Listen, I know I’m a few days late on this take. So sue me. I’m planning a pretty big move, if you hadn’t heard. but just because I’m tight on time at the moment doesn’t mean I can’t generate scalding takes, and I can’t just sit on this one even if everyone’s already forgotten this game happened: I’d rather miss the NCAA Tournament/playoffs than lose the way Cincinnati just did.
Before everyone gets up in arms, Sports Take Law requires me to establish my own rooting interests: people forget I went to UConn. We did, in fact, miss the tournament. We were the worst team in D-1. Worst offense of all time. Somehow played uglier games than Virginia and Syracuse, who’s entire gameplan is to make games ugly. They were so bad they got a guy who played at UConn and won a title four years ago run out of town (yes, he was very bad and I wanted him gone, but the fact remains). We stink at basketball. You know what we didn’t do, though? Blow a 22-point second half lead in like 30 seconds.
I should also probably state that I hate Cincinnati. They’re UConn’s “rival” in the fact that they’re in the same conference and were both in the old Big East, but they’ve kicked our ass for years, now. I hate that little gremlin Mick Cronin. Guy’s got the worst roid rage of all time despite being like 5’6″ 150 lbs. I have no idea how he gets anyone to play for him. So seeing them totally collapse against Nevada was quite satisfying. One of the worst losses of all time. Cincinnati might as well have been up 50 with five minutes left. They were completely dominating. Nevada had nothing going whatsoever. No game has ever been such a sure thing. But then they just…lost. I’ve never seen a collapse like that. Not the Lakers in the 08 Finals, not the Falcons, not even Virginia. Sure, Virginia panicked after going down 2-0 against a 16 seed, but they just got their butts whupped. Cincinnati had such a stranglehold on the game the announcers had started digging into the garbage time stories with 10 minutes left. It was over. But they lost. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to know you’re going to win but then just stop playing. Talk about embarrassing! Those Cincinnati players must feel absolutely terrible about themselves. Probably going to stick with them until they die. You hate to see it.
But, yeah, I’d much rather just stink than have these losses. These games scar you. I’ve never gotten over Super Bowl 42. I’m willing to bet that one game is the reason I’m such a miserable piece of shit. Then there was Super Bowl 46. And the 2003 ALCS. And the 2010 NBA Finals. And Super Bowl 52. If I was given the option of making it to the big game and losing or missing the playoffs I’d take missing the playoffs 1000000000% of the time. I don’t need that stress in my life. I don’t need one of my teams going down in infamy because they blew it so bad. I mean, one of Cincinnati’s best players fouled out with five minutes left because he was being an idiot. Completely let his teammates and everyone who believed in him down. He’ll never get over it. I’d say it was the worst moment of his life, but after a loss like that, I won’t sit here and say he won’t go into a downward spiral. Anyway, I wouldn’t want any of my guys to have to deal with that. Sure, you have to make a few playoff runs to keep everyone off your back, but no one remembers that the Nuggets missed the playoffs in 2016, only that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead. It’s all about subverting your own expectations and keeping the pressure off, not trying to be a hero only to get dragged back to Earth in the worst way possible. Aim for mediocre, not heartbreak. Unless you can actually win, then do that.
Cincinnati’s loss was so bad no one even noticed Xavier collapsed just as bad. Rough week for Sam Wyche.