Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What If Wednesday

This years Final Four marks the 5th time its been played in New Orleans inside the Louisiana Superdome,  and each of the previous four have been memorable (1982, 1987, 1993, and 2003). So, I thought this week "What If" would involve two of those classic Final Four's down in the Big Easy. Again, make sure to check out this years Final Four on Saturday, first game starting at 6:09 (UL vs. UK), with the night cap starting around 9ish (Ohio State vs. Kansas).

  Chris Webber Calls a Timeout

The 1993 Final Four, featured four powerhouse programs: UNC, Kansas, Kentucky, and the Fab Five from Michigan. UNC would beat Kansas in the first national semifinal and the Fab Five needed overtime to oust Kentucky in the second national semifinal. In the National Championship, it was assumed that the Fab Five would win it all, after being embarrassed by another ACC opponent Duke in the 1992 National Championship Game. The 1993 National Championship game was defined by a single "bonehead" play by one of the Fab Five members. With the score within one possession, UNC 73 to 71, after a missed free throw by UNC, Chris Webber pulled down the rebound. Following the rebound, Webber unable to find someone to pass the ball to, appeared to travel, however, no call was made and Webber dribbled the ball down the court. Dribbling it right into a trap in front of the Michigan bench. Webber twisted and turned to the bench and frantically called a timeout. Which is the right thing to do, unless your team does not have anymore timeouts to call. Webber's TO resulted in a Technical Foul against Michigan, giving UNC two free throws and the ball. UNC would make four straight free throws and win the game 77 to 71, giving their legendary Head Coach Dean Smith his second title with the Tar Heels. Webber's timeout is one of the most memorable moments in NCAA Tournament history. In the end, the whole season was for not, as Webber would come out later and admit to getting under the table benefits from a Michigan booster, resulting in the program having to vacant the entire 1992-93 season, like it never happened. So, maybe it was meant to be for Webber to call that TO, Michigan never had.

What If
When I look back at this moment and watch the clip from the game, I always think of one thing. COME TO THE BALL! I mean I hate Michigan in everything they do, but once Webber grabbed the rebound, one of the UM guards needed to be right at Webber's hip to get the ball from him and dribble down the court to set up a last second chance for the tie or win. You felt bad for Webber as he clearly had no clue what to do, and traveled with the ball (no call was made). What would the game of been like, if the travel call was made? Even with the second chance from the no call, Webber should of found a guard to get the ball to, clearly, he did not look good dribbling down the court on his own. If Webber would of just tried to head to the hoop, what sort of shot would he have been able to get? What if Webber wasn't the one to grab the rebound from the missed FT? Lets say Michigan WOULD of had a timeout, what sort of play would been drawn up by legendary Michigan Head Coach Steve Fisher? It is a classic moment from the NCAA Tournament, and I couldn't/wouldn't want it any other way. What if...

Hakim Warrick's Block Shot

The 2003 Final Four was another classic from New Orleans inside the Louisiana Superdome. The four teams that represented the Final Four that year were: Syracuse, Texas, Kansas, and Marquette. Syracuse would oust Texas, 95 to 84 in the first national semifinal, with the help from Freshmen Carmelo Anthony scoring 33 points. In the second national semifinal game, Kansas would blowout Marquette in the fourth largest blowout in Final Four history, 94 to 61. Setting up a great National Championship matchup, Syracuse vs. Kansas. This game matched two Head Coaches in line to win their first National Championship, in Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams. Syracuse jumped out to a 11 point lead at half. With the score Syracuse 81-78, Hakim Warrick missed two free throws for the Orange, giving the Jayhawks a lost second chance to tie the game. Warrick would totally redeem himself after the missed FT's, when he came out of no where to block KU's Michael Lee's 3-pt shot in the corner with 0.07 sec left in the game. After another Kansas 3-pt attempt bounced off the rim, Syracuse and Coach Boeheim won their 1st ever National Championship in basketball. Carmelo ended up with 20 points and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament. Warrick's block shot is another classic moment in Final Four history and one of the classic moments from another Louisiana Superdome Final Four.

What If
A game with many moments that could have changed the outlook and results from the 2003 National Championship. Another Freshmen, not named Carmelo, Gerry McNamara had a huge 1st half knocking down six three-pointers, scoring his game 18 points in the first half for Syracuse. What if Gerry misses one of those 3's? What about if Kansas and Coach Williams would of been able to stop Melo and the other bigs on Syracuse's roster? If Kansas comes back and wins this game, is Roy Williams still the coach at KU and not currently at UNC? Where is Bill Self (current KU coach) coaching at? Is Jim Boeheim stay coaching Syracuse? What if Warrick doesn't get over there to block the shot in time, does Lee's shot go in and tie the game? What would of occurred in overtime, if that were the case? Again, another moment in Final Four history, that we will never know the outcome, if it went the other way. What if...