The Crowning Of A Champion

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Mario Chalmer’s three-pointer with about two seconds left in regulation saved the night for the Kansas Jayhawks who then went on to dominate in Men's Basketballovertime, defeating Memphis 75-68 for the NCAA Men’s Division 1 national championship. Both teams played very well, but it was Chalmers’ last second heroics and the three missed foul shots of the Tigers’ Chris Douglas-Roberts which made all of the difference. Two very equal teams, but only one could emerge as the champion, a contest that turned on the fortunes of two players.

Taking nothing away from Kansas, both teams proved that they belonged in the championship game dispatching fellow #1 seeds with ease just two nights earlier. But it was a season long problem — missed foul shots — which ultimately did Memphis in. Indeed, with a 59% foul shooting average, the Tigers were ranked 339th out of 341 teams — not the number champions are made of. Still, the Tigers managed to overcome its one weakness until it most mattered with ten seconds left.

The 2007-2008 season is done, but this year’s tournament is likely to be etched in the minds of many fans for a long time.

  • Who can forget upstart Davidson, led by Stephen Curry, who almost stopped a Kansas Final Four run when a buzzer beating basket didn’t fall the right way for the Wildcats?
  • What is happening to Duke? Are second round exits the best the Blue Devils can do?
  • What is going on with Ohio State and Florida, teams which played for the national championship last year and missed the tournament this year? The Buckeyes won the NIT, but can either school field teams strong enough to get back to the tournament next year?
  • Will this year’s Final Four teams be able to reload in time for next year? Each school is expected to lose key players to graduation and/or an early exit to the NBA. It is quite possible that at least one school will not even qualify for the tournament next year.

The party in San Antonio is now over, but the countdown to Detroit has already begun. With coaching changes likely and roster changes looming, next year’s tournament could have some new faces at the top.

And, if Stephen Curry has a say in it, his Davidson Wildcats will be one face you will want to remember.

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