Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Memphis Blues

The Memphis Tigers, who entered the NCAA men's basketball title game with a ridiculous 38-1 record, simply dominated college hoops in '08. Their point guard, freshman Derrick Rose, was already an NBA-caliber player (he's now starting for his hometown Chicago Bulls). So when Memphis led the Kansas Jayhawks by nine points with just 2 minutes, 12 seconds remaining, it was time to start toasting the Tigers. Until, that is, Memphis, which had struggled with foul shooting all season, missed four of five free throws down the stretch, allowing Kansas to mount a comeback. Down three with five seconds left, Kansas point guard Sherron Collins almost fell as he handed the ball off to Mario Chalmers. Chalmers, with Rose right in his face, sunk an improbable game-tying three pointer from the top of the key to tie the game and send it to overtime, where perennial tournament underachiever Kansas won, 75-68. "All I want to say," somber Memphis coach John Calipari said after the game, "is that I thought we were national champs."