Well, I’ll come clean. I haven’t posted in so long because I wasn’t ready to talk about this one yet. It hurts. A lot. Usually you say, ‘we’ll get ’em next year’. But next year is looking like the first major rebuilding era in Oakland in a long time. So that goes out the window. It also hurts because with a big time shot like that: you know you’re going to see it replayed over and over. I better come to terms with this loss because it’s going to be played again a few times every March and definitely every time we play Villanova.
I was looking back at the game and trying to pick out what we could have done better. Yes, some players could been more visible on the stat sheet, but overall we did well. We didn’t get our stars into foul trouble. We had a good game plan for ‘Nova (minus some zone in the first half that still baffles me. But at least we switched back to our base). We didn’t shoot the lights out from the field or the free throw line, but we shot about our average. We did very well against Villanova’s pressure defense. We had some defensive lapses, but for the most part it was solid. Villanova is a dangerous team offensively and could have done a lot more. Overall, we played a decent game. Not outstanding, but good (and before you even say it, it is unfair to ask a team to play above their standards at will or consistently. Then the standards wouldn’t be where they are. Basketball is a game of skill and strategy, but there is a little bit of luck thrown in there to make things interesting. That extra luck is what makes an outstanding performance). We played well enough to win, but we ran into the hottest team of the tournament who played outstanding. There is nothing to be done about that. They beat us the first time on strategy, and they beat us again on luck. Villanova averages 75% from the free throw line over the season. They shot 96% on Saturday. There is nothing you can do about that. An athletic team like Villanova will get to the line on occasion. They average a little over 24 free throws a game, and they shot 23 of them against us. We didn’t foul too much. They shot about their average from the field (because of how hot they were coming into the game, I actually give that as evidence of good defense) and that was good enough. I think the crushing thing about this game was how we lost and I’m not talking buzzer beater. I went into this game predicting we were going to lose because of a match-up problem. We came out with a good strategy to eliminate that problem, and we still came up short. That’s what hurts for me. Oh, well. I guess there’s always next year…..sort of.