three. An Ohio State player just had half his foot across the line and the ref didn’t bother to look down to see it.
Another annoying commercial, the Coke commercial with the Virgina Tech fan. Why a Virginia Tech fan during basketball season? Football season, sure. But I doubt the superstition of some Hokie is going to get people to run out and grab a Coke (unless your name is Roy Williams). Now if it was a Florida fan, sales might increase dramatically. They’ve got some good karma down there in Gainesville.
Big coaching moves today. Tubby Smith leaves Kentucky for Minnesota, which is basically a big fuck you to all the Kentucky fans who have been riding him. There’s no doubt UK has fallen back a bit. But as far as I know, he’s done a solid job in the classroom, has kept Kentucky off of probation (which is harder than it sounds), and run a solid program. He was inches away from a Final Four two years ago. Randolph Morris was a huge recruiting win that just hasn’t panned out as expected. But, it may have been too late to turn over his staff and infuse it with young energy to get the pipeline flowing again. Tubby’s always seemed like a good guy, so I hope he is appreciated in Minnesota. If Florida wins again this year, is there any chance that Billy Donovan moves back to Lexington? Might the rumors, unless he comes right out and says “I’m stayin’” next week, cause his big men to miss 12 key free throws in Atlanta? And if not him, who? I can’t imagine Billy Gillispie or Rick Barnes leaving A&M and UT. Rick Pitino isn’t walking through those doors, folks. Travis Ford?
Steve Alford leaving Iowa for New Mexico is an interesting move, to say the least. Leaving the Big 10 for, well, whatever conference New Mexico is in, isn’t exactly a step up. But, from some of the stories floating around today, Alford hasn’t been liked for a long time in Iowa City. I guess with Kelvin Sampson in Bloomington, he figured the IU job is locked up for ten years or so, so he might as well get far, far away.
Have I mentioned that I love the old school Nikes most schools have broken out for the tournament? Very 1986 Air Team Convention-ish. I had a poster with the shoes of all the Nike teams in that year’s tourney. After Georgetown set the standard the previous year, the rest of the nation caught up in 1986.
I kind of like the lack of any halftime report on CBS. Although, it does make it weird when they talk for 30 seconds and then thank you for watching the halftime report.
Uh-oh, Ohio State cuts it to 11, with free throws coming. Make it nine and Lofton is forcing shots. Now it’s seven. We got ourselves a game.
Most annoying CBS tactic this year: holding play in one game while doing a quick update on another. Just before Brandon Rush nearly airballed a free throw tonight, CBS checked-in on the A&M-Memphis game. Before they went away, Brandon was standing at the line, all six players were lined up, and they were waiting for the ref to toss him the ball. Ten seconds checking the other game, cut back, and the ref is just then giving Brandon the ball. If you’re going to make the players wait for the network, don’t line them up until the network is ready. There were a couple other times I noticed this tonight.
My Lord there are a bunch of deep threes in the UT-OSU game. Four point game. I’m pretty sure Bruce Pearl is completely insane, too. Sometimes you have to let your players play.
OSU cuts it to one, nine minutes into the second half, then Oden gets foul #4 and goes back to the bench.
OSU leads. This game sucks. I’m turning the volume down and listening to music I’ve obtained through quasi-legal means for the remainder.