Analysis: Cheese State Collapse
By By Jay Sorgi
I'm beginning to realize that I'm in the minority here among fervent supporters of Marquette or Wisconsin, but I had to suffer through double pain on Sunday.
That's because I'm one of the few that actually believes in fervently supporting both teams, even if I went to only one of them. (Marquette Class of 1998)
(And no, it's not because 620WTMJ is the UW flagship here in Milwaukee.)
The point is, I doubled over in pain from double shots to the gut in Boise.
Just call it the Cheese State Collapse.
Part 1: Xavier 60, Wisconsin 49.
I had a funny feeling such an outcome could occur. My Xavier friends were needling me throughout the weekend about it, and my mind and heart were in different places about it.
Heart rooting, but no chance mind could predict a Badgers win.
My brain was right.
UW has lost sloppy games all year long, the games they were regularly winning in past years.
The problem this year: they had no on-court go-to leader.
As much as I love Joe Krabbenhoft's lunch-pail attitude, he's not a leader in the sense of a guy who you can immediately turn to in a critical moment of a game to make a key shot.
So when Xavier went on that second half run, you knew Wisconsin probably wouldn't respond.
Regrouping time, Bo.
Part II: Missouri 83, Marquette 79
After halftime, I couldn't watch. I was so angry at Marquette's lack of defensive intensity and communication, MU's horrific shot selection and a turnover-prone attack reminiscent of my performance as starting center of St. Eugene's grade school back in the day, that I had to run to the store and just escape the house.
Then I came back, and suddenly...there was a game on!
McNeal and Matthews were quadrouple-handedly leading one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA tournament history.
Then came the foul. J.T. Tiller getting hurt after being fouled with 5.5 seconds left while going to the basket.
I'd love to see the medical records after the game - that, or Tiller's academic record, especially drama classes.
Coach Mike Anderson of Missouri then made the move to put Kim English, a freshman who had shot the lights out i the first half, into the game to shoot the charity shots.
I immediately became enraged. Wasn't it Buzz Williams' call as to who shoots the free throws from Missouri's team?
But apparently, not in college.
Tiller then came in later in the game - legally - because a time out was eventually called.
Then came the most painful step ever taken in college basketball history.
The one where Lazar Hayward's foot went over the line while trying to inbound the ball to help set up Marquette's last second shot - one that, if taken by the hot McNeal or Matthews, would have tied or won a classic game.
My body sank to the floor.
I have been referring to the particular offending body part as Lazar Hayward's &%*@#$(#%&*(@#($&*)@&$*)ing toe for the last 20 hours.
It's the toe that ended the careers of McNeal, Matthews and the too-hampered-to-pull-a-Willis-Reed-but-nevertheless-game-in-the-attempt Dominic James.
Referees rarely call that foul. I remember watching multiple times in the legendary Syracuse-UConn War and Peace tourney game where refs paid no attention to feet over the line on non-critical inbounds.
I guess, when it matters, the refs look.
Still, I can't remember a more frustrating day of basketball in my life.
It was even worse than Marquette against Kansas in 2003, because Marquette never showed up in New Orleans.
Oh well, I'll just have to wait another year - realistically, another few years at least - before I get my dream final: Marquette beating Wisconsin.
(Wouldn't it be even more awesome to see that happen at Miller Park?)
But if the opposite outcome occurred, I'd have no problem with the consolation prize of Bucky raising the trophy high.
Sadly, there's no consolation in what happened Sunday in Boise, the Cheese State Collapse.