March 19th, 2005

Why We Keep Watching

I just finished watching West Virginia defeat heavily favored Wake Forest in double overtime. The Bean watched the last minute at my side, asking questions and basking in the aura of excitement. The last five minutes of regulation were incredible, with the Mountaineers finally overcoming what was once a double-digit deficit with great play after great play, only to see their short-lived lead evaporate on a three-pointer. The overtimes were even better. I was sure that the Demon Deacons would pull away once they had had a chance to regroup, but West Virginia kept executing their offense to perfection. By the second overtime the spectacle of key players fouling out had added so much extra drama to every whistle that I kept forgetting to breathe.

The most improbable statistic of all the improbable statistics for me -- who ever would have imagined West Virginia scoring 111 points? -- was the line for Mountaineers forward Mike Gansey, playing in his hometown of Cleveland, who scored almost 2/3 of his points in the two overtimes. His aggressive drive to the basket in the second overtime was the key play in a panoply of key plays because it fouled out Wake Forest's star point guard Chris Paul. Watching West Virginia tonight, it's hard to believe they almost didn't make the tournament. Then again, people have been saying all year that the Demon Deacons' defense would prove to be their undoing. I can't imagine Duke giving up that many points, no matter how many overtimes are played. We have another day of basketball ahead of us tomorrow, but I'm certain that this one will be considered the game of the first weekend.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Wake Forest's loss further confirms the abject failure of my bracket. At least I was right on Utah. Of course, I don't imagine that there were too many people who picked the Mountaineers for the Sweet 16.
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    Kim watching The Ring in the other room