Photo Credit: Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Van Chancellor: A magical run comes up just short on a wild, busy weekend
The dream may have ended in dramatic fashion, but in time, the memories made during the ride will last a lifetime for Florida Atlantic. What the Owls accomplished this season is an example of what is good in athletics. A group of talented young men rallied around their coach and each other and put their egos aside for a common goal. They overcame many obstacles in their climb to the Final Four.
San Diego State also showed the determination and belief in each other that allowed them to come back from a 14-point deficit to win on the last shot. I remember as a boy playing out that same ending on the dirt court at our house. Time is ticking off the clock, the ball comes into my hands, and I rise to steal victory from defeat for my team. The crowd goes wild as the shot falls through the net, and my teammates hoist me on their shoulders. I dare say every basketball player has played out that magic moment in their minds and on the practice court.
Lamont Butler lived out my dream and the dream of millions of ballers as he stepped to his left, shut out the pressure of the moment, and sunk a shot he has probably practiced for years. His one shining moment lifted San Diego State to victory and burst Florida Atlantic’s dream.
Every time teams take the court, the ending is set. One team will walk away victorious, and the other will taste defeat. There are no ties in basketball. What makes the ending bearable is the effort put out by the teams to reach the end. Last night, in this sense, there were no losers. One team was ahead on the scoreboard, but both teams had played their hearts out with the score going back and forth. Everyone put their all on the line, and I know, in time, each will take pride in their team and their effort.
In the second game of the night, UConn continued its run and defeated Miami. UConn has the complete basketball team. They play great defense, rebound, and execute a great game plan. Miami did not look like the same team that defeated our Houston Cougars. I think UConn will beat San Diego State for the championship. They have to many weapons and Coach Hurley does a great job of designing a game plan that takes advantage of their talents.
Monday’s game promises to continue the tradition of fast-paced action that all the games have provided in this unprecedented Final Four. The absence of the No. 1 seeds that destroyed everyone’s brackets for the first time have not dimmed the exciting basketball being offered this weekend at NRG. See you at the game.
I would be remiss if I did not congratulate the LSU Lady Tigers on their National Championship today. Caitlin Clark of Iowa put on a clinic from the 3-point line throughout the tournament and today, the LSU ladies showed they too can drop the three. A Final Four to be remembered for the way it showcased the highest level of the women’s game.
On another front, my family was able to attend an Astros game Friday night with Mack. The new clock in baseball is really going to add to the enjoyment of the game. The Astros look poised for another run for the championship and Mack has again offered the opportunity for you to profit from their success.