After last night's heartbreaking loss to San Diego State, I wrote this:
That was Derrick Marks' fault. Goodnight.
Right or wrong (probably wrong), that Post game reaction was just that, a reaction. I understand that basketball games aren't won nor lost by just one player. It is a team game—On the NCAA Division 1 level, it's more than a team game when you include the coaching staffs, trainers and support personnel who all play a role in helping a team play to their full potential. But, no, a game is not predicated on the performance of just one player.
As I was standing in my kitchen in the exact same spot for more than five minutes hoping to sustain the good luck through the waning minutes, you just had the feeling that it wasn't meant to be. With 1:32 left, however, Marks hit a nifty jumper in the lane to put the Broncos up three. A glimmer of hope. On the ensuing possession, a San Diego State turnover. Yes, we're going to do this. They're going to storm the court!! But... there's always a 'but'... Xavier Thames picks Marks clean as he is dribbling in the backcourt, completely changing the course of the game, and most likely, the season.
This is where I get critical. We've seen throughout the better part of three seasons that Marks is "the guy". I don't know if he has been officially anointed "the guy", but it's pretty clear. He is the one who takes important shots, in isolation no less, rather than through the course of the regular offense. And if you're "the guy", that steal by Thames CAN'T happen. That play highlights that Marks can play a bit nonchalant, or dare I say, indifferent at times and it's frustrating. That being said, I don't think AT ALL that he doesn't care. I know he, his teammates and the coaches care much, much more than me. Again, it's just frustrating.
Along those lines, I have to admit that I'm guilty—most of us probably are. We are guilty of letting our fan experiences with an incomprehensibly successful football team affect how we perceive success. Like the last football season, fans of most schools would be thrilled if their school's were in our shoes. In all due respect to people who have a differing opinion, however, I hope we never lose that. With that mindset, losses like this are bitter pills to swallow, but it also makes the victories and successes that much sweeter.
The thing I'm probably most disappointed about is that Ryan Watkins didn't get his seventh consecutive double-double in a row. I have been critical of him in the past, but he has unequivocally proven me wrong. The guy's a beast. I'm also disappointed that the guy at the top of this page, Thomas Bropleh, couldn't finish off the best game of his career with a victory. He deserved it. It's been rewarding as a fan of this team to watch Bropleh develop throughout the season and I was hoping that a victory against the #5 team in the country would be a nice capper for a wonderful performance.