Views and Recollections from TheReag
(From April 7, 2013) Following my sports journalist colleague Murray Evans’ Facebook postings about his beloved Wichita State in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament reminded me of an experience I suffered through a quarter of a century ago.
I was just as intense about a similar run through the tournament by the Oklahoma Sooners. And like Murray,the road ended with a disappointing loss that continues to gall me. Sooner fans won’t soon forget all of the stars aligning to allow Kansas to beat O-U 82-78 in the championship game and ruin college basketball for me forever. Allow you say? Little dramatic you say? Not really.
OU had beaten Kansas three times during the regular season. This was the same Billy ball squad that had averaged 103.5 points a game.
But, as the gods would have it, Kansas City and Kemper Arena would just happen to be the final four host that year. How convenient. Also, one of the OU wins over KU was at Kemper in the finals of the conference tournament. Tempting fate here.
To the Rock Chalkers credit they turned around a team that was
12-8 at one point. Unranked at the end of the regular season,Larry Brown directed his team to six straight victories in tournament. I kept my eye on them all along the way I remember.
And of course there was Danny Manning. Brother! His line for the clincher 31 points, 18 rebounds, 5 steals and the ability to stay on the floor despite being in foul trouble for most of the second half. That fifth personal that I was hoping for just never came. To add insult to injury it was his two free throws with :05 seconds left that iced the win.
After it was apparent Kansas would break my heart my wife at the time shrugged and said “I’ve never seen you so upset.” I blurted out “You don’t understand. Oklahoma will never have this good a chance to win a national championship in college basketball.”
Still waiting. Since that game, I have never been as caught up in college basketball. The decision was made back then not to be burned that bad again. I manage to keep a short and safe distance from the game and follow it a little bit at arms length.
I do envision being in a similar state should the Thunder ever be in position to win one game and take the NBA title. Chill pill please.
I know what you are saying. After 25 years… Let it go. Love to……just change the outcome of that game played on April 5, 1988.