That kid made a big shot Monday night. And the Villanova-North Carolina game will go down as one of the greatest.
But not THE greatest.
And I’m not talking about Laettner. Or Edney.
I’m talking about one Easter Sunday morning when I was a senior in college. I was huddled in the corner of a 1940s farmhouse in Massachusetts with my roommate’s newborn cousin asleep on my lap. Everyone else was crowded around the TV watching the Championship game.
One team, a perennial powerhouse, with two National Championships and three second place finishes under their belt. The other team had never won the title.
The game was close except for one stretch in the second half one team carved a 7 point lead. With 48 seconds left, though, they were all tied up.
Then with fourteen seconds to go, the favorite went ahead on a jumper. The score: 59-57.
The other team inbounded and with four seconds left, heaved a shot that missed. In the scramble for the rebound, the refs called a jump ball. Possession to the team who was losing with .7 seconds on the clock.
Time out. Then another time out to reset the play.
Less than a second. National championship on the line.
I remember the conversation: Do they shoot for OT?
I screamed so loud I woke the baby.
No one talks about this game. It never gets mentioned in the conversation about greatest games. We know why, because the players had ponytails. And (John Gibbons, I’m looking at you) probably wore dresses.
But tell me a game that was closer, with less options than North Carolina inbounding the ball from underneath the basket all the way out to the three point line, bypassing their 6’5” big girl in the paint and their clutch guard at the free throw line to hit the 3 guard more known for rebounds than shots?
Show me a college coaching decision with more steely hubris than that one.
I don’t think you can.
.7 seconds. For the win.