As I sit here “social distancing myself”, which is a typical weekend routine in the Mookie residence, I can’t help but think of how great the past few days would’ve been if college basketball was on. Today would’ve been Selection Sunday. Brackets would be out shortly and you’d get that annual text from your buddy about joining his pool. You’d be falling in love with the idea of taking a hot conference tournament team and riding them all the way into the Final Four. My mind is reminiscing with missed free throws, offensive rebounds, buzzer beaters, cinderella stories, and below average white guys stepping up in improbable situations. March.
I digress, but there is still a way to appreciate what has been taken away from us. If you don’t feel like listening to me spew, scroll down and watch the video that’s embedded. It’ll give you a woody.
The 2010-2011 Uconn men’s basketball team was special. Kemba Walker (Jr.) and a cast that featured Jeremy Lamb (Fr.), Alex Oriakhi (So.) and Shabazz Napier (Fr.) came into the season unranked, young, and ended up polishing off the regular season tied 9th in the Big East with a conference record of 9-9. They were counted out coming into the Big East tournament as +2000 dogs to win and for good reason. Despite the odds, and the fact that there were 6 top 25 teams in the Big East at the time, Uconn went on to win 5 games in 5 days to capture the Big East title. Cardiac Kemba scored 130 points over that span and the memory of how dominant and crafty he was will forever be implanted into my brain.
Uconn entered the big dance with +2500 odds and drew a 3 seed in the West Region. Madness captured the Uconn team again, as they took out a Kawahi Leonard led SDSU team in the Sweet 16, a Brandon Kinght led Kentucky Team in the Final Four, and a Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard (white man doing improbable things) led Butler team in the finals. It was simply a fairytale story and it has gone down as the best March Madness run of all time.
My words cannot describe the energy and buzz which surrounded the Huskies and Kemba at the time, so I highly recommend taking 11 minutes out of your day to watch this Bleacher Report Video which recaps the magic. It’ll make you appreciate this time of the year even more now that we have no tournament.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.