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I’m a complete and total geek.

See that link? I mocked it.

It’s an inefficient directory structure.

So I mocked an inefficient directory structure…
Of a knock-off game…
From a comic strip…
An online comic strip…
That is a knock off of a role-playing game…
And I get all the jokes

It’s an election year.

Remember, it’s your right to vote.

I urge everyone to go here:
and check out the candidates. I’ll be studying the campaign for a little bit before casting my vote on this important race.

P.S. The actual text of the link is not inaccurate. Be warned.

An Easy Trap

It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially with sporting events that you watch closely. There are always little moments where one thinks, wow, that could have gone either way, or wow, what if this or that happened.

And I’m hearing that quite a bit from last night’s game. I’m especially hearing that Memphis lost that game and KU did not win it.

It’s a fascinating concept. In this case, Memphis missed 5 out of 6 free throws in the final two minutes. People are saying that Memphis choked.

People, however, are forgetting the previous 6 or 7 minutes where KU didn’t score. People are forgetting that in that stretch KU “lost” the game. Had Memphis won, talking heads would have pointed at that stretch and criticized KU’s kids and coaches for choking because they were up 5 with less than 10 minutes to play.

Basketball is a sport of runs. The thing about runs is that when two similarly talented teams play, each run takes a great deal of energy out of a team. Hence, once a run is over it is often followed by a run by the other team.

Memphis had a long, very effective run that included quite a few iffy moments that KU fans could point to. Fouls that might have been called, bad luck, etc. But nevertheless, Memphis was putting it to the Jayhawks, and expending a huge amount of energy to do it.

The game recap, however, shows the story. It’s here:

Scroll down and look at the game flow. The two teams were and are evenly matched. Each team held the lead for significant stretches. In fact, I think KU was in front for most of the game. With a little over 9 minutes to go, Memphis when on a run, and you see the first big gap of the game, but prior to that KU had opened up 2 stretches, and Memphis started the game hot.

Fatigue takes away a player’s legs. It takes away the ability to be quite so smooth, even in top flight athletes. There was no doubt at the end of the first half both teams were pretty worn out.

I can’t say whether it was a mental failure that caused the missing of 5 out of 6 free throws or not, but I can say that the energy that the Tigers spent getting to the 9 point lead had to be a factor.

Kansas, which had a deeper team, was able to withstand fatigue better than the Tigers. I would say that talent-wise the teams were about the same, but KU spread its talent on 8 great and very good players while Memphis had 2 amazing players, 1 great player, and 4 good players. KU had 2 minutes of extra energy and even though the ball did not always bounce their way (the angle of the carom on the offensive rebound with 16 seconds left for example), they had fresher legs to overcome the challenge.

I can also say that many teams might very well have conceded defeat. Down 9 with 2 minutes to go is the definition of a desperate situation, especially since at that point they were 1 of 9 from 3 point range, well under their season average of around 40%. The Jayhawks simply continued to play hard.

In the end, Memphis shot almost exactly their season average from the free throw line for the game. It is unfortunate that the misses bunched up at the end, but that simply balances the fact that they shot way over their percentage earlier. Had the misses been sprinkled through the game, and not at the end, Memphis would have had a smaller lead and they would not be criticized for choking.

A tired team is not as effective and KU made them tired. They ended up shooting their average at the free throw line, reflecting how much energy they had shown earlier.

The criticism here, I think, is unjustified. Was KU lucky? Absolutely. Was Memphis lucky? Absolutely as well. It simply depends on which moment you look at.

The two teams battled it out. They were evenly matched. To say that all of the causality of the final result was limited to the failure of Memphis disregards the evenness of the game. The sequence is unfortunate, but KU deserves the credit for winning that game and Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts do not deserve credit for losing it.

Sports commentators often have a need to analyze causality, partly to justify their job. A player gets a hit, and the commentator says that pitcher can’t get him out because that player now 3 out of his 4 at bats against that pitcher. A quarterback is called clutch or unclutch because of 1 play. In this case, two players missed 5 out of 6 free throws. 6 is hardly a proper sample size. The results of one game are not a sample size. In batting statistics, 100 is not a proper sample size. Talk to me when there’s a body of work. Sports commentators rarely take the long view, but statistics are not valid in the short term, you HAVE to take the long view when you look at them (though stating that KU knew what overtime games in the NCAA final were like because the KU-North Carolina final game went 3 overtimes IN 1954! is maybe a little excessive).

OK, maybe I get ranty after 3 hours of adrenalin-filled sleep and bigtime stress at homework levels. 🙂


I’m going to try and type this. I’m still flying incredibly high right now.

As a sports fan, I’ve been blessed. Some of my teams, notably the Texas Rangers, have never done particularly well. However, I have had four Super Bowl wins by the Dallas Cowboys, a championship for the Philadelphia 76ers back when I cared about the NBA, and Wichita State baseball in 1989.

In 1986 I graduated from Wichita East and went to KU. I wasn’t really anxious to go to KU at the time, but a big part of that was that I really wasn’t ready for college. I had a great year, though I flunked out :).

I do, however, recall sleeping on concrete for student tickets for the basketball games. I also recall playing pickup basketball in Robinson Gymnasium a lot. On one occasion the game included Cedric Hunter, Ron Vaughn (who played football but was an incredible basketball player), Mark Turgeon, and, oh yeah, a pretty decent player named Danny Manning.

That was a really really good KU Basketball team that year, and Allen Field House is an amazing place to watch a game. I was absolutely hooked. That particular team couldn’t quite win it all and had several seniors.

The 1987-88 season was expected to be a good, but not necessarily great team. And then the magic happened. I recall watching that game upstairs in the house I grew up in. I recall seeing a guy a year ahead of me both at Wichita East and Robinson Jr. High have the game of his life, hitting a clutch 3 pointer when it counted.


And now I’m blessed again.

I went into this game thinking that Memphis would probably win, but it was going to be a tight game. I knew that KU would have some runs, and I knew Memphis would have some runs, and I figured it would be a tight game at the end.

I was right.

KU dominated on the inside. I told a friend of mine today that I hoped KU’s inside game would offset the amazing Memphis backcourt.

I was right here too.

But how it all happened is amazing. KU was down by 9 points late in the game. John Calipari said that everything had to go right in those last few minutes for KU to tie the game up.

It did.

Mario Chalmers’ 3 point shot with a hand in his face with 2.1 seconds left to tie the game is quite possibly the single most amazing action by a person on any team I have ever rooted for. Danny played an incredible game, but there’s no one moment of the game in 1988 that was so, so, so, well, hell, I hate the word, but so clutch.

About the only other single play was the third to short to first putout that saved my softball perfect game.

Few of the championships I’ve rooted for have come down to one play.

This did.

They’re already suggesting it is the single most important shot in Kansas basketball history. I’m not sure there’s another shot in the discussion.

Once he made that shot, the game was essentially over.

KU was flying high, and once KU scored first in the overtime, it was an avalanche.

So now I’m quivering and weeping and bursting with energy and and and…