Whole thing is worth a read.
in the final game of the season, there at the Georgia Dome, we saw one of the finest title games in years. It was free-flowing and high-scoring, low on turnovers and rife with scoring runs. As much as anything else, it was a showcase for two bench players who became stars. The night belonged to Spike Albrecht, the tiny Michigan freshman, at least until it belonged to Luke Hancock, the sweet-shooting Louisville junior.I traveled to Ann Arbor and Louisville to re-watch the game with its two standouts. Nearly a year after the wild first half that made them famous, both remember almost every last detail from that night. Both are entering this tournament with increased roles on altered teams that are once again peaking right on time for March Madness. Both could return to the Final Four this month. But both know that even if they lead their teams in scoring on the way to a national title, they will never experience another night quite like April 8, 2013.
has anyone else picked up on the basketball team doing the sam cassell "i've got gigantic balls - here they are" hand motion after hitting shots? it's made me chuckle to say the least, especially when it's captured in main stream media photos..
Petersons.com states the following in its tips for maintaining amateur status:
...There are a variety of other activities related to playing or coaching sports that may affect your amateur status at a sports college. Below are some activities that violate amateurism rules in most cases:
Receiving compensation for media appearances (radio, television, etc.) that exploit your athletic ability or fame
Expressly or implicitly endorsing commercial products or services
Does Spike's appearance in the Taco Bell commercial as Hurricane Doug place his eligibility at risk?
I thought this was a good read on our previously under-appreciated Spike Albrecht. It discusses his recruitment and mentality towards his own game as well as his "moment of glory" and future potential.
Honestly, watching him do what he did in the first half of the NC game was one of the biggest highlights of my UM-fandom career. I was pleased to see Lavall Jordan had a similar reaction to my own while watching his out-of-nowhere performance; one of the best underdog moments I've ever witnessed.
So, we are in the stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons, with 75,000 other fans. I look for my Atlanta friend, but the seats she was in Saturday are empty. I text her, still outside fighting the crowd to get in.
Now we find our seats, in the upper deck, corner, about halfway up.
However, the view through the binoculars is perfect, taking in the whole court. A friend who was there Saturday had told me the sight lines were better than the United Center, where the Bulls play.
I look to my daughter and say I can't believe we made the title game. She says: “I can't believe I'm here!” with a big, parent satisfying grin.
And it is all over twitter that Webber is at the game. Just to continue to make it all about him, though, he does not sit with his four teammates. As my daughter says, whatever.
It seems there are more Louisville fans in the crowd, judging by wearing apparel. Not all of our fans wear maize, of course, but it seems that more than half the throng is wearing red.
The Louisville end zone is in front of us; ours at the opposite end. Our students act as they did at home games, standing througout, crowding to the court, so that the last few rows of seats were empty during the first half.
I am told the half-time performing bands used them for the second half.
Our noise making leads the elderly Kansas fans next to us to note that Michigan fans are really serious.
My great fear, the zebras, appears to materialize as Burke picks up two quick fouls, the second yet to be seen by anyone else. I feel impending doom. Disaster. A Louisville blowout.
Bad calls are made on both teams. When you can see a mid-court foul from my seat, without binoculars, it is impossible to conclude that the officials all missed it. That one would have been on Hardaway.
A friend texts that he does not think that the referees are in good enough shape to keep up with the players, so that they can be in position to actually see the game they are calling.
You could not disprove that theory by what I am seeing.
So, Burke sits. Spike shoots. And scores. And shoots and scores and shoots and scores and, you saw the game.
I raise my hands to the heavens like Ecstasy Guy. Yes, it is our destiny, clearly, nothing can stop us!
The half winds down. I figure we need to be ahead by at least ten.
Woops. The entire lead evaporates in a rain of Louisville threes. We just barely get back on top as the half ends.
The vibes are bad again. I remember leading Indiana in the 76 game at the half, still tied with ten minutes left, and, the end, losing by double digits.
I find my friend at halftime, take a picture, have a short visit. Her son is sitting in a different spot. I am sorry to miss him, a 16 year old survivor of Ewing's sarcoma, a virulent form of cancer.
The second half begins.
It is a battle of two heavyweights, exhanging blows, no quarter asked, none given.
I keep thinking Louisville will pull away, but they do not.
Then the play of the year, the Burke block at the far end of the court. Looked good to me live. Looked better on the replay.
The advantage of attending sporting events live is that you can look where you want. You are not bound by the director mandating shots of players' parents in the crowd.
I watch Burke, wander alone to the corner, looking away from the court.
He is pissed, I tell my daughter.
And rightly so. But he composes himself, and plays out the game, to the best of his ability.
As did all the players, on both teams. And the coaches.
I cannot remember another championship game like this, in any sport. No one ever seized the momentum and ran with it. Neither team was able to work its will on the other.
Disappointing result? Of course. It was meant to be. That is how I handle such things after decades of the ups and, more frequent, downs, cheering on the Maize and Blue.
Bad officiating? Blatantly, but that does not mean a perfectly called game would have mandated a different result.
With 3.9 seconds on the clock, my daughter and I look at each other and get up to leave. She has to punch in at the barn in Lexington in less than 8 hours, and it is 6 hours driving time.
The parking spot works to a charm; we seem to be in the first 15 vehicles leaving the stadium. And the road leads right to the freeway.
Erin is still up front next to me in the passenger seat. I call my friend who texted me to get his impressions from watching on TV.
A magnificent spectacle, he agrees.
The adrenaline is still going, for a while.
I stop for gas and a cappuccino and she takes up residence on the sleeping bags and pillows in the back of the mini-van.
Hmmmm. Maybe I should have pounded some 5 hour energy drinks.
Out of Georgia and back into the curving mountain roads of Tennessee. Which I do not remember. Oh, yeah, I was napping during this part of the trip down.
No lights on these roads either. Usually a semi truck or two is in sight.
Somewhere around 3:30 a.m., I pull off for a power nap.
Erin wakes me up about half an hour later, and off we go again.
After the next gas stop, I have her drive the last hour and a half or so. We are on schedule, and she is fully awake.
I am in the passenger seat and we chat about the hoop programs our our respective alma maters, Kentucky and Michigan.
She says the only player to graduate during Calipari's tenure was a holdover, who had promised his grandmother he would get a degree. He talks at post-game conferences about how some of his guys are not coachable. Well, why the hell should they be? They are just on a one year layover before they go pro. She is familiar with player attendance at classes, and not impressed.
The contrast with our coaching staff could not be more stark.
The team, the team, the team. Michigan Man values. Exposure to these beliefs is the benefit of having taken my girls to UM games since before they could talk.
Sports imitates life. You win some, you lose some. But how do you play the game?
As a parent, how do you get quality time with your kids?
I heartily recommend long road trips to Michigan sporting events.
Having exhausted the topic of basketball, she goes on to tell me her relationship with her bosses, the owners of the huge horse farm, the ladder to advancement, what she wants to do, and how she plans to get there.
This is the reason for my trip. To have that time, to check in on her life, to see how she is really doing.
Her sister lives in Detroit and I am blessed with frequent contact with that wonderful person.
I have not seen Erin since this trip. She will be up here this weekend, August 16.
She pulls in front of her house about 6:15 a.m. I go in to use the bathroom, but my dog allergies drive me back to the van for some sleep. I hear her “Thank you!” as she gets in her car to drive to work.
After some sleep, I drive home, arriving about 3:30 p.m., meaning that, except for 6 hours in Atlanta and pit stops, I have been in the mini-van for about 33 hours.
I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Some lighter reading material for your lazy Sunday summer morning:
In a couple of days, it’s back to the grind for Albrecht. He heads to Michigan next week, where he’ll start classes and start to answer the question that everyone’s asking: Can he play like that consistently for the Wolverines?
Michigan has a highly touted point guard, Derrick Walton, who is expected to immediately challenge him for the position.
It’s a wide open competition and Albrecht is looking forward to it. He also doesn’t want to just be remembered for that one half. He didn’t score a point in the second half against Louisville and he admitted that he was a little tired.
“One of my coaches told me, ‘don’t let scoring 17 points in the national championship game be the best thing in my career,’ ” he said.
Spike will just have to prove it again.
(Also interesting that maize-and-blue were the color scheme for the kids' camp, even though his local high school does everything red-and-white. Michigan über alles Farben.)
Dan Dakich also returned to his alma mater in The Region and talked about his son Andrew choosing Michigan, among other things, delivering a couple tweetable quotes (one of which excerpted below):
Your son, Andrew, is going to play at Michigan as a preferred walk-on. How did that happen?
He always wanted to play in the Big Ten. Michigan always followed us around at AAU. I was talking to (Michigan assistant) Jeff Meyer about him at the Big Ten Tournament and he asked where he was going. I said either Purdue or Butler as a walk-on.
So they invited him to campus and he just fell in love with it. I fell in love with it. I said, “Son, if you don’t commit, I’m going to commit for you.” He said, “It’s a lot of money.” I told him not to worry about that. It’s perfect for him. Spike (Albrecht) and Mitch McGary are there. They’ve got a good point guard coming in. He might never get to play, but it’s still a great opportunity.
Why has Michigan been able to tap into Indiana so much?
Purdue and Indiana made a mistake using up all their scholarships and not taking Glenn Robinson (III). They are always there, recruiting these kids. It’s a comfortable place for them.
And a couple notes on his twitter life (no, he doesn't have Canseco's team writing them for him).