Friday, March 27, 2009

Another Heartbreaker For The Muskies

Forget about the Levance Fields three. That happens. A lot. Levance Fields makes big shots. We've seen it a few thousand times over the past nineteen years (or however long that spectacular midget's been at Pitt). Anyway, here's what I'm thinking following Xavier's devastating loss to Pittsburgh

1. If CJ Anderson inbounds the ball underneath Pitt's basket, as opposed to chucking the ball the length of the court, Xavier almost certainly wins.

2. The same can be said about Derrick Brown keeping his Nike in bounds.

3. Just two days ago my buddy Kevin, a lifelong Xavier season-ticket holder, asked me if I thought BJ Raymond could play in the NBA. My response was short: No, his ball skills aren't good enough. Fast forward to last night, on Xavier's most important possession of the season, and Raymond's shaky handle ended any legitimate chance of the Muskies playing in their third Elite Eight in six years.

4. Why in the hell didn't Brad Redford hack Levance Fields as he laid the ball in to move Pitt up four after Raymond's turnover? That was the only move that could've given the Muskies one last shot to win -- foul Fields, and hope he splits the pair at the line. That one made absolutely no sense to me.

In the end, it was par for the course with Xavier. As great as they've been in March this decade, they've been thisclose to being that much better.

How about the '04 Elite versus almighty Duke: Anthony Myles, the only post threat on the roster, fouled out with about ten minutes remaining thanks to truly lousy officiating. Even so, XU almost beat Duke; they lost by four. With Myles, who knows...

The other biggie was St. Patty's Day, 2006 -- second round, Ohio State. That game was full of what-ifs...

a. What if the zebras call an intentional foul on Greg Oden after his frustrated, I-give-up-because-we-just-lost two-handed shove?

b. What if Justin Cage, after playing the best game of his career, makes his ninth free throw of the day -- after sinking his first eight?

c. What if Sean Miller decides to foul Ronald Lewis?

d. What if Ronald Lewis misses the three-pointer.

The answer to all of those questions: Xavier wins and advances.

I feel for Xavier fans this morning.

-Brad Spieser (