Wow. I thought about posting just that one word and the picture, and leaving it at that. I don’t know that you ever apologize for getting the the Final Four, but little beyond the victory itself was worth celebrating about KU’s victory over Davidson in the Midwest Regional Final. For me, it was an unprecedented game.
Why unprecedented? I left the house with around 10:00 to play.
I’ve turned a few games off over the years, but never have I been so tense that I had to leave the house. At least not in March. So much for all of that zen basketball fan shit, at least on regional final day.
I made it through the first half ok. I figured Curry had a pretty solid half, we were starting to build some rhythm late in the half, and since Bill Self tends to make good halftime adjustments, I thought we would come out and create a little distance. We ran some good plays to start the half, but the shots remained short, the passes remained bad, and you could tell, like against UCLA last year, we were becoming our biggest enemies.
Then, came the fateful sequence. Jason Richards missed a free throw, it went off a Davidson player, all the KU players turned and walked the other way, but the ref said it was Davidson’s ball. I rewound that play five times and no one from KU either touched the ball or the Davidson player. After the TV timeout, Darnell Jackson got a rebound, was pushed from behind by a Davidson player, lost the ball out-of-bounds, and the same ref said the ball stayed. (Again, I rewound that play five times. Call me Zapruder.) Naturally, Bryant Barr nails a three and Davidson used a four-point possession to cut KU’s six-point lead to two. We kicked the ball away on the other end and I decided I just couldn’t take it. I grabbed my keys, got in the car, and started driving.
I couldn’t find my iPod, so I was forced to listen to the radio. I heard some Stones, some Bon Jovi, some Queen. I listened to Dee Dee Myers talk on NPR. I refused to either check the game on the radio or my phone. I figured if I can’t handle it, I can’t handle it. My plan was to drive until 7:30, then go home and check the score.
At 7:16 I get a text message. It’s from a Missouri fan. This can’t be good. I read it at a red light, “Ugly but it was a win! u had 2 b dying! San antonio awaits! JB” I must mention, although JB is a Mizzou fan first, she’s what we like to call a good egg and hopes all the KC area teams do well.
Relief. Happiness. Mostly relief. I headed home and was greeted by two happily screaming girls. S. had taken them to her dad & step-mom’s house to get them out of my way. S. had explained to M. what was going on, so as soon as I walked in, she said, “Dad, are you so happy that your team won?!?!” She was very excited for me. Apparently she had been breaking it down for C., telling her that I would be sad if my team had lost. Sad. Angry. Probably drunk.
So that helped improve my mood a lot.
I can’t say much about the game itself. Stephen Curry is obviously amazing, but I thought KU did a pretty good job on him. It seemed like he wore down over the game, when he usually got better. It was funny hearing the crowd groan when he missed his first shot.
I thought Davidson did a great job of interfering with KU’s offense, but KU, especially the big men, did an awful job of adjusting in the first half. The adjustments were there in the second half, but by then they were pressing and unable to take advantage.
I thought it was a little odd that both teams seemed tired early. A lot of guys bent over, grabbing their shorts midway through the first half. Especially surprising for KU, who slowed the pace late in the game Friday night.
And now we get a week of Roy Williams. I’ll talk more about this later, but I hope he whines as much this week as he did back in ’02 before KU played UNC in the preseason NIT. And I hope his whining wears off on his team the way it did then. For those of you who don’t remember, after complaining about how hard it was to play his alma mater, a very good KU team got plastered by a very young Carolina team. Four months later KU played for the title and UNC missed the tournament (to be fair, Sean May’s injury really hurt UNC that year).
For now, it’s time to enjoy this latest win and accomplishment for this great team. It’s some weight off of Bill Self and the players. I’ve got a funny feeling they’re going to be very loose next week.
I kept reminding myself today how lucky I am. This is the seventh Final Four for KU in my life (I don’t count ’74, I was too young). The 10th regional final. It would have sucked to lose to Davidson (I would have destroyed all the girls’ Cinderella stuff, I fear), but I’ve had it pretty good as a fan of KU over the years. It may have been ugly, but today was a pretty good day, too.
Now, do I even bother watching the end of the game?