The anticipation of an NCAA Subregional coming to your town builds for weeks, months, even years. Then the time comes, fans have a blast, wild times ensue on and off the court...then it's all over before you know it and fans are left thinking along the lines of "three years til the next one....". Count me in with that line of thinking.
Saturday's doubleheader was another classic day of hoops with game one featuring ACC power Maryland versus midmajor darling Butler. Butler's slow paced style of play was a throwback to another era from the days before the existence of a shot clock.
How many times did Butler toss the ball around spending a minimum of 25 seconds before calmly, and I do stress that word, putting up a good shot. Many teams constantly panic when faced with taking a shot in the dying seconds of the shot clock. Not these guys...I could almost see Butler coach Lickliter playing the role of Norman Dale in "Hoosiers" telling his players: "I want FOUR passes before any shot!!! FOUR PASSES!!"
I don't know what it was about Maryland that I didn't like. Were they the anti-Butler because Butler's skills were that good, or was it just that the Terps were'nt that sound in general and only had the advantage in talent. Either way, Butler managed to hold off the Terps to go to their second sweet 16 in five seasons.
Game two featured Cinderella VCU against Big East powerhouse Pitt....Pitt's inside game v. VCU's guardplay. For the first thirty minutes it was all Pitt as they held a commanding double digit lead....then VCU put on the full court press....and god did things change....
Pitt was incapable of handling the pressure committing turnover after turnover while the Rams closed the gap, and with it the gap narrowed and the crowd began to buzz.
By the time the game was knotted, HSBC Arena had become Richmond North..booing lustily over the lame foul call in the dying seconds of regulation(justice was served when Pitt missed both free throws).
But like Ohio St./Xavier, the extra frame gave the favorite new life and Pitt would go on to win and reach the sweet 16.
For fans in the building that night and on Thursday, it was money well spent and a time well spent. Thanks to the eight clubs and their fans for livening up our city for a weekend...
1093 days(give or take a couple) till it happens again here...yes I'm counting.