Sweetest NCAA Memories #12: Mario MiraclePosted by rtmsf on March 6th, 2009
RTC asked its legion of correspondents, charlatans, sycophants, toadies and other hangers-on to send us their very favorite March Madness memory, something that had a visceral effect on who they are as a person and college basketball fan today. Not surprisingly, many of the submissions were excellent and if you’re not fired up reading them, then you need to head back over to PerezHilton for the rest of this month. We’ve chosen the sixteen best, and we’ll be counting them down over the next two weeks as we approach the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
The Mario Miracle (submitted by Ryan ZumMallen of LBPostSports.com)
The Kansas Jayhawks had let me down too many times before. Even as they romped through the 2008 NCAA Tournament field to face Memphis in the title game, visions of Arizona in 1997, Hakim Warrick’s freakish length in 2003 and Bucknell in 2005 danced in my head. I mean, I was expecting national championships in those years. Mike Bibby single-handedly made me question the meaning of life at the age of 12.
I’d been scorned too many times to get my hopes up as Kansas continued to win last season. And win, and win. I was cautiously optimistic heading into the title game, even after the Jayhawks’ romp of UNC in the game prior. I thought we’d need a miracle. Sure enough, Memphis gave us that by bricking free throws like it was in fashion. Down three, I watched in horror as Sherron Collins dribbled down the court (his ball-handling has always terrified me) and found Mario Chalmers, who launched an impossible three-pointer from twenty-five feet out. This was the point where Memphis was supposed to grab the rebound and celebrate. But the universe felt my pain, it too had suffered long enough from the Jayhawks’ constant teasing.
The shot went in, and I screamed like a banshee. I didn’t care that the game was about to go into overtime. We beat fate. We’d already won.