Monday, March 22, 2010

The Basketball Gods are a Cruel and Fickle Lot

The NCAA tournament always has some great games won on last-second shots. Thursday, especially, was full of overtime games and last-second wins. Exciting stuff.

Except when you're on the short end.

Maryland was down the entire game against Michigan St. yesterday. They could never get closer than seven, and a lot of the game they were losing by double digits. I can usually tell when it's not going to be Maryland's day, and yesterday was one of those. Michigan St. hitting all manner of shots. Open 3's, contested, 3's, tough shots in the lane, all seemed to go in. And when they didn't go in, they went to a Michigan St. player. And nothing came easy for the Terps. Every shot seemed a struggle, every made basket contested. Nope, didn't seem to be our day.

With 2 minutes left, the Terps were down by nine, and it was over. Everyone knew it.

And then it happened. Steals. Baskets. A three-point play. A three-point basket. 10 unanswered points. A lead with less than a minute to go. Unbelievable.

Then Michigan St. scored to go back up by one. Of course. So we'd have to hit a game-winning shot with time running out. A team only gets so many of those a season, and we used ours up against Georgia Tech a few weeks before, an unbelievable rainbow three with under a second to go.

So, now way.

Way. Vasquez hits the shot. I'm standing up, yelling at the T.V. as Michigan St. rushes down the court, "Don't let him shoot, don't let him shoot."

Less than a second, he shoots. Nothing but net and a dagger in the heart.

Now I'm mad. I'm yelling. Kobi runs from the room. It's not pretty.

I'm not mad at Maryland, I'm not mad at the Michigan St. kid who hit the shot, I'm not mad at anyone.

I'm just mad. It's not fair. Better to lose by nine than to lose this way.

The basketball gods are not fair.

But I can't anger them. Baylor is in the Sweet Sixteen, and play an overachieving team in St. Mary's, so they have a good chance to reach the Elite Eight. Where they will probably play Duke for the chance to go to the Final Four. And nothing would make the season more complete than for Baylor to go to the Final Four by beating Duke.

But first they have to beat St. Mary's. No tempting the fates here.

Because the basketball gods are cruel and fickle.

So I go to make a sacrifice to the basketball gods and try to win their favor.

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