So what I meant to say was...
I don’t know why I wasn’t happier about winning that tournament. Usually I’m the one trying to get people to be more positive and enjoying good things as they happen, and this time I wasn’t.
The only thing I didn’t want was for USF to win the tournament and everyone go berserk like they had won a natty, and then people actually did that, and I thought it was small time, because don’t we want better things than this? Like, let’s be happy but also not give everyone a stick to beat us with?
Anyway, I’m sorry. I got stuff going on (postpartum depression for dads is a real thing) and I’m used to swallowing my emotions when I cover USF games. You should have seen me when the football team rescued the Tulsa game. While you all were screaming and hugging at the watch party, I was on the sideline and didn’t bat an eye. I’m pretty much dead inside to these things now.
I have more thoughts:
- So how valuable is the CBI win? In and of itself, I still don’t think it’s a towering achievement. On the other hand, if you’re trying to build a winning program, you have to start winning somewhere, right? Think of it like this: Say you’re (and I’m totally picking this example at random) Orlando City. You’ve never made the MLS playoffs, never even had a good team, really... and then one year you get on a run and win the US Open Cup. It’s not the trophy you really want... but isn’t that more helpful than sneaking into the playoffs and getting bombed 3-0 in the first round?
- Also... this is USF basketball we’re talking about. You could fit their successes on an index card. They’ve been somewhere between “disappointing” and “trash” for nearly my entire adult life. Want to know the last time they had consecutive winning seasons? It was 2002 and 2003 (when they went 15-14). Want to know the last time they won 20 games in consecutive years? It’s never happened. This season reset the school record for wins from a pitiful 22 to a middling 24. The three games in the CBI finals were the first time the program ever played games in April. So yeah, graded on that kind of curve, winning this tournament is a big deal. No one involved wants to make a habit of winning the CBI... but it’s a big deal just this once.
- Quick, what do VCU, Oregon, and Loyola-Chicago all have in common? All three of those teams won the CBI this decade and have made a Final Four run since then. Nevada won the 2016 CBI and they’ve been in the NCAAs each of the last three years, with a Sweet 16 last year. Pittsburgh used a CBI win to recover from a terrible 2012 season and made two more NCAA trips. Winning this tournament often leads to much bigger things.
- Even if this ends up being a one-off... hey, USF won a trophy! That’s still pretty cool.
- Here’s another one of my sliding doors theories: It’s funny how a couple of those really painful regular-season losses may have worked out in the end. Like when Georgetown made a ridiculous last-second heroball 3 in Jamaica and eventually beat USF in overtime. Or when the Bulls made that frantic last-minute rally at Tulsa, only to be taken down by a buzzer beater. Or when David Collins missed those two free throws against Temple. If the Bulls have 21 or 22 wins at the end of the season instead of 19, do they get into the NIT instead? Would bowing out after one or two road NIT games have been as valuable as winning the CBI?
- I can’t remember the last time a USF player got as hot as Laquincy Rideau did in the second half of Game 2. Even his heat checks (plural) were going in. He could have put one up from half court and sunk it.
- I really think after making that comeback and taking the lead with that incredible David Collins dunk, USF would have won the series in two straight if they could have followed it up with a stop. DePaul was tired and demoralized. Tying the game up again immediately was the only thing that rescued them. Oh well, not important.
- The Bulls were never in danger of blowing that late lead in Game 3, but that didn’t stop all of us from panicking in Slack. It was like a no-hitter in there; no one wanted to talk about the game in progress and we ended up having a long discussion about the Arby’s Jamocha Shake during the second half. Not since Ted Striker has anyone been that nervous coming in for a landing in Chicago
- So that $80,000 worked out, I guess? Nice to see USF invest in itself and have it pay off for a change. Long may that continue.
- Let’s finish with some GIFs. Give these some time to load, they’re worth it.