Final Four: A Wacko 1.5 Seconds Puts Virginia in Title Game
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This is a valuable life lesson, which by inference would also include sports:
Don't put yourself in a position where you don't control your fate.
Here's another one, in deference to that late, great sage, Yogi Berra:
Don't celebrate until it's time to celebrate.
If any team has ever ducked-&-dove its way to a March Madness championship game, it's the 'Hoos.
Dudes have done just enough to be on the right side of a good thing, and because of that tenacity, they put themselves in position to watch the Tigers implode in a 1.5-second stretch that topped Chris Webber's infamous brain fart:
- 0:07 left, and stripe-reliable Jared Harper -- 83% made -- rims the free throw that woulda given Auburn a 63-60 lead, leading to
- 0:05 left, and the Tigers have fouls to burn, so Samir Doughty does the deed, and then
- 0:02 left, and dudes burn another via Bryce Brown, after which the desperate Cavaliers call a timeout in the backcourt.
Still, Auburn had to be thinking ...
Chaos comes to mind.
Ironically, it was caused by Brown's foul stopping the clock and giving Virginia's Tony Bennett the option for a second thought to call a timeout -- dude clearly wasn't gonna call one and planned to let the situation play out -- and set up some sorta miracle play.
Why did Bruce Pearl allow that to happen, opening the door for an opponent to get organized?
Unless, of course, dude thought he could take advantage of the stoppage to remind his team to not foul on a shot. But wouldn't an elite Division I scholarship athlete already know that?
As a side consideration, the referees were aware of what was happening. They expected another Auburn foul, which means they were looking for it so they'd be accurate with their whistle in relation to the clock.
So they missed this freak development before the foul:
Would the officials have avoided tunnel vision -- focusing on an anticipated foul -- if Auburn didn't deploy their disruptive-foul strategy?
That's now become an academic and rhetorical question.
Five points in the last eight seconds.
That'll ring hollow on the Plains for a long time to come.
What's just as important is how it all unfolded leading up to those fateful developments. Here are key moments as to how the game got there:
Thus, Virginia's 63-62 victory outta nowhere came to be.
The Tigers had their chances, just as the 'Hoos had theirs.
When the 0.6-second mark came, Virginia had put itself in a position to control their own fate, and their fans waited until afterward to celebrate.