|Game. Set. Match. Hells to the mutha' truckin' yeah, baby!|
I typed that late last night, and then sat back and just looked at it, soaking it in.
The Knights have been to the NCAA tournament four times since 1994, but I would never go as far as to call them a "power". Memphis, on the other hand, has been nationally ranked annually for about the past 20 years, and were a couple of free throws away from winning The Big Dance four years ago.
And UCF has its first win over the Conference USA big boy in 11 tries.
Who's a big boy now?
The finish, akin to most one-point win, had its share of drama. UCF trailed 67-65 as A.J. Rompza put up a wild shot as the clock ticked down. Keith Clanton rebounded it and put it back up as the ref blew the whistle for a foul. The shot was good, Clanton's free throw was good, and the Knights took the lead that they'd hang onto for the final four seconds.
People have said it looked like the foul came early, before the shot, and that Clanton should have only been given two free throws (if UCF indeed was in the bonus) for a shot to just tie it.
Shut up, people.
While those people are probably right, the call was just the cosmos re-aligning after Saturday's traveshamockery of a game at Marshall, a 65-64 loss to the Herd. Sometime before or after halftime, Isiah Sykes inadvertantly bumped into Marshall Coach Tom Herrion. The coach responded by damn near having a heart attack, at least acting like it. After further review (or "upon further review" according my buddy J.C. Carnahan) the refs determined it was a flagrant foul, and Marshall made one of the two free throws given. Did I mention UCF lost by one point?
Now who knows if that was THE pivotal play in the game, as that one point could have changed how later plays would be run, but Herrion told reporters after the game the incident was a "non-story." Whatever, assclown. You'll get yours when Marshall comes to UCF on Feb. 8.
But back to Wednesday night, what John Denton at UCFAthletics.com called, "A snapshot moment that will forever be etched into the history of UCF basketball." In any other year, the Knights would have lost that game. Hell, on another night this year, maybe UCF does lose that game, after being up 13 with 16 minutes left then trailing by 1 with two minutes to go. You hope that this is a sign that after four years, the Knights have finally arrived as a C-USA force -- just in time for that move to the Big East.
The other thing about this, for me, is how much Memphis "fans" have enjoyed playing up their matchups with UCF, then crowing about how they beat us. Maybe the Tigers were better to play boastful rather than pissed off, but now I think we have a different kind of their attention.
All that frustration led to the impromptu rushing of the court. While I'm in favor, Knight fans, you've played your one card to do that this year -- I don't see another game at home worthy of said celebration. I only mention this because from what I've seen, UCF Basketball Fan is not as savvy as UCF Football Fan. All I'm saying is ... I'm just sayin.
So in conference play, the Knights are 3-1. Maybe they should have gotten to 3-1 in a different manner. Maybe they should be 4-0. The rest is still unwritten.