We watched the game at home, live (not delayed via TiVo), as it tipped late enough that we were done with all parenting duties. Our boys were tucked safely in their beds, dreams of Jayhawks dancing through their heads. They both wore their new KU shirts to school, and the littlest one (he’s 22 months old) insisted on showing everyone his “J Awk,” even if that meant taking his hoodie off repeatedly.
We were hoping to watch in HD and listen to the local guys on the radio, but when we started the game, the video was behind the audio by almost five seconds. That means the “shot was good!” before the play had even been set up on screen. Something happened at half time though, and it was all synced up, so we got local color for the second half and the overtime. The local announcers are so delightfully biased (and I still believe Packer and Nance were entranced by the idea of Memphis) that it makes up for their being further from the floor/booth stats.
Watching this game was awesome. It was just the two of us, Sweetie and I, but we were up and down, nervous, groaning, I know I cursed at the screen repeatedly, Sweetie was tense, literally on the edge of her seat. We could hardly believe it when Chalmers’ shot went in, and when it was all over we rushed outside to hear the screaming and honking and fireworks from downtown.
Then we watched it over again (thanks to TiVo) with the TV audio, just to see it once more.
Here are my thoughts on the game. Please note, you may have to know something about basketball, college basketball, and/or KU basketball to grok much of this. Sorry.
- Here in Lawrence they are calling it “Mario and the Miracle,” a reference to KU’s last championship team, dubbed “Danny and the Miracles” after Danny Manning (now a KU assistant coach). But I much prefer the simpler, more apt, “Super Mario.” In my two paltry years in Lawrence, I’ve seen Mario Chalmers take a clutch shot like that a number of times. And not one article before the game, not a single one from the National Media, singled him out as anything other than part of a guard foursome.
- All season, Hell, all of his two years, Darrell Arthur has been hailed as this great, athletic, wonder boy. All of his two years I have failed to see it. Some games he has been good, even great. Most games he lets balls slip through his fingers, he fouls a lot, he contributes a few points. But this game he was excellent. 20 points and 10 rebounds, and a cool hand from start to finish. His potential is so high that he’ll probably jump to the NBA, but this was an excellent parting performance.
- Sherron Collins, instrumental in the game, is a player I love and hate. I cussed him up and down the floor both in this game and the Carolina game on Saturday. He is maddeningly bullheaded, but mad-skilled, and for every time he drives the lane against four guys and loses the ball, or passes to nobody, or dribbles it off a teammate’s foot, there are those times he strips the ball, weaves the trees for a score, or drains a three at the crucial time. One more year in school and he will be something to see.
- How important was the review of that three-pointer? If the officials didn’t have the ability to go back and examine that play, KU loses and the game gets a huge asterisk (at least, here in Lawrence).
- Only one analyst gave KU the nod before the game. Jay Bilas, of ESPN, has been picking KU since October. Every time he was asked about it during the tournament, he reaffirmed his pick. Right before the game, he said it again, though he hedged his bet a little. Hats off to him.
- They are calling this team the best team KU has ever produced, and they are calling KU “Basketball’s most storied program.” That makes this the best team ever from basketball’s most storied program, in case you were wondering.
This may have been the most fun I have ever had watching sports, right up there with Argentina’s win in the World Cup Final in 1986.