I've slept on it.
That's really all you can do after a debacle like last night. I went away from my computer, picked up a book, and forgot about it. I advise that our players do the same. After doing so, we'll see that the loss to Ohio State, while still very painful, is not that bad in the long run. We will be judged more by how we respond to this loss rather than the loss itself. Ohio State is an extremely talented team and Evan Turner showed why he is considered the Player of the Year in the conference.We fell asleep on them, and they made us pay.
If we answer these two losses by reeling off 8-10 more wins in a row (which is entirely possible) this will be considered a minor blip. The selection committee will see this, but they look more at the overall profile and how you finish. This is why we had only a five seed last year. Losses late to Northwestern at home and Michigan State on the road did not help matters. We still have, at minimum, 15 games before Selection Sunday. We could have as many as seventeen. If we get through that stretch with just two more losses (again, possible) everything will be fine. If we get the return game in Columbus it erases this loss. We've become the name team everyone wants to build their resume, so it is only natural that a team as talented as Ohio State would rise up and take it. They have too much talent to play as poorly as they have.
I think we owe Gary Parrish an apology, but for a different reason. I still believe we have three players who will eventually play at least one game in the NBA. Where we owe him the apology is in thinking we're a shoe-in national title contender. He never said we couldn't make the Final Four. I think once there, however, we were hoping for the "Anything can happen" factor to take over.
Last night proved that nothing is going to be handed to us, and now we have true adversity to face for the first time all year. I would much rather face it now than in March. A night like this in March would be a bigger disaster, and it can happen to anyone. Look at what George Mason did in 2006. They took out Michigan State, North Carolina, and UConn to get to the Final Four. They would never be picked in any of those games, but they got it done. It takes just one bad night, one poor finish, to ruin everything. Think about the unstoppable Kansas team in 1997 that couldn't even get out of the Sweet 16. Anything can happen to anyone, and now we know it can happen to us.
That said, we, as fans, need to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing as well. Just because Kansas, Texas, and Kentucky are the anointed by the media does not mean they are guaranteed to get to Indianapolis. Just ask Kansas. They probably feel the same way about losing to a shorthanded Tennessee team as we do for blowing this game. They are going to be fine, and so will we. We can only control what is in front of us and I don't see a single game that is suddenly impossible to win. Let's go out and take care of our business alone. Whatever happens elsewhere will happen. I think if we do that we'll still be in a very good position after the Big Ten Tourney.
So let's take a deep breath, everyone. Let's just walk away for a few days. These games wouldn't even be losses if not for our curious sudden inability to hit free throws (I'm looking at you, E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson). Those are minor fixes. We only have two losses right now. Let's fix what we can fix and move on. Northwestern is Saturday.