What a shot. What a game.
Inspired by a post on MGoBlog, and enough adrenaline to keep me awake for hours, last night I started typing out a poem along the lines of Casey at the Bat. But it wasn’t about baseball. It covers the heroics of Trey Burke and an unbelievable comeback by Michigan to knock off top seeded Kansas.
So here is my amateur attempt at poetry in rough draft form:
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Michigan squad that day:
A contest in the JerryDome which last was a poor display.
And the Jayhawks with their giants and all their fans that came,
Thought for sure, without a doubt, that they would win the game.
“The michigan shooters won’t make their shots in such an open space,
And the lack of height and quality depth brings a smile to Withey’s face.”
“For Michigan to win this game, they’ll need a Big House full of luck.”
“And the Big Ten is over rated,” said our favorite analyst, Chuck.
And as the game began, McGary’s groin received a punch,
Maybe that would fire up the maize and blue clad bunch.
But the game progressed and became clear that nothing could be done,
At the half Hardaway had only 5, while usual-hero Burke had none.
Down only 6 at the break some said “We haven’t played our best,
If we get our stuff together we may yet win this contest.”
But as the 2nd half continued every bounce went KU’s way,
The Jayhawks pushed the lead to 14 with under 7 left to play.
“The freshmen are no use this time, our boys have given up,
GR111 is gassed, Stauskas is off, McGary is still a pup.”
The free throws clanged off iron, the triples did the same,
It looked as if there was no hero to help Michigan win this game.
Finally Robinson tipped a pass and raced ahead to slam it through,
And Burke clamped down before half court to get the ball back from KU.
The next play he drove the lane and dished to wide open McGary,
Who’s been thinking to himself all game, “This Withey kid ain’t that scary.”
And at the other end Mitch spied Releford driving through the lane,
So he stopped him cold but is called for a foul, the ref is clearly insane.
“Kill him, kill the ref!” shoutedall the maize and blue so loud,
The commentators agreed, “All ball,” they mumbled with the crowd.
After two free points for Kansas, Burke dribbled around the arc,
Withey stepped out, Trey stepped back, his triple hit the mark.
As the clock dipped under a minute, the Jayhawk hands began to pound,
But Morgan cut off McLemore and pulled down a defensive rebound.
At the other end Hardaway misfired, but Morgan dove along the floor,
Robinson snagged the loose ball and dipped under Withey for the score.
The lead was trimmed to three but less than 30 seconds remained,
All around the arena and beyond Jayhawk faces became quite pained.
After trading points, the lead still three, Johnson drew a foul,
“He shouldn’t even be on the floor!” Michigan fans began to howl.
Just a point would surely mean that the Wolverine season is all but done,
But Johnson commits a basketball sin, missing the first of a one and one.
Timmy pulls down the rebound and quickly hands to Burke,
No timeouts, down by three, with 12 seconds with which to work.
So many options for this team, full of shooters one and all,
But there’s no doubt who will have it last, it’s time for Hero Ball.
Burke dribbled to his left around the space where McGary fell,
Back 30 feet or 30 miles it was really hard to tell,
Practically from the stat table, no defender could reach him there,
He picked up his dribble and raised his arms clutching that leather covered air.
And now Burke lightly holds the ball and now he lets it fly,
This shot could be the deciding point of how we view this guy.
March Madness holds it’s collective breath as the arc tears through the dome,
And a wave of maize explodes forth as the ball finally rattles home.
With only a few seconds left and the comeback now complete,
The Wolverines have pulled off an unbelievable tourney feat.
Onward, Michigan made their shots in an intense extra frame,
Kansas though they tried so hard, couldn’t quite do the same.
Jayhawk fans felt the last low blow in a karmic twist of fate,
Mitch, Tim, Trey and the boys are all headed to the Elite Eight!
Great or Greatest? will be the choices as we look back and debate,
But now there seems to be no doubt, Burke is no longer “merely great.”
Optional Ending for MGoBlog
And somewhere couches are burning, and somewhere subs are had,
and somewhere Wisconsin mutters that the backboards must have gone bad.
And the liveblog lives forever, and muppets can be seen,
And no matter where or when, it’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine.