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As a blogger, I take a lot of pride in being able to sum things up neatly and quickly. Last night was no such game; anything less than watching the championship in its entirety won't convey an accurate message. The quick recaps are going to focus on Derrick Rose's second-half explosion, Memphis's crucial failure at the free throw line, and Mario "Supernintendo" Chalmers's phenomenal three-pointer to tie the game with two seconds left in regulation.
What that leaves out is the swarming defense from both sides — all night long, long arms found their way into the paths of bounce paths; hands materialized to strip the dribbler. Players crashed to the floor to get loose balls, made jump passes to save the ball from going out of bounds, hustled like starving wild dogs. Both teams ran their asses off to push the break; both teams excelled in transition defense. It was, in the most simple and cliched terms, a hard-fought, close game. And while the Memphis free throws will be remembered as the Achilles heel, and the Chalmers 3 will live on in highlight-reel glory, both of those fail to capture the essence of what was one of the better championship games I've ever seen.
After the jump, we'll get into the winners of the Pool of Hard Knocks. See who won the awesome PRIZES.
Here are the top points-getters.
- Baylor? I don't even know 'er! — 168
- forklifter — 168
- Are these guys younger or…? — 165
- cdog — 164
- Joe's Bracket — 162
- the champ is here — 160
- hooligans– 159
As some of you may have noticed, we have a tie in the #1 position. And because Baylor and forklifter were in different groups, their tiebreaker isn't shown. Ummm… I'm not sure what to do about that, exactly. It's still first thing in the morning, and I haven't had enough coffee to make decisions. But we'll figure something out.
Also, for the non-ironic completed bracket with the lowest point total, the winner of a big stack of sports books is the aptly named stupidbracket.
TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address from the Yahoo account you signed up with. The winner(s) will get some kind of iTunes card (total TBD due to the tie and how we work that out), everyone else on that bulleted list gets a subscription to their choice of Penthouse or Playboy. People who ask for something else other than what we're giving them for free (Can I get Redbook instead?) will lose the right to their prize.