If your team is ahead by nine points with two minutes remaining, you are supposed to win, right?
95% of the time, you would, unless you are Memphis, playing Kansas, with the national championship on the line. Then things get a little more difficult. You know Kansas is going to foul, so the point is to get your best free throw shooters in the game (they were: Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose). Or, maybe you just want fresh legs in there?
(Memo to John Calipari: playing your two starting guards for almost the entire game is going to sap their strength, especially in the legs, and when the legs go, wave buh-bye to those formerly-easy free throws... and a national title)
When Mario Chalmers hit the game-tying three-pointer with 2 seconds to go, it was only the greatest shot ever in college basketball history, but it was only made possible by Memphis gaffes and Kansas highlight plays, none more significant than Sherrod Collins' theft of an inbounds pass and subsequent 3-pointer that reduced the Memphis lead to four.
Two missed free throws by Chris Douglas-Roberts, another Kansas bucket and a miss and a make from the foul line by Rose set the stage for Chalmers' history-making shot.
The overtime went the Jayhawks' way. They had the momentum, and, with Joey Dorsey sitting on the bench after having fouled out, nothing could prevent Kansas from gettng the ball inside. Quickly forging a 6-point lead, it was quickly over from there. Memphis might just as well been throwing bricks at a picture frame down the stretch. They couldn't make a shot.
Kansas deserved it. They never quit and they took advantage of the one and maybe the only Memphis weakness, sending Douglas-Roberts and Rose to the line five times in the last 1:15, where the dynamic dou (combined 40 points for the Tigers) hit exactly one shot.
Kansas 75, Memphis 68 OT
Brick, Choke, Gasp. Memphis is thwarted.
Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk. Kansas is #1.
FINAL Tournament Conference Scoreboard
(Teams entered in parentheses)
Through Monday, April 7, 2008
ACC (4): 6-4; Winners: Duke, Miami, North Carolina (4); Losers: Clemson, Duke, Miami, North Carolina
A-10 (3): 3-3; Winners: Xavier (3); Losers: Temple, St. Joseph's, Xavier
Big East (8): 11-8; Winners: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, West Virginia (2), Georgetown, Louisville (3), Villanova (2); Losers: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, West Virginia, Villanova, Louisville
Big Ten (4): 5-4; Winners: Michigan St. (2), Purdue, Wisconsin (2); Losers: Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan St.
Big 12 (6): 12-5; Winners: Kansas (6), Kansas St., Texas A&M, Texas (3), Oklahoma; Losers: Baylor, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas
Conf-USA (1): 5-1; Winners: Memphis (5); Losers: Memphis
Mountain West (2): 1-2; Winners: UNLV; Losers: BYU, UNLV
PAC-10 (6): 8-6; Winners: Stanford (2), Washington St. (2), UCLA (4); Losers: USC, Arizona, Oregon, Washington St., Stanford, UCLA
SEC (6): 4-6; Winners: Tennessee (2), Mississippi St., Arkansas; Losers: Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi St., Tennessee
WCC (3): 1-3; Winners: San Diego; Losers: Gonzaga, St. Mary's, San Diego
All others (22): 7-21; Winners: Davidson (3), Western Kentucky (2), Butler, Siena; Losers: Portland St., Kent St., Oral Roberts, Cornell, Belmont, Winthrop, Miss. Valley St., George Mason, CS Fullerton, American, Drake, South Alabama, UMBC, Austin Peay, Mt. St. Mary's, Boise St., Texas Arlington, Butler, Siena, Western Kentucky, Davidson