As the saying goes, it was a nice run.
The Davidson Wildcats memorable run through the NCAA Tournament ended Sunday as they fell to the Kansas Jayhawks 59-57.
What a run it was though.
Before we recount that amazing 4 game stretch, let’s take a quick trip back in time to November 16, 2007, where on a little website called TK on Toast, the following was written:
We’re not the first team to sing the praises of this Davidson team, nor will we be the last. We are very much aware that many fans know about them. We also don’t care. This is a team that will need to be reckoned with as this season plays out. Dell’s kid, Stephen Curry, is one of the best players in the country, bar none. He can create, move well without the ball, and most importantly, shoot the freaking lights out. In other words, he’s the man. They are also doing the smart thing in playing a very tough non-conference schedule (UNC, Duke, and NC State) to let their players see the level that they’ll need to play at come Tourney time. Be ready for them as a 6 or 7 seed after they walk through their conference schedule and Mr. Curry is one of the leading scorers in the nation. Don’t say you weren’t warned…”
Wow, that’s a bold prediction. Amazingly, on that very same website just a month later, this little nugget of information was offered up:
“Sleeper Update: in our preview, we told you to watch out for Davidson as a big time sleeper in college basketball this year. Well they’re 4-5, but it’s an intriguing and promising 4-5. Their five defeats include a four point loss to North Carolina, a six point loss to Duke, and an 11 point loss to UCLA in a game that Davidson led for the first 30 minutes. Those games should give this Wildcat team a lot of confidence that they can hang with, and beat, the big dogs in the tourney. The problem is that by losing all of these early games, they now have to win their conference tournament and get that automatic bid to get into the field of 65. That’s fine. Stephen Curry will dominate the Southern Conference and they’ll be a team to remember come March.”
In case you’re wondering 1) that sound you hear is me tooting my own horn, and 2) yes, I did get hurt patting myself on the back so much.
So, ironically, the “shocking” story that was the lead of every sports cast and newspaper came as no surprise to us here in the House that Toast built.
Further, let’s not forget the team that made the 2008 Tourney memorable.
It started with a matchup against former Cinderella and now annual participant, Gonzaga.
Everything started out slowly, then Stephen Curry remembered that he’s the man and is borderline unguardable. He dropped 30 in the second half, and finished with 40 for the game.
That led to a date with the 2 seed, the Georgetown Hoyas.
Analysts and experts everywhere said that Davidson didn’t have the size to play with G-town. Those people must have forgotten that Roy Hibbert sucks.
Curry again had the second half magic as the Wildcats toppled yet another team that was supposed to beat them.
Up next, the Wisconsin Badgers and their stifling defense.
Once again, everyone predicted the surprising run would come to an end. Once again, everyone was wrong. Stephen and the boys shocked Bo Ryan’s club with their lockdown defense and sharpshooting as they destroyed the Badgers.
The miracle run finally ended Sunday in a loss to Kansas, but not without a fight.
In a game that wasn’t supposed to be close, Davidson had the ball with 16 seconds left and a chance to tie or win the game. Curry, who finally had an off night, couldn’t shake himself free from Jayhawk defenders and the Wildcats’ desperation three at the buzzer was wide left.
Despite the loss, we all owe a lot to Davidson.
In a year where all four number one seeds finally made it to the Final Four, we still had that surprise team that made an extremely memorable run. It is because of teams like Davidson and players like Stephen Curry that March Madness exists.
By the way, Curry is only a sophomore...