February 07, 2009

One Shining Moment 1987

You have to love the frozen frame of Pete Gillen imploring his Musketeers to stay in control.  The first two minutes of credits roll as #32 Steve Eyl and #44 Joe Hillman cut down the nets (two guys you've never heard of, unless your name is R. Soni and you watch this clip reverentially, like brushing your teeth, every day and sometimes twice or thrice).  Immediately, we're back in the 80's with upper thigh-hugging shorts, curly perms on the cheerleaders and vintage collegiate garb in the stands.  What gets me is the cutaway shots of Derrick Coleman, Rony Seikaly and the 'Cuse team sitting dejected on the bench watching the Hoosiers celebrate.  They couldn't go to the locker room?  They have to be Debbie Downers for the debut of OSM?  Was Boeheim teaching them a lesson?  Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.

At the 1:49 mark, the familiar song begins with the requisite montage of mascots, bands, cheerleaders and general pomp before "The ball is tipped," and on cue, an opening tip.  The formula hasn't changed one iota over the years - collect the most memorable faces and moments from the tournament and put them in a compelling order.  Mix elation with heartbreak, dramatically building up to the Final Four and ending with the crowning of a new champion.  

So much to like in this relic from the past.  Scanning the brackets, I was pleasantly surprised to find Notre Dame a five seed. Little did I know that Digger Phelps led the Irish to the Sweet Sixteen, losing a close game to the Tar Heels, who, in turn succumbed to the Orangemen.  Gotta love the guy at 2:13 taking a raspberry for the team while earning some Dutch Boy hustle points.  Somewhere, a young, impressionable Brian Cardinal was watching and took note of the knee brace that allowed this caucasian to play with reckless abandon.  Next, a young admiral in the Navy dunks on the Wolverines followed by The Shark chomping his towel like it's a cheeseburger.  At 2:23, the Hoosiers pull off a textbook 3-man fast break, ball never touching the floor.  The hits keep coming as JR Reid reaches the apex of his basketball career, taking it to the tin against the Irish.  Kevin Gamble sinks a buzzer beater as Iowa beats Oklahoma (Iowa was a monster that year at 30-5, eventually sending 5 players to the League).  The usual suspects of coaches make grand appearances: Bobby Cremins, Jim Boeheim, quasi-avoiding a Gatorade shower, Bobby Knight being The General at the scorekeeper's table, and Rick Pitino hugging Billy Donovan, the player, en route to Providence's Final Four run.   

Everything culminates with "The Shot", as it's known in Hoosier circles, Keith Smart's hanging jumper from the left baseline sealing the deal.  Unfortunately missing from OSM is Billy Packer shouting "Nobody stopped the clock!  Nobody stopped the clock!" and Steve Eyl scaling new heights in his vertical leap of celebration, even testing his Petr Korda scissor-kick a couple times.  The NCAA Tournament wouldn't be the same with One Shining Moment in the mix.  The ultimate tourney capper has kept the hits coming non-stop for 22 years.  Stay tuned for more OSM recaps.

No comments: