I feel like I should call Crimestoppers or something.
"Hello? Yes, I saw who murdered the Saint Mary's Gaels. Saw the whole thing. It was Baylor. Yes, I'd like to remain anonymous, please."
It's probably good that Saint Mary's had the week they've had, with Omar Samhan openly asking Taylor Swift to call him and offering Bill Simmons an interview over Twitter if he wants it, because they sure did walk into a buzzsaw tonight.
The inherent problem with loving a cinderella team is that eventually, probably, you may have to put that team down. Because these teams are cinderella teams for a reason -- they're loved in this tournament because they weren't supposed to, by conventional basketball wisdom, be able to do what they're doing. Saint Mary's was absolutely living proof of that. Their unbelievable offings of both Richmond and Villanova were the stuff of which great headlines were made.
But let's be honest here -- and this will probably be an unpopular stance: there's a reason why cinderella teams don't win the NCAA tournament. It's because almost every time, they just can't keep unseating teams that are just more experienced and better coached than they are. Cinderella teams traditionally have a good run, and we all grow starry-eyed by their childlike wonder at the Big Dance, some colorful character from their bench, and then eventually they just get crushed.
Before you hate me completely, I want to be clear that no one was more surprised and happier than I was to see this hodgepodge of everyman kids and Australians doing so well. I followed Samhan on Twitter and read his blogs. I loved the good feeling surrounding them. It was great. It was magical. But it was never meant to mean the Saint Mary's Gaels were going to win the national championship. You know it and I know it. I love you, Mr. and Mrs. America, but did you ever really think they were going to be the last team standing?
Yes, they were a great team. I agree. And yes, on any given saturday a team as good as the Gaels could -- and did -- beat teams that on paper were favored over them. But they just couldn't keep it going forever.
It's just a shame their demise had to be so gruesome. It really was never even close. LaceDarius Dunn dropped 23 points on the Gaels with 14 more donated by Tweety Carter to bust down Saint Mary's 72-49. In the end, Baylor was simply a better team -- in general, only tonight, whatever you want to believe. Sorry to break that to you, but if it wasn't Baylor it was gonna be Duke. It's true. I'm sorry. Just being honest.
But it was really cool while it lasted, wasn't it? And we all now have a new little tourney crush to watch for next year. Where they'll keep winning and knocking off giants until they win it all. At least, that's what we'll let ourselves believe for a little while. And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's what makes this tournament so great.