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Game 22 - Cincinnati

I normally throw a lot of numbers out there to prove a point but today I will just try to rationalize through words. I'll probably go into the numbers more during the week long break before Cuse but for now this is what I gotta say. At the end of the day, we are not a good team. JT3 has one objective left in this season. It is not to guide us to an NCAA Tournament Championship. Heck, it is not even to guide us to the NCAA Tournament. The only thing he has to do is to make sure that the players believe in him, his coaches and his system. And the only way to measure the success of JT3 on that objective is to compare the roster at the beginning of this year to the roster at the start of next year. Only one name should be missing, Jesse Sapp.

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.

Good talk.