Tonight’s game was a great gift for the casual fan who committed themselves to watching this overtime thriller. I will try to post video highlights and maybe some photos of what has to be the party of the century in Lawrence, Kansas when they become available (School has been canceled)
As I drove to work today, I tried guess who would win. Memphis has better talent and size but Kansas seemed to be peaking at the right time with a tremendous win against UNC on Saturday. After much internal debate I decided that Memphis would win in a very close game. They almost did. (my rationale was that there were a lot of intriguing matchups but Joey Dorsey would really make an impact defensively tilting the balance in the Memphis’ favor. I was going to be rooting for Kansas however)
It was a bold move by Bill Self to allow CBS to tape his pre game speech. It came off as somewhat soft and uninspiring but now serves as a poetic bold prognostication of the glory that was on the horizon.
Memphis grabbed an early lead before Kansas stormed back in the middle part of the first half before Memphis closed back in only to fall back again going into half time.
Memphis came out roaring after halftime. The lead changed hands almost every possession during the middle portion of the second half before Memphis re asserted themselve thanks to some phenomal play by Derek Rose, who I liken to Chris Paul.
For months people have been harping on Memphis’s poor free throw shooting but it had yet to be an issue. Kansas decided to extend the game by fouling Memphis as they were trailing by nine points with 2 minutes left.
At first the strategy did not work. However in the final 1:12 of the game, Memphis missed four of their last five throws. Up by two in the final 30 seconds, both Chris Douglas Roberts and Derek Rose had a chance to sink two free throws to take a commanding 4 point lead. Roberts missed twice, Rose kept the possibility of a tie alive by only sinking one.
With a little over 10 seconds to go and trailing by 3, Kansas rushed up the court needing a miracle. Guard Mario Chalmers delivered, hitting what will go down as one of the tournament’s greatest shots of all time and cementing him as a legend for generations to come in Kansas basketball lore
Memphis couldn’t answer in the final 2 seconds and was too shell shocked in overtime to regain their composure. Kansas continued to ride the momentum from the dramatic comeback into overtime earning their first national championship in 20 years.
Strong rumors are floating around that Kansas head coach Bill Self maybe on his way to taking the head position at Oklahoma State (his alma matuer) with various media outlets claiming an offer is being prepared already.
I found myself completely gripped by the game and screaming in the final moments. For someone who was a casual observer in tonight’s affair, I tip my hat to the Jayhawks and the Tigers for putting on a game for the ages.
Kansas has now won a BCS Bowl and the basketball championship in the same year. I am sure Jayhawk nation will embrace this win as I did the 2 OT Ohio State National Championship.
Some Celebration Pics