I had this recap written with a minute forty left in the game, guys.
I was ready to go full blast on Coach Buzz, who'd been thoroughly, almost horrifyingly outcoached by a guy who, brilliant as he might be, had managed to completely confound Marquette with a unit that's maybe half as physically gifted as Buzz's crew. I was ready to tear into Coach Buzz for his bizarre decision to give Jake Thomas run late in the second half -- as I said on Twitter during the game, hoping that Jake could replicate his miraculous appearance against Syracuse earlier this season is akin to believing that you can hit back-to-back Yahtzees on consecutive shakes of the die -- for inexplicably giving Derrick Wilson significant minutes when Marquette was starving for offense and his contributions on defense were irrelevant, for the team looking lazy and unprepared against a simple motion offense, for having his team foul a 94% foul shooter (only the best in the damn country) when we were down 5 with 1:40 left, for letting the team come out so flat after days and days of talking about how Marquette was getting no respect from pundits and media types.
I was ready to bid Junior Cadougan adieu after another uninspired performance on a big stage.
I was ready to bemoan the fact that Bad Jamil Wilson picked the worst possible time to awaken from his long winter's nap.
I was ready to suggest that Chris Otule go out on top after the best game of his career, an 11-point, 11-rebound effort that had me wondering what could have been if a series of unfortunate injuries hadn't robbed the big man of two-and-a-half seasons.
I was ready to wish Trent Lockett well -- not that he needs my well wishes; kid's going places regardless -- and lament that Marquette only had him for one season.
I was ready to conclude that, despite his exemplary junior season and his grown-ass-man, conference-champion-clinching play against St. John's, maybe Vander Blue wasn't quite ready for prime time.
And then Jamil hit a three with a hand in his face, the kind that makes you say: "You can't connect when you get a full second-and-a-half to load up your shot, but you can bury a contested three with your team's season on the line? Oh. OK."
And then Vander hit a three with his man in his drawers, the kind that makes you say: "That's an Association-level shot right there. Too bad it came too late to make a difference in this game."
And then Jamil hit another three with a dude draped all over him, the kind that makes you say: "What, was the degree of difficulty too low for the first 39 minutes of the game? How is it possible to make those kind of shots when Davidson has been inviting you to take open jumpers all game, and you've barely drawn iron most the time?"
And then Davidson -- the team that was supposed to be too mature, too experienced, too disciplined, too meticulously coached, too well-inoculated against lemon booty to make back-breaking, game-changing mistakes -- throws the ball out of bounds when they just could've hung onto the rock in the backcourt and ended the game, for all intents and purposes.
And then ... then this (via @muathletics):
And suddenly, you're pouring a bourbon and, mouth open, you're watching a gif on a loop, and you're trying to make sense of whatever the hell it was that you just witnessed, only you're reduced to mumbling the same word over and over, with steadily increasing incredulity:
And I've got nothing. I'm not sure if I ever will. But my bourbon and I are going to enjoy the shit out of this, because I don't think I'm ever going to see something like it again.
Vander Blue Grown Ass Man of the Millenium: Nine points in the first 38:30 of the game. Seven points, including the last two on his latest submission to the Pantheon of Great Plays in Marquette History, and a pair of stones that you have to buy a separate seat for on an airplane. Don't you go changing, Vander Blue. I'll tumble for you.
Joe Fulce Undersung Eagle of the Game: Maybe he knows something we don't. Maybe he's already decided that this is the end of his basketball career. Maybe he's finally back in shape, fifteen months removed from a devastating injury. Maybe he's been this good for a while, and we've just never had occasion to notice it before. Whatever the reason, Chris Otule is making the end of the 2012-'13 season one to remember. Cheers, Big Fella.
Davante "Big Smoove" Gardner Smoove Play of the Game: Come on.
Up Next: A rematch with the Bulldogs of Butler, who outlasted a feisty Bucknell squad in Lexington this morning. Let's get this rivalry off to a good start, shall we?