THE CHALM BEFORE THE STORM: Comeback-culminating Chalmers chuck chases Calipari’s chaotic chokers to O.T., where Kansas tornadoes the Tigers and Chalmer heads prevail

Chalmers turned Cal’s Club into the Memphis Fizzlies.

IllogiCalipari:  Memphis Coach, out-Coached by Self, blames self for 75-68 National Championship collapse

You know the DVD that chronicles the 2008 Memphis Tigers’ Magical Season, complete with Kevin Love getting posterized in the Final Four?  Cancel it.

Bruin fans can relax now — The worst moment of Kevin Love’s UCLA career, and one of the worst games of Darren Collison’s, will NOT be watched over and over again by millions of consumers.  Thanks to Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks, the only successful “Road to the Title” video this year will be Bruin-free.  Kansas came back from NINE down with 2:12 left in regulation, to stun John Calipari and Memphis, and pulled away in Overtime, 75-68.

This is Kansas’ 1st Title in 20 years, since Danny Manning led the Jayhawks to the Banner in ’88, but like Manning’s career with the Clippers, it wasn’t easy.

It was a game of runs, with Kansas dominating the paint, but unable to make outside shots, thus causing a see-saw effect.  Kansas scored the last 5 points of the First Half to take a 5-point lead into the locker room, but Memphis came right back and forged ahead in the Second Half.  When Kansas went into a severe scoring drought down the stretch, it looked like Memphis was going to snatch their first Title in School History, but Calipari’s kids lost their composure.    

For weeks, Calipari has been claiming that his team’s poor Free Throw shooting would NOT be a factor in the Tournament.  Well, the Tigers’ Stars missed FOUR OUT OF FIVE Free Throws in the final moments, allowing the Jayhawks one final chance.  With 10 seconds left, down by three, Kansas rushed the ball up and Calipari’s team – by his instruction – TRIED to foul the Kansas dribbler.  That would have sent Kansas to the line for two Free Throws, and made it so Kansas would have needed a miracle to tie or win.  But the foul wasn’t hard enough, the dribbler got the ball to Mario Chalmers, and Memphis’ Freshman sensation Derrick Rose’s hand in Mario’s face wasn’t enough to stop Chalmers from swishing the game-tying shot.

That was definitely the shot of the game, already being called the biggest shot in Kansas History, even though it was FAR from a Walk-off.  But Kansas took that overwhelming momentum, and rolled it right into Overtime.  It didn’t hurt that Memphis Big Man Joey Dorsey had already fouled out either, as Kansas took advantage by simply overpowering the Tigers underneath during the extra period. 

The Jayhawks won the O.T, 12-5, but a Calipari mistake was crucially involved.  With the Tigers trailing by 3 with 45 seconds left in O.T., Memphis purposely committed a foul.  It was a ONE-possession game, but they sent Chalmers – a 73% FT shooter – to the line for a 1 and 1.  Of course, cool Chalmers made them both, and the desperate Tigers never scored again.  Rose, who had 18 in regulation, failed to score in Overtime, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, who scored 22, also missed several opportunities to save the season in O.T.  And Calipari is taking the blame for that.  Calipari says that he got so caught up in trying to win the game, that he didn’t substitute enough.  His Stars got tired out, Dorsey fouled out, and Rose even cramped up right at the end of Regulation.  Calipari should KNOW his personnel – and their limitations – better than that… but at least he has the stones to admit that he screwed up.

So even though Bill Self’s best player Brandon Rush scored only 12 Points in a performance that was not one of his best, the Jayhawks were still able to keep the Tigers in check.  Kansas matched up much better with those long Tiger Guards than UCLA did, and when CDR and Rose started to be effective, Self changed up Defenses, going to a Zone to slow down the penetration.  It worked, and it made a lot of people probably wonder why Ben Howland didn’t resort to the same strategy.

UCLA got to where they are now – near the very top of the Nation’s Elite Programs – by playing a patented Man-to-Man Defense, and would not have been able to just shift gears into a new (to them) and untested system, and immediately make it work against a team like Memphis.  It would have also killed UCLA on the Tigers’ Offensive glass. 

UCLA does NOT need to re-think anything.  Not to evoke Bush parallels, but Howland just needs to “stay the course,” keep the trend going of upgraded recruiting, and keep stressing tough Defense First, and the Banners will be inevitable.  In fact, if Memphis misses their Free Throws, and goes cold while settling for lousy outside shots on SATURDAY like they did on Monday, the Bruins might have beaten them, and then dusted Kansas just like they did last year.  The gap between Memphis and UCLA is not as big as it might have looked on Saturday, as the Bruins – especially Collison – did not play up to their potential.  The point is:  Don’t worry about Ben Howland or UCLA, just because this year’s Bruin-beaters got beat.

Below are 4 more photos from UCLA’s thrashing of Kansas in San Jose last year, in “honor” of the Jayhawks keeping the Bruin loss to Memphis out of all the commemorative videos about to be sold Nationwide, and promo’ed on Sports Illustrated TV commercials every 5 minutes for the next six months. Chalmers has just BEGUN to celebrate. 

Chalmers made it a SELF-Fulfilling Prophecy.

Superintendant Chalmers, looking for Principal Spinner.

Maybe NEXT year, the Bruins will be the Last Men Standing.      


5 responses to “THE CHALM BEFORE THE STORM: Comeback-culminating Chalmers chuck chases Calipari’s chaotic chokers to O.T., where Kansas tornadoes the Tigers and Chalmer heads prevail”

  1. UCLADavid Avatar

    Is it time for Bruin fans to rethink the “National Championship or Nothing” mentality? I think it is. Even Coach Wooden stated that one of the reasons he retired at the end of his career was based on pressure from alumni to “win it all”, which made the joy of coaching almost nonexistent.

    I’m not saying UCLA should stop striving for National Championships, but the amount of despair I see from Bruin fans for making THREE Final Fours in as many years but not winning it all is pretty irrational. I admit I am part of that group based on the time of day. But I think it’s an irrational, destructive thought.

    Ask any other program in the country, including the Dukes, North Carolinas, Kentuckys, etc. if they would take three straight trips to the big dance, and they would say “Heck yeah!”. With the amount of parity in college b-ball today, it’s nothing short of genius to reach the Final Four three times in three years.

    Those who call the Bruins chokers or suggest Howland needs to change anything up are just Bruin haters and jealous of what we’ve got. For myself, I plan on enjoying this ride as long as Howland will put up with what Wooden called, “We, the Alumni.” Does anyone want to return to the days of Walt Hazard or Steve Lavin? Uh, NO.

    Go Bruins! Thanks again to the players and coaches for a great season.

  2. Dan Avatar

    is the season really over…no more pics???

    Well fantastic job UCLA and AWESOME job Mr Trojan Hater for all the lovely pictures (especially of BRIANNA…NICE!). By the way the building I work in took an official vote on who was the overall BEST UCLA BASKETBALL player and CHEERLEADER…

    Russell Westbrook took it for the boys and BRIANNA with a land-slide for the women…

    they also ALL AGREE that you did an amazing job covering all the events and we’re looking forward to your coverage next year!!!

    do you have any other sites???

    [T-H’s Note: No, I don’t have any other sites, but I will keep updating this one in the offseason. By the way, I have 300 more shots of Brianna that have never been seen before, but many of them WILL be seen over the next few months.]

  3. Dan Avatar

    Mr Trojan Hater,

    I wish I possessed the TALENT you have in order to do what you do ON-THE-RUN!!! your shots are amazing…ALL OF THEM! Sorry if I get carried away about BRIANNA but it’s not just me it’s my entire building, which is filled with young men and women of all ages…

    Anyhow, we’ll definitely be looking for those 300 shots you mentioned! And once again thanks for being a trooper!!!

    I LOVE UCLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO BRUINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and you know what’s next…

  4. Rick Avatar

    Dear UCLADavid, I feel your pain. But no one is suggesting that we should go back to the days of Lavin (nor, sadly, of a great Bruin Walt Hazard). Howland has done a tremendous job, and will only get better.
    But the thing that separates UCLA from the other “elite” wannabes like Carolina, Duke and Kentucky is that UCLA is not satisfied with just getting to the Final Four! And it’s NOT just the alumni–ask the coaches and players, and they’ll tell you the same thing–you may go to the other schools to have a chance to play in the Final Four, but you come to UCLA to win CHAMPIONSHIPS! [And not just in basketball, mind you, hence the gold “C” on the jerseys!] And know this: Howland wouldn’t want it any other way.
    There IS a problem, however, with those who would call a non-banner season a “failure”–that’s not only unfairly harsh, but inaccurate–the season is not “pass-fail”–we had an “A” season, all the way, its just that we were and always are striving for the elusive “A+”. No reason to be distraught, but reason to be disappointed.
    Is that a lot of pressure? Absolutely. But it comes with the territory. After 10 in 12 years, reasonable men
    may choose to opt out…But only after establishing an unprecedented and unparalleled tradition of EXCELLENCE that all who follow are honor-bound to pursue in kind.
    I believe we owe it to John Wooden to never settle for anything less.

  5. UCLADavid Avatar


    I agree with everything you say. My only point was to chastise those media and alumni out there who term this season a “failure.” And actually, this Board is devoid of those comments, so maybe I’m preaching to the choir over here. My response was more to friends (younger alumni who don’t remember Hazard or Farmer) and articles I read who are saying things like Howland needs to make changes, or even (gulp!) go.

    I feel it’s incumbent on the Alumni to put those people in their place, and let them know that while we are disappointed, we are nonetheless proud of the accomplishments of our players and coaches.

    Disappointment? Absolutely. Dispair and criticism of the program? No.

    Anyway, I’ve said my piece. Let us return to bashing all thing Trojan!

    Go Bruins!