41 and Done!
Normally, it's all Kemba Walker & Co. can do to keep from rolling their eyes each time they're asked the question. Until Saturday night, when Walker finally gave in.
"I usually won't tell you guys I was tired," he said after UConn's win over Kentucky, "but I actually was."
He has every reason to be. You know the numbers by now: 5 games in 5 days (Big East tournament), 9 games in 19 days (to get to the Final Four). Here is maybe the most relevant number right now: 41 games in 5 months.
Monday night's national championship bout with Butler will be UConn's 41st of the season. That will be the most played in a season by a team since Oregon (30-15) played 45 contests in 1945. That's what happens when you play three games in Maui, five games in the Big East tourney and six in the NCAA's.
*** Writers are tired, too. No, we don't expect your sympathy. No reason to feel bad for us, getting paid to do something we love while chronicling a bit of sports history. But this has been quite a grind.
The only thing comparable, for me, would be when I was covering the Red Sox in the 2004 postseason. The long flight out to Anaheim; the excruciatingly long Games 4 and 5 of the ALCS, getting home at about 3 a.m. and driving right back to Fenway the next morning, or boarding a train to New York (no day off between Games 5 and 6 due to a rainout); the long nights of Games 6 and 7; the quick turnaround into the World Series and flight out to St. Louis. Fortunately, that series didn't last too long.
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have covered that historic postseason run. And no matter how Monday night turns out, I feel equally privileged to have covered UConn's amazing run, as well.
But enough about me ...
*** Is it worth noting that both national championship game participants played their "second" and "third" round games at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Butler was lucky to have won both of those games, against ODU and Pitt. I guess that's just kinda what they do.
*** Butler is the first school from Indiana to earn consecutive trips to the Final Four. How is that possible, with Indiana, Notre Dame, Purdue and even Indiana State within the same borders?
More to come later ...
Labels: Kemba Walker