Commentary

Instant Analysis: Chalmers' 3, OT run lift Kansas to title

Originally Published: April 7, 2008
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN.com's Tim Griffin provides instant analysis from the title game between Kansas and Memphis.

Final analysis: Kansas 75, Memphis 68


TURNING POINT I: Mario Chalmers hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2.1 seconds left, forcing a 63-63 tie and the first overtime in an NCAA final game since 1997, when Arizona beat Kentucky. It capped a wild 12-3 run, enabling the Jayhawks to overcome a 60-51 deficit with less than 2 minutes remaining.

TURNING POINT II: Kansas quickly gained momentum early in overtime, scoring the first six points and never trailing after Chalmers' buzzer-beater.

TURNING POINT III : Freshman guard Derrick Rose took over down the stretch, scoring 14 of Memphis' points in a 16-6 run that enabled the Tigers to take control for most of the second half.

PLAY OF HIS LIFETIME: Chalmers' 3-pointer with Rose playing defense against him. I bet there will be a lot of baby boys named Mario in Kansas over the next few months.

PLAY OF THE HALF II: With a double-team hounding him and the shot clock near zero, Rose calmly sank a shot that originally was ruled a 3-pointer to give Memphis a 56-49 lead with 4:12 left. Replays indicated it was a 2-pointer because his foot was on the line. If the basket had remained a 3-pointer as originally called, Memphis would have won in regulation.

PLAY OF OVERTIME: Kansas forward Brandon Rush made a hustling play to score on his own missed shot, giving the Jayhawks a 71-65 lead with 1:10 left. The Tigers were poised to snatch momentum if Rush had been denied.

ALMOST BONEHEAD PLAY OF HIS LIFETIME: After Rose had been fouled with a seemingly safe 62-60 lead, Douglas-Roberts slammed the ball hard on the ground in celebration.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Chalmers finished with 18 points and four steals and helped limit Memphis to only five points in overtime, including just one field goal.

PLAYER OF THE GAME II: Rose finished with 18 points, six rebounds and eight assists, but he will be haunted by his missed foul shots and five turnovers.

STAT OF THE GAME: Memphis missed 4 of 5 foul shots in the final 75 seconds of regulation that could have salted the game away.

STAT OF THE GAME II: Memphis' vaunted running game was limited to four fast-break points in the game.

WHAT IT MEANS: Kansas claimed its first national championship since 1988 and its third title since 1952. Memphis was denied its first national championship, after also losing in the 1973 title game. It was also the first national basketball championship of the Big 12.

Memphis failed in its hopes of becoming the first team since Kentucky in 1978 to claim a title from a conference that received only one bid to the tournament. The outcome also put the Kansas-Memphis series at 4-2.

FIRST TIME WAS A CHARM: The halftime deficit meant Memphis trailed in the second half for the first time in this year's NCAA tournament. But the Tigers rallied by scoring the first points of the half to forge a 33-33 deadlock just 63 seconds into the second half.

GUARANTEED FOR THE CAMERA: It might have been the most gratuitous sign in the building, but I bet it made the CBS broadcast sometime tonight. A Kansas fan pictured the CBS logo with the words "Come Back Self."

BOO ON THE NCAA: For all the amazing plays that took place at the end of regulation, Alamodome fans were treated to no replays on the large-screen television. At the prices the NCAA is charging fans to watch the game at its venues, spectators deserve more.


First-half analysis: Kansas 33, Memphis 28


TURNING POINT: Kansas turned on the defense to stake its halftime lead, limiting Memphis to seven points in the final 7½ minutes. Brandon Rush's three-point play and a basket by Darrell Arthur culminated a mini 5-0 run that boosted the Jayhawks to the halftime lead after the score was tied at 28.

TURNING POINT II: A suffocating defense keyed by guards Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson helped the Jayhawks erupt on a 15-4 spurt early in the game capped by a 3-pointer from Chalmers that extended Kansas' lead to 18-13 with 9:58 left. Six players scored in the run, led by four points from Rush.

PLAYER OF THE HALF: Arthur dominated Memphis in the paint, helped by early foul trouble for Memphis inside players Shawn Taggart and Robert Dozier. Arthur finished with a team-high 10 points and four rebounds.

PLAYER OF THE HALF II: Memphis guard Chris Douglas-Roberts single-handedly kept the Tigers in the game, piling up a game-high 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field.

PLAYER OF THE HALF III: Chalmers headed the hounding defense on Memphis guard Derrick Rose, scoring seven points and adding three rebounds and three steals.

PLAY OF THE HALF: Kansas might throw more alley-oop passes that result in baskets than any team in the country. Rush fed Arthur for a beautifully executed dunk that gave the Jayhawks their largest first-half advantage at 22-15.

STAT OF THE HALF: Kansas dominated the game inside, piling up a 24-8 edge in points in the paint and a 19-11 edge in rebounds.

STAT OF THE HALF II: Kansas rotated defenders on Rose, making the freshman look ordinary in the first half. He finished with three points, four rebounds, three assists and three of Memphis' six turnovers.

STAT OF THE HALF III: Kansas showed some early shakiness, committing three turnovers on its first six possessions.

THE NUMBERS: Kansas' biggest lead was seven at 22-15 with 8½ minutes left. Memphis' largest advantage was 9-3 after two foul shots by Rose with 16:39 left. The score was tied five times, and the lead changed three times.

THE KING HASN'T LEFT THE BUILDING: Well, a reasonable facsimile of Elvis Presley, anyway. The Memphis Tiger mascot was dressed in an Elvis-like jumpsuit before the game.

PREGAME MEAL: Rose showed no ill effects early from having skipped Sunday's media sessions. Rose begged off on his media responsibilities after arriving at the Alamodome. Douglas-Roberts explained that Rose's normal diet consists of Starbursts and Gummy Bears for breakfast and Twizzlers and Honey Buns for dinner.

MAYBE A MESSAGE: Rush's path to the basket for Kansas' first points was stopped with what NBA coaches like to refer to as a "message foul" when he was hacked by Antonio Anderson. Something tells me Anderson might have picked up a Flagrant 1 foul if he had been playing in the NBA.

BIGGEST REACTION: So much for the action on the court. The loudest ovation of the first half was the standing ovation when ESPN commentator Dick Vitale was announced as the final member of the 2008 inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tim Griffin is a college football and basketball writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espntimgriff@yahoo.com.