The words in this post's title were uttered by Jim Nantz right after Taurean Green had just put another dagger into the heart of the Buckeyes. Ohio State kept coming at Florida, refusing to go quietly into the Georgia night, but every time it looked like Bucks would make a game of it, a Gator would stand up and nail a trey. Which stood in sharp contrast to OSU, whose shooters kept clanging it off the rim all game long.
In the post below, I analogized this year's Final Four matchups to 1984. Ironically, the 84-75 score of the final game was the also the score that year in Seattle. It was a similar type game as well. It was always worth watching, and the underdog team never went away, but only the most pessimistic of Florida fans or the most optimistic of Ohio State rooters could have seriously doubted the outcome at any point in the second half.
The unselfishness and committment of Florida's kids in returning to school to play for a repeat title was regularly and rightly extolled in last night's broadcast. Similarly, I hope Greg Oden and Mike Conley will settle in for another couple years in Columbus. One doesn't have to be a diehard OSU backer to appreciate Oden's dominance and his quiet, understated approach in public. And Conley's extraordinary body control and ballhandling ability can start to grow on you as a fan.
While the final outcome may have been disappointing, an article in The Columbus Dispatch reports that the fans who went south found their trip "just peachy." The Buckeye blog Around The Oval takes an analytical look at what actually happened on the floor last night. They also have the solution to OSU's problems in getting over the top--
"I'm also proposing a little get-together for us Buckeye fans, if any of you are interested. We'll start with a little party on the beach, at the Florida-Georgia border, and then we'll work westward. We're going to detach Florida and give it back to Spain. It'll be a good time. Bring a shovel."
Of course ten other schools in the Big Ten would still trade places with the Buckeyes in an instant. Two of them took steps they hope will lead to the rejuvenation of their basketball programs. As expected, Michigan hired John Beilein away from West Virginia, hoping he can bring them their first conference title since 1986. Iowa also got its new coach, getting Todd Lickliter away from Butler.
It's hard to get a feel for how Lickliter will do. The easy temptation is to say that since he won in Butler, he will certainly win in Iowa. But Steve Alford won at SW Missouri State, so that's no guarantee. Beilein is a much safer bet. When he was first rumored as the candidate, I speculated that he was no more qualified then Amaker was at the same point in his career--a successful coach at a midlevel Big East program. But that was sloppy thinking on my part. Beilen's track record of success is much longer then Amaker's was. The real question that will be answered in Ann Arbor is whether Beilein can recruit as well as Amaker did, or at least find the players to fit his system and win at a higher level then he did in Morgantown. The folks in Ann Arbor want to get back to contending for conference titles and Final Four appearances, and given the resources available, that's an eminently reasonable demand.
Right now, everyone in the Big Ten just wants to get where Ohio State is. That ought to serve as plenty of consolation to Buckeye Nation on this morning.