Ok, so maybe this title is a little misleading. I will not be providing a poetic recap of my personal emotional roller coaster throughout last night's OU/KU instant classic. Despite "teeter-tottering" between despair and jubilation throughout the course of the 3OT marathon (I had a boomer sooner first half and full-game wager), the bottom line is this: Last night was absurd!
Since I’m supposed to be a consistent contributing blogger for this 3MW organization (or professional writer when I’m drunk & poorly hitting on females), I decided late last night that I should perhaps write about what may be the greatest regular season game ever. So naturally I began my “unique” writing approach (smug) by thinking about all possible angles I could take for this piece. In annoyance of trying to select just one angle from my mini-laundry list, I realized how creative (aka how easy) it would be to take the angle of covering all possible to angles to what happened last night!
So with that said, here are the following themes to last night's KU/OU recap, that you can probably already read about somewhere else today:
Buddy Hield was good!!!
This is perhaps the most obvious headline you'll find littered all over the interwebs. The fact that Scott van Pelt chose to bring on a player from the losing team for his opening SportsCenter interview should tell you how unreal Buddy was. Buddy finished with 46, 8 & 7, and hit 12 of his 14 throws, including two huge ones to tie the game late in the final minutes of regulation. However, the most impressive feat in my eyes was playing 54 effing minutes of basketball, 10 of which were him running basic cone drills to get open on offense (teaser for a later theme). Here are some of my favorite moments from last night of "Buddy being Buddy":
The following is a terrible shot for 99.9% of basketball players ...
You get the idea... Buddy was awesome... Ok on to narrative # 2 ...
Lon Kruger (and the refs) were NOT good!!!
Both of these poor performance upset me greatly, but because the refs were able to suck for both sides, it actually netted out pretty evenly. Due to the fact I was rooting for OU, you will only get the Sooner-bias perspective on the refs. If you haven't seen the "3-feet" of space the refs gave to Buddy Hield in-bounding the ball at the end of the 3rd overtime, then you have been in a cave for the last 12 hours. To sum it up briefly, Frank Mason essentially fouled Buddy Hield inbounding the basketball (...let that sink in for a few seconds...). If you are confused how that is even possible, please refer to the footage below:
Miraculously, this wasn't even the most egregious missed call of the game. In the first half, Jamari Traylor (impressively) got away with goaltending, but not in your traditional goal tend fashion. In this case, he literally blocked a Buddy Hield putback with his hand going through the rim. Take a look:
Still not convinced...
Meet John Higgins... One of the all time great showmen zebra in college basketball. Here's his reaction when asked by ole' Buddy what he saw on that play ...
Side note: Higgins and Ed Hightower are sure fire locks to be on the Mount Rushmore of college basketball referees. The key qualifying characteristic for this honor is to officiate the game with the idea that everyone paid money to watch you blow your whistle and make game-altering calls.
Anyway, lets move on to the primary source of my continuous frustration for ~ 3 hours last night, most notably during the latter portion of the 2nd half and in to the overtime(s) ... OU head coach Lon Kruger. I want to take a moment to beat my chest here and inform all that I was among the first to question the legitimacy of Kruger's coaching prowess. Keep in mind, his resume makes this incredibly hard to do effectively. I began this controversial platform when I watched the end of the Michigan State/Oklahoma sweet sixteen showdown in last year's NCAA tourney. The difference in half court execution between Sparty and Boomer over the past 10 minutes of that game was mind-boggling. Given I had penciled in the fighting Krugers to go to the final four, I lost a lot of hair watching countless possessions of isolation basketball from the Sooners, and simultaneously, watching a 10-point lead quickly evaporate.
Therefore, I'm partially glad Kruger's "strategy" is now getting more notoriety, given the complete lack of structure or organization the Sooners displayed for much of the OT periods against KU. I initially had captured video of my three favorite examples of these possessions, that could all be captioned with either "Wait, wtf is this play" or "Why did my tv freeze, no one is moving". I decided against posting this evidence, due to the excessive boredom generated from watching 25 seconds of nothing in repeated GIF fashion (you're welcome).
Ok, let's wrap up this recap with the lesser discussed narratives from last night ...
1/5/2016 was a great night for college basketball!!!
I'll just mention a few additional headlines you missed from overindulging in the KU/OU game:
- Virginia lost at Virginia Tech: This will be filtered under the "bad loss" category when the committee considers the Hoos for a number 1 seed in March. And you'll never guess how the game ended... YOU NAILED IT!!! ... A CONTROVERSIAL FOUL CALL/NO CALL
- Brice Johnson woke up from a 3-year coma: Of courseeeeee I bet against UNC when Brice Johnson decides to put on a Wilt Chamberlain mask, as if he's playing against kindergartners. Johnson finished with 39 points and 23 rebounds against the 3rd tallest team in the country (per KenPom average height). The last time a college player posted numbers like these was 52 freaking years ago (Billy Cunningham, who did it TWICE!!).
- Oakland lost AT HOME to Youngstown State: Remember that cute team from Michigan that gave Sparty all they could handle (losing in OT) at the Auburn Hills Palace a few weeks back? The same team with that running back point guard, who does literally everything well on the basketball floor, and may sneak his way in to All-American consideration (Kahlil Felder)? The same team that had hopes of making the Horizon a 2-bid league? Yup, well that same team surrendered 100 points last night to the mighty Penguins of Youngstown, en route to a 100-98 loss (The Penguins won on a tip-in at the buzzer). Youngstown State, as you may have predicted, is not a good basketball team. So far this year, their resume consists of a home loss to American (one of 20 worst teams in college basketball this year) and a 60 point loss to Michigan (ok fine 59 point loss ... 105-46 was the final).
Why cant college kids make free throws?!?!
Eh, maybe this narrative is a reach, but I needed an excuse to post this funny clip of Khadeem Lattin "guaranteeing" he'd make the go ahead free-throw with less than 2 seconds left in regulation, which would've secured Boomer the victory:
Ehhhh, no you don't ...
Let's be real... There was a .000000001% chance that free-throw was going in. I honestly found myself not that mad at Lattin. The Sooners were lucky to even get the opportunity to shoot these throws, after Landen Lucas has just been whistled for a really smart, over-the-back foul on the other end. Lattin was also brilliant for much of this game, particularly on the defensive end, and in pick n roll situations with my boy Buddy. I'll give him a break here by not alluding to some of the lesser intelligent fouls he committed himself.
Allen Fieldhouse is an awesome venue!!! ... as well as ... That was the best regular season game ever!!!
Due to the fact that my co-workers are now walking by screen wondering what "client" or what "project" I'm working on right now, I will cut this section short to serve as a teaser for upcoming articles. In these subsequent posts, you will find top 10 rankings of the best regular season college basketball games of all time, as well as the best college basketball home court venues in the country. I'm uber excited to upset many of you bias individuals, who think your alma-mater has the best home court atmosphere.
Stay tuned 3MW superfans ...