Thursday, February 9, 2012

Which buzzer-beater was better?

The 2011-2012 season isn't over just yet. But it's quite possible that we've already seen it's two most-signature moments.

Indiana wasn't supposed to beat Kentucky. Sure, it was at Assembly Hall, but this Hoosiers team was still a year away, right? Yeah, Kentucky and Indiana are two legacy programs, but even with Assembly Hall on the brink of eruption, there was no way Indiana was going to beat the Wildcats.

Duke dropped back-to-back home games against Florida State and Miami. The Blue Devils had no superstar leader. Austin Rivers, their all-world freshman, was struggling. People started to doubt Duke. Hell, Duke started to doubt Duke. The North Carolina Tar Heels just had to much size, too much talent, too much everything. Duke was going to keep the game close, but North Carolina would win.

Then Christian Watford happened.

Then Austin Rivers happened.

But which was better?

That question is much more difficult to answer than you may think.

If you are a fan of Kentucky or North Carolina, it's probably a bit easier.

But really, which was better?

The conventional wisdom will suggest that River's shot was best, as it should. That's a shot that kids in North Carolina emulate in the backyards, in their driveways, and on the playground. That's a shot that will forever be stored in the highlight videos for future Tobacco Road showdowns. His team was trailing late, somebody needed to step up. That shot will be replayed, re-aired and rehashed from now until forever.

But Rivers' shot was nailed in the unfriendly confines of The Dean Dome. His shot wasn't set up, rushed or hurried, there were certain elements of "the moment" that were lacking from this shot.

What Watford's shot lacks in historical significance, it makes up for in "spur-of-the-moment" pandemonium.

His shot was the result of a nice drive to the basket by Verdell Jones. His release had just a hint of "step back" to it. When his shot went through, he struck a pose. A beautiful, beautiful pose. Then there was the court-storming. If you ever want to know when/why/and how to storm a court, use that video as a guideline. It was magical. It was marvelous. It was the perfect court storm.

But both of these shots explain why sports are better than any movie or any TV show. You can't script it. You don't want it scripted. The best things in life happen when you least expect it.

So maybe Watford's was better, and maybe Rivers' was better.

And maybe, when it's all said and done, there will be another moment, one we don't know is going to happen, one we can't explain, that will trump both of these shots.


Anonymous said...

I prefer Indiana's, but how was that a perfect court storm when some of Kentucky player's got trampled?

Bill Maskey said...

Indiana's. No question.

Anonymous said...

When talking about the IU-Kentucky rivalry, won't that shot be replayed for eternity as well?

Anonymous said...

Indiana's represents knocking off the #1 team and its program rising up again.

Duke/UNC just felt like another game.

Troy Machir said...

Anon #1: OK, I guess you're right. But that tends to be a typical result of a court-storming.

Anon #2: True, but How often is the IU/UK rivalry discussed and debated? Not nearly as much as Duke/UNC, that's for certain. It's a great rivalry, yes. But it's not Duke/UNC.

It's like comparing USC/Notre Dame to Michigan/tOSU. Both are great, but one is far superior.

Anonymous said...

I feel like the Wottford shot meant a lot more in the context of this college basketball season, but will not have the staying power of the Rivers shot because of who hit it and who was playing.

If IU doesn't hit that shot and knock off the #1 team in the country, they are a bubble team, not a top 25 team. They are not "back", they are still "working their way back."

Taking each game in a vacuum, I would say the Duke game was a more exciting game, making the Rivers shot the "better shot." I guess.