Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday 03/29 (Very) Quickie:
"Remember That Nova-Pitt Game in '09?"

About halfway through the 2nd half of last night's epic Villanova-Pitt regional final (but before Verne Lundquist referenced it), I thought to myself:

Good god, I can't remember a super-meaningful (ie, regional final, Final Four) game this good since... no, couldn't be!... the Duke-Kentucky regional final in '92.

Then Verne referenced it, and -- though it was inelegant to have to actually make the reference when that's what we all were thinking anyway -- it confirmed it:

We were watching not just an "instant classic," but one of the greatest NCAA Tournament games of all time -- worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Duke-Kentucky '92.

I'm not saying it's better than Duke-Kentucky '92 -- the mythology around that game has had too many years (nearly two decades) to build upon itself.

Folks will be loathe to say that last night's game is in its class the mere morning after. (Half the folks: "Among the best Tournament games ever!" Contrarians: "Meh. Nova needs to win it all.")

Again: No one is suggesting it was better than Duke-Kentucky. By the way: Fans under 25 or 26 don't even have a memory of that game, so stop being a fogey by being over protective/nostalgic about it.

(Sidebar: Dan Levy said this last night on Twitter -- 17 years ago? I feel old. Tell me about it: I can't decide what makes me feel worse -- that the game was 17 years ago or that it being 17 years ago still puts me at 19 years old when it happened. I wasn't even a "kid"...yeesh.)

So it's not better than Duke-Kentucky '92... but it is right up there among the top handful of games played since Duke-Kentucky '92. And that's not nothin'.

Anytime a game inspires us to say "Well, it reminds me of Duke-Kentucky '92" (with or without Lundquist's qualified prompting), then we have watched an extraordinary game. And it was.

It's funny how you can have 57 games that were all relatively unmemorable -- particularly in the second-weekend rounds -- then have a 58th game that will define this tournament:

"Remember that Nova-Pitt game?"

-- D.S.

Tournament Challenge Update: I'm in the 24th percentile. (Maybe I shouldn't have bounced out Villanova in the 2nd round, eh?) Barack Obama is in the 39th percentile.

And if both of us had used the good old "Pick By Higher Seed" method, we'd be in the 92nd percentile -- and that's WITH 3-seed Nova beating 1-seed Pitt.

As I had Syracuse beating UNC in the regional final, I will surely drop even further today, when everyone else likely collects their UNC-to-Final-Four points and I don't.


thebrose said...

I'm 26 and actually do remember the Duke-Kentucky game in 92. Well, I distinctly remember taping the game as I was out with my family but when I got home, I couldn't wait so I turned on the tube just in time for the last minute.

Pretty much the same thing happened last night where I Tivoed the game but ended up catching the final two minutes and if they were any indication of the rest of the game, I missed a lot.

Steve said...

That Duke Kentucky game sucked and is a microcosm of why Duke should be hated universally. Laettner stomped on a guy deliberately and malevolently and wasn't thrown out. Laettner should have never been in the game to hit that shot. The refs love Duke and it's bs.

Richard K. said...

Here's a brief list of games on par with Nova/Pitt:

GT/OK State - 2004
George Mason/UConn - 2006
AZ/IU - 2005
Gonzaga/UCLA - 2006
Xavier/OSU - 2007
Kansas/Memphis - 2008

Not to completely shatter the whole "Pitt/Nova is the best since Duke/Kentucky" theory.

Qwagmire said...

Instant history gets the best of you again. I was pulling for 'Nova and I thought the game was blah