Blue in the Basketball Bluegrass
That was what I – and thousands of other U.K. armchair coaches were screaming Sunday afternoon when Malik Monk’s game tying three point basket went through the net against North Carolina.
After a see-saw close to the second half that saw the Cats seemingly on the verge of putting North Carolina away and advancing to the Final Four – five point lead with five minutes to go – then down seven and seemingly completely out of contention.
Then suddenly, coming down to the final 10 seconds, we’ve got the ball and a chance to send this battle into overtime and Monk steps up to the plate, dropping in the game tying three point basket with just over seven seconds showing on the clock.
“Time out” was the call that could be heard across the Bluegrass State.
But it wasn’t the call that rung out where it mattered – in Memphis.
Even as a post-game reaction, Coach Cal admitted he should have called a time out – but he explained, and to his defense he’s probably right – everything happened so quickly, including North Carolina inbounding the ball after that shot, that he didn’t have time to get the call in to stop the action
We all know what happened next. North Carolina moved the ball down the floor while a disorganized UK team, still in semi-celebratory mode – tried to compose and move into defensive position, when the basketball came to the hands of a wide open UNC Luke Maye who dropped in a game winning basket with less than a half-second remaining when the clock stopped.
Although the Cats went out in the Elite Eight with that loss to UNC, that game was one of the best, and likely between the two best teams left in the tournament on Sunday.
That was the championship game and while I’m pulling for South Carolina to take it all (Go SEC), I’m betting that the Tar Heels put their hands on the big trophy Monday night.
It’s still March in Kentucky but my brackets, and my heart, are busted, so…
Let’s take it outside!