Overcoming the unexpected

by Josh Burkholder – “SportStance” Columnist

Texas Christian University’s basketball season had been disappointing, to say the least.  They had a sub-.500 overall record and were a winless 0-8 in their league, the Big 12.  They had already lost three significant players to season-ending injuries.  Now to make matters worse, their next opponent was the 5th ranked team in the country, the University of Kansas.  Kansas had recently been dealt just their second loss of the season, so most, if not all college basketball fans thought that this was going to be a blowout.  After all, Kansas had a renewed motivation and fire and TCU’s quality of play had been severely lacking all season.  It should have been one of Kansas’ easiest games of the year, right? Wrong.  For some unfathomable reason, Kansas came out flat, fell behind early, and was just never able to climb all the way back into the game and lost 62-55.  Coach Bill Self was not shy in his criticism of the team, saying “It was the worst team that Kansas ever put on the floor since Dr. Naismith was there.”  If you are not familiar with basketball history, Dr. James Naismith was the Kansas coach from 1898 to 1907.

Could anyone have expected this upset?  I am pretty sure that no matter what they say, even TCU’s players and coaches would have never dreamed that the game could have turned out as it did.  Kansas definitely didn’t, and ended up with one of the most embarrassing losses in their program’s rich history.

The occurrence of wild and unexpected upsets seems to increase every year in college basketball.  Between January 17 and February 6, teams ranked in the top 25 have lost to unranked teams 36 times, which is the most in at least 17 years.  In fact, people have begun to the unexpected, especially in the NCAA tournament, where nearly everyone has their “Cinderella” team that is supposed to defy the odds and bust the bracket.

“Expect the unexpected.”  If we are to expect the unexpected, wouldn’t that make all of those unexpected things actually expected?  I think a better way to put it would be to ready yourself for change.  Things happen that we may have no control over, and we have to adapt, move on, and learn from our experiences.  If we do that correctly, that makes us all the more stronger and able to face any challenge that life throws our way.

In the case of college basketball, if you are able to face and conquer all of these challenges, do you know what you will get?  That’s right, a national championship.  So just because you may stumble and have down times, as long as you learn from them, you will find yourselves in great shape.  So, Kansas fans, I firmly believe that even with that loss, your team still has a very legit chance at the national title.  Every team that makes the tournament does as well, which is what makes it so fun to watch and is why I cannot wait until it starts.  If we’ve learned anything from TCU, it’s that the unexpected just may happen.

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