Decent, good, great and legendary programs all go through slumps. Two years ago UConn did not make the NCAA tournament and they are ranked #1 in the country today. Everyone remembers the incredible Georgetown victory over UNC in the Regionals of the 2007 NCAA Tournament but do people remember our victory over them in the quarterfinals of the 2003 NIT Tournament? That's right, Craig Esherick has as many victories over the storied UNC program as JT3. Kansas won the national championship last year and is barely hanging onto a Top 25 ranking this year. Florida won back-to-back championships and cracked the Top 25 once out of 21 times the following year.
Last year was our year to win the national championship. And despite our monumental collapse against Davidson, we still are left in the same position as if we had won. We lost three important contributors and return only three players with significant playing time. Over the last few years we were spoiled by winning in close games. Hibbert's dunk against Notre Dame. Owen's free throws at Nova. Wallace's free throws against Nova and Marquette. But not this year. We are a young, inexperienced, emotional and volatile team.
Today, we did everything we needed to do to win except win. We missed all eight of our shots in overtime and missed three free throws. And it still came down to the last possession. The last shot was reminiscent of an Esherick play. The last possession of regulation in 2003 against Notre Dame were we didn't even shoot. The last possession against St. Johns in the NIT finals in 2003 where Gerald Riley fired an off balance three. Today JT3 designed a play, Greg Monroe was wide open in the box, but we just did not execute. It is basketball karma. We used to lose games like this under Esherick, then came Thompson and we started to win. Now it is time to come back to reality. One bitter loss at a time.