NEW ORLEANS -- Dwyane Wade, Marquette's marvelous swingman,
wasn't even a factor just days after drawing comparisons to Michael
Jordan following one of the greatest performances in NCAA
With its junior guard stymied rather than sensational, Marquette
never had a chance Saturday night and lost 94-61 to Kansas in the
Wade and the Golden Eagles were already done when the junior
guard staggered to the sideline and put a towel to his nose after
being smacked in the face by fellow All-American Nick Collison
early in the second half.
What hurt a lot worse was Wade's performance.
He went from looking super one week to scared the next, and his
teammates followed suit.
"It was like a nightmare you were hoping to wake up from,''
Wade said. "It hurts. It's going to hurt tomorrow. It's going to
hurt tonight. It's going to hurt forever.
"We didn't finish the job. We wanted to be national champions.
We're just one of the best four teams in the country.''
Wade had one of his worst games ever one week after leading an
upset of top-ranked Kentucky with just the third triple-double in
NCAA tournament history.
Wade finished with 19 points against Kansas in what turned out
to be the fourth-biggest rout in Final Four history, and the
largest margin of victory since Michigan State beat Penn 101-67 in
the 1979 semifinals.
Kansas guard Michael Lee said the Jayhawks didn't deserve all
the credit for stopping Wade.
"I don't think we shut him down,'' Lee said. "He missed some
open shots and he made some tough ones.''
Kansas coach Roy Williams likened Wade to Jordan last week, but
it was the Jayhawks who looked like a team of NBA players instead.
Until Saturday, Wade scored 75 points in 60 minutes at the
tournament, his pro stock soaring with every sweet shot and pass
that he made.
He bottomed out against Kansas. In the first half, Wade missed
two reverse layups that came nowhere near the basket. Instead of
leading the break as he had so many times against Kentucky, Wade
was the one trailing in transition this time.
"They took it all away, they did a good job of it. They tried
to take the middle, the baseline, whatever they could away from
us,'' Wade said. "They didn't want us to score because they know
if we get going, we can be trouble. But they didn't let us get into
a rhythm tonight.
"We shot worse than we probably shot all year.''
Not only that, but he was hit on the bridge of the nose by
Collison with about 5 1/2 minutes into the second half and Marquette
trailing 77-36. He returned with 10 minutes to play and the Golden
Eagles down 82-47.
With their star struggling, Marquette's hopes of a national
championship quickly vanished. Marquette couldn't match Kansas'
superior strength, speed and precision in their most-lopsided loss
in NCAA tournament history.
At halftime, Kansas led 59-30.
Playing in the school's first Final Four since Al McGuire's team
won it all in 1977, the Golden Eagles simply couldn't keep their
hands on the ball and they couldn't find the basket.
"We feel good about the season, but I can't really say proud
because we didn't finish the job,'' Wade said.
McGuire's team regrouped from its runner-up finish in 1974 to
claim a national title three years later.
Can this Marquette team do the same? The task will be tougher if
Wade heads to the NBA.
In the closing minutes Saturday, the Golden Eagles' fans began
chanting, "One more year! One more year!''
While Wade might love to start pulling in paychecks, Marquette
has to hope that he doesn't want to go out like this.
"You always want to go out as a winner,'' Wade said. "And if
we would have won the national championship, it would have been
hard to leave my teammates.
"So, my decision is going to be the toughest decision I will
ever make. But I'm going to make it with my family, my coaches and