April 09, 2008

Final Four: The National Championship Game In Pictures

It was quite a wild ride to the 2008 National Championship tonight. Here, in pictures, is a quick chronological look at the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the Kansas-Memphis title bout here in San Antonio...

Final4-EmptyArena.jpg
(Four hours before Armageddon hits. The quiet tranquillity of the stadium you see here won't last for long as the crowd, the teams, the bands, the cheerleaders and the energy start to fill the building.)

Final4-NantzPacker.jpg
(Jim Nantz and Billy Packer are prepping for their first on-camera appearance of the night. Doesn't it look like Nantz is looking straight at the camera as if to ask, "Who the hell is this freak taking a picture of me?")

Final4-ShelleySmith.jpg
("Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." ESPN's Shelley Smith is about to give a court-side pre-game report.)

Final4-GreggDoyel.jpg
(Ya' gotta love CBS hoop dude Gregg Doyel. Not only does he know his roundball stuff, but he also sported the coolest haircut among the Final Four media throng. Dig the Mohawk Gregg. Although he did tell me it was only temporary because his slight bald spot is exposed more with this cut.)

Final4-MUdancers.jpg
(The Memphis dancers and Pouncer the Tiger are keyed up for tip-off.)

Final4-KUdancers.jpg
(Who's more fired up, the Kansas dancers or the dudes in the lower sections that are leering at the Kansas dancers?)

Final4-DrexlerJackson.jpg
(Of course, no Final Four would be complete without Jesse Jackson, right? Here, he and Houston Phi Slamma Jamma alum Clyde Drexler are chatting it up with a mutual friend.)

Final4-BillRussell.jpg
(Soon after, Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell happened to pass by and made this a trio of famous people all within the frame of my camera lens.)

Final4-KUStewartInjured.jpg
(For the injured Roderick Stewart, this was the only way to get around the Alamodome before the game.)

Final4-MUwalk.jpg
(This is the Memphis Tigers walking out of the locker room on their way to the court. As you can see from some of the players that are laughing, they were loose and even quite jovial at this moment, seemingly at ease with the big game ahead of them.)

Final4-KUwalk.jpg
(KU, on the other hand, walked out a few minutes later and were very quiet and serious in demeanor. I didn't think this was a good sign for the Jayhawks.)

Final4-AndyKatz.jpg
(ESPN roundball guru Andy Katz is caught courtside looking for another story to break.)

Final4-ChalmersD.jpg
(KU seemed a step slow in the early going, although Mario Chalmers is providing some in-your-face D here.)

Final4-KU:MUhalf.jpg
(At halftime, both teams walked amongst each other on their way to the locker rooms and to my surprise there was no trash talking at each other. Unlike on the way to the court to start the game where the two teams stood in the tunnel one behind the other and a couple of F-bombs were tossed back and forth - there's a picture of that in one of the earlier entries.)

Final4-DickVhug.jpg
(The dreadfully shy Dick Vitale gives Patrick Ewing a hug after being introduced at halftime of the game as part of the Hall of Fame class of 2008.)

Final4-CalipariNotHappy.jpg
(As the game went on, you could see John Calipari's body language and expressions change as the score tightened.)

Final4-MUdancer2.jpg
(Ya' nervous there? I bet so. This Memphis dance girl had to catch her breath as she saw Kansas start making its move in the waning minutes of the game.)

Final4-CalipariDorsey.jpg
(Check out this look that Calipari was shooting at Joey Dorsey. Ouch. Coach Cal was not particularly happy with his enforcer after he fouled out of the game in regulation.)

Final4-MUfreeThrows.jpg
(As was their bugaboo all season long, the Tigers couldn't hit their free throws - even though Calipari swore up and down that the poor charity stripe percentage was not a big worry of his. Here Derrick Rose tosses up another late-game brick.)

Final4-ChalmersShot.jpg
(This was my view of Mario Chalmers' game-tying shot at the buzzer. Sorry for the slight blur to the picture. Then again, this whole final sequence seemed to go as fast as a blur anyway.)

Final4-DorseyS'board.jpg
(The scoreboard and the confetti didn't lie. Kansas wins the game and the national title. The jumbotron camera is fixed on MU's Joey Dorsey as he leaves the court.)

Final4-CDRexit.jpg
("Did this really just happen?" Chris Douglas-Roberts can barely look up as he makes the long walk back to the locker room.)

Final4-ChalmersRadioInterview.jpg
(The Jayhawk radio crew wrangles Chalmers up for a post-game interview. Doesn't that guy look like a slightly heavier version of James Carville?)

Final4-JimNantzInterview.jpg
(Coach Self gets his post-game query from Jim Nantz. This is the one media interview every college coach dreams of doing.)

Final4-JimGrayInterview.jpg
(Jim Gray, manning the mic for CBS Radio, gets second dibs on Self after the TV crew is done with him.)

Final4-KUn'paper.jpg
(Funny thing I found out about the post-game celebration... See the KU player holding up the "Champions" newspaper - something that is very common for teams that win the football national championship. Now, notice the player behind him taking the paper out of his hands...)

Final3-JDn'paper.jpg
(This is J.D. Hamilton of the NCAA, he has a wad of those faux "Champions" papers in his hands. J.D. would later tell me that those newspapers aren't allowed to be shown because only those advertisers that are "corporate champions" to the NCAA are allowed to have a post-game presence at the Final Four. So this fake Lawrence paper printed out well beforehand proclaiming Kansas as the national champs had to be confiscated.)

KUcutNets.jpg
(To the victors go the nylon spoils. Mario Chalmers is relishing his turn up on the ladder after the game.)

Final4-KUtrophy.jpg
(... and one last shot of the Kansas Jayhawks holding up the rather blandly-styled NCAA basketball trophy. Ever wonder what happens to the shirts and hats that were pre-printed with "Memphis - National Champions" on them? They are set in a locked room in the bowels of the stadium and later set ablaze by the NCAA, never to be seen again.)

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Posted by Eric Sorenson at 03:35 PM | Comments (6)

April 08, 2008

Final Four: Calipari, Memphis Bummed Out

SAN ANTONIO -- You have to feel bad for Memphis coach John Calipari, who had a great team and a great season, but must be pained by the missed opportunities in tonight's championship game.

CalipariWalkOff.jpg

Even the hot UofM dancers had a hard time handling the stress...
UMdancer.jpg

Billy says, "Damn. I screwed the pooch on my bracket!"...
BillyPacker.jpg

But Mr. Dunk-the-ball-then-grab-it-so-they-can't-inbound-it deserves a long walk tonight...
DorseyTunnel.jpg

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Posted by Eric Sorenson at 12:41 AM | Comment

Final Four: KU Crowned National Champions

SAN ANTONIO -- Kansas has scoreboard...
KUscoreboard.jpg

Kansas has cutting nets...
KUcutNets.jpg

Kansas also has its Self...
NanceSelfCBS.jpg

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Posted by Eric Sorenson at 12:29 AM | Comment

Final Four: Kansas Completes Comeback For Title

SAN ANTONIO -- Kansas completed its remarkable comeback and won the national championship, 75-68, in OT.

And now, we are buried in confetti.

hail.jpg
Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail of confetti can keep us from blogging.

As time wound down, Memphis fans sense that their team had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. You really have to feel for Memphis and the heartbreaking way they lost this game.

Kansas fans also had a sense of what was coming when Rock Chalk went up with 18.2 secs left.

Final stats have just been handed over. Arthur finished with 20 and Chalmers had 18, including the game-tying shot.

For Memphis, Rose, who played every minute, had 18, but CDR led the Tigers with 20. Memphis shot 63 percent from the line, better than their season average, but missed free throws down the stretch certainly aided the Kansas comeback.

The all-tournament team has been announced. Mario Chalmers is the MOP. Artuhur, Rush, Rose and CDR are also on the team.

And that is a wrap from San Antonio. I may attempt a Hang Time entry tomorrow, but I'm not sure if that will be possible. We are closing down CSTV.com after the NCAA Tournament.

So with that said, I want to take this opportunity to especially thank my editor at CSTV.com, Josh Herwitt, and Managing Editor Dan Kaufman, for giving me an opportunity to bring coverage like this to you over the last several years. And also a big thank you to all you readers. Hopefully, you'll see me around here again sometime.

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Posted by Jerry Palm at 12:07 AM | Comment

April 07, 2008

Final Four: Jayhawks Earn It

SAN ANTONIO -- Kansas wins a remarkable game with a remarkable comeback and Memphis can only wonder what-if?

Final score: Kansas 75 , Memphis 68.

Free throw shooting did, in the end, have an effect on the Tigers season.

That'll do it for us. We thank you for being there.

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Posted by David Scott at 11:53 PM | Comment

Final Four: KU Jumps Ahead In OT

SAN ANTONIO -- Overtime started great for the Jayhawks. Collins got a steal, leading to a Rush layup. After a stop, Arther got an alley-oop from Chalmers that they didn't even signal to each other.

Chalmers just threw it up and Arthur went up and got it. The next possession saw some great passing from Chalmers to Arthur, who fed Jackson for another layup, and KU is now up six half-way through the OT. Kansas is now on a 13-1 run.

The mood in this gym has changed considerably. I'm hearing a lot more very bad words from the Memphis fans behind us.

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Posted by Jerry Palm at 11:40 PM | Comment

Final Four: Jayhawks Have The Mo

SAN ANTONIO -- Kansas out 6-0 to start OT. Memphis has the ball with 2:29 left in OT and Kansas up, 69-63.

. . . Memphis 10-of-17 at the free throw line in regulation.

. . . How huge is that negated three-pointer from Rose? It was the right call of course.

. . . And Memphis is really missing Dorsey in the post.

. . . A bad three-point attempt by Anderson, too.

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Posted by David Scott at 11:39 PM | Comment

Final Four: Memphis Nightmare At Free Throw Line

SAN ANTONIO -- OK, Coach Cal ... guess what? We're not going to believe you from now on when you say free throws won't be a problem.

Here's a shot of Derrick Rose's choke job (following CDR's choke job) that helped KU send the game into OT:
UMfreeThrow.jpg

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Posted by Eric Sorenson at 11:34 PM | Comment

Final Four: Hold The Confetti!!!

SAN ANTONIO -- Chalmers drained a long three to tie the game with about two seconds left after Rose hit one of two from the line and we'll have some free basketball.

Memphis appeared to be trying to foul on the possession, but none was called before Chalmers slipped away and drained a rainbow from beyond the arc.

Wonder how momentum will go here. KU seems to have it now, but sometimes the team that comes back relaxes too much after completing that job.

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Posted by Jerry Palm at 11:33 PM | Comment

Final Four: Overtime

SAN ANTONIO -- Derrick Rose is limping and we are headed to overtime. A tremendous comeback by the Jayhawks and a huge three by Chalmers sends us to an extra session. Rose appears to be OK, and Memphis' free throws did hurt down the stretch.

Memphis tried to foul with the three point lead but no call was made allowing for Chalmers to bury it with 2.1 seconds left.

. . . Big factor now that Memphis is without Joey Dorsey for the OT. No one still in foul trouble for Kansas.

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Posted by David Scott at 11:33 PM | Comment