Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Focus On Chaminade's Win, Not Texas' Loss

Div. II Chaminade upset Texas 86-73 in the Maui Invitational Monday night. (sports.yahoo.com)

The numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the game showed Chaminade 86, Texas 73, and most people will focus first on the Texas side of the board.

Texas looked awful. What does this mean for Rick Barnes? How do you lose to a Div. II school?

The criticism is just; Texas wasn't supposed to lose that game. Chaminade is in the Maui Invitational because it is the host school, but it's not supposed to win.

Instead, focus on what Chaminade was able to achieve, and you'll see the beauty of sports. Texas didn't have a once-in-a-lifetime horrible shooting night, gift-wrapping the game to the Silverswords. The Longhorns shot 46 percent from the field, which was much better than Chaminade's 36.8 percent.

Clearly Texas didn't play it's best game, but don't use that as an excuse to take away what the underdog accomplished. Chaminade won because it played exceptional, not because Texas looked like a third-grade rec team. The Silverswords out-rebounded the Longhorns by nine, got to the free-throw line more (and made more of their attempts) and had a player step up with the game of his life. DeAndre Haskins scored 32 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes of play, with a lot of his success coming from the charity stripe.

It was amazing to watch it all come together for the team that had no chance leading up to the tip. That is, unless you're a Longhorns fan, because then you were in a personal hell.

Fans love underdogs. We love watching them do the impossible and break brackets and pride. We throw them rare airtime on SportsCenter and make movies about them. Which is why instead of looking at what Texas did wrong, appreciate what Chaminade did well. It's fitting this win came 30 years after one of the greatest upsets of all time, when the Silverswords defeated No. 1 Virginia in the same tournament.

Chaminade enters the Maui Invitational every year with everyone expecting an easy win for the opponent. Most of the time that's what happens. The Silverswords are a small school of about 1,200 students going against the toughest competition they will face all year, so you can't fault them for their record.

But every once in a while everything clicks and comes together for the little guys from Hawaii. And the outcomes like the one we saw last night are why they play the game, and why we love sports.

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