Comes a time in every NCAA final when a team melts down. It usually happens near the end, when the game is close, such as when Chris Webber of the Michigan Fab Five called a time out when there were none left, and Carolina went on to win the game. And to Duke when it went down to Kansas, and later to Louisville. I was there for the Kansas game, in Kansas City, as a Duke fan. The next year Duke was #1 again, and in the final four at the Kingdome in Seattle. Four of us drove seventeen straight hours from Palo Alto to see that game. Duke was up by a pile of points against Seton Hall when its ace rebounder, Robert Brickey, went down with an injury. After that Duke tanked and lost by 25 points of something. Michigan ended up winning it all that year.
This year it was Memphis that melted, and they did it at the foul line. Kansas was behind and fouled for possession, hoping that Memphis would miss. It was a good strategy. Kansas needed great play to do the job, but they also needed Memphis to melt. Which it did.
The Tuesday Morning quartercoaches are being highly critical of Memphis coach John Calipari for not getting his guys to foul Kansas players in the final seconds of the game — which would have left Kansas still behind by a point, even if they had hit both free throws — and for not calling a time out. Yet the players had earlier chances to win at the foul line, and choked. They melted, plain and simple.
A side issue. Because the game started after The Kid’s bedtime here on the East Coast, we got up early and watched it this morning on the DVR. But because the program was scheduled for 2 hours and 30 minutes, the DVR cut off right when Kansas’s last shot was in the air. I gotta say that totally sucks. We didn’t know if the shot went in, and saw none of the overtime. (Which may have been just as well, since The Kid’s bracket had Memphis winning it all. He was a partisan on this one.) Instead we went to ESPN and learned the ending from Mike & Mike.
Anyway, why isn’t there some kind of override in DVRs that comes into effect when sports are involved, and the end of the show isn’t known? Next time I’ll record the following show, just to be sure.